One of our favorite places to visit on our Road Warrior world tour has been the wonderful city of Kuala Lumpur. Known as “KL”, this is the capital and most populated city of Malaysia with around 1.6 million people (in a country of almost 29 million people). Malaysia is an interesting country because it actually consists of two separate land masses that are divided by the South China Sea. KL is part of the Peninsular Malaysia, or West Malaysia, which is the peninsula that extends south from bordering Thailand and where most of the population lives. The other part, to the east of the peninsula, is located on the island of Borneo and is fittingly called Malaysian Borneo. It shares its borders with Indonesia and the small kingdom of Brunei.
Malaysia has a diverse culture, with around half of the population being Malay, one-quarter Chinese and the rest Indian and other cultures. The Chinese and Indians have had substantial influence in forming the multiethnic diversity of the country. Kuala Lumpur is an exciting, clean, modern and cosmopolitan city. It is world-class and has become well-known for its hospitality in hosting the Commonwealth Games in 1988 and the Formula One races.
Here’s what we did during our short stay in Kuala Lumpur:
1. Batu Caves – Located only 8 miles north of the city, the Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves believed to be over 400 years old. There ares some impressive limestone formations, such as large stalactites, that can be seen throughout your foot tour of the premises. A large golden statue of the Hindu deity Murugan (in fact, at 42 meters, this is the largest statue of Murugan in the world) welcomes you to the caves. There are a variety of Hindu shrines, temples, statues and paintings around the grounds.
2. Kuala Selangor Fireflies – About an hour drive from the city, through many lush green palm oil plantations (it seems the countryside has been transformed into miles and miles of plantations…they really are everywhere!), is Kuala Selangor. Located on the Selangor river, the Kampung Kuantan park provides dusk boat rides to view the impressive show that the local fireflies put on each night. This is believed to be one of the largest colonies of fireflies in the world — and you won’t be disappointed!
Passengers board small row boats (very eco-friendly!) that are each manned with a paddler who will guide the boat through the dark river passages. If you’re a fan of natural wonders, this is definitely a must-see. The fireflies are impressive, lighting up the trees and the pitch black night sky with their flashes.
3. Kuala Selangor Nature Park – This park is a favorite for nature lovers, and especially birders of all ages. It is a relatively small 2.4 square kilometer nature reserve that preserves the Selangor river’s estuary and is a beautiful area for day hikes if you enjoy the outdoors. Many animals can be seen here, including different native species of monkeys and a large variety of birds (and apparently leopard!). There are a few hiking trails that have been put together, one of which leads to the coast.
4. Selangor River – Eating dinner overlooking the sunset on the beautiful Selangor River is something we definitely recommend. We had an amazing chinese dinner at the River View Seafood Restaurant. Here’s our view:
5. Petronas Towers – Of course, no visit to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without a trip to the Petronas Towers. These two towers are the symbol of modern-day Malaysia (even though they were designed by a South American architect!). For a period of time (1998 to 2004), they were also the largest free-standing buildings in the world. The view from the towers is impressive through the tall glass windows that make up these structures! Take a look at the busy cityscape below and you’ll realize how bustling the city of Kuala Lumpur truly is!
But…the FOOD! As always, one of the most important parts of any Road Warrior trip is the local food. The best part of KL is the intersection of cultures that has resulted in some amazing cuisine…think an impressive mix of the best of indian, chinese and malay. One of our favorite discoveries was an amazing bread called roti canai. This is a type of fried bread that is created from many layers of dough and has many fluffly, chewy layers inside but is crispy and flaky on the outside. It is typically eaten alongside a delicious Malaysian curry dish, or can even be found as a breakfast meal on menus served with a side sauce or even breakfast eggs! I crave it every week…
We know that there’s so much more to Kuala Lumpur than we had the opportunity to see. We’d love to hear from you if you have some KL favorites. And, we definitely suggest visiting our five spots if you are planning a trip to this wonderful city!
Until the next time, the Road Warrior – the best travel adapter – wishes you Happy Travels!