Kuala Lumpur, or KL, is one of Asia’s youngest capitals. Founded as a tin mining town in the mid 1800s, this ever-shifting metropolis rapidly expanded to become Malaysia’s largest city, and is now the political and commercial centre of the country. Though it might not have the gravitas of the region’s more ancient cities, KL has a refreshing fluidity and a little more edge to it than you might notice at first glance. Experience the bright lights of modern Malaysian culture, indulge in as many foodie moments as your appetite can handle, and dig deeper into a capital that’s confident in its dynamic identity.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
Heading up to the skybridge between the stunning Petronas Twin Towers is a ‘must’ for most visitors to KL, but there’s a snag - while you’re up there, you don’t have a view of the Petronas Towers! The city is, however, fortunate enough to have a plethora of skyscraper observation decks, rooftop restaurants and sky bars where you can enjoy a leisurely meal or a few sundowners while you gaze upon the full impact of KL’s distinctive skyline. Head to Marini’s on 57, the rooftop bar of the (confusingly-named) Petronas Tower 3, and enjoy close-up views of the main two towers as you sip signature cocktails and grab some delicious Italian food.
Having come of age during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kuala Lumpur’s architecture might not be very old, but includes some stunning examples of iconic modern design. From the elaborate Moorish-inspired Old Railway Station and Sultan Abdul Samad Building, to Art Deco echoes in the Central Market, and the striking contemporary skyscrapers that now dominate the horizon, you can take a walking tour through 200 years of style. Stop at the beautiful Masjid Jamek (the oldest mosque in the city), contrast it with the electric blue, star-shaped dome of the 1960s-built national mosque, and fuel your journey with frequent stops at food stalls to snack on dishes from across the globe.
Just outside Kuala Lumpur, in the suburb of Selangor, the Batu Caves are well worth stepping out of the city for. A massive limestone edifice houses a maze of caves, considered sacred for thousands of years, and several historic Hindu temples which are still pilgrimage sites for Malaysia’s Tamil population. At the foot of the 272 steps to the main temple, an imposing golden statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, stands guard. The entrance to the caves is said to look like the v-shaped head of his spear. Marvel at the breathtakingly-high Temple Cave, and perhaps catch a lucky glimpse of the wild macaques and huge colonies of bats that live in the cool cavern complex.