Kuala Lumpur & Malaysia Attractions

By: Wolfgang Jaegel

Kuala Lumpur is the capital as well as the largest city in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is fondly known, is located in a valley enclosed by jagged hills, on the west coast of the Peninsular Malaysia. Occupying an area of about 250 square kilometers, Kuala Lumpur is an enclave in Selangor - a state of Malaysia, and is one among the three Malaysian Federal Territories, others being Putrajaya and Labuan.

A mining settlement during the late 1800s, Kuala Lumpur has now become a bustling metropolis, and serves not only as the capital but also the cultural as well as legislative center, since it is the seat of the parliament of the country. In addition, the city leads the country's fast-paced growth in sectors such as finance and banking, trade and commerce, manufacturing, transportation, tourism, and information technology.

When comes to attractions, Kuala Lumpur has aplenty to offer. Among which, not to miss ten attractions in the city are:

Merdeka Square - Also known as Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square, Merdeka Square stands as the old colonial core of the city. The focal point of Merdeka Square is the flagpole of 328ft, which is the tallest of its kind in the world. It is also the place where the Malayan flag was hoisted for the first time during the midnight on August 31, 1957 when Malaysia attained independence. Highlights in Merdeka Square also include the National History Museum, Royal Selangor Club, and Sultan Abdul Samad Building, reflecting Moorish architectural style.

Petronas Towers - Probably, the greatest among the attractions of the city is the Petronas Twin Tower, which is truly a modern architectural splendor. They are one of the tallest in the world, and consist of 88 floors. Both the towers are joined at its 41st and 42nd floor by a sky bridge. Entry to the tower is free. Found within the buildings are concert and conference halls, prayer room for Muslims, and a museum of the Petronas Oil Company. Further, at the foot of this 452 meters tall building is Suria KLCC, a trendy shopping mall selling branded items, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Petrosains Discovery Center.

Batu Caves - Situated about 12 km north of the city, Batu Caves are a must-see attraction. A sacred spot for Hindus - Batu Caves include three main caves, apart from several small caves. Of the caves here, the biggest as well as the most popular is the Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, which as the name suggests, has a myriad of shrines, Sri Subramania Swamy Temple being the significant. Further, the area is thronged by a large number of devotees during the annual event, Thaipusam, which falls in every January.

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station - Erected in 1910, Kuala Lumpur is a magnificent Moorish-style building built during the period of British rule. Its minarets, arches, and spires are truly incredible.

Masjid Jamek - Otherwise known as Friday Mosque, Masjid Jamek is a historic structure located at the confluence of the Sungei Klang and the Sungei Gombak rivers. Designed by Arthur Benison Hubback and opened in 1909 - it is a tranquil area set among shady palm trees.

Masjid Negara - Masjid Negara or National Mosque is the largest mosque in South-east Asia. Completed in 1965, the main prayer hall within the mosque can accommodate up to 10000 people. The centerpiece of the mosque is the splendid 18-point dome resembling a star. Each of the points represents 13 states of the country as well as the five pillars of the Islam.

Chinatown - A stroll along the vibrant area of Chinatown would be a great experience, and allows you to come through a variety of temples, vendors selling traditional medicines, and several pet shops.

Taman Negara - A visit to the city would not be complete without taking a tour to Taman Negara or National Park, boasting of some of the world's oldest rainforest. The area is especially noted for its diverse flora and fauna. A great way to explore the area via a trekking along the trails found here. Apart from this, the park also has excellent options for activities like climbing, river rafting, fishing, and bird watching. Also, a unique thing is that some of the areas within the Taman Negara are inhabited by nomadic Orang Asli people.

Lake Gardens - Sprawling over an area of about 200 acres, Lake Gardens is a beautiful tourist spot developed more than 100 years ago. Attractions found here, among many others, are the Orchid and Hibiscus Gardens, the Butterfly Park, and the Bird Park.

National Science Center - This is an exceptional spot with a number of galleries exhibiting important as well as interesting items.

A blend of old and new worlds, Kuala Lumpur's attractions also covers a number of interesting museums such as the National Museum, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial, the Police Museum, the KL Natural History Museum, and the Islamic Art Museum. Above all, KL is a shoppers' paradise, with an array of shopping malls selling everything from electronic and apparels to antique and handicraft items.

The growing number of tourists to the city has led to tremendous increase in the number of high-end hotels and resorts. Since many of them have their own websites, this allows for easy bookings of hotels online.

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