Kuala Lumpur. The modern capital of Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and not only the largest city in the country, but also one of the fastest growing megacities in Southeast Asia. This is a place of harmonious interaction of opposites, the contrast is observed here in almost everything – culture, architecture, religion, social sphere. At times, Kuala Lumpur appears to be a maze of pedestrian-unfriendly flyovers and expressways. But here come islands of forest, which are replaced again by bustling markets surrounded by buildings towering above the bustling city streets.

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Video: Kuala Lumpur

Highlights

Kuala Lumpur is sure to appeal to those who find it difficult to decide their preference between the modern vibrancy of the metropolis and the uneasy history of the ancient city. Malaysians themselves often refer to their capital simply as KL (Key El).

The area of Kuala Lumpur with its suburbs is 243 km², the city itself covers 94 km². It has a very high population density (almost 7,000 people per km²), the total number of inhabitants at the time of the last census in 2014 was almost 1.7 million in the city itself and 7 million including the suburbs. Kuala Lumpur’s population is extremely diverse, with the Malays comprising 44%, the Chinese 43%, the Indians 11%, and the other ethnic groups 2%.

It is noteworthy that Malaysians have chosen to separate the concepts of “capital” and “administrative center. Since 2005, the country’s leadership has moved from Kuala Lumpur to the purpose-built city of Putrajaya. The removal of administrative functions from the current capital allowed more attention to the development of the local economy, in particular the tourism business.

Rain in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is located near the west coast of the Malacca Peninsula at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, fitting completely within the equatorial climate band. Tourists should be prepared for heavy rainfall at any time of year. Rains in the capital of Malaysia are common, but they are warm, so you won’t have to freeze. Maximum precipitation is in March and from October to January, the minimum in June and July. Fluctuations in the annual average and daily average temperatures are small: the average temperature is 27.5 ° C, maximum – 38.5 ° C (January, from May to August), minimum – about 18 ° C (March, October, November).

Kuala Lumpur’s diverse population Contrasts Kuala Lumpur

History

The name of the city of Kuala Lumpur translates to Russian as “muddy confluence” or “muddy mouth”. But this is not at all from the fact that it is bad ecology, as it might seem at first glance. The fact is that the silt at the bottom of the Gombak River is rich in tin compounds, which is why it has a dirty gray color. Currents, colliding at the confluence of rivers, lift it into the water column, so it becomes turbid and “dirty”.

Petronas Towers – one of the main symbols of the city

It was tin that caused the founding of Kuala Lumpur. In the second half of the 18th century, members of the ruling family of the Selangor Principality, a British colony, sent 87 Chinese mercenary prospectors into the jungle along the Gombak River. As one might guess, they did find it, sacrificing the lives of 69 members of the search party who died of malaria. The massive spread of infection-carrying mosquitoes in the swampy terrain in no way stopped the greedy rulers of Selangor from profiting. In 1857 a workers’ camp was established there, composed mainly of the same Chinese laborers.

As is often the case in history, where there is money, there is conflict. Young Kuala Lumpur was no exception – a real civil war broke out in 1867 between Malay chieftains supported by Chinese miners over ownership of the lucrative tin mines. The Selangor War was not ended until 1873, after the intervention of the British army. The result of the conflict was the almost complete burning of Kuala Lumpur, which at that time was a working-class village of huts and shacks with wooden walls and leafy roofs.

Kuala Lumpur in 1884

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British patrons appointed a Chinese Captain to rebuild the city and enforce law and order. A significant contribution to the city was made by the third Captain, Yap Ah Loy, who not only rebuilt Kuala Lumpur after the war, but also led it to prosperity. For example, he was credited with massively attracting Malay farmers who populated the area around the mining town and provided a kind of “food autonomy” for the workers. Kuala Lumpur’s rapid growth as an industrial and commercial city led to its becoming the capital of Selangor in 1880.

Kuala Lumpur in 1900. The photo shows Sultan Abdul Samad’s building

The prosperity did not last long – in 1881 Kuala Lumpur was badly damaged by a fire. For Captain Yap such trouble was the occasion for an even more rapid development: the city was rebuilt again, but instead of impractical wooden shacks were built stone houses. The appearance of the city’s first school and an orphanage for the homeless also dates to this period. In order to complete the reconstruction as quickly as possible, Indian workers were actively involved in the construction, and they subsequently settled in Kuala Lumpur, establishing a large diaspora.

