The city of Kuala Lumpur is a many-faced stranger
Hello, friends. Today we will tell you about an amazing city. If translated from Malay, its name means “muddy mouth”. Here is a mix of styles, cultures, centuries-old traditions of different ethnic groups and modern trends. As you have already guessed, all this – the city of Kuala Lumpur.
What’s Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia located in the southwest of the Malacca peninsula where the two rivers meet. The city’s population is approximately 2 million people.
The time difference with Moscow is plus five hours. Malaysia is famous for its fairly democratic visa regime, which is only to the advantage of travelers and fans of unusual cities. Russians can stay in Malaysia without a visa up to 1 month. And to be in the country, will be enough only a foreign passport.
From the history of the city
The rudiments of the city appeared here about 140 years ago. At that time, it was a small settlement where tin miners lived. They worked at the confluence of the Klang and Gombaka Rivers, where tin deposits stained the water a dirty grayish color. It was then that the, let’s be frank, not quite euphonious name of the future capital, “muddy river mouth”, emerged. Kuala Lumpur did not become a major city until the 1880s. At the same time it became the principal city of the Selangor Principality.
By the end of the XIX century the city’s population was growing rapidly. And this despite the fact that tin mining was no longer practiced here. And in 1963, Kuala Lumpur became the capital of Malaysia.
Moreover, by the end of the twentieth century, it was called one of the fastest growing cities in Asia. Now the time has come for the city to move and develop uninterruptedly. It has long been a major cultural center, a place of incredible energy.
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The way to the capital or how to get there
For more on how to get from Kuala Lumpur KLIA Airport to the city center, click here.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur itself is not difficult.
The nearest airport to the city is in Sepang, Selangor. This is 50 km from Kuala Lumpur. From there to the capital is a variety of transport. See the map at the end of the article.
By the way, there is also an international race track, which is used for Formula 1 races.
The entrance to the Petronas Towers
So you’re in Kuala Lumpur. The first thing that will most likely catch your eye is the crazy diversity of the city. It seems to be a mix of many different cities, times, and cultures.
By and large, it is. There are Malays, Chinese, Bengalis, Tamils, Ibans, and others. Each of them has contributed and is contributing something special to the appearance of the city. Add to this the fact that the authorities of Kuala Lumpur managed to save many of the old buildings, representing completely different architectural styles, which are now adjacent to their younger brethren, and you can roughly imagine how this city looks like.
Kuala Lumpur. A view from above of the city center
City and districts
Neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur differ a lot from each other. That’s why everyone will find something close to themselves here.
For shopping in fashionable stores you can safely go to the area Bukit Bintang. This entertainment is especially relevant in the season of discounts – on the eve and during the European New Year. Then the Oriental New Year begins. This is the most pleasant time for shopping, discounts of 30, 50 and even 70%.
There are also those when you take one thing, and the second (from the same line) goes as a gift. We took advantage of it and bought blouses and jeans. On the one hand – good for money, but on the other .
There are discounts on national and religious holidays. Locals say the discount period lasts all year round. We got in on New Year’s Eve.
For nightlife, go to Bangsar .
And to enjoy the colorful colors and stores for nice souvenirs and bargains, visit Chinatown.
Some neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur combine the major streets of the city, some are located on the outskirts. Together, they form a unique and unmistakable face of the city.
Getting to know the capital
Kuala Lumpur’s sights, if you count Chinese pagodas and temples, Hindu temples and temples, Buddhist, Christian and other places of worship, do not need to look for. They are literally everywhere, huddled against the high-rise buildings. Sometimes 100 to 200 meters apart. Passing through the city by bus, you can notice something interesting, unusual to our eyes. But to find this something in the locals in the stone jungle was quite difficult.
At first we were confused. We did not understand what to look at: whether to explore the city, or go to the caves Batu, or somehow get to the silver langurs and somehow still have time at night on the river to see thousands of fireflies.
We saw most of it ourselves, took an excursion to the fireflies and silver monkeys. And we did not regret it. Going alone is long, difficult and not cheap. But with the excursion is the best. I recommend this option.
So, back in Kuala Lumpur. The city is huge, noisy, very modern. You can say that it itself is an attraction, but not in the sense that we usually put in the word “attraction”. Most of the sights here are ultra-modern.
Nevertheless, some sights do require special attention.
