Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Top 5 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

Continuing my series of travel posts after my Top 10 things to do in South East Asia, I thought I would write about my top things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On our trip through South East Asia, KL was a must stop as I have family who live in the capital. Having a free tour guide in the form of my Uncle was great as we saved a lot of time finding things to do and knowing which activities were worth doing.

Like the other big cities in the area like Singapore and Hong Kong, KL is a bustling city but a lot of the infrastructure is being improved at the moment which lead to some long tail-backs in the car when trying to get about.

What language is spoken there?
Malay. It's not too difficult to find someone who speaks English though. 

What is the currency?
Malaysian Ringgit. At the moment, it's just less than 6 Ringgit to the pound

How do I get around?
Getting around is probably easiest with Taxis or the Malaysian version of the underground MRT (which is really cheap). We were lucky knowing someone to drive us around most of the time! 

Local culture
In Malaysia there are 3 main cultural groups: Malay, Chinese and Indian. In KL there is both an Indian hub and a China town. Despite what you may hear in the national media, there still is segregation between each culture and being Malay is highly favoured if you want a government job.

So there are the top 5 things I think you should do if you're heading out to Malaysian capital!


1. KL City Centre (KLCC)

In the main business district of KL, the famous Petronas twin towers (which were once the tallest buildings in the world) dominates the skyline.

The shopping mall attached is a good place to pick up some goods and it's huge so you could definitely spend a day there without feeling you've got around the whole place! There's also a park behind the towers which is a nice place to sit and soak up the sun with the impressive back drop of those towers. 

It's quite difficult to get tickets to go up to the bridge that connects the two towers and you will need to get up early to get in the queue!

Posing outside the Petronas Towers

2. KL Tower

This old satellite tower actually has a view which is higher than the viewing platform at the Petronas Towers - it's actually the 7th tallest building in the world.

You get a fantastic 360 degree view of the city and can use the binoculars around the tower to get a closer look.

There is also a revolving restaurant and outdoor viewing platform - you will have to pay more for these, as well as an aquarium and other outdoor activities surrounding the tower.

A view of the twin towers from the KL tower


3. Kuala Selangor

A hour or so drive out from KL is this small fishing village on the River Selangor.

You can hire boats and go see the famous fire flies (Kampung Kuantan), but the main attraction here is the food. The fish restaurants here serve amazing seafood which you pick out from the tanks if you wish, and the restaurants themselves project out on stilts into the river itself.

We were there are sunset and the view across the river was magical!

Sunset over the Selangor river

4. Batu Caves

These Hindu caves on the edge of the city are a hot spot for tourists, if you can handle the stairs!

Batu is Malay actually means rock, and at the top of the x stairs there is a Hindu temple which is the most popular Hindu attraction outside of India. There are other relics surrounding the caves, but the aspect you need to be careful of are not the 272 steps or the heights; beware of the monkeys!

These Macaque monkeys are very cheeky and bold - we saw one pinch a bottle of coke right out of a man's pocket! Do not feed them, but they are very willing to pose for photos!

As well as the temple you can actually enter the pitch black caves for a guided tour and there is also a museum at the bottom which has a reptile house, dancers performing regularly (they'll try to get you involved too) and a exhibition of Hindu Gods.



5. Royal Selangor

In the past, Malaysia's main export was Pewter. On the outskirts of the city, there is a Visitor Centre where you can learn about the importance of pewter in Malaysia's history, have a go at finishing a pewter tankard and wander through the main factory to see how their products are made.

The centre also runs workshops where you can make your own jewellery! I would never have considered seeing this attraction before my trip, but my Uncle recommended it and of course at the end of the tour we spent a while browsing the gift shop. 

Centuries ago when there was no official currency in the country, the way that goods were exchanged was with the exchange of different weights of pewter either in the shape of animals or as a money tree (which is seen as a good luck charm now). We found this so cool that we bought replica of a little crocodile which was used for such purposes as well as a turtle as a gift for a friend. 


Posing with the largest pewter tankard in the world!



Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Is there anything else you'd recommend people do when out there? Please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!



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