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Travel Guide

Explore Asia one frame at a time.

 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL Now, Malaysia

General:

 

Malaysia is a  multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual heritage, with a multifaceted economy. In the last 5 decades it has multiplied expeditiously to rise as a formidable Asian force. Kuala Lumpur, or KL, is the epicenter that pulses with economic activity in Peninsular Malaysia. With building upon building taking over the skyline, KL prides itself as Malaysia’s most advanced city, drawing the attention of many across the world.

Getting Around

 

•By MRT

 

The urban train lines of KL are fairly extensive and can get you to most major destinations in the metro. There are currently 8 lines, including the two airport express lines that will bring you to KL Sentral.

 

•Rent a Car

 

If you plan to hit many stops and prefer a dedicated ride, you can opt to rent a car. Remember that Malaysia uses right hand-drive, so make sure you're adjusted for the vehicle. In addition, you must have an international driver's license valid for up to 1 year.  You may also rent a car with a driver.

Weather:

 

Kuala Lumpur has a tropical climate that enjoys a fair amount of sun throughout the year. Expect rains to fall during March to April and again from October to November.

How to Get There:

 

By Air • Fly Direct to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

 

One of Asia's transit hubs, the airport is a destination in it of itself.  It is roughly 50 Km south of Kuala Lumpur. The airport not only features worthwhile duty free stores, they also have art installations, themed exhibits, and special offers. It has full access to wifi with public computers and free wifi, although you must log in with your mobile number and register. The food here is also not a bad place to start your food trip. If you're parched from a long flight and need an extra energy boost, look for any restaurant and ask for Teh Tarik on Ice (Iced Milk Tea) to beat the heat.

 

From here you can take a the KLIA express transit lines to access the city center.

 

By Land  • Via Bus

 

The Malaysian peninsula is bordered by Thailand to the north and by Singapore to the south. There is a 21-hour bus ride from Bangkok, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s probably the cheapest option but probably the most uncomfortable. Traversing the border daily, there are deluxe air conditioned buses that already offer basic comforts like pillows and snacks, and some “in-bus” entertainment with huge screens at the front of the bus to watch movies. Our big tip is to be ready to hit the snooze button for most of your trip.

 

By Land • Via Train

 

The train system connects Thailand to Singapore, passing through Kuala Lumpur. Traveling via train offers a leisurely ride through stretches of rice paddies, small towns and scenic terrain. A ride from either Bangkok or Singapore will cost around USD 55 and will take about a day and a half including scheduled stops in Butterworth (From Bangkok), where you can take a ferry to the island of Langkawi,  or Johor Bahru (From Singapore) for an adventure at Legoland.

 

If the romance of the old railway is something you're after, you may want to book your ride on the East and Orient-Express. Not to be mistaken for Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” the train company offers luxurious suites and exotic dining experiences.

What to do:

 

•Shopping in Bukit Bintang and Petaling Street, a series of shopping districts around the Low Yat Plaza and Fahrenheit 88.

•Visit the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin structures in the world.

•Merdeka Square, a historic landmark of neo-moorish and mugal architecture

•Learn about the history of the old Chinese Apartment District near Merdeka Square

•Temples of various major religions in Malaysia.

•Head over to Jalan Masjid and sample local culture in the centuries-old district of Little India.

•Chow Kit Food Market and sample the local open air markets, the largest in KL, that sell racks upon racks of local flavors during the day, and a host of knick-knacks at night, all at cheaper prices.

Where to Stay:

 

•Hotels

At the city center there are a host of hotels you can choose from. Consider staying near Bukit Bintang if you prefer easy access to the train station.

 

•Homestays

Although more popular outside of KL, there are  few homestays in places like Kampung Baru, where you can have that homey feeling at the heart of the city. Also there are home stays just a short drive outside of KL that offer farm stays to give a different experience from the run-of-the-mill hotel experience.

