A Metropolis in progress: Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is one of those cities you will love or hate… or maybe both? A vast and multicultural metropolis with a massive contrast between social classes, in the same block rises a skyscraper next to a humble family house next to a high-end shopping mall next to a slum and so on!

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This is a place in constant growth, wherever you look at there´re tremendous cranes emerging from construction sites, that´s why it is nowadays one of the most modern cities in Southeast Asia.

Traffic jams are real struggle, just like most cities in the region there´s an immense flow of bikes, scooters, and cars… all of them running without any kind of respect to the traffic laws. Crossing an avenue is an extreme experience, no joke! You will get goosebumps waiting for the green light with the line of bikers looking at you with a looong face…

Kuala Lumpur has a great public transport system which connects the whole city: trains, metro, buses and the monorail (sky train)! It´s easy to get from one place to another!

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KLIA Airport From/To: The fastest but expensive way is KLIA Ekspres train, getting to KL Sentral Station in just 30mins for 35 RM; another choice is KLIA Transit train, with the same route, more stops (3) and same price!
As a second choice we have shuttle bus, like Airport Coach, for 10 RM the way to KL Sentral lasts an hour.
LCCT Airpot is the smaller one, used for local flights and low-cost ones, 20km away from KLIA. You connect both terminals by NadiKlia bus!
LCCT to KL Sentral is covered by two services, SkyBus and AeroBus for 9RM each way.

By the way, KL Sentral is Kuala Lumpur´s main station (just like NY Central) so you can easily connect with every other place in the city by train/metro/bus/whatever!

As I told you above, moving through the city is pretty easy, public transport is efficient! Rush hours can get a bit… you know, rush hours.
There are stations in most of tourist attractions and simple to combine.
Here you go (stations, by name):

  • KLCC: Petronas Towers! Yes!
  • Pasar Seni: Chinatown.
  • Maharajalela: Chan See Shu Yuen Temple in Chinatown.
  • Raja Chulan or Bukit Bintang: Bukit Bintang shopping area.
  • Masjid Jamek: Colonial neighbor and Little India.
  • Bukit Nanas or Dang Wangi: Menara Tower.
  • KL Sentral: Kuala Lumpur´s central station.

In this city, food won´t be a problem… there´s a vast menu around! You can try Malaysian and asian food as long as you wish, but remember that there will always be a Pizza Hut round the corner, just in case. *wink*
Western fast-food chains are everywhere, Mc Donald´s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, TGI, Starbucks, and so on!
From my experience… FOOD IS A BARGAIN! A Bic Mac meal is around 2 or 3 USD. Dinner for two img_5358in Pizza Hut with soft drinks and dessert included will be around 8-10USD in total!

TIP! If you are looking for a great place to have views from the City, instead of going up the Petronas, a cheaper and cooler way is to go to the other side of KLCC. At the top floor of Traders Hotel, there´s Sky Bar… It´s just in front of the Petronas! The landscape is remarkable, don´t miss a sunset having a beer with your friends! There´s no fees for going up… It´s free! Well… not the beer of course!

What to do?

Petronas Towers

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Without doubt Petronas towers are the symbol of Malaysia, they appear in every single postcard! If you visit KL, I bet you are mainly travelling to admire this architectonic master piece… well, if not, you can´t just skip them! My god… Jaw-dropping, truly! I can´t describe what I felt when I was there, nothing compared to the Empire State, even Burj Khalifa!

Try to admire a sunset there, you will see how they turn from silver to gold… and blue after that! Majestic!

Designed by the Argentinean architect Cesar Pelli, these outstanding buildings were finished in 1998 to become the star attraction of the country.

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For travelers that want to go up, there´s the Skybridge, a runway located between the 41st and 42nd floor that connects both towers. With this 80 RM ticket you can also get to the 86th floor. WARNING: Impressive views ahead! Proceed with caution!
Don´t go too late, tickets are limited! I believe only 1000/day are allowed.

