After visiting Bali, my next stop was Kuala Lumpur. I loved the fact that KL is extremely culturally diverse. It was fascinating to walk around the streets and seeing Muslim mosques, Chinese and Hindu temples as well as hearing Malay, Chinese and English languages all blending together. What I truly like about KL is a sense of community and that people whose traditions, customs, religions are so different live closely and peacefully together (which is so important nowadays).
I can honestly say I have done a fair amount of sightseeing around KL, covering the spots I wanted to see. I then went to Malacca, which I absolutely loved and after that I initially planned to go hiking in Cameron Highlands. However, due to time constraints, I unfortunately had to remove Cameron Highlands from the list, which now gives me a perfect excuse to go back to Malaysia one day! I have summarised my KL experience below and listed most of the places that I visited and can wholeheartedly recommend.
1. China Town (Petaling Street)
That one is obvious – since I study Chinese, Chinatowns are my first-to-check-out places anywhere I go! I personally think they are different all around the world. For instance, food will never be 100% Chinese in appearance and taste and will usually have some influences of the country where it is sold. That’s why I love visiting Chinatowns, trying new food and experiencing Chinese culture in other countries than China. Malaysia has a huge population of Chinese people and Chinatown is immensely popular both among tourists and locals. I stayed in a hostel located only 3 minutes from Chinatown so it was easy for me to go there first. Apart from restaurants, there are lots of stalls where you can get everything you can imagine and it is acceptable to haggle over the price.
2. Petronas Towers
Petronas towers are to Kuala Lumpur to what the Bund is to Shanghai. They are the highest twin towers in the world and ultimately pride themselves in being the most famous landmarks of KL. A must-visit, especially at night as the towers are illuminated.
3. KLCC Lake Symphony Water Fountain Show
There are fountains not far from Petronas Twin Towers and, every evening, people gather to enjoy the show. Surprisingly, the area around the fountains was not crowded when I went there and the show itself was amazing. As far as I remember, the shows run daily around 8pm and they are free to attend. Not to be missed!
KL has a plethora of markets. Markets are flooded with clothes, electrical goods, arts & crafts and what have you. I can’t say much about them as I didn’t do any shopping during my backpacking trip but the ones that were recommended to me by a local were Jalan Petaling market in Chinatown and Central Market. Usually, markets are open day and night. They also sell food, which you definitely need to try – Kuala Lumpur offers a blend of Indian, Malaysian, and Chinese cuisine as well as some Western food, and you definitely won’t be disappointed!
5. Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square is historically important; it is the place where, in 1957, the Union Jack flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag raised for the first time. It is a nice place for a quick walk around and there is also a garden by the side.
6. ‘Upside down house’
As the name suggests, ‘Upside Down House’ is basically a house, where everything has been arranged upside down. Probably a fun activity to go with children, although I am 21 and I went anyway! I enjoyed it, although I would not say it is a must-see attraction in Kuala Lumpur.
7. Temples and mosques
There are a lot of them and they form such a huge part of the culture that it is certainly worth visiting at least one. Dress modestly. Usually, some clothing to cover arms and legs will be provided free of charge. In some places, you are not allowed to wear shoes so you have to walk around with bare feet.