7 minutes reading time Malaysia
Let yourself be wowed by one of Malaysia’s most vibrant city, Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is home to nearly two million people, and each of those individuals bring a unique feeling to the hustle and bustle of this city. Enjoy Malaysia’s mouth-watering food scene or browse through a mixture of temples, pagodas, and mosques. You’ll definitely find what you’re looking for in one of Kuala Lumpur’s markets.
The fascinating Batu Caves are an easy day trip from big city Kuala Lumpur. Witness the tallest statute in Malayasia of Lord Murugan, a god in the Hindu theology, at 42.7 metres high (or 140 feet), outside of the caves. The golden god is one of the most popular and most visited Hindu spots outside of India, and it is understandable as to why.
As you gaze at the towering statue in wonder, be wary of the surrounding monkeys. The Batu Caves are filled with cheeky monkeys seeking food from tourists. You’ll be able to see monkeys of all sizes, including baby monkeys following their mothers or approaching tourists for fresh fruit.
Come prepared with a water bottle or two before climbing the two hundred and seventy-two steps leading to the cave entrance. Imagine it as part of your pilgrimage to the cave, where you are blessed with an amazing view of the nearby town. Be sure to cover your shoulders and legs with a wrap or two. If you don’t have one on hand, don’t worry – lovely workers will help you tie a colourful scarf around your body in case you forgot. Drop it off whenever you leave the cave.
The Batu Cave is just as beautiful inside as it is outside. Witness different shrines dedicated to the Hindu religion and enjoy all the colourful sculptures in teal, turquoise, gold, and pink.
The Twin Petronas Towers once claimed the title of tallest buildings in the world between 1998 and 2004, and tall they are. You can see the towers from various points throughout Kuala Lumpur, but they are most impressive when you’re a little closer. Surrounded by beautiful fountains and pools, some would argue that the best time to see the Petronas Towers is during sunset. Not only will the temperature be a little cooler, but you will be able to see a spectacular light show at this famous landmark. Eighty-eight floors make the Petronas Towers, but you can only go as high as the fortieth. The Towers are open Tuesday to Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm at 56 RM for adults, 24 RM for children, and 29 RM for seniors. However, the true beauty of the towers is surely taking in the awesome height from the outside.
Browse the Markets
Petaling Street Market within Chinatown Lumpur is probably the most well-known market in Kuala Lumpur. Browse tons of stalls and haggle with vendors to get cheap knock-off goods like clothing and accessories, or purchase loads of fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers. While the products aren’t legitimate, you can still discover some quirky souvenirs for friends and family. This market began in the 19th century and is easily found by red Chinese-style lanterns dangling above the grand entranceway.
Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang, or Imbi Market, is another market worth going to. While Petaling caters to tourists, Imbi Market in Kuala Lumpur is filled with locals. Rise early in the morning when this market starts at 6:30 am to view the vendors and try the tasty Malaysian fare until noon. This wet indoor market is loaded with local produce, butchered meat, and herbs and spices. Food stalls are vast at Imbi Market, and people swear by the Hainan Tea Stall for breakfast. Well-liked by tourists and locals, this stall serves still-warm buns topped with delectable coconut jam and steaming hot coffee for the perfect pick-me-up.
National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)
Malaysia’s National Mosque, or Masjid Negara, is an enormous, 13-acre-wide place of prayer and events for Kuala Lumpur’s citizens. This gorgeous mosque is topped by unique star-shaped domes with thirteen points representing Malaysia’s states and five for the five pillars of Islam. Around the mosque are dazzling pools, fountains, and lush, green gardens. Wear appropriate clothing to show your respect for the Islamic faith by covering your shoulders, chest, and legs. Robes and scarves are available to borrow if you happened to forget your religious-friendly wear.
Thean Hou Temple
This magnificent temple, situated in Kuala Lumpur, is named after the Queen of Heaven Thean Hou and was built by Hainanese (Chinese) worshippers in Malaysia. This Buddhist temple sits on a hill overlooking the city and you can see its primary colour of an orange-red from far away punctuated with blue, green, and yellow. Open from 9 am to 6 pm, walk through the tranquil Thean Hou Temple to see a tortoise pond, Boddhi tree, and medicinal herb garden. Made of six tiers, you could browse the temple for a full hour and feel impressed the entire time.
Dataran Merdeka / Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square, or Dataran Merdeka in Malay, consists of a large field and a few well-distinguished Kuala Lumpur landmarks. Have a morning or evening stroll and sit down on the grass to enjoy some delicious Malaysian food picnic-style. From there, find the large “I Love KL” sign for an obligatory photo outside the textile museum. Various events, such as the National Day Parade, take place in Merdeka Square. Across from the square is the long and elegant Sultan Abdul Samad building.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
The Sultan Abdul Samad Building, located across from Dataran Merdeka, was built in the late 19th century and has been captivating visitors and locals every since. Tourists can enjoy walking along this stunning monument and capturing a photo of its 41.2 metres-high (135 feet) clock tower. You can see the heavy influence of the Moors’ Muslim society in the architecture along with a hint of British impact from Malaysia’s colonial rule. The colouring of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a mix of sand and rose-gold, inspiring a dream-like essence of the Muslim religion.
Take a Bite Out of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has an important blend of citizens from different cultures creating an epic food scene you should not miss. You absolutely must try Nasi Lemak, Malaysia’s national dish made of fluffy coconut rice, shrimp paste, anchovies, peanut, and egg. You can get your order with fried chicken or pork for extra flavour (not that you will need it).
Indian food tends to be the cheapest eats within Kuala Lumpur, and you got a lot of bang for your buck with Banana Leaf Curry. Served on a banana leaf instead of a plate, you can eat perfectly-cooked rice with an option of various curries to slather over your leaf with a side of crispy papadum. If you’re digging the crispy theme, Roti Canai is another delicious dish served alongside a curry of your choice, and you can even have it filled with whatever’s on the menu. Browse through Little India for the most authentic Indian food. Even if you’re not vegetarian, you’ll probably fall in love with Gandhi’s restaurant. All the food is vegetarian and incredibly affordable, and you’re likely to be one of the only tourists in the joint.
Islam is the official religion in Kuala Lumpur and throughout Malaysia’s two islands. However, a fair percentage of Malaysians identify as Buddhists and Hindus. One of Kuala Lumpur’s most magical properties is the array of colour and beauty these three religions portray as you walk through Kuala Lumpur’s city streets. All in the same day, you can visit a Buddhist pagoda, a Hindu temple, or a Muslim mosque.
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