She may be Southeast Asia’s youngest capital, but Kuala Lumpur’s fabulously mixed heritage means you’re in for a riot of culture, colour, fashion and art, with mosque minarets, as well as Hindu and Buddhist temples nestling among the modern skyline and tropical vegetation. Just be sure to pack a hearty and adventurous appetite – KL’s dining scene is a manifold delight of scents and spices.
The CBD encompasses the area around the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. A hop away, malls sizzle in Bukit Bintang and vendors bustle in Chinatown. To the east, beyond humming Jalan Tun Razak, lies the historic suburb Ampang housing expats and embassies. To the southwest sits Bangsar, a popular spot for shopping and eats, all but a skip from colourful nabe Brickfields and jet-set hub KL Sentral.
There’s one prevailing weather type here: hot and humid. Pack/dress light unless you like a moist moment KL International Airport (KLIA) to centre: 28 mins / RM35 by KLIA Ekspres train; 60 mins / RM75-200 by cab Malaysia enjoys an enviable number of public hols and celebrations: Thaipusam (Jan/Feb); Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb); Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (summer months); and Deepavali (Nov), to name a few Malaysians are multilinguists (Malay, Hindi, Tamil, Mandarin, Cantonese), but English will do just fine Traffic: rush hour deadlock can seriously impact your plans, so always allow extra time; Friday traffic is snarly due to compulsory lunchtime prayers, so if possible, plan to travel well before or after 2pm All taxis are meant to use their meters, but often try to haggle, so take the pricier blue cabs who don’t By law, you must carry your passport/ID at all times Etiquette: slip off your shoes before entering someone’s home; opt for decent attire in places of worship – faux fur knix nay, head-covering shawl yay Bars and clubs generally close around 1-2am, but livelier ones may wrangle an extra hour or two Alcohol is non-halal in Malay & Indian-Muslim restos The Malaysian currency is the ringgit (RM) Need cash? Fret not, ATMs are plentiful around town Shopping: all the main malls open 10am-10pm daily including public holidays, while most independent establishments shut up shop for the latter The international dialling code is +60, all local landlines start with 03, all mobiles start with 01 In an emergency dial 999, or 112 from a mobile; call Tourist Police on 03 2149 6590 to report a crime
The following Malay phrases will come in handy…
Apa khabar?: How goes it? Terima kasih: Cheers, my dear Tidak apa: No sweat, sweetpea
...’kay, let’s kill it like a KL-ite