Introducing Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur – KL to its friends – is more than just a capital city: it is a monument to Malaysian ingenuity and determination. From humble beginnings as a tin-mining shanty town, KL has evolved into a 21st-century metropolis, dominated by the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia and flush with the proceeds of international trade and commerce. Over the years, KL has faced its share of challenges but nothing has succeeded in suppressing the determination of locals to make KL, and Malaysia, a leader among Asian tiger economies.
The marketing slogan for the Malaysian tourist board is ‘truly Asia’ and nowhere is this more true than in the capital. KL is every inch the Asian cyber-city: historic temples and mosques rub shoulders with space-age towers and shopping malls; traders’ stalls are piled high with pungent durians and counterfeit DVDs; and locals sip cappuccino in wi-fi–enabled coffee hops or feast at bustling streetside hawker stalls serving food from across the continent.
The most striking thing about KL from a visitor’s perspective is its remarkable cultural diversity. Ethnic Malays, Chinese prospectors, Indian migrants and British colonials all helped carve the city out of the virgin jungle, and each group has left its indelible mark on the capital. Eating, shopping and nightlife are undeniable highlights of any visit to KL, but don’t restrict yourself to the city – there are numerous parks and monuments dotted around KL that make easy day trips for a break from the hustle and bustle.
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Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
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Kuala Lumpur's best museums and galleries
The epitomy of contemporary KL are these shimmering stainless steel–clad towers, the headquarters of the national oil and gas company Petronas.
Architecture in Kuala Lumpur
Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Fabulous food in Kuala Lumpur
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KL Bird Park
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Merdeka Square & Chinatown
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Islamic Arts Museum
This outstanding museum is home to one of best collections of Islamic decorative arts in the world. Aside from the quality of the exhibits, which include fabulous textiles, carpets, jewellery and calligraphy-inscribed pottery, the building itself is a stunner, with beautifully decorated domes and glazed tilework.