For example, all the same Chinatown, which we have already mentioned – here, just gathered the “old” attractions, or a place of worship – the national mosque, the solemn temple Tian Hou or the Museum of Islamic art.
Or the pride of the modern city – the Petronas Towers, the tenth tallest building in the world, all materials for the construction of which were made exclusively in Malaysia.
In general, in Kuala Lumpur there is a feeling that the Petronas Towers are the main attraction of the city. Not only are they clearly visible from various points of the city, the image of the towers is literally on everything: on T-shirts, posters, magnets, packages.
Another high-rise that organically complements the portrait of the modern city is the Menara TV Tower. The construction of this 421-meter building lasted 5 years. Well, for those who prefer the silhouettes of striving high-rise buildings to communicate with nature, there is also something to see on the territory of the Malaysian capital.
For example, the limestone caves Batu, a huge botanical garden, the largest outdoor bird park on the planet, and oceanarium or aquarium, where you can see more than 5000 fish.
The infrastructure of the city is well developed, so it is easy to choose a suitable hotel for yourself and your wallet, where you can rest after walking and sightseeing.
We stayed in a good hotel in a room for $25 per night for two in the Bukit Bintang area. Our review of the hotel.
You also have no problems with places to eat. The city center is full of cafes and restaurants. True, the food is usually spicy. Very. Always ask for “spicy” or “but spicy.
It’s also a food that’s 400 million years old.
How to get around
Transport in Kuala Lumpur has its own unique characteristics.
There are two subway lines, a suburban subway, or, more familiar to us, electric trains, buses, the monorail, and cabs.
The amount of the trip in a cab is counted on the meter, but often the driver tries in every way to increase the amount. Before the trip, we read that the cars in Kuala Lumpur are not always neat, and the drivers are not always polite. In our own experience, we did not notice this.
The center of the city is convenient to explore, traveling to the desired points by monorail.
The subway car without a driver
Electric trains are convenient for trips to the suburbs and to the airport.
The subway, 4 stations of which are underground and the rest on the surface, is an indispensable tourist assistant.
With the buses is convenient to move around the city and beyond.
The bus station is the starting point of many routes. From there you can get to other states, where you can find many interesting things, even Malaysian “treasures” – places included in the list of UNESCO.
A real boon for travelers is the Hop-On-Hop-Off system of buses. The buses follow the same route and stop wherever there are points of interest.
Tourist bus Hop-On-Hop-Off
There are 22 stops altogether. You buy a ticket for such a bus, drive, get off where you want, walk, and then get on another similar bus and go to the next point of interest. It goes on like this until you have seen everything you are interested in.
There are two types of tickets: the first is valid for 24 hours and the second for 48 hours. Thanks to them you will see as many places as possible and will not be nervous about figuring out the intricacies of public transport.
There are among the transport and buses are free for tourists. But since they are actively used by locals, during rush hour such transport is packed.
Outside Kuala Lumpur
The traditional alternative to sightseeing – beach holidays, directly in Kuala Lumpur is impossible. There are no beaches. But you can go to the nearby islands of Penang or Langkawi and enjoy a holiday in the sun. The more that the sunny weather, which pleases visitors to Malaysia almost all year round, allows it.
Get out of the stone jungle is another place – Putrajaya. This city is very close to the capital of Malaysia. It was conceived as a place where the country’s officials will live. But the parks, of which there are a huge number, made this place a favorite among tourists.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Now a lot of accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur have appeared on the service AirBnb . How to use this service we have written here . If you can’t find a free hotel room, then look for accommodation through this booking site.
Here are some great hotels and hostels in Kuala Lumpur.
Further information for travelers
When to go to Kuala Lumpur is up to you. The year-round hot, humid weather with abundant rainfall. The only thing to consider is that from December to March the rains are brief. Most rainfall is from March to May and September to December. But this does not make the city any less interesting!
The number of days you take on your trip depends on what you are going to see. Remember that a lot of time is taken away by natural sites.
Another important thing is currency exchange. The banks in Kuala Lumpur are open on weekdays from 10.00 to 15.00, on Saturday from 9.30 to 11.30. We categorically advise against changing money in hotels or at street currency dealers. We changed money in the airport. The exchange rate was ok, USD 1 = 1.40 ringgit. Then we changed it in town at 1. 42 per dollar.
This is what Kuala Lumpur is like. Conflicting and diverse. We hope that every tourist will find something close to themselves. And we are happy to share information about other equally interesting places. Subscribe to our blog.