With one foot proudly in the past and one planted firmly in the future, Malaysia’s vibrant capital is a melting pot of sights, sounds and cultures. From the ancient Jamek Mosque to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, everything in Kuala Lumpur, from the bohemian street markets to the luxury hotels comes with a sprinkling of Asian spice that has helped to make it one of the world’s most visited cities.
KL – as it’s known locally – is a favourite port of call for shopping, food and nightlife. For bags of atmosphere and a chance to perfect your haggling technique, head for Petaling Street in bustling Chinatown to bargain for designer label copies, fake brand-name watches and pirate DVDs. Shop for local handicrafts, paintings, antiques and souvenirs in the multi-ethnic Central Market, founded as a traditional wet market in 1888 and housed in a striking building now classified as a Malaysian Heritage Site.
Retail heaven & strong restaurant scene
Alternatively, lose yourself in retail heaven at one of KL’s glittering malls. Perhaps the most famous is Suria KLCC, located at the base of the Petronas Towers, with over 400 shops spread across six floors – worth a visit for the Isetan department store’s food market alone! The giant Mid Valley Mega Mall and neighbouring Gardens Mall will keep serious fashionistas happy for days, with top local designers represented alongside all the major international labels.
Kuala Lumpur’s rich and varied restaurant scene reflects its cosmopolitan history, with influences from China, India, Malaya and British colonial rule. Eat cheaply and deliciously at street level on Lorong Tanka Abdul Rahman (Little India) or reach for the stars in the revolving restaurant atop Kuala Lumpur Tower. Then head for the Golden Triangle, hub of the city’s nightlife, to groove to top international DJs, catch a live band or maybe try a bit of karaoke.
As diverse as the entertainment scene, Kuala Lumpur accommodation ranges from international chains to small family-run establishments. Indulge in all-out luxury and a spectacular view from a flashy high-rise, or go for convenience at one of the mid-range hotels within easy reach of the main shopping and entertainment areas. Wherever you decide to hang your hat, KL is sure to work its cosmopolitan charm on you.