Kuala Lumpur in the 1960s Kuala Lumpur in the late 20th century

During World War II the city, like the rest of Malacca, was invaded by Japan and was under its influence for a full 44 months. The Japanese actively sowed discord among the multi-ethnic population of the peninsula, supporting the indigenous Malays and in every way infringing on the numerous diasporas: Chinese, Indian, and English. This fact, combined with the decline of the authority of British patrons in the postwar period, led to mass popular unrest. In 1948, attacks on civilians by communist-minded insurgents began. The British protectorate was never able to gain full control of the situation, even when martial law was imposed on the colony. This period went down in history as the Malayan Emergency.

On August 31, 1957, the long-awaited independence of Malaysia was declared, with its final break from British rule. Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the newly formed state.

Modern city Streets of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur sights

There is an opinion that the Malaysian capital is not capable of pleasing tourists with an abundance of interesting sights. The only exception is the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers, and to get there, you need to make an appointment several days in advance. You can often hear that Kuala Lumpur is a place of transit tourism, in which there is no reason to stay for more than 2-3 days. If the purpose of the trip is to relax on the sandy beaches under the hot tropical sun, perhaps so, because the sea coast of the city is quite far and there is especially nowhere to swim. But if a traveler is interested in the history and culture of the locals, then Kuala Lumpur is still worth a stop.

Petronas Towers and the glass bridge between them

To begin your acquaintance with the city, of course, you must start with the Petronas skyscrapers. When they were completed in 1998 they were the tallest buildings in the world – 88 stories, 420 meters – but in today’s race of architects and engineers they are no longer so, retaining only the title of the tallest twin towers. Located in the KL CC area (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) in the heart of the city it is a popular tourist attraction that is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. The most famous architectural element of the skyscrapers is the glass bridge at a height of 170 meters, which is an observation deck. From here you have a breathtaking view of Kuala Lumpur, especially at sunset. There is also an art gallery here where visitors to the towers can explore past and present national art. It is worth planning a visit to Petronas well in advance to avoid the tedious ticket queues.

Sultan Abdul-Samad Palace

Not far from the twin towers in Independence Square (Merdeka), is another famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur – Sultan Abdul-Samad Palace. Built in the late 19th century, the palace is a blend of two seemingly incongruous architectural trends. The austere Victorian style, a reflection of the period of English colonization, is closely intertwined with the ornate and patterned Moorish indigenous style. The palace seems to have risen from the pages of the Aladdin fairy tale, as if a beautiful princess is about to step out of it. In fact, today it is the seat of the Ministry of Culture of Malaysia, so, unfortunately, you can not get inside.

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Another fantastically beautiful building is the Jamek Mosque, located right at the confluence of the rivers. It can be recognized from afar by the white-red walls and silver cupolas. Inside the tourists are not allowed, but you can stroll around the unique Moorish temple complex and enjoy the shade of palm trees, creating an island of harmony in the center of the bustling metropolis.

Jamek Mosque Ethan Negara Palace

The palace of the Malaysian Sultan, Ethan Negara Palace, also attracts travelers with its luxury. Every day in the morning, a crowd of tourists gathers outside the palace to watch the changing of the guard ceremony, reminiscent of the country’s English colonial past. Visitors are not allowed inside, but you can enjoy the green lawns and cool fountains outside the palace for free.

Due to the significant cultural and religious differences among the population, Kuala Lumpur is also home to the oldest Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman, and the Taoist religious complex, Sina Sze Si Ya, both located in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. The Hindu shrine is recognized by the many colorful statues of deities that fill all the walls of the temple. Visiting Sri Mahamariammana is free and possible any day from 6am to 9pm, but it is important to remember to take off your shoes at the entrance. The Chinese Temple of Sina Sze Si Ya was built by Yap Ah Loi to protect the city from sin and adversity, as the sign at the entrance to the Taoist shrine states.

