[Petronas Towers - photo: Krystel van Wijnen] The name "Kuala Lumpur" means "muddy river" and was given to the city by the miners, who made a settlement around 1860.
The miners and merchants were in search of pewter and built their houses on the banks of the Gombak river and the Klang river. That's where both rivers meet. Nowadays the famous Jame Mosque is situated onthis place.
This metropolis in Malaysia has about 2 million inhabitants and has many modern buildings.
Travellers, like me, only stay for a few days in the city. So I will restrict myself to the highlights, because I can't be complete.
Every time when I return to Kuala Lumpur, I discover a new spot, which is worth a visit. There are many good hotels in Kuala Lumpur. I won't trouble you about the number of stars they have. You can easily find that in any hotel guide.
It is ,however, important that the hotel is situated in the Golden Triangle of the city. Then you're close to the shopping centres of Sungei Wang, Bukit Bintang, Lot 10 and Imbi Plaza. And you're within walking distance of the famous Petronas Towers (the highest building in the world) with its shopping centre Suria.
Mostly I visit the highlights in the morning. It's quiet then and not so hot. If you think it's too hot: take a taxi!
Some hotels in the Golden Triangle are: Swiss Garden, Corona Inn, Hotel Nova, Emerald, Royal Bintang, Federal, Bintang Warisan, Radius, Capitol, Agora, Fortuna, Melia, Berjaya Times Square, Grand Plaza Park Royal, The Coronade, Istana, The Lodge, Equatorial, Mutiara, The Millennium Hotel, JW Marriott, The Westin KL, Dorsett Regency, Ritz Carlton, Holiday Inn, Concorde.
Notice: this list is not complete.
Frequently asked question: What should I visit in KL?
Morning: When you fly with Malaysian Airlines you'll probably arrive at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) early in the morning. This is an ultra modern airport, that looks like a space-station. The trip by car to Kuala Lumpur takes approximately 1Ĺ hours. This may look like a long time, but the surroundings are so impressive, that you won't notice the long ride.
You'll arrive in your hotel around 9 o'clock. It's likely that your hotel room is already available, if not you'll have to wait till noon.
After you've unpacked, you can do two things:
1) sleep for a few hours in your room or....
2) go to the swimming-pool and have a nap in shadow. (Attention: don't forgetyour suntan lotion!)
Late afternoon: Discover the neighbourhood of your hotel. If you're hotel is in the Golden Triangle, you can go to the shopping complex of the Pavilion or Sungei Wang. There you can discover what's for sale in Malaysia.
Are you a computer freak? Then go to the Imbi Plaza. It's not a big complex, but there are 3 levels with computer equipment and software. Imbi Plaza is next to Sungei Wang.
Evening: Take a taxi around 18.30 to Petaling Street. Petaling Street is in China Town (click). Here you can visit all the little stalls, which they have placed in the middle of the street. Almost everything is for sale here: video-tapes, cd's, copy watches (Rolex, Gucci, Cartier, Breitling etc.), t-shirts (Nike, Reebok, Billabong, Quicksilver etc.), dvd's, socks, belts, bags, purses and much more. Don't forget to bargain about the price!
And of course you can have dinner in China Town. Don't be choosy. Every hawker stall is okay. Don't be afraid to eat here.
Mineral water is for sale in every shop. Buy Malaysian water and not the expensive imported French water, like Evian or Perrier. You can drink the water from the tap, but it's not so tasty. It tastes of chlorine.
Morning: Take a taxi to the Batu Caves (click), but don't hesitate to take the local bus. It's cheap and it is a nice experience.
At the Batu caves it's a pretty heavy climb upwards. Exactly 272 treads. Going downwards, you'll be greeted by a lot of monkeys. The climb is heavy, maybe you have to rest halfway, but the view upstairs is spectacular.
Afternoon: Visit the telecommunication tower, named KL-tower (click). Here you have a wonderful view over the city. The KL-tower is 421 meter high and because it's built on a hill, it's higher than the Petronas Towers.
Evening: If you havenít eaten at a hawker stall yet, you must try it this evening (Jalan Alor). Visit your favourite shopping mall or go the Petaling street.
Another way to discover Kuala Lumpur is by bike. You'll see all the highlights of the city. Have a look at this little movie: