The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, takes its name from the Malay words for “muddy estuary”, and has grown from being just a small village to a major city of some two million, in a mere half century.
Kuala Lumpur was for a long time a little off the major tourist tracks, though it frequently provided a good stopover point for those on long haul from west to east, or vice versa. But these days, the city is starting to become a popular place to visit in its own right. Here you will find both budget accommodation and top hotels, as well as excellent shopping and plenty of bargains. The food is also very good, and I have particularly fond memories of a wonderfully tasty vegetable curry eaten at an outdoor restaurant.
As in most of Malaysia’s big cities, about 55% of Kuala Lumpur’s population is of Malaysian Chinese descent, and this is reflected in the availability of excellent Chinese food, and a bustling Chinatown. A good proportion of the population is Muslim, and many Malaysian women wear traditional Muslim dress, with the younger women in particular wearing a variety that is very flowing and fashionable.
In the centre of this fascinating city you will find fabulous shopping malls, five-star hotels and good places to go for an evening out. A little to the south you will find Merdeka Square where there are some of the old colonial buildings, and going a little further south you will find the suburb of Bangsar which is famed for its restaurants and nightclubs.
At the northern edge of the city are the famous Petronas Twin Towers, which, until recently, standing at a magnificent 452 metres, were the tallest buildings in the world, and have only recently been superseded in height by the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan. Completed in 1996, the dazzlingly spectacular Petronas Towers are regarded by many as a symbol of Malaysia’s modernity. The Skybridge, that connects the two towers, is one of the highest suspended bridges in the world. If you want to get the wonderful view from the Skybridge, entry is free, but only to the first 1,200 people who show up, so be sure to arrive early. It is interesting to note that the Skybridge, which is not actually at the top of the Towers, is the highest point to which members of the general public can go.
If you would like to take in the view of the city from a point even higher than the Twin Towers, then you should try the observation deck on the top floor of the KL Tower. From here you can get really great city views, because the KL Tower is built on a hill, and you are actually a few meters higher than the Twin Towers.
As a bit of extra fun, why not try the revolving restaurant which is just one floor above the observation deck. Here you can get a really excellent all round view while you eat your meal. Now doesn’t that make it worth a visit to Kuala Lumpur?