Shrine of Sri Mahamariamman Shrine of Sina Sze Sze Ya National Museum of Malaysian History

When visiting the sights of Chinatown, you can’t miss the opportunity to check out the market located next to the Sina Sze Sze Ya Temple. Traditionally for Chinatown, you can find many interesting souvenirs here and, of course, bargain.

Kuala Lumpur has a large selection of exhibitions, without visiting which it is impossible to get a complete picture of the city and the culture of its inhabitants. The National Museum of Malaysian History, located on Merdeka Square, offers detailed description of the history not only of the city, but the whole country, from ancient times up to the latest events of the 20th century. Nearby is the National Planetarium, where you can listen to a fascinating tour about mankind’s conquest of space, see the original model of the International Space Station, watch films about the mysterious extraterrestrial world and even look at the stars from a real telescope. Lovers of numismatics will be interested to visit the Museum of Money of the National Bank in Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition of Islamic art will introduce visitors to the features of Muslim religion, architecture, national dress, rituals, jewelry, manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, etc. Also do not disappoint visitors to the Museum of Royal Malaysian Police with an impressive collection of weapons, an exhibition of national textiles, next to which you can buy a high quality and inexpensive clothes and also jade museum, which will certainly appeal to the ladies, because it is one of the largest displays of jewelry made of this material.

Another local landmark that can keep tourists occupied for a day is the National Science Center of Kuala Lumpur, perched on a hill in the Bukit Kiara district. The vast area covering almost 8 hectares contains 9 exhibitions designed to popularize science, as well as a mini aquarium with an underwater tunnel for visitors, a dinosaur park, a small water park and other entertainment for the whole family.

National Science Center Kuala Lumpur KLCC Park

The authorities pay a lot of attention to greening the city and preserving the species diversity of flora and fauna. Right in front of the Petronas twins laid out the Central Park, where you can find 66 species of palm trees. There are also many flowerbeds, fountains, alleys for walking. For those who watch out for their health, Central Park in Kuala Lumpur provides jogging paths with rubberized surface. In the western part of the park, there is a play area for children with an outdoor pool.

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The most famous place of communion with nature in Kuala Lumpur is the National Lake Park (Taman Tasik Perdana). It is a place where you can relax your body and soul, an oasis of unspoiled tropics and pristine jungle. Walking through the shady alleys, you can come across a garden of unrivaled orchids and hibiscuses, a mesmerizing butterfly park with over 6,000 of these beautiful creatures, or miniature ungulates (mouse deer), the smallest members of this genus in the world. The lake complex also includes a bird park – perhaps the only source of noise here – with more than 2,000 feathered inhabitants constantly singing their songs.

National lake park

Where to Eat

Kuala Lumpur has a sufficient number of expensive upscale restaurants and budget street cafes where it’s safe to eat. The national Malaysian cuisine is extremely diverse, with a Chinese-Indian “flavor. The main dishes are rice and noodles with spicy sauces, seafood is often encountered. Because of significant differences in culture and environment between Malaysians and Russians, our tourists often don’t like the national cuisine. In order to avoid such a problem it is reasonable to include food in the accommodation price: the hotels serve European cuisine.

Kuala Lumpur Monorail cuisine

Transport in Kuala Lumpur

The city has such a well-developed transportation infrastructure that it can seem confusing to many tourists. Cabs are relatively inexpensive and equipped with meters, which reduces the risk of being cheated. The network of city buses is quite extensive, but special attention deserves the public rail transport, represented:

  • monorail – runs only in the center of Kuala Lumpur, making it especially convenient for sightseeing;
  • two lines of the city subway – it is above-ground here, so do not be surprised and worry that there was a mistake;
  • two lines of suburban trains – a convenient option for visiting the outskirts or suburbs of the capital.

Also in Kuala Lumpur there are special double-decker tourist buses called “Hop-On-Hop-Of”, the route of which covers 40 sights of the city. They run from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week. The cost of the ticket for a day – 38 ringgit, for 2 days – 65, children under 5 years are eligible for free travel. The idea of Hop-On-Hop-Of is that once you buy a ticket you can get off at any stop, see the sights, come back, get on another bus with the same ticket and go further.

