Greetings from a bus, in the middle of nowhere, en route to Malacca. I’ve spent the past few days in KL (as the locals refer to it). It’s a pretty interesting city, and is similar but different to some of the other major Asian cities I’ve visited. I’m going to make this post a little more factual as it seems quite a few guys are planning holidays there soon.
I guess the first thing you need to know is the public transport is pretty good here. The metro (they call it the LRT) runs to most of the major attractions, or puts you within walking distance of them. They seem to have a lot of different names for what feels like the same thing… RapidKL, LRT and Monorail are in essence all the same things and work on the same coupons. Try and download an LRT map which actually has the number of the line (i.e. line 3 or 4). This sounds stupid but I typically rely on the color of the line when navigating, but there seems to be a disconnect between color here, or the chap in charge is color blind. Brown and purple aren’t the same thing! Apart from that, the LTR is just like every other metro out there, with the exception that the AC is set to the artic mode.
In terms of what to see, KL has a good mix. You have the big sites, being the Petronas Towers and then you have more culturally oriented sites. I went to the following spots:
Petronas Towers: Still the tallest twin tower buildings in the world, and something you have to see. The best LTR stop to the towers is the KLCC stop. It’ll deposit you in the centre of 2 shopping malls, but follow the signs to Suria KLCC. It’s one of those ridiculously fancy malls which is built underneath and around the towers themselves. There is the KLCC park on the other end of the Suria Mall. There is a fountain show and large park you can walk through – that was pretty cool.
If you’re thinking of going up to the observation deck in the Petronas Towers, consider the following: It’s going to cost RM85 per person (USD20), which isn’t cheap. Before you decide on doing it, consider the Menara KL Tower, which has views of Petronas, for RM32 (USD7). I opted against both and decided to have drinks at the Helipad Bar – a bar quite literally on a helipad. A beer will cost you RM30 but the views are incredible and there isn’t an entrance fee 🙂 It must be said that finding the Helipad Bar isn’t the easiest as maps.me and Google seem to get confused with the densly populated buildings around there. My best bit of advice would be to catch the LTR to the Raja Chulan stop and then navigate from there.
Jalan Alor: This is a massive night food market near China Town. You can’t miss this – such a wide variety of good street food.
Petaling Street Market: A big street market that operates throughout the day, selling mainly fake designer goods, souvenirs, with the occasional food stall thrown in.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple: A Hindu temple near China Town and the Petaling Street Market. Definitely worth a wander through if you’re in the region. It’s the oldest Hindu temple in KL.
National Mosque: This pulls a large number of tourists and is near the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. Take a walk through if you’re in the area.
China Town and Little India: Definitely walk around here to see the other side of the city. It’s interesting to see how the vast majority of the locals live, and not just the wealthy guys staying in the fancy areas. You’ll stumble upon Hindu Temples next door to Mao Temples and hear Mosques nearby. It’s pretty cool. There’s a lot of construction happening all around so be prepared to jump over holes and navigate terrible pavements.
Malacca: I believe many guys do day trips to Malacca from KL. The bus takes 2 hours and run frequently. You can book your bus tickets directly from www.easybook.com and you can catch the LTR to the bus station in KL.(Shaun – I checked the spelling, apparently this is how you spell it for real!)
If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of shopping malls here, from high-end ones to normal ones. You’re spoilt for choice.
Enjoy the city if you get there – certainly one of the more diverse Asian cities I’ve come across.