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fieryfox Kuala Lumpur - A travel report by Farizan
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Kuala Lumpur,  Malaysia - flag Malaysia -  Wilayah Persekutuan
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fieryfox's travel reports

Sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur - Insider's Guide

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Page: 1 2


Malaysia's Dynamic Capital that was conferred city status in 1972 began as a mining settlement in the late 1800s with the discovery of tin in the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers. Today it is home to nearly 3 million inhabitants; it is the pulse of the nation.



KLCC view from Titiwangsa Lake
KLCC view from Titiwangsa Lake


Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of the Federation of Malaysia is centrally located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia covering an area of 243 sq km; it lies approximately 35 km from the coast. KL leads the country's fast paced development in trade and commerce, banking and finance, manufacturing, transportation, information technology and tourism.


I've lived in Kuala Lumpur for more than 2 decades and watched its development through the years. It would seem strange but I have never in fact been a tourist in Kuala Lumpur until recently, when a couple of friends from overseas visited me. They asked me what were the special attractions and activities that they could do and I could only think of a few places at first thought. Of course every visitor would already know of the infamous Petronas Twin Towers known as KLCC and most certainly people would have heard of Malaysia's own Chinatown in Petaling Street, and it wasn't at all impressive to cite these already well known names. So the question is.. What else is there to see in Kuala Lumpur ? Actually, there is quite a bit in store for the tourist. This report is an account of my experiences while sightseeing with my friends in Kuala Lumpur recently. I finally became a tourist in my own city.

We started the day early, breakfast at 7.30 am and we were off to the city by 8.00 am. We had to take into account the morning rush hour traffic as we wanted to get to our destination before 8.30 am. Our first stop was the Kuala Lumpur City Centre or better known as the Petronas Twin Towers. We parked our car at the Open Car park where the there was a flat rate of RM3.00 per day and walked pass the KLCC Surau (A small mosque within the compounds of KLCC).

There was a 1.5km footpath which goes around the 20 hectare park and leads the way to the KLCC twin Towers. The walk takes about 15 minutes and we enjoyed very much the morning stroll in this beautiful mosaic tropical garden. I once read in the papers that 2000 indigenous trees and palms have been planted here to provide biodiversity to the parks surroundings. As we got closer to the entrance of KLCC Suria (the shopping complex adjoining the Twin Towers building) we noticed two fountains with an artificial geyser. It was quite beautiful.

We arrived at the ground floor of the Petronas Twin Towers at about 8.20am and already there was a big crowd gathered there. We were all queuing for FREE tickets to visit the Bridge on the 42nd Floor that connects both the towers. It was on this bridge that the movie Entrapment was filmed - starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery in 1998. We went up the bridge and also managed to film our own movie of the sceneries and beauty of KL. It was indeed a splendid experience. One thing to remember is that visits to the Bridge are closed on Mondays.

After we completed our visit to the Twin Towers Bridge, it was still early to do any shopping in KLCC Syria Shopping Centre. We decided to take the LRT (Light Rail Transit) from the KLCC Station to the Masjid Jamek Station. We took the Exit leading to Masjid Jamek and we were practically on its doorstep. Built in 1909, it is the oldest mosque in KL and is situated on the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers. The architecture features graceful arches, domes reminiscent of the Moorish era.






Favourite spots:
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad Building



My friends wanted to have a look at the Sultan Abdul Samad building. I suggested taking a short cut through the Jalan Raja Magistrates and Sessions Courts complex. This is also a heritage building restored completely and are fully utilized as a Court complex. We walked through a few passages and got an inside view of the building. When we got to the main entrance, we could see Dataran Merdeka (square) which lies opposite of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. We turned to our left and there was a bridge where we could take snapshots of the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is also a heritage building that house several important government departments prior to independence in the 19th Century. The architecture also has a Moorish character and is a major landmark in the city. Today it is occupied by the Federal Court of Malaysia. We stopped for a few pictures before continuing to the Merdeka Square which lies opposite the building. Merdeka Square is also an area of historical interest. It was here that thousands of Malayans gathered on 31st August 1957 and holstered the first Malayan Flag signifying the independence from the British rule. The 100 meter Flagpole on the square was erected to symbolize this day.

