If you are looking for a place in SE Asia where modernization and feel of a big city meets traditional and religious customs of its residents, while being solicitous and welcoming towards tourists, look no further than Kuala Lumpur. Skyscrapers and shopping malls on every corner, make the city modern and busy. The Malay, Chinese, and Indian coexisting communities make the city diverse, unique, and food, unforgettable.
Enjoy Kuala Lumpur’s Modern Side
Let’s start with the famous Petronas Twin Towers that were completed in 1998, to showcase Malaysia’s ambition to become more modernized, and for the country to be recognized on international level. Basically, Petronas Towers to Malaysia are as symbolic as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, so its popularity is obvious.
You can purchase tickets to go inside the towers, where you can learn about the construction and vision for this amazing landmark as well as enjoy a 360 view of the city, and spend some of your hard-earned moolah at one of the most popular shopping malls in KL., the KLCC Mall. You can also enjoy unlimited choices of cuisine at the enormous food court.
Shopping in KL seems to be impossible to avoid, as tall, glass, multi-story shopping malls are within walking distance of each other. You could spend all day inside these lavish malls, as they all have plenty of food choices, entertainment, and relaxation to offer visitors and locals.
Learn About the History and Culture of KL
Make your trip more authentic by visiting the National Museum of Malaysia to learn about the history and culture of the country. I am not usually someone who truly enjoys museums, but this one was worth the visit. I not only gained a lot of knowledge about Malaysia, and its culture and history, but I also got to have meaningful conversations with the locals working at the museum, who happen to be very friendly and eager to share the must-sees and must-dos in KL. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of diversity among the workers at the museum. There were many Malay, Indian, and Chinese workers who seemed to happily coexist in their workplace. One of the workers explained that this happy coexisting also happens in many neighborhoods in different areas of Malaysia, which is surprising, considering they don’t all share the same religious views, culture,or even language. The visit to the museum can greatly benefit you for the rest of your trip because the knowledge of the history and culture you gain can make you appreciate the rest your experience in the country even more.
Tugu Negara, also known as the National Monument Park, is another place to visit to learn about the history of the country. The memorial was built in remembrance of the brave fallen soldiers who fought for the freedom of Malaysia from the Japanese, during World War II. The statue is of seven soldiers carrying the Malaysian flag. Each of them represents a quality of leadership: strength, unity command, suffering, wariness, courage and sacrifice. Within walking distance to the National Monument is a beautiful park and garden, which is worth a stop if you need a short break from all the walking.
Putra Mosque is another worthy stop. This mosque is unique due to it being made of pink granite, plus the large number of worshipers it can accommodate, which is about 15,000 people. Overall, it’s beautiful and definitely worth seeing.
It’s hard to think about KL without thinking about the exquisite, fresh, and affordable food that is available everywhere. One of my absolute favorite places to get food was the Jalan Alor or ‘Food Heaven Street’ as the locals call it. Food heaven it is, indeed. It’s a long street lined on both sides with vendors and every kind of street food, Indian, Thai, and Malay, cuisine imaginable. Casual seating is also common. The prices are amazing! I had dinner, dessert, and a smoothie, all for about $10.00. You can’t go wrong with that! Right next to the Jalan Alor is a street full of just bars and pubs. Some are stylish and classy, while others are more laid back, the choices are plenty. This area does get busy, especially at night, so expect to see a lot of tourists and locals, out enjoying themselves.
Other Places to See
My trip to KL was short, so here are some things I would have done if I had more time:
– Batu Caves
-Kuala Lumpur Tower
-Thean Hou Temple
-Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
Grab app, is an app that allows you to get a convenient transportation in the city
Uber is very popular in KL and a hassle-free way to get around, plus you might get lucky and meet a really great local, who is excited to share the all the must-dos of KL.
When visiting temples, monuments, and places of worship it is best to wear things that cover your shoulders and shorts or skirts that go to the knee. The locals will appreciate you being respectful towards their culture and religion. Remember, you are in a Muslim country after all.
Kuala Lumpur is a great destination that offers lots to see, do, and eat. I hope I’ve given you a few reasons to add it to your list, if you haven’t already.