The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (known as KL), is a modern city with stunning high rises, an efficient metro system and high end shopping malls. But it is also a city of historic buildings, rustic homes and haphazard traffic rules.
The many cultures and religions of KL have been living together in relative peace for years. The oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia is just down the street from the oldest Chinese temple in KL, which are both blocks away from one of the cities’ oldest Mosques. Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque) is a beautiful early 20th century brick building built in the Mughul style and still is an important mosque today.
One of the great things about KL is the array of different neighborhoods to explore, each with their own cultural identity. The city’s Chinatown district is similar to those in other major SE Asia cities. There are tight, busy streets with even tighter, winding lanes with outdoor markets with so many shops selling more stuff than you could imagine. Little India was another great area, filled with curry restaurants, gold jewelry stores and textiles shops.
At the centre of Kuala Lumpur are the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. The 88 story towers can be seen from many points around the city, including from our hotel, but are best appreciated from up close. The most recognizable feature is the skybridge walkway joining the two towers on the 41st and 42 floors. At night the towers and the fountain in front are lit up for an impressive show. Hundreds of locals and tourists come at night to watch.
Not far from downtown is the beautiful old colonial building, the Old Train Station. It was built in the early 1900s and was named one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. It was being used as the main transit hub until the early 2000s.
At the north end of the city are the Batu caves which house an old Hindu temple and a shrine to the Hindu deity Rama. There are over 200 steps to get to the entrance of Temple Cave. Inside are very old religious depictions some carved into the cave walls. Friendly macaque monkeys roam around the cave looking for treats.
Rama’s shrine cave has 100s of human sized figurines in typical kitschy, technicolour depicting the story of Rama’s life. You have to walk through the whole large cave to see the entire story.
Because of the multicultural character of the city, the food here is really good. We had the 2 best meals of the whole trip so far while in KL. One was Richard’s favourite, Thai, which had an amazing peanut dipping sauce. The other, Maggie’s favourite, Indian, had a rich masala sauce over home-made paneer. Both were so flavourful and well prepared that we’re already craving to go back.
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