Kuala Lumpur means muddy confluence, which seems fairly fitting (if you use the second definitions of both words even though this was probably not the intended interpretation) as the city to has a unique culture that’s truly a blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures. I had a short stay in the city, but had enough time to see some of its highlights. I also mostly walked from place to place so I could take in the clean, green, modern feel of the city. I sometimes took the metro, which ran so smoothly. My hostel was near an above ground platform, and the views from the platform as the sun was setting were fairly beautiful.
The one downside of my stay in KL was the location of my hostel. It was located in the southern part of Chinatown in an area where a lot of homeless people hung out. At any time of the day, people would be drunk/on drugs and vomiting as I walked back to the hostel. While I never felt unsafe, I was just very disgusted. Otherwise, the location of the hostel was convenient for sight seeing.
Petronas Towers/KLCC Park
There are two main tourist view points in KL: the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower. I decided to only go to the top of one of them mostly because they offer comparable views and aren’t the cheapest. So I saw the Petronas Towers from KLCC Park. The park provides some greenery in the heart of the city and offers a nice contrast to the towers in the background. There’s also a water fountain that does shows at various times during the day. The park was busy with tourists and locals hanging out and exercising.
During my time in KL, it was fairly cloudy and rainy. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get good views of the city because of the overcast. I saw that early in the morning the overcast was predicted to be less severe, so I decided to visit the KL Tower right when it opened. I was the only person visiting, so I got the observation deck offering panoramic views of the city all to myself. The observation deck is 335 meters high, and it literally feels like you’re just on top of all the surrounding buildings. It was my best experience in KL.
The rooftop bar isn’t just an ordinary bar. It’s a helicopter pad during the day and a bar at night. You get views of the city including the KL Tower and Petronas Towers, while enjoying a cocktail. I had a lychee martini and arrived early to secure a table to watch the sunset (although it wasn’t a great sunset because of the overcast).
Sri Mahamariamman Temple
This is the oldest Hindu temple in KL as it was built in the 19th century. The temple had some people worshipping, but felt like it was mainly available to tourists. Nonetheless, it was good to admire some of the figures and stories being told within the temple.
Thean Hou Temple
Essentially right across the street from the Hindu temple is a Chinese Buddhist temple. I was visiting around Chinese New Year, so the temple was packed with people.
This is one of the oldest mosques in the city and highlights Moorish architecture. I sometimes feel hesitate about visiting mosques because I’m often not dressed appropriately and am not fully informed on appropriate customs, so I fear I would offend people. However, this mosque is often frequented by tourists so they offer robes and people seem to expect non-Muslims to visit. The architecture is intriguing, and it’s located right along the river so it’s truly a peaceful, idyllic area in the city.
The central market is located inside a nicer building than most central markets in Southeast Asia because the building replaced a former wet market. Even the shops seemed to have more unique items than the standard factory produced goods. The market has different sections selling Malay, Indian, and Chinese goods. I particularly enjoyed the Batik section.
Saltan Abdul Samad Building
Another Moorish style building, the Saltan Abdul Samad building served as the secretariat during the British colonial period. It is located in Merdeka Square.
Istana Negara was previously the palace for Malaysian kings. Today, it is a museum, although it must have been closed when I visited because no one was allowed inside. It also started raining and I had no umbrella, so I had to hind under an awning with one of the royal guards.
A fun place to wander and get some delicious Chinese food, while checking out the shops along the alleys.
This is a mall located in the Petronas Towers right by KLCC Park. The mall is pretty big, clean and has air conditioning. So it’s a great place to escape from the heat and do some shopping, or in my case, just window shopping.