Kuala Lumpur, what means “Muddy Confluence”, is a magnificent city and the capital of Malaysia, where various nations live in peaceful harmony with each other. The great fusion is noticeable through the mouth-watering food fusion on the streets of the grand metropolis. The city is definitely not just a stopover but a place to get to know in greater detail.
The original location of the Malaysian capital was discovered by 87 Chinese prospectors, who unfortunately died because of tropical diseases. That didn’t stop numerous miners from building a settlement and later a big city on that spot. Nowadays over 8 million people are living in the vast area under a federal representative democratic constitutional monarchy, in more simple words: they have a Sultan. The high population explains the huge amount of traffic especially in the morning but also the loud and chaotic lifestyle. That’s why to save yourself from the mess on the roads and catch all the beautiful historical and futuristic sights, explore the colorful historic monuments, the Mughal-style domes and skyscrapers on foot. Here is a guideline for what to see in this Asian pearl in two days.
Arrival in Kuala Lumpur
The airport of Kuala Lumpur is not only famous for it’s magnitude and plenty of different seductive shops and cafés but also it’s one of the major airports of South East Asia. It’s easy to orientate yourself because there are signs leading you to your goal everywhere. The cheapest way to get to KL Sentral is by bus, which regularly drives to the center and costs only 11 MYR ( 2€ ). Don’t take the train, because you can get to your hotel with a taxi or even better with an Uber much cheaper and more comfortably.
We stayed in the wonderful Seri Pacific Hotel, which made our stay in the metropolis even more memorable. The service is excellent, very friendly and careful. Our room was immediately upgraded to deluxe because of a water leak issue on our level. Furthermore the breakfast was a dream: The buffet included all kinds of good that your stomach could even imagine. I was very upset that my tummy is not big enough to try it all in 2 days. The hotel properties also include a swimming pool and fitness center, if you are a very sporty person. The best feature of the hotel was the view from our room on the 23d floor: the shining Petronas Towers. You can doubtlessly find cheaper hotels in Kuala Lumpur and I’m sure they are also amazing, but if you stay in the city just for a couple of days why not to treat yourself as a king or queen.
Hawker Food Row/ Jalan Alor
Jalan Alor is the most popular food street and the best spot for locals and tourists to experience the taste of divine Malaysian food. The streets are full with atmospheric seafood restaurants, fanning grills of chicken and beef skewers, woks and many other varieties of amazing food. The long walkway with plastic tables and chairs on both sides of the road will seduce you with smells and spoil you for choice!
If you are tired of street food and you would like to discover vibrant restaurant scene with traditional dishes and also fusion fare then you need to visit famous Changkat Bukit Bintang. It’s located next to Jalan Alor and will surprise you with trendy restaurants and bars. Enthusiastic foodies doubtlessly need to taste gastronomic delights in El Credo and Opium. Quaint and unique eateries will be another pinnacle of visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Shopping paradise in Bukit Bintang
The vivid and dynamic streets of Bukit Bintang are filled with many known brand shops and huge malls. You will find whatever your soul is craving for, you can even have a spontaneous manicure or cut your hair for a very acceptable price. The most famous mall is Pavilion KL, which has an uncountable amount of high brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada. On the bottom of the gallery is a tremendous food hall with various dishes and sweets. We couldn’t resist to try one of the seductive baked cheese tarts. The chocolate one tastes like pudding and the plain cheese tart has a soft and creamy cheesecake taste. Heaven!
The unbelievable KLCC Park
KLCC Park is a public green Eden, a 50-acre tropical landscape in the vicinity of Suria KLCC. The unique work of art has been designed by Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx to emphasize the importance of nature in the futuristic metropolis. It represents an ideal ensemble of man-made playgrounds, a wading pool, benches, sculptures and natural features of 1,900 indigenous trees and palms. The quixotic park offers a perfect escape from the noisy city into tranquil tropical greenery.
Built in the middle of the iconic park is the 10,000 square meter Lake Sympnony with two water fountains. It provides it’s visitors with 150 dramatical animations ,turning into a light show every evening. Furthermore the main fountain shoots water up to a height of 42 meters. Isn’t it impressive?
