Kuala Lumpur (or simply KL) is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia. It is recognized as the heart beat of Malaysia, serving as its cultural, commercial and transportation centre. It is the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country in terms of population as well as economy.
In 1957, Malaysia declared independence in front of huge crowds at Stadium Merdeka (the Independence Square), and Kuala Lumpur became the nation’s capital. Over the last few decades, Kuala Lumpur has been transformed into a thriving metropolis from a tin-mining village in just 150 years with modern transportation systems, office towers, commercial buildings, hotels, mega shopping malls and spectacular buildings like theKL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers. Petronas Twin Towers is one of the world’s tallest buildings rise above the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. It is the symbols for the amazing growth that has taken place in Malaysia over the last two decades.
Kuala Lumpur is situated midway along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Kuala Lumpur has a year-round equatorial climate which is warm and sunny, along with abundant rainfall, especially during the southwest monsoon season from September to April. Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover between 31 °C and 33 °C (88-92 °F) and have never exceeded 37 °C (99 °F), while minimums hover between 22 °C and 23.5 °C (71-74 °F) and have never fallen below 19 °C (66 °F). Kuala Lumpur typically receives 2,266 mm (89.2 in) of rain annually; June and July are relatively dry, but even then rainfall typically exceeds 125 mm (5 in) per month.
Tourism sector is one of Kuala Lumpur’s economy contributors. Many large worldwide hotel chains, shopping centres and mega malls which carry well-known international and local brands establish here to grab their slice of profit shares. Major tourist attractions including Batu Caves, Makam Pahlawan, Dataran Merdeka (or Independence Square), Little India, National Museum, Zoo Negara, and events such as the Chinese cultural festivals at the Thean Hou Temple and the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Getting out of Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highlands is just 40 minutes drives away using the East Coast Highway, which has cooler weather, theme parks for the kids and a casino for the adults.
Another place of interest is the Golden Triangle, the commercial hub of Kuala Lumpur, a shopping district. It is the home to the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) and Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur’s premier shopping district is the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle. Bukit Bintang, has the highest concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur, spans over 3 roads which are Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Sultan Ismail. A number of large shopping malls within the area cater to varying budgets. Fans of electronic gadgets would delight in the multitude of choices at Low Yat Plaza, whilst shoppers hunting for the latest in affordable Asian style should definitely check out Times Square and Bukit Bintang / Sungei Wang Plaza. Pavilion is a recent addition to the cluster of shopping malls in this area and houses a wide range of international retail brands in an ultra-modern complex. In the nearby KL Convention Centre is the Aquaria KLCC which contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish.
Several popular malls lie outside the Golden Triangle. The Bangsar and Midvalley areas are home to some of the best shopping malls in KL, namely the MidValley Megamall and the adjacent upmarket The Gardens, the cozier Bangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Center in Bangsar. The Damansara area in the north-west of Kuala Lumpur is the home of the only IKEA outlet in the country, locally operated Ikano Power Centre, NiuXehSui at Ara Damansara, The Curve shopping mall, Cathay Multi Screen Cinemas and 1 Utama, another shopping mall is situated less than one kilometer away.Just south of the Twin Towers is the Kuala Lumpur Tower (orMenara KL Tower), which is situated on top of Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), a forest reserve right in the heart of the city. Views from the Tower are far superior to those from the Petronas Towers, though it is not a particularly easy place to reach by public transport. The Golden Triangle is also a nightlife district. Trendy nightclubs, bars and lounges, such as Hard Rock Cafe, Zouk, Thai Club, Beach Club (voted Best Bar in Asia), Luna Bar, Rum Jungle, Nuovo, Espanda and many others are located within and around Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang.
Despite the onslaught of malls, KL still offers some Asian tradition with traditional shopping streets and markets. The best area for such shopping is Chinatown (or Petaling Street) in the City Center. This district is also the best place to hunt for souvenirs, especially in its Central Market, a former produce market which has been converted into an art and craft market.
Kuala Lumpur boasts of a wide range of accommodation at competitive prices from international luxury hotels, medium and budget hotels, youth hostels, to timeshare apartments. Hotels are air-conditioned and complemented by restaurants and pubs. Kuala Lumpur has a deserved reputation as one of the world’s cheapest places to experience five-star luxury hotels, Most of Kuala Lumpur ’s best hotels are located in the Golden Triangle, smack in the middle of all the shopping, dining and entertainment that you will need during your visit to Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur ’s budget accommodation is mostly found in Chinatown in the City Centre where a bed for the night can be as little as RM10. Increasingly, more are opening in the Bukit Bintang and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman / Chow Kit and Jalan Ipoh / Jalan Pudu ( which is just opposite PUDURAYA ) areas which are near the Golden Triangle, where prices are slightly higher than in Chinatown but you’ll be next to Kuala Lumpur’s entertainment, shopping and dining centre. The places also tend to be more spacious and cozy.
By air, the main airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which is also the aviation hub of Malaysia, is located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of city. KLIA can be reached using the KLIA Ekspres high-speed train service from KL Sentral which takes only twenty-eight minutes, while traveling by car via highway will take about an hour.
Public transport in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the Klang Valley covers a variety of transport modes such as bus, rail and taxi. The rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur consists of three separate rail systems which meet in the city and extends towards other parts of Klang Valley. The rail systems are RapidKL RAIL, KL Monorail, and KTM Komuter. These lines have either underground or elevated stations around the city. The main rapid transit hub is KL Sentral which facilitates as an interchange station for the rail systems. It provides rail services to as far as Singapore in the south, and Hat Yai, Thailand, in the north.