Local Customs and Culture:

 

Malaysia is a multiethnic country  made up of  Malays, Chinese and Indian descent.  Malay composes the majority of its people (about 58%). The predominant religion is Islam, distantly followed by Buddhism, Christianity and Hindu. Due to its history of infighting between cultures, sensitivity over discussion of ethnicity should be observed.

 

Kuala Lumpur is a highly developed metropolis, with an active urban scene composed of fun loving locals and expatriates. It is a relatively open society, although many consider Malaysia to generally be a conservative country.

 

The currency is called the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR / RM)

What to Eat?

 

•Hawker Stalls

For those in it to really get a sampling of KL’s multicultural experience, then it's time to get off the main roads and hit the side streets. Street food stalls open till about twelve midnight and offer up mostly Malay dishes. Lamb and Chicken Satay drowned in peanut sauce is a must. The cubed rice that can be ordered with it is a cute touch to this simple meal enjoyed at all hours of the day.

 

•Mamak Stalls

If there is one experience one can expect from Malaysia, it is the profusion of great dining choices and their general appreciation of home food. Mamak stalls, as locals call it, are roadside canteens serving a host of inexpensive home-grown Malay dishes. Enjoy Nasi Lemak (coconut rice steamed in pandan leaves) or blue rice colored with butterfly-pea flowers. Add your choice of sides and you'll find yourself full for hours. Curries and Roti like the one in Seetharam Family Curry House, are also staples on the menu.

 

•Teh Tarik and Coconut Jelly

As this traveler can attest to, Malaysia has one of the deepest tasting tea-based drinks in the Southeast Asian region. The Tarik, as it's called, is a milk tea drink, pulled in the most entertaining fashion.

The coconut jelly is made with young coconut juice tipped with a little gelatin. Served frozen and still in the husk, this drink may save you from the heat of the city. At least that's what vendors say.

 

•Fine Dining in Tamarind Springs

The right mix of fine dining against the sprawling decadence of the tropical forest reserve. If you want to have a feel of Malaysia’s tropical experience, then the Tamarind Springs should be on your list.  The restaurant serves a personal blend of Indo-Chinese cuisine. It’s a relaxing refuge for both mind and palate

Festivals/ Celebrations • Kasadyaan Festival

 

•Hawker Stalls

For those in it to really get a sampling of KL’s multicultural experience, then it's time to get off the main roads and hit the side streets. Street food stalls open till about twelve midnight and offer up mostly Malay dishes. Lamb and Chicken Satay drowned in peanut sauce is a must. The cubed rice that can be ordered with it is a cute touch to this simple meal enjoyed at all hours of the day.

 

•Mamak Stalls

If there is one experience one can expect from Malaysia, it is the profusion of great dining choices and their general appreciation of home food. Mamak stalls, as locals call it, are roadside canteens serving a host of inexpensive home-grown Malay dishes. Enjoy Nasi Lemak (coconut rice steamed in pandan leaves) or blue rice colored with butterfly-pea flowers. Add your choice of sides and you'll find yourself full for hours. Curries and Roti like the one in Seetharam Family Curry House, are also staples on the menu.

 

•Teh Tarik and Coconut Jelly

As this traveler can attest to, Malaysia has one of the deepest tasting tea-based drinks in the Southeast Asian region. The Tarik, as it's called, is a milk tea drink, pulled in the most entertaining fashion.

The coconut jelly is made with young coconut juice tipped with a little gelatin. Served frozen and still in the husk, this drink may save you from the heat of the city. At least that's what vendors say.

 

•Fine Dining in Tamarind Springs

The right mix of fine dining against the sprawling decadence of the tropical forest reserve. If you want to have a feel of Malaysia’s tropical experience, then the Tamarind Springs should be on your list.  The restaurant serves a personal blend of Indo-Chinese cuisine. It’s a relaxing refuge for both mind and palate.

 

Time Zone +8:00 hours from UTC/GMT