Kuala Lumpur (tours from Port Kelang), Malaysia cruises
Your guide to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia’s dynamic capital is a melting pot of skyscrapers, Islamic architecture and British Colonial buildings offering a futuristic cityscape with an enduring nod to yesteryear. Home to some of Asia’s most opulent shopping malls, Kuala Lumpur’s skyline is dominated by the famous Petronas and Menara Kuala Lumpur Towers, while the hip Bukit Bintang district pulses with lively markets and street food vendors. Peruse over 7000 historic artefacts at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, set within the tropical grounds of Perdana Botanical Garden, or marvel at the intricacy of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. Beyond the city you’ll find the legendary Batu Caves, the most visited Hindu shrine outside of India.
Kuala Lumpur is a sprawling but well-connected city with trains, buses and monorails to help you move quickly between the main sights of interest. Most tourists make a beeline for the 86th-floor viewing deck of the Petronas Towers, but if you’re happy to see the city at ground level there’s a wealth to take in. Start at Merdeka Square for the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The centrally-located KLCC Park is a lovely green space amidst the glass and steel skyscrapers, while the larger Perdana Botanical Garden (next to the National Mosque) is a haven from the city’s fast pace, where resident monkeys playfully swing between trees.
Eating & drinking.
Deciding where to eat out in Kuala Lumpur isn’t simply a case of what you want to eat, but how you want to eat it. The city offers an eclectic blend of dining experiences from restaurants offering the height of gastronomy to street vendors and Hawker centres (open-air food courts). While the latter may sound akin to eating in a shopping mall, the experience couldn’t be further removed. Hawker Centres are common throughout Asia and offer a communal dining experience, anchored around small independent eateries. It’s a fundamentally Asian way of enjoying a meal - one that everyone should try at least once.
If there’s one thing above all else that Kuala Lumpur is known for, it’s shopping. Truth be told you’ll hardly turn a corner without encountering a gleaming mega mall in this part of Malaysia (it is the capital after all). You’ll find high-end fashion brands, high street stalwarts and native Asian labels all sharing square footage in many of KL’s uber-stylish shopping centres. They’re well worth exploring, but Kuala Lumpur’s retail scene extends beyond the sterilised and squeaky clean. The city’s Central Market is a great place to source a unique handicraft with a more authentic feel, while Chinatown’s Petaling Street is crammed full of characterful shopping stalls.
Beyond Kuala Lumpur.
One of the most popular tourist attractions to visit from Kuala Lumpur is the sacred Hindu site of the Batu Caves. Just a 40-minute train ride north of the city, these ancient caves are carved into a limestone cliff and represent the most popular Hindu shrine outside of India. They attract hundreds of thousands of worshippers during the festival of Thaipusam (usually the end of January) when worshippers gather in the holy Cathedral Cave to pay their respects. Outside you’ll see a colossal 42.7-metre high statue of Lord Murugan, while there’s a 272-step climb to enter the main cave’s chamber, so comfortable footwear is a necessity.