Top Kuala Lumpur Hotels
Kuala Lumpur Tower & CapitalKuala Lumpur, or "KL" as it is known, is the Malaysian capital and is located on the western coast of Peninsula Malaysia. KL is a modern, vibrant and multicultural city with an economy based heavily on commerce, finance and tourism. It has more than its fair share of shiny corporate buildings and smothering pollution but displays enough character to warrant a stopover or diversion. The major feature of KL is its architecture - Islamic and Malay influences are highly visible. Former British colonial buildings lend some charm to congested KL; competitive shopping centres abound and watching over it all stand the Petronas Twin Towers, currently the tallest buildings in the world. Reasonably priced, reasonably navigable and reasonably interesting, KL makes a pleasant pit stop for a few days. More...
Kuala Lumpur Deer Park & Theme Parks
Dominating the city skyline are the record breaking Petronas Twin Towers. It is not possible to go to the top of the towers, but the 41st and 42nd floor skybridge link is open to a fixed number of visitors every day. The only way for tourists to enter is to queue in the lobby for a free ticket for either the morning or afternoon session. Some great panoramic views of the city can be seen from either the observation platform or the revolving restaurant at the top of the stunning KL Tower.
The famous Sultan Abdul Samad Building was built in the late 19th century to house the British administration and is now home to the Supreme and High Courts. This flamboyant and intricate example of Moorish architecture faces Dataran Medaka (Medaka Square) - the centre for National Day celebrations, and for those who are interested, here flies the highest flagpole in Asia.
Refuge from the traffic and crowds can be sought in one of KL's parks. KL Lake Gardens is a pleasant area generously spread over a hundred hectares. Located within these grounds is the National Monument dedicated to Malaysia's military heroes.
Around the Lake Gardens are the Orchid Gardens and the Deer Park. Not far away are the Butterfly Park and Bird Park. All are pleasant enough and may be of particular interest to naturalists.
KL houses a few museums allowing visitors to view aspects of Malaysian history. The National Museum displays various Malay artifacts and oddities. Somewhat moth-eaten and lacking in treasures, it has an air of a stately jumble sale rather than a museum. It isn't the Louvre, but its unusual blend is informative.
The National Art Gallery is only worth a visit for those particularly interested in and familiar with mainly local plus a selection foreign artists.
The National Mosque is the largest in the country and is set in peaceful, well-kept grounds. Modern and a little lego-like it doesn't really warrant a visit, in contrast to the enchanting Masjid Jamek, the oldest and most beautiful mosque in KL. This mosque is a delicate and imaginative example of Islamic architecture that justifies its place on the postcard racks.
Note: It is not possible for non-Muslims to enter either mosque during prayers.
Another religious building worth a visit is Sri Mahamariaman Temple - a colourful structure adorned with carvings of Hindu gods. It is situated close to the thriving Chinatown area which is popular for its cultural identity and markets.
Jalan Masjid India, also known as "Little India," adds flavour to KL's cosmopolitan mix. Little India, there is little in particular to do or see here, but it's an interesting place to browse through spices and saris or pick up a curry.
Entertainment and Eating Out
KL is becoming increasingly trendy and liberal. The Golden Triangle and Bangsar represent the best cosmopolitan areas to eat and drink as most of the city winds down after nine. Clubs are found in the Golden Triangle - the better ones charge hefty entrance fees and close at around 2 a.m.
Pasar Malam in Chinatown bursts into life at night once the night market opens, so do the restaurants and street-side cafes offering mainly seafood and Chinese dishes. A great place to watch the world go by!
KL has many good restaurants, both Asian and Western, and there are plenty of handy fastfood outlets. Restaurants tend to offer Halal dishes but always ask to be sure, particularly at non-Muslim establishments such as Chinese restaurants. Details like cooking oils can be easily overlooked.
Some of the most adventurous and authentic food is available from the hawkers who ply their trade in the markets. They offer some superb affordable snacks that are well worth trying.
KL exhibits some great shopping to suit all tastes, from local crafts to exclusive designer wear. There are plenty of bustling street markets and glitzy shopping malls. Shopping centres tend to display fixed prices but bartering is common practice at the markets. Market areas include Central Market and Chinatown. Chinatown stretches along the entire length of Jalan Petaling. Shops are open throughout the day; after 6pm, the Pasar Malam (night market) takes over, the road is closed to traffic and the street comes alive with stalls, restaurants and crowds. Here you can buy anything from imitation handbags to souvenirs, clothes, herbal remedies and local trinkets. Bargain hard!