On the ground floor there´s this high end shopping mall and convention center, the world famous KLCC, where you will find top designer brands and lots of fancy restaurants. Of course you can always go to the food court if you are on budget!
On the back there´s a park with a small lake, nothing out of the world, but meh…

Don´t forget to visit this place during the night, the twin towers along with all the lights will give you an amazing impression! Guaranteed.
Oh! There´s a dancing waters and light show in the park as well!

Batu Caves

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This attraction consists in a massive Hindu temple (Murugan God) inside a colossal cave, one of the most popular outside India. There´s no entrance fee. FREE!

It´s 13km north from Kuala Lumpur and accessible vía KL Sentral. Simple! The easiest way is to take the monorail to KL Sentral and once there get the KTM Train Komuter Sentul Line up to Batu img_9769Caves Station. Ta Da!

It´s impossible to get lost! Don´t worry! From the station the caves are like 200m away…

While approaching the caves you will first face the giant golden statue of Murugan… and the endless stairs on the background. More than 270 steps! Ugh!
Remember to go with fresh clothes and bottled water! With the heat, the people, the never-ending steps… Things can get… you know.

Try going during the morning, there will be less tourists and the temperature may be a bit more pleasing.
Something IMPORTANT! Beware of the monkeys! I know I have already told you like 20 times… but it´s mandatory to take care. Monkeys are everywhere, while you go up, once you are visiting the temple and during your steps out. I know they probably won´t disturb you (maybe) but watch your food, camera, sunglasses, keep your backpack closed, etc, etc, etc.

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In the interior there are some chapels? Not much, personally I would keep the picture downstairs with Muguran.
If you have some free time I recomed you try the Dark Cave, while going downstairs you will find
it our your right.
Fee is 35RM and the tour is around 50mins. Honoring its name, there´s no day light inside, if it weren´t by the flashlights you would be walking in complete darkness!

The guide will show you the unique flora and fauna inside! There´s a time when he will ask to turn off the flashlights! Shivers!
I don´t know, free time and 35RM in your pocket will give you the chance to try something different.

Bukit Bintang

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Located in the famous gold triangle of KL, this is the place for shopping and entertaining! High-end designer shops and fancy restaurants & bars, without a doubt the most cosmopolitan area in the city!

In the surroundings you will have the shocking contrast between super fashionable malls and the budget stores flooded with Chinese knock offs!

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Oh, by the way… Low Yat Plaza is there as well! The famous 5 storey building/mall of purely technology and electronics: Bargain is the law! (Handle with care) Compare international prices before getting into the bargain battle… and of course, try whatever you are buying *face to face* and during your whole stay in KL, just to make sure everything is OK.

How to get to Bukit Bintang area? Just get into the monorail up to Bukit Bintang station… Ta Da!

Menara Tower

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The famous Menara Tower rises from the Bukit Nanas forest reserve. There are two ways of getting to the ground floor, the first and easiest one is to get the shuttle from the gate and the second one is to walk up to it through the path, between the trees and green.

Fee to the top is 45 RM! Despite the Tower is 420m high, the panoramic platform is at 276m… more than enough to enjoy a fascinating view of the city. Of course, there´s a restaurant there, as usual.

Oh! During the night it shines in lovely colors!


Masjid Jamek Mosque

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One of the oldest ones in KL, from 1909! With an Indian/muslim peculiar style it stands out in the confluence of rivers Gombak and Klan. It was the main mosque in town until Masjid Negada was built.
There´s no entrance fee.

Masjid Negara Mosque

It´s the main mosque in the city since 1965, with a modern style and its 18 peaks star dome which represents the Malaysian states and the 5 pilars of the Islam.
Entrance is free, only the praying room is restricted.

Merdeka Square

Kuala Lumpur

Merdeka Square means Independence Square! This is where the Malaysian flag was first hoisted, therefore the importance of the square.
It´s surrounded by important buildings such us Sultan Abdul Samad, Selagor Club, National History Museum and the Memorial Library.

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