Where to stay

The choice of accommodation is traditionally wide, but in Kuala Lumpur there is one thing that does not make tourists very happy. It is difficult to find quality hotels at average prices: for modest prices guests are likely to be offered below the expected level of service. However, four and five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur are relatively inexpensive. A five-star room can be rented for $130 to $150 per night. We recommend taking care of your room in advance, especially since it is enough to use a proven service hotellook.com. The most budget accommodations are in the Central District (RL CC) and Chinatown.

A selection of hotels from hotellook

Markets

Day and evening markets are still popular with Malaysians because of the cheap products and excellent local food. It’s here that you can fully experience the local flavor and atmosphere. One of the cheapest day markets is in Chow Keat at the corner of Jalan Raja Alang and Jalan Haji Hussein. To the southeast of Chow Kit is Kampung Baru, an evening market capable of catering to more traditional tastes. The Sunday Market (Pasar Minggu) opens on Saturday evening and trades until early Sunday morning.

A Tourist’s Note

Due to the fact that the main religion of Kuala Lumpur is Muslim, prudent tourist should follow some rules. Despite the heat, men should not take off their shirts and wear short shorts. The appearance of women in Muslim peoples requires a minimum amount of exposed body parts. In the city it is not accepted to drink alcoholic beverages directly in the street.

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It is worth paying attention to the presence of pink cars in public transport (electric trains, subway). They are designed specifically for Muslim women, so a male tourist who got into them, there is a risk of getting into an extremely unpleasant situation.

The risk of catching tropical diseases in Kuala Lumpur is minimal, for a visit to the city is quite enough standard medical insurance. If, however, the trip includes a trip to the wild jungle of the surrounding rivers, it is better to be vaccinated against malaria.

Muslim women in burqas and colonial-style buildings next to modern skyscrapers Kuala Lumpur Station

Getting there

Due to the remoteness of Kuala Lumpur from Russia, travellers arrive by air. There are no direct flights from Moscow to Malaysia, but a large number of carriers, including Aeroflot, provide transit routes to Kuala Lumpur. Most of the time, you will have to make 2-3 connections in Asian countries, so the journey takes 20 hours on average.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport is 50 km from the city, the best way to get there is by cab. The services of a private driver will be cheaper than the cars provided by the airport. The average price of transfer will be about 75-120 Malaysian ringgit (1223-1747 rubles). You can also go from the airport to the city by suburban train, which runs every 30 minutes (cost 35 ringgit, travel time – 28-35 minutes).

Getting to know Kuala Lumpur or simply KL [50 photos]

December 2013 (updated: 07.08.2018) 10

Read more about KL in a new article – Kuala Lumpur. Secrets of a successful independent trip. In this post first impressions and many photos of the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Until recently, our opinions were the same, that the space seen in Dubai cannot be beaten. Seeing Kuala Lumpur changed everything.

Kuala Lumpur

The energy of the city is very powerful. Once you arrive in Malaysia, you become a kind of vampire and stop sleeping. Now our body only falls asleep after 2 a.m. The difference of 5 hours with Moscow is felt, and the energy increased. Watching the traffic I want to do more things, I want to have more money to make our stay here comfortable. The standard of living in Kuala Lumpur dictates its own rules.

Kuala Lumpur City Photos Photo of Kuala Lumpur's residential areas

I have scoured the internet and read many opinions that Malaysia, especially its capital city, is very humid, stuffy and hard to move on your own for long distances.

Weather in Kuala Lumpur in winter

From our experience of being in KL in winter, I can safely say that the weather in December is conducive to hiking. It’s a pleasure to walk around the city. In December in Kuala Lumpur the temperature is about 30 degrees, if you believe the forecasts. But the body feels like 26-27 degrees, no more.

It rains every day for an hour, sometimes a little less. There is no humidity, things dry quickly. Also an important factor is the availability of air conditioning in all rooms. I freeze in the subway, from shopping centers we go out to warm up outside. The same situation is in indoor cafes.

At first we did not understand why many of those who live in such a warm climate are wrapped up in coats, many locals wear jackets and sweaters. While we go, almost no beach clothes. But after walking around the city, we’ve noticed for ourselves that sometimes we’re missing long pants or a jacket with sleeves.