Chow Kit Market only opens on Saturday nights and offers a wide selection of produce along with the opportunity to sample some local foods while meandering through the stalls. The nearby Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman has a good range of antiques, Middle Eastern carpets, batik and other local crafts.
Shopping malls and plazas are never far away in KL and cater for all budgets. The Golden Triangle is the best area for shopping for quality items and is located mainly along Jalan Sultan Ismail and around the Petronas Twin Towers. Heralded as Malaysia's leading mall, the Suria KLCC is a vast complex with a broad choice of over 250 speciality shops and numerous cafes and restaurants.
Other malls worth a mention are City Square and Ampang Plaza, near Ampang Park LRT Station.
Catering to the lower to middle range budget is Sungei Wang situated close to similar malls near the junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Bukit Bintang.
Internet cafs are dotted around the capital, mostly in the larger shopping malls in the Golden Triangle section of the city.
Getting from A to B
Getting around KL is straightforward and reasonably cheap. The city has an efficient underground train system, the Light Rail Transit (LRT). Currently under construction and linking the eastern and western suburbs, the LRT is not particularly convenient to many tourist destinations, however it does pass through the business district and Chinatown.
There are many bus and minibus routes that interconnect the city, although these could be confusing for first time visitors unfamiliar with the city.
Traffic congestion in KL is a major problem and can be horrendous at 3 p.m. when taxi drivers change shifts. Taxis are good on the whole but some of KL's more troublesome drivers may need reminding to switch on their meters. Taxis, incidentally, are almost impossible to flag down in the rain.
The one-hour trip to/from the new airport is presently a hassle. Although public buses do run, taxis are by far the best connection.
There is a monopoly on airport taxis. Leaving by taxi involves collecting a ticket before getting into your allotted vehicle. This costs significantly more than the return trip but is preferable to trying your luck with the touts loitering outside.
An airport coach operates but the route is not convenient for all as it bypasses many larger hotels. The LRT link is slated for April 2002.
Sultan Abdul Samad Palace
Due to good infrastructure, much of Western Malaysia can be easily reached within a day. However, there are a few areas of interest beyond KL that are accessible as day tours. The closest and arguably the best trip is to the Batu Caves on the edge of the city. These limestone caves sit at the top of a 272-step climb and feature colourful Hindu shrines and temples. Attracting sizeable crowds of visitors and worshippers daily, monkeys often congregate and harass for food. The busiest and liveliest time to visit is during the Thaipusam festival early in the year, when thousands of pilgrims converge to pay homage.
Only a few kilometres further out it is possible to enjoy Malaysia's shrinking indigenous culture and natural environment. The Forestry Research Institute and Museum and Templer Park, have both gentle and strenuous nature trials. Also nearby is the Orang Asli Museum giving a good cultural insight into Malaysia's indigenous population.
Rubber Tapping is a popular tour, although much of the romance of the rubber plantations has gone and some tour operators transport unsuspecting visitors to soulless areas bordering noisy expressways.
One hour north, The Genting Highlands is a big favourite with people from all over Asia and features an extensive amusement and entertainment complex. This bright and noisy labyrinth offers something for all the family from arcade games and magic shows to Malaysia's only casino - definitely not for those trying to get away from it all!
Fraser's Hill is a twisting 3-hour drive from the city and is far more relaxing. There is very little to do at Fraser's Hill itself but the surrounding area is great for bird watchers.
Kuala Lumpurs' Food & Fruit Stalls
KL is the capital of a Muslim state and therefore follows the Muslim calendar. Hari Raya Puasa is a family oriented festival that follows a month long fast. Shops close, friends and families get together and candles are lit at home. Unless actually involved in this festival, it is unlikely to excite you. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival occurring in January or February and lasting for three days. Hindu areas such as Little India come alive with decorations. At the Batu Caves you'll witness a striking display of religious fervour as thousands gather to celebrate, with pilgrims decorated in garlands and peacock feathers, sporting skewered tongues and cheeks.
As there is a strong Chinese influence in Malaysia, Chinese New Year is celebrated in typical fashion in January or February with lion dances and firecrackers to usher in the Lunar New Year.
The streets of KL blossom in July with the final parade of the Flora Fest. During this week long celebration there are exhibitions and competitions which culminate in a spectacular parade.
