We spent the first few days of our Malaysia trip in Kuala Lumpur, and our last two days too. We saw the main tourist attractions by taking the city’s only Hop-On Hop-off bus tour (or HoHo bus as I like to call it). We also used the Monorail and walked a lot trying to get a feel for the place. The HoHo bus was not one of the best I’d ever been on. It was not punctual and the stops were hard to find as they were not well-marked. We couldn’t buy the tickets online and we walked around in circles for hours on our first day trying to find a place to buy them. But it was still a reasonably priced way of seeing the city.
It took us to the Istana Negara (National Palace), Petronas Towers (the tallest twin towers in the world), KL Lake Gardens (which incorporate a Deer Park, Butterfly Park, Bird Park and flower gardens), Chinatown, the National Mosque and several shopping stops amongst others. We decided to skip the museums as we didn’t have much time and they would have probably bored the children. The children seemed to be quite popular with other tourists who would come up to us and ask if they could take photos with them. They were happy to oblige.
Bukit Bintang is Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping area and is a shopper’s paradise. It has an abundance of upmarket glitzy malls with designer labels and their own unique attractions. It is also a great place to stay in terms of location. I was amazed to find that the Berjaya Times Square shopping centre had its own indoor theme park complete with a roller coaster. I’d never seen something like that before. There was also a lot of bargain shopping - indoor and outdoor. I bought a beautiful top for the equivalent of R30 in one of the malls.
Street markets like Petaling Street in Chinatown as well as in the Masjid India areas are a bargain-hunter’s paradise and replicas of almost every designer brand are readily available although you may have to really bargain hard to get a great price. The rule of thumb is, the less you look like a foreigner, the better the price you will get. Petaling Street is open during the day but really comes alive at night. The street markets are a great place to taste local delicacies like the Bamboo dessert.
The Petronas Towers are KL’s main attraction. They were once the world’s tallest buildings but are now still the world’s tallest twin buildings and are 88 stories high. The base of the Twin Towers is taken up by Suria KLCC, another popular upmarket shopping mall. One can go up to the skybridge which joins the two towers for amazing views of the city but only a limited number of passes are issued every day and so we missed out. Suria KLCC houses the Petrosains Science Centre, an interactive science discovery centre and the Aquaria KLCC which is said to be largest aquarium in the world.
What many people don’t know is that you can get a better view of the city from the Menara KL Tower, which is the world’ s fifth tallest telecommunications tower. The viewing desk is about 100 metres higher than the Petronas Twin Towers’ Skybridge and it houses a revolving restaurant Atmosphere 360 where you can eat while admiring the city’s best views.
Apart from the many things to do in Kuala Lumpur , there are many popular day trips which are out of Kuala Lumpur but not too far. Genting Highlands, a hill resort with indoor and outdoor theme park is one of them. It is also where the people of KL go to escape from the searing heat of the city as the air is much cooler here. Another day trip is to Putrajaya, Malaysia's beautiful administrative centre with several attractions of its own.
Kuala Lumpur was a friendly and welcoming city. I felt so comfortable that I could see myself living there. Have you been there? What are your favourite things to do in Kuala Lumpur ?
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