Kuala Lumpur Sightseeing

27Dec09

Sightseeing Overview

The city’s traffic system can still be a logistical nightmare for congested rush hour commuters, but it is increasingly handy for tourists with a number of rail and monorail options in the city centre that make navigating the sprawling city much easier. The real pleasure, though, is walking around, savouring the sights and sounds of this colourful city.

The heart of Kuala Lumpur is around Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and this open space makes a good starting point for a city tour. The Royal Selangor Club sits on the square and is an excellent example of colonial architecture, while the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (the seat of the high and supreme courts) is an intriguing mix of Victorian and Moorish architecture.

Elsewhere around the city, in striking contrast to the British-built architecture, are the stunning Masjid Negara (National Mosque) and Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque). The ornate Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is something of a hybrid of the two, looking more like a dreamy Moorish palace than a transport hub. These days, it no longer functions as an important railway station, giving it a lost, old world feel that definitely merits a visit.

Those looking to get an insight into the layout of the city should ascend to either the observation level of the Petronas Towers or the viewing platform at the Menara Observation Tower. The latter is a better option as it gives 360-degree views that include the Petronas Towers from its hilltop position. Menara also has a restaurant, a cafe and a small museum.

KL’s harmonious ethnic diversity is one of its greatest charms and a visit to the divergent areas of the city is essential. Chinatown, with its traditional shops and lively night market, Little India and the art deco Central Market, which showcases cultural displays and Malaysian arts and crafts, all shed light on their respective communities.

The main attractions in the Golden Triangle business, hotel and shopping district are the towering Petronas Towers themselves, the KLCC Park, the fashionable and vibrant Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail.

An unlikely newcomer on the tourist route is the western suburb of Bangsar Baru. Located a short journey from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station, the pavement cafes of Bangsar are popular with visitors and locals alike and are increasingly becoming the place to see and be seen.

Further out from the city, you can visit the new administrative city of Putrajaya and the hi-tech city of Cyberjaya can be visited on day tours, offering a fascinating insight into town planning on a grand scale.

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