Guide to Kuala Lumpur

21 Sep Guide to Kuala Lumpur

Being the federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (KL, for short) is a sprawling city and its residential suburbs seem to go on forever.

Literally meaning “muddy river confluence” in Malay, Kuala Lumpur has grown from a small sleepy Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of around 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million) in just 150 years. A cultural melting pot with some of the world’s cheapest 5-star hotels, great shopping, even better food and some of nature’s wonders in just an hour away, this dynamic city has much to offer for every visitor.

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Getting to KL

If you’re going there by plane, there are two main passenger airports in Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and Subang Airport (SZB). KUL (KLIA1 and KLIA2) at Sepang is 55km south of the city and SZB at Subang is 25km west of the city.

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Alternatively, you can get to KL by train. Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad or KTMB is the national railway operator offering connections to most major cities in Peninsula Malaysia as well as Singapore and Thailand. Travelers who are interested in traveling wth the train between major cities and Singapore (Jungle Line, sleeper trains) can check for timetables and buy tickets from the KTMB Website. Tickets can be purchased up to 60 days before travel dates but a user account (complimentary) needs to be set up before proceeding with the purchase . The website also offers coaches and seat selections. KTMB trains to/from Kuala Lumpur arrive and depart from the KL Sentral or Sentral Kuala Lumpur Station.

For those traveling from Singapore , trains depart from the new woodland checkpoint railway station as per 1 july 2011. If you are taking the MRT, the closest MRT station is woodland Then KTM operates three trains out of Singapore into KL, Express Rakyat (morning train), Sinaran Petang(afternoon) and Senandung Malam (night train). The train will arrive at KL Sentral.

Getting Around KL

You can get around KL by buses. The Hop On Hop Off Bus is a good way to get an overview of Kuala Lumpur, look at the Hop On Hop Off website for prices and schedules. The Hop On Hop off Bus is very tourist and children friendly.

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The local RapidKL ALL-DAY ticket which visits all the same places as the HOHO via various bus routes and more, like Batu Caves, although not in a circular route. Expect to pay 1myr for the All-Day Local Bus, about about 2myr on the All-Day Trunk Bus or All-Day City Bus and 5myr for a All-Day Express Bus. The ALL-DAY ticket will give unlimited rides on the routes in the same service (Local, Trunk, City or Express) for the whole day.

You may also choose to travel around KL by commuter train, monorail and LRT. Tickets are fairly cheap, and is charged for the distance traveled. Tickets are bought from ticket booths or the machines at the station entrances. Frequent users may purchase cards which can be swiped at the ticket gates. Value can be added to these cards for later use.   Platforms are usually clearly marked with the direction the train is heading, as well as the information repeated on panels inside the train carriages. There are no timetables on platforms but trains run frequently. The inside of the carriages are air-conditioned and clean. AT busy times, like any public transport system carriages can be busy.

You may also take the taxi if you’d like to. Visitors can rent a taxi to take them around the attractions and rent by the hour. The taxi driver will drop you off at your place of interest and wait until you are done and then proceed to another place. There are no fixed charges for this rate but do expect to pay between 15-25MYR per hour. Keep track on the time from which you first entered the cab to the time which you alighted so that there is no dispute over the charges.

What to see & do in KL

  • Petronas Towers

Address: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur

Resembling twin silver rockets plucked from an episode of Flash Gordon, the Petronas Towers are the perfect allegory for the meteoric rise of the city from tin-miners’ hovel to 21st-century metropolis. Half of the 1440 tickets for 45-minute guided tours which take in the Skybridge connection on the 41st floor and the observation deck on the 86th floor at 370m are sold in advance online. Otherwise turn up early to be sure of scoring a ticket to go up.

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  • Thean Hou Temple

Address: 65, Persiaran Endah, Taman Persiaran Desa, 50460 Kuala Lumpur

Sitting atop leafy Robson Heights, this imposing multistorey Chinese temple, dedicated to Thean Hou, the heavenly queen, affords wonderful views over Kuala Lumpur. Opened in 1989 by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association, it serves as both a house of worship and a functional space for events such as weddings. In recent years it’s also become a tourist attraction in its own right, especially during Chinese festival times and the birthdays of the various temple gods.

  • Bukit Bintang

Address: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Wild, weird, crass, yet a creative crossroads, Bukit Bintang (“Star Hill” just doesn’t sound as good) is K.L.’s civic strolling grounds, vast foot-reflexology parlor, Champs-Elysées and Times Square combined. This is where Lebanese kebab touts compete with discreet pimps, and venues for people-watching run the gamut from the cut-rate Sungei Wang Plaza to the upscale marble halls, trendy bars and lapping fountains of the Pavilion, K.L.’s latest temple of consumerism.

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  • Central Market

Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Revamped and revived as a huge gifts emporium, the Art Deco wet market, centralmarket.com.my, nonetheless provides a focal point for piecing together K.L.’s past, taking in its current artsy-craftsy pulse and exploring nearby Chinatown. Better still is the Annexe, an alternative free space for the arts, hidden on the top of the market’s small auxiliary building. On the ground floor, portraitists and street artists can be found — giving a dose of old-time character along the long-obscured riverfront.

  • Masjid Jamek

Address: Jalan Tun Perak & Jalan Benteng, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Gracefully designed in Mughal style by British architect AB Hubback, this onion-domed mosque is situated at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers. At the time of research the surroundings were being relandscaped as part of the River of Life project and the original steps down to the river reinstated. You can visit the inside, outside of prayer times, but dress conservatively and remember to remove your shoes before entering the prayer halls.

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What to buy in KL

  • Cherry Cake House

Address: No. 9, Jalan Tmn Daya, 52100, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur

The humble, old-school cake confectionary in Petaling Jaya has no airs, no beautifully arranged bakes on antique plates and saucers; it’s just fine, fresh cakes, loaves and pastries. Think chicken floss buns, durian cream puffs, ice cream cakes and dozens of other carb-heavy and crusty offerings. The store, over two decades old, still serves a steady stream of elderly aunties, gabbing over hot coffee, and office workers grabbing a quick lunch from the set menu – like assam laksa on Mondays

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  • Xin Kwong San Woh Enterprise’s Traditional Biscuits

Address: 32, Jalan Tukang, Kajang 43000

The humble, old-school cake confectionary in Petaling Jaya has no airs, no beautifully arranged bakes on antique plates and saucers; it’s just fine, fresh cakes, loaves and pastries. Think chicken floss buns, durian cream puffs, ice cream cakes and dozens of other carb-heavy and crusty offerings. The store, over two decades old, still serves a steady stream of elderly aunties, gabbing over hot coffee, and office workers grabbing a quick lunch from the set menu – like assam laksa on Mondays

Where to eat in KL

Recommended Restaurants:

  • Pretty on Plate

Address: Amaya Maluri Serviced Apartments, Jalan Jejaka 2, Taman Maluri, Kuala Lumpur 55100

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  • VCR

Address: 2 Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur 50150

  • Restoran Win Heng Seng

Address: 183 Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur 55100

  • Toong Kwoon Chye

Address: 183 Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur 55100

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Where to stay in KL

  • The Westin Kuala Lumpur

$$$$

Address: 199, Jalan Bukit Bintang • Bukit Bintang & KLCC

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  • Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

$$$$

Address: 12, Jalan Pinang • Bukit Bintang & KLCC

  • Hilton Kuala Lumpur

$$$

Address: 3, Jalan Stesen Sentral • Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

 

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