The Petronas Twin Towers
The first information that you will find everywhere about Kuala Lumpur is the famous Petronas Twin Towers. The two identical towers are the eleventh highest buildings in the world, standing 452 meters above street level. But it’s for the year 2016, we just need to wait for the next Tower of Babylon to pop up. Pertains Towers offer the panoramic view from the skybridge. The double-decker skybridge connects the two gigantic skyscrapers on the 41st and 42nd floors. Many tourists pay 20€ and visit the bridge but I would suggest to go to Marinis on 57 sky bar, which is just next door. The bar is even higher than the bridge and furthermore you can enjoy food and drinks for this money.
Take a closer look at the floor plan of the building, because it was designed with the influence of the islamic eight-point star. The sections of each tower represent the pillars of Islam: unity, harmony, stability and rationality. Another interesting fact is that this architectural project required at least 8 years to complete, but the budget only accounted for six. There was no other possibility but to hire two construction companies, one for each tower, who would race to reach the pinnacle. To build the dangerous beauty on time the constructors needed to spend only four days for each floor. By the end the building costs were US $ 1,8 billion of dirty oil money from national oil company Petronas.
P.S. Remember the movie “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones? The Petronas Twin Towers play a major role in that film.
Incredible rooftops of KL
The vibrant city KL is a home of numerous rooftops, where you can hide from the the busy streets and crazy traffic behind the huge windows showing you the perspective of a bird. To visit one of the rooftops and enjoy your drink beyond the ground is a must. There are two of them that I absolutely need to mention. One of them is Marini’s on 57: an exclusive restaurant and bar with neon light and brown leather sofas just in front of the unique Petronas Towers. The views from the 57th floor are unforgettable and extraordinary. The prices are not biting either, cocktails cost around 10-12€.
Another glamorous cocktail lounge with breathtaking views and amazing drinks is the 33rd floor Sky Bar at Traders Hotel. In the center of the bar you will find a refreshing swimming pool. If you don’t feel like swimming then you can just enjoy your liquid pleasure in the glass on one of the comfy sofas.
There are plenty of the amazing rooftops in KL, it’s impossible to experience them all in 2-3 days. That’s why you need to choose carefully which one you definitely want to see. But one thing is for sure: They are all memorable!
Merdeka Square & Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
The imposing Merdeka Square is a landmark of the city, which is set in the heart of the capital and in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and next to one of Malaysia’s oldest Anglican churches, St. Mary’s Church. The Square is a historical sight where Malaysia declared it’s independence and the Malayan flag was raised for the first time in 1957. The flagpole is by the way the highest in the world and reaches a proud 100 meters. You can easily reach it by train, it will take just 10 minutes to walk from Masjid Jamek station.
There is also the KL City Gallery, where you can widen your knowledge with the history of the metropolis. Take your time and get to know the hosting metropolis for almost no money: 5RM. The highlight is the incredible City Model Show, which you need to see with your own eyes. The 5RM ticket you can use afterwards in the café or gift shop of the museum. It will be probably very hot outside so it’s a great opportunity to cool down with one of the delicious iced coffees.
Get lost in amazing Perdona Botanical Garden
It’s a quite a walk from Merdeka Square, so to save power and your shoes, it would be more efficient to order an Uber to reach the quixotic park. Take a long walk through the peaceful green area and enjoy the beauty of the nature for free. There are a variety of outdoor sculptures, Hibiscus and Orchid gardens where you can relax on one of the benches, Deer Park with a few deer and also including the smallest hoofed animal, the mouse deer. There are numerous different gardens that you can visit for free and explore the flora and fauna of tropical oasis KL.
There are also plenty of popular tourist attractions like a huge family oriented Bird Park. There you can see, feed and take photos with various exotic birds. If you are not interested in birds you can see colorful insects in the Butterfly House.
Visit the Kuala Lumpur National Planetarium for the very low price of 1RM. There is an interesting exhibit about the Malaysian space program and you can even take a ride on the “space ball”, which simulates the high G-forces of reentry into our atmosphere. It’s definitely worth of your time!