By this time the sun was very bright and we were getting thirsty. We decided to visit the Plaza Putra which is an underground food, leisure and entertainment complex. There is also an underground car park for Plaza Putra at a rate of RM3.00 per hour. After we have quenched our thirst, we continued our tour to visit the National History Museum just next to Dataran Merdeka. Admission is free. This building used to house the National Library before it was moved to Jalan Tun Razak.

Next stop was Central Market and Square. This is also a heritage building which was once a wet market and now has been restored and used as an arts and crafts centre. There are many shops offering antique clocks, jewelry gems, woodcarvings, batik and pewter ware. There are also many artists here that provide a portrait service and display their pieces for sale. Also there’s a food court on the upper floor where we decided to break for lunch. The price range is budget and quite reasonable with a great variety to choose from.

From Central Market we had a few choices on where to head after lunch. We could visit Chinatown (Petaling Street) or Jalan Masjid India as both was within walking distance. We decided that we could do some shopping but it was too early to visit Chinatown as it is famed mostly for its night market and so we headed for Jalan Masjid India.

We need only cross the street and took Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan walking alongside the Klang River under beautiful arching rain trees with the courts on our left. We walked back to Jalan Raja and headed to the Masjid Jamek LRT station but continued to walk straight into Jalan Melayu and Jalan Bunus intersection. Here Jalan Masjid India begins. It is famed as the Little India of Malaysia. The surroundings resemble much of South Indian atmosphere with many wholesale and saree shops along the whole stretch. There is also a Masjid (mosque) located here and the street was hence named after it. We spent some time shopping for textiles and saree materials and headed back to the LRT station in Masjid Jamek at about 6.00 pm. and returned to KLCC.

KLCC seemed crowded as it is the Month of the Malaysian Mega Sale (March/August/December). We needed a break and decided to opt for an early dinner before proceeding to any other shop. On the fourth floor of KLCC Suria, there are several restaurants, mostly exclusive but there are also others which are reasonably priced to meet with any budget. We decided to try some Malaysian food at the Nyonya Food Court on Level 4. If you are turned off by large crowds, restaurants such as Madam Kwan's or Rain Nudle House may be better choices. After dinner, we continued on our shopping spree until the shops were closing at about 9.00pm. We headed back through the gardens to the car park. Exhausted but satisfied with what we have seen for the day.




What's really great:
A snapshot of Jalan Masjid India
A snapshot of Jalan Masjid India


SHOPPING TIPS

Ok, here is a brief rundown of the important shopping havens in Kuala Lumpur according to category of items. Also take note, that Malaysia promotes the Malaysia Mega Sale every March, August and December with price cuts of normal prices up to 80%. This would be the best times to visit Malaysia, in the event you're interested in shopping.

Clothing and Apparel, Shoes and Leather Products

Major Departmental Stores in Kuala Lumpur offers good variety and reasonable prices. Check out Isetan and Parkson Stores, Royel (Ampang Point) MetroJaya (MegaMall and BB Plaza) Sogo (Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman). Sg. Wang Plaza and BB. Plaza are famed for value for money with the latest fashion choices (Must See!). There are hundreds of shops within the plaza to choose from. Similar shopping complexes are Mega Mall (Near Sentral Station/Bangsar LRT), Ampang Point, Plaza Pheonix, Times Square, Lot 10 and Bangsar Shopping Centre.

Chinatown or better known as Petaling Street Night Market are famed for cheap items (though mostly imitation). I've seen many leather products and apparels including watches being sold at unbelievably low prices. A t-shirt costs around US$3-7 . However, always remember to bargain in Chinatown and always reduce by 70% what the vendors quote to you.

Silk Street (Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) is famed for the best silk textiles at really reasonable prices. Stores like Kamdar, Harrisons, Gulati's are a “must see”. Other great textiles stores are Globe Silk Stores and Nagoya Textiles.

Telecommunications and Computers

To buy the latest of mobile devices, pdas and hand phones, you should start at Ground and 1st Floor of Sg. Wang Plaza and then proceed to Level 1 of Low Yatt Plaza in Bukit Bintang. Low Yat Plaza is just next to Sg. Wang and is within walking distance. For the cheapest in computer hardware, check out the 3rd Floor IT centre in Sg. Wang and Level 2 of Low Yatt Plaza, Hard disks, CDR and every peripheral you can think of can be found here at really bargain prices. Basement Floor of Imbi Plaza is also another popular choice for computer hardwares and softwares enthusiast.