Colourful parades and performances in Medaka Square dominate the celebrations for National Day to celebrate Independence at the end of August each year.
Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights flickers into life in October or November. Scores of lanterns and oil lamps welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth into every home.
Malaysia now proudly hosts the Grand Prix and in March you can take in Formula 1 racing. The race takes place on the new Sepang Circuit, close to the International Airport.
Note: Hotels and flights are often heavily booked at this time and it is advisable to book months ahead.
Featured Kuala Lumpur Hotels
Kuala Lumpur Travellers Tales
City tour (1/2 day) very informative. Batu Caves are OK, but if you''ve been to India and seem the real thing, then this won''t phase you at all. Daytrip to Melacca was good. Line for Petronas tickets was outrageous, go to Menera (KL tower) instead, which is in Bukit Nanas park...it is a bit of a walk uphill, you can take a taxi if you like. You get a better view than from Petronas. Chinatown Petaling street was hectic...only visit there if you are serious about shopping imitation stuff. For food, walk around Jalan Sultan..for some cheap stuff (or Jalan Alor, if you are in Golden Triangle area). The walk on Jalan Pudu from Chinatown to Bukit Bintang was interesting, it goes past the large bus station, but what is better is that you get a real cross section of homey Kuala Lumpur, without the luxuries, you just see people on the street, small stores, restaurants, etc...very local...non touristy scene, for a different perspective. Also, visit Mederka square, so you can see where the British lived, and also you can take a look at the former Petronas Building (before the twin towers were built) The local transport in KL is very good, with the monorail, the trains, the buses, you should have no problem getting around.
Perfect location, accessible to any main shopping center eg Starhill, Lot 10, Sungai Wang Plaza, PP plaza. It''s just 5 mins walking distance to the Monorail station. Nightlife is very happening around the hotel. Many foot massage services operate until late night.
Try Genting Highlands. The place is about 45 mins away from bukit bintang. There is available bus rides on certain hours.
For those looking for an excellent location of a hotel, Bintang Warisan is the answer. Major shopping malls are at the door steps...Times Square is less than 10 minutes away should you decide to catch a midnight movie like I did. Overall, I''m really satisfied with my stay at the hotel and will patronize the hotel again in the near future.
Getting around KL is basically via taxi since I am here only for the weekend. Never take taxis who are waiting around for they charge fixed price instead of meter based. Basically Puduraya bus terminal, Chinatown are places where these cabbies hang out, so you should walk out to the main street to hail a cab. Food is great for I ate ard Jln alor area, the street I guess in front of Hotel Nova, lots of variety, tasty, and cheap. Think these are better than going inside the restaurant located along the same street, which I ate once before and don''t find them as great. Can also go to Chinatown where again you will find streetside hawkers where throngs of people eat there. Would not say so for the restaurants there, since they are relatively more expensive I guess. After which I proceeded to have a good foot massage located on 2nd floor of Swiss Inn hotel where a 40min foot masage cost only 30 RM. Additional RM10 for10 min of back massage if you like, and ear candling too if you prefer at the cost of RM40-50. In case you should reach KL in the wee hours like I did, and your hotel check in is only after 2pm, do proceed to Ancasa hotel near pudu terminal and ask if they have vacancy for day rate, RM 50 only, or take a cab to season view at Bukit Bintang to check the same.
KL is great. Go early to book the visit to the Skybridge, shop at MidValley. We hired a car from Orix, good machine, very reasonable price, got to drive to the Cameron Highlands. Road system (once you get out of KL itself) are excellent.
Just across the street is the railway station to take you to all points of interest. A five minutes walk and you are at KLCC Petronas Towers and shopping center. Close to the railway station is Hard Rock Cafe KL with great staff and good food (happy hour from 7 to 9 pm moderate beer).
There are a lot of nice foods around not only the local coffee shops but restaurants. I highly recommend the Espire restaurant in Sugei Wang Shopping Mall.
Well placed for KLCC and LRT but not so convenient for Bukit Bintang area. KLCC great if you like shopping malls, but there are plenty more to choose from. In the evening Hard Rock Cafe still buzzing and liked ambience of Q-bar at Westin. Beach bar heaving but too young a crowd for my taste. Bangsa didn''t seem as lively as a couple of years ago.
If you are going to KL to shop, the Radius is a great place to stay. Walk up the street (maybe a 5 minute walk) and you''re in shopper''s paradise with BB Plaza, Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10 and Plaza Low Yat.