Photo of Kuala Lumpur in the rain

Video: Kuala Lumpur, rain, thunderstorm

What we got to see in Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Twin Towers or KLCC.

The world famous Petronas Towers made our heads go up high. Many people looked quite amused. As much as they twisted their bodies to make sure the photos included a person in the background of the tower from bottom to top. We were no exception. Looking at them, thoughts and memories of the Burj Khalifa come to mind, but the Petronas look more powerful. And late at night, the towers light up and everything twinkles. You can’t take your eyes off them. We didn’t go up to the observation deck, it’s currently expensive for us at 85 ringgit per person ($25).

Cost to get to the observation deck – 85 ringgit (25$).

Photo of Petronas in Kuala Lumpur

We asked tourists to take photos of us together, but none of the pictures of the towers are not included in the frame completely, it is difficult for people to find the right angle.

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Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

The angle was found by experience. In order not to torture the tourists, we took each other’s picture one by one. How to take a picture against the background of the towers so that they were included in the frame: there are ledges on the right and left of the stairs, they are clearly seen in the photo above. Stand on the ledge, and the photographer below squats.

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Another sure-fire way to get a good photo of the KLCC towers:

Send your memorial photo to Kuala Lumpur

Menard TV Tower.

We didn’t go up the Menard TV Tower because we realized that our expenses had already multiplied at this time. But of course we took some pictures. The tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the city center.

Photo: Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur

Perdana Botanical Garden

On the last day we visited the botanical garden and zoo, a well-groomed park near the KL Sentral. Beautiful nature, unusual palm trees, streams, bridges and favorite animals. Oddly enough there are almost no tourists 2-3 people, and me and Slava. Admission is free. Read more about the park in this article: Perdana Botanical Garden: a park with deer, rabbits and birds in the center of KL

Photo: Kuala Lumpur, Perdana Park

Kuala Lumpur Metro

The subway in Kuala Lumpur is a bit pricey depending on the number of stations. But with no traffic jams. Read more

Photo of the Metro in Kuala Lumpur

Imigraishan office.

I tried to prolong my tourist visa for 2 months. We will tell you more about it in a separate article.

Immigration office in Kuala Lumpur

Local Citizens

The people in this city are responsive. We have many times asked random passers-by how to get to a particular point or how to find the subway. They explain everything to whomever we ask. Most speak English, even the little kids. We also noticed that in Kuala Lumpur there are a lot of gays and trannies.

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Kuala Lumpur: photos from a self-guided walk around the city

We got off the KLCC subway and wandered around the city. Sightseeing is not very common, we were primarily interested in the city itself.

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Entering the Petronas Towers

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On the lower floors is a five-story shopping mall. Mega is relaxing))

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Off we go along the clean streets.

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To the right of Petronas Towers there is a nice shady park where you can relax from the city bustle.

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Let’s not waste time and continue.

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Pedestrian crosswalks link business centers, malls and subway stations.

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Kuala Lumpur Fountain City.

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And shopping malls.

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Lots of greenery. You can often see vegetation on the buildings and rooftops

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The following photos show Chinese neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur

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Photo of poor neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur

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A city bus in Kuala Lumpur

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The New Year is upon us.

People are busy getting ready for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations. The malls are buzzing with activity, beckoning visitors to come and pay their respects. Christmas trees are standing, garlands are being decorated, warm New Year’s songs are playing, people are rushing to buy gifts for friends and relatives. It smells like sweets and ice cream. We got a lot of emotions and only positive ones. Read more about New Year’s Eve preparations in Malaysia.

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Everyone is advised to visit the capital of Malaysia! After seeing our photos of Kuala Lumpur, it feels like a mix. Such a diverse country we have not yet met. Kuala Lumpur has different cuisines, different people, different faiths, different language, different styles of dress, well-kept parks surrounded by high-rises and skyscrapers. Purity. Everything looks organic. You want to come back to the same places again and again, exploring new corners of the energetic, but not stressful metropolis.

Useful Information

Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers at night

Twin towers Petronas KLCC at night

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