Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL is the only city in the world that has a million years old primary forest located in the heart of the city. The Malaysian peninsula boasts of more tree species per 125 acres of tropical forest. This city, the capital and the largest city of Malaysia was said to be founded by Chinese tin miners in 1857.
Charming British colonial era buildings jostling for space with high-tech modern edifice like Petronas Twin Towers, the heady aroma resulting from the fusion of Chinese, Indian and traditional Malay cuisines against the backdrop of bustling central market, verdant tropical parks and botanical gardens - Kuala Lumpur is a fascinating destination and meeting point for many attractions of Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur festivals
Malaysia is a melting pot of many cultural and racial groups. Little wonder that many diverse festivals are celebrated here with fanfare and gaiety. The Chinese New Year is an important holiday in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of Malaysia. It is preceded with lots of shopping and preparations. Expect to see plenty of red around this time, as red color signifies happiness in Chinese culture. Banners carrying the slogan 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' or 'May you be prosperous' can be found everywhere. Check out China Town or Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur for traditional Chinese candies. You can sample Chinese style waxed meat - sausage, duck or meatloaf. Catch the Lion Dance where 2 people have to coordinate their movements within a lion costume.
The festival of Thai Poosam is celebrated by people of Tamil descent. This festival falls around end January - early February; in the Tamil month of Thai. It is held in celebration of Lord Muruga, the son of Shiva killing demon Tharakasuran. On the eve of the festival, a large silver chariot bearing the idol of Lord Murugan is taken out in procession. Typically devotees throng in large numbers near the Batu Caves. The procession starts at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Devotees carry kaavadis or frames of flowers towards the temple. They often indulge in self-torture; like piercing of their tongue or back.
If you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur in April- May, don't miss the Malaysia Water Festival where you can experience canoe, jet-ski and kayak races and many water-based activities. Another festival that is celebrated with much feasting is 'Hari Raya' - after a month of fasting during Ramadaan. The night markets offer traditional Malay delicacies such as freshly cooked keropok lekor, goreng gorengan, ulam, jeruk, nasi ayam, sup asam pedas and more.
Tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Twin Towers: These majestic towers are one of the world's tallest buildings and second and third tallest singular towers with a height of 1453 feet. The twin towers are symbols of Malaysia's astounding growth over the last two decades. A tourist can scale the awesome 41st and 42nd skybridge link, although it is difficult to get to the top of the towers. The towers are located adjacent to the busiest shopping malls in Malaysia the Suria KLCC.
The Golden Triangle: The Petronas twin towers are located in the Golden triangle, which is the commercial hub of the city. High rise modern office building and classy hotels that define the capital's skyline are located here.
The Batu caves is located north of Kuala Lumpur. It is a Hindu shrine and dedicated to Lord Subramania. Batu caves consist of three main caves and a number of smaller caves. These caves are made of limestone. They are four hundred meters long and hundred meters high. There are two hundred and seventy two steps that lead the visitor to the caves. The temple cave is the biggest and best known of the caves. Thaipusam festival is celebrated with great aplomb and over a million visitors throng the temple caves to celebrate the festival. Few spots for trekking are seen on the other side of Batu caves for the tourists.
The Lake Gardens are 920,000 sq.mts of manicured gardens, located near the Malaysian Parliament building. A butterfly park, a deer park, orchid garden, hibiscus garden and a large bird park are all part of the enthralling Lake Gardens.
The Sunway Lagoon is located just outside of Kuala Lumpur. It is an eighty acre wet and dry theme park. Sunway Lagoon features water rides, wave pools as well as other water amusement rides, live entertainments, and structured activities for kids every day.
Sports stadiums: East of Kuala Lumpur are important sports centres - the National Stadium and the Merdeka Stadium. It was here that Malaysia was declared independent from colonial power. The Merdeka stadium has a seating capacity of 50000. Several national and international sporting events take place here.
Museums and Galleries: The National Museum is situated in Mahameru Highway and is well known for artefacts and paintings. Constructed in traditional Minangkabau design with two huge Italian glass mosaic flanking the entrance, the museum offers an overview of Malaysia's major historical events and cultural activities. The section on Peranakan culture which illustrates the unique fusion of Chinese and Malay traditions is particularly interesting.
The National Planetarium is well equipped with interactive exhibits. Space science shows and sky movies are screened here.
The Tun Abdul Razak Memorial is located at the scenic Lake gardens. This memorial was built in memory of the 'Father of Development', the second President of Malaysia.
Ths Islamic Art Museum is solely dedicated to Islamic Art. Eclectic and fascinating exhibits can be found here. The museum building itself is a masterpiece with its Italian marble flooring, Iranian tiles, Uzbekistan craftsmanship.
The Royal Malaysian Police Museum is where the archives of past crimes are kept.The operations of the police force from the time of Malacca Sultanate in 1511 AD can be learnt here.
The Petronas Art gallery is a center for fine arts. It is situated in Kuala Lumpur city centre. The Kuala Lumpur performing arts center in Sentul West is a noted center for performing arts notably the theatre and music. Many songwriters from various cultural backgrounds from both East and West Malaysia perform here. The Kuala Lumpur Philharmonic hall comprises a cast of international musicians and features regular concerts and traditional cultural performances.
Petaling street: This place is famous for bargain shopping. Beware of branded goods that are not genuine. Petaling street is other wise known as Malaysia's China town.
Like in Singapore and London, the Malaysia Eye promises a spectacular view of the city. Take a mono rail to Bintang Walk to pick up interesting tourist mementos.