Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful city with much to see and do. If you are not a native of Kuala Lumpur, it can be hard to decide what to see and do.
This is a short synopsis of the ten things I think you must see in Kuala Lumpur. This is meant as a guide to those of us who are not familiar with this great city to our north.
1. Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers dominate the sky scape in Kuala Lumpur.
They are magnificent pieces of architecture which tower over the rest of Kuala Lumpur and are currently the second tallest buildings in the world, and the tallest twin towers in the world.
They were built in 1998 and have 88 floors and reach 452 meters into the sky.
The towers were planned in the form of an 8 sided star which in Islam symbolises fullness and regeneration. There is a viewing deck on the twin towers, the sky bridge which joins the 21st floors of both towers, 150 meters above ground. If you are planning to do this, be sure to get your tickets early to avoid long waits of disappointment.
2. China Town
China Town in Kuala Lumpur is a special place with a fantastic atmosphere and market. The market is held on a street, but is now cleverly covered to prevent rain from disturbing the market. In China Town you can get everything from quality hand crafted produce to fake clothes.
Every major fashion house is represented in China Town by fake produce. If you are planning to buy something here on your visit, and you will, be prepared to haggle if your life depended on it. The people here are good natured, but they will try to sell you anything they can as if their life depended on it.
3. Suria Shopping Center
The Suria Shopping Center at the foot of the Petronas twin towers is a shopping center aimed at the more affluent among us. Here you can buy designer fashion goods from all of the top designers. The Suria Shopping Center is not cheap and is mainly aimed at Arabs who visit Kuala Lumpur during August to escape the heat of their own countries. The Shopping Center is linked by the LRT (Light Rail Transport) which can take you directly to Sentral Station. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything here, don’t miss this spectacle.
4. Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square, known as Independence Square was formerly the Selangor Club field on which cricket was played by expatriates, usually from Britain. The Club is now open to anybody who can afford membership.
The square is called Independence Square because on 31 August 1957 the Malaysian flag was raised here for the first time. Today, the Malaysian flag flies from the tallest flag pole in the world, 100 meters. Merdeka Square is a place of beauty, with the immaculately kept Square alongside the Selangor Club which is built in true British Tudor style and the beautiful Abdul Samad Building which dates to 1897 and now serves as a Government Building.
5. Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is the main street of Kuala Lumpur. This is a street that never sleeps and always enjoys a fast pace of life. This is a great place to find a cafe to relax your shopping weary body, before you head back in for more shopping. Bukit Bintang is home to many shopping centres, hotels and restaurants. Amazingly Bukit Bintang is home to 30,000 shops, many of which are in the shopping centres that have entrances from the Bukit Bintang.
6. Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana)
The Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur is a green belt that covers over 90 hectares of land. Originally built around an artificial lake, the gardens are now a major center piece in Kuala Lumpur and offer many types of gardens including an Orchid Garden, a Hibiscus Garden, The Butterfly Park, a Bird Park and much more.
7. Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur as you head east towards Kuantan or the Genting Highlands. You can see the entrance to the caves from the road which is in the form of an impressive set of steps leading upwards to the mouth of the cave.
The caves are a sacred place for the Hindu population in Malaysia and consist of three main caves and a number of smaller caves.
The caves are an impressive sight at 400 meters long and 100 meters high. Be prepared to meet plenty of monkeys here as they vie for your attention in the hope of getting some nuts.
8. Telecommunications Tower
The Telecommunications Tower in Kuala Lumpur is very reminiscent of the famous Toronto and Seattle radio towers. The tower is the 4th tallest radio tower in the world after the CN Tower (Toronto), Ostankino Tower (Moscow) and Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai). Standing 421 meters high and if you are in good physical condition over 2,000 steps await. For the rest of us there is always the lift.
There is an observation platform at the top of the tower which many say is better than that on the Twin Towers for a number of reasons, you can see the Twin Towers in your view and you get panoramic views over the city. There is also a revolving restaurant here.
9. Central Market
Central Market in Kuala Lumpur, built in 1928, is set in a stunning building. The market is easily accessed by public transport. Here you will find all sorts of arts and crafts alongside souvenir shops selling models of the Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur T-shirts. Central Market is not just about arts and crafts, but more about a central location for a wider cultural offering. Here you can see cultural performances and sample some of the fantastic cuisine.
10. Mega mall
The Mega Mall is a massive shopping complex and if you are looking for a reasonable place to shop in comfort, this is it. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants here and it is an easy place to get lost in for a day. The shopping center is a short taxi ride from KLCC or a train ride from Sentral Station.
Ronan Menton is the webmaster for a number of travel related websites and has been for some time in Ireland, associated with search engine optimisation in the Irish travel industry. He spends two months a year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and now sees it as his second home.Among the many sites he is currently working on are the following: hotels in Singapore and hotels in Kuala Lumpur.