Hit th­ese six sights when you’re on a tight time frame

Beau­ti­ful but­ter­flies and sleek sky­line bars are the or­der of the day in Malaysia’s vi­brant cap­i­tal

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS - WORDS KATE FARR AND RACHEL READ

1 Per­dana Botan­i­cal Gar­den

Per­fect for shak­ing off the cob­webs af­ter a slew of morn­ing meet­ings, Kuala Lumpur’s old­est pub­lic park (1888) of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to lose your­self amongst trop­i­cal flora and fauna. Wan­der the Hi­bis­cus Gar­den and Her­bar­ium, pass­ing the cen­tral en­clo­sure where a herd of deer roam freely. From there, it’s a short walk through Per­dana’s lush gar­dens to the Bird Park, a pub­lic aviary con­tain­ing more than 3,000 birds, with peace­ful cof­fee breaks avail­able on the Horn­bill Café’s ve­randa.

Al­ter­na­tively, head over to the fa­mous But­ter­fly Park, a tran­quil spot where vividly coloured in­sects live in har­mony with Ja­panese koi and fresh­wa­ter tur­tles within a lush land­scaped plan­ta­tion. kl­b­otan­i­cal­gar­den.gov. my; kl­bird­park.com (open 9am-6pm daily; ad­mis­sion RM67/US$16); kl­but­terf ly­park.com (open 9am6pm daily; ad­mis­sion RM24/US$5.8)

2 Masjid Ne­gara, Na­tional Mosque of Malaysia

Leav­ing the Botan­i­cal Gar­den, con­tinue along Jalan Lem­bah un­til you come to the Masjid Ne­gara, on your left. Opened in 1965 and since re­stored in con­tem­po­rary style, this im­pos­ing build­ing has ca­pac­ity for around 15,000 wor­ship­pers. Known for its green-and-blue tiled roof and 73-me­tre-tall minaret, the coun­try’s na­tional mosque is also no­table for its 18-point star-shaped dome, rep­re­sent­ing all 13 of Malaysia’s states plus the five pil­lars of Is­lam. Its size­able prayer hall is adorned with in­tri­cate tiled mo­saics, as well as colour­ful stained-glass win­dows and elab­o­rate chan­de­liers. The mosque wel­comes non-Mus­lims out­side of prayer times, and robes and head­scarves are avail­able to bor­row. masjid­ne­gara.gov.my

3 Cen­tral Mar­ket and Sin Sze Si Ya Tem­ple

Cross­ing Jalan Kin­a­balu and the Klang River, ten min­utes’ walk brings you to the art-deco Cen­tral Mar­ket, a recog­nised her­itage site. Built in 1928, this for­mer wet mar­ket was rein­vented as a hub for ar­ti­sans and crafts­men in the 1980s, and to­day is a ma­jor in­de­pen­dent shop­ping hub. Of­fer­ing tra­di­tional sou­venirs such as batik and dec­o­ra­tive carv­ings, along­side orig­i­nal Malaysian art­works and hand­made jew­ellery, there’s some­thing here for ev­ery taste and bud­get. The mar­ket’s first floor is the ideal spot to sam­ple Malay snacks, in­clud­ing the de­li­cious putu bambu, made from rice flour, pan­dan and co­conut, steamed in a hol­lowed-out bam­boo stem. A short dis­tance far­ther along Le­buh Pudu is the Sin Sze Si Ya Tem­ple. Built in 1864, this is the old­est Taoist tem­ple in KL. cen­tral­mar­ket.com.my

4 Aquaria KLCC and Petronas Twin Tow­ers

A 15-minute taxi ride via Jalan Raja Chu­lan and Jalan P Ram­lee brings you to the Golden Tri­an­gle, the beat­ing heart of KL. Here you’ll find Aquaria KLCC, one of South­east Asia’s largest aquar­i­ums, with more than 5,000 aquatic crea­tures from gi­ant sea tur­tles and sand tiger sharks to pot-bel­lied sea­horses and Asian small-clawed ot­ters. Tak­ing you through var­i­ous fas­ci­nat­ing un­der­wa­ter habi­tats, the high­light is a 90-me­tre glass tun­nel with a mov­ing cen­tral walk­way, where you’ll find your­self sur­rounded by ma­rine life on all sides. Check the web­site in ad­vance to sched­ule your visit in time for one of the aquar­ium’s in­ter­ac­tive feed­ing ses­sions.

A short walk away you can snap some stun­ning cityscape pho­tos from the 452-me­tre-tall Petronas Twin Tow­ers – the city’s most iconic land­mark. By­pass the queues by pur­chas­ing ad­vance tick­ets on­line for the build­ing’s fa­mous Sky­bridge or Ob­ser­va­tion Deck. aquar­i­aklcc.

com (open 10am-8pm daily; RM65/ US$15.7); petronast­win­tow­ers.

com.my (open 9am-9pm Tue-Sun, closed Mon­days and 1-2.30pm on Fri­days; RM80/US$19).

5 Heli Lounge Bar

Grab a cab for the ten-minute drive along Jalan Am­pang to Heli Lounge Bar, where you can sink back some well-earned sun­down­ers ac­com­pa­nied by se­ri­ously im­pres­sive views. The clue to this place’s USP is in its name; whilst the venue fea­tures a slick avi­a­tion-themed bar on the 34th floor, it’s the 37th floor where the real ac­tion is – a work­ing he­li­pad that turns into KL’s coolest rooftop lounge at night, com­plete with ex­tra­or­di­nary 360-de­gree city vis­tas. Sun­sets here are ev­ery bit as breath­tak­ing as you’d imag­ine, even more so with a cock­tail in hand. The he­li­pad opens at 6pm; face­book.com/helilounge­bar

6 Bi­jan

A 15-minute walk (or five-minute taxi ride) will bring you to Bi­jan on Jalan Cey­lon. This award-win­ning restau­rant serves up tra­di­tional Malaysian cui­sine sprin­kled with per­fectly judged con­tem­po­rary touches, all in a charm­ingly rus­tic set­ting – think batikprint wall hang­ings, wooden fur­ni­ture and a breezy out­door ter­race should you fancy din­ing un­der the stars. Must-or­ders in­clude opor rusuk, a meltin-the-mouth slow-cooked beef rib curry; pu­cuk paku goreng tahi minyak, aro­matic wild fern stir-fried with chilli, caramelised co­conut and prawns; and a de­li­ciously deca­dent durian choco­late cake. Given Bi­jan’s rea­son­able prices, there’s no ex­cuse not to or­der up a feast for your last KL pit­stop. Open 4.3011pm daily; bi­jan­restau­rant.com

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