Restaurants:
Malay Food Buffet
Malay Food Buffet


As for restaurants and places for Dining, there are many to choose from. It all depends on how much time you have and your budget.

While on the go, you are probably looking for a quick bite hence fast food would be the best choice. Major fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, Shakey’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, A&W and Burger King are found all over Kuala Lumpur, in most shopping areas. There are also several popular cafes that offer a light meal with your choice of beverage such as Starbuck’s Café, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, San Francisco Café, Austin Chase Café and many more.

If you are looking for Asian cuisine such as Malay, Indian or even Chinese food, food courts are the best places for this. There is a great variety and prices are reasonable. You could get a meal for less than US$5.00.

If dining in a restaurant, minimum budget would be about US$10 per person depending on choice of dish/meal.

Buffet Meals at renowned restaurants and hotels will range from between US$7.00-20.00 or more in more exclusive restaurants.


Other recommendations:
National History Museum
National History Museum


Secret Places – Inside view
A short cut through the Courts complex in Jalan Raja - Get a Glimpse of the inside of this graceful Moorish building with its beautiful arches and wide corridors. Usually, its not made known that there is a secret short cut through the Courts complex in Jalan Raja but there is no harm in going through it as the Court Complex is a public building.

I would suggest taking the Entrance along side Masjid Jamek (Jalan Raja) and exit through the main entrance facing the Merdeka Square.

Other Touristy Places to visit while in Kuala Lumpur

More Sightseeing is possible in the following venues:
1) Menara Kuala Lumpur - Observation Deck
2) National Mosque
3) Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
4) National Monument
5) Asian Sculpture Garden
6) Istana Negara (National Palace/Residence of the Monarch)

For the Artist or Art Enthusiasts
1) Galeri Petronas, KLCC Shopping Centre
2) National Art Gallery (near Jalan Pahang)
3) National Arts Theatre
4) Islamic Arts Museum
5) Cultural Crafts Complex
6) Central Market (Arts and Crafts Centre)

For Nature/Wildlife Enthusiasts
1) Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens
2) Orchid Gardens
3) Hibiscus Garden
4) Deer Park
5) Butterfly Park
6) Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
7) National Zoo and Aquarium

For historical Education
1) National Museum
2 ) Muzium Telekom

For Science Exhibitions
1) National Science Centre
2) National Planetarium

More information and online brochures may be obtained from the Malaysian Tourism Council at : http://www.tourism.gov.my/TRC/resource.a-sp?cat=BROCHURE


Published on Tuesday August 10th, 2004


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Sat, May 10 2008 - 07:41 AM rating by esfahani

fantastic report and a great source to get an idea about our stopover in july. many thanks Farizan

Thu, May 01 2008 - 10:33 PM rating by brucemoon

Farizan, I liked almost all of your report.

I'm hoping that you didn't choose to US crap, and that you only reported that for readers.

I found KL has some of the best food options in Asia, and the hawker stalls are just phenomenal.

cheers

Mon, Feb 18 2008 - 08:08 PM rating by mistybleu

This is full of some wonderful useful information. Hopefully I can put this to good use.

Thu, Jan 10 2008 - 12:41 PM rating by davidx

So glad you had to be a tourist in your own city because it has led to such an interesting report.

Sun, Dec 18 2005 - 02:53 PM rating by jorgesanchez

very erudite

Fri, Aug 13 2004 - 08:38 AM rating by christianj.

Hi Farizan,

that's a great report - I loved to read it, also because of these little helpfull details. Thank you for writing.

Warm regards, Christian

Tue, Aug 10 2004 - 05:39 AM rating by britman

Thanks for Part I of the insiders view to KL. A most interesting, in depth readable report. I know of several Globo's who will love the bits about shopping in KL when you get there - will you tell us where to shop too? Is it still the bargain hunters paradise for computers and cameras?

Looking forward to the sequel(s),

Cheers,
Brit.

Tue, Aug 10 2004 - 05:25 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report to read so much about the city..
ravi

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