Beginner's Guide to Kuala Lumpur: 5 Must See Attractions
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is not a big city. It is also not the oldest in the South East Asia either. But like Singapore, there are too many places to see in such a small space.
In order to make the most of your time there, you need to know which places you should see or visit.
Here are 5 must see attractions we recommend for first time travelers to the city.
The KLCC Mosque and the Twin Towers
1. The KLCC Twin Towers
This 88 storey metallic building, built during the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis is the pillar and icon of the country.
Once a horse racetrack, the 100 acre area where the towers are built also houses a massive park, an oceanarium, an art gallery, an upscale mall and a huge children museum for the public to visit.
If you want to explore all the attractions in the area, you need to allocate at least a day to fully enjoy it all.
If you have deep pocket, you can also spend your cash at the international boutiques and luxurious restaurants in the posh Suria Mall.
Unlike the clean and modern KLCC, visiting Chinatown is like going into Hong Kong's chaotic market.
The area has a few Buddhist and Hindu temple squeezed by multitude of Chinese fashion and medicine shops. But the main attraction here are counterfeit clothings and watches sourced from China and bootleg Hollywood DVDs distributed openly on the street.
Be prepared to test your haggling skills. Wear a nice pair of walking shoes and keep your wallet in your front pocket. Walking past the huge crowd paying homage to Petaling Street to buy counterfeit stuff can be a sweaty experience.
If you get stuck, find an escape by going to restaurants by the side of the street.
3. Batu Caves
You don't have to be a Hindu or a religious type of person to go to the Batu Caves. All are welcome here, including monkeys.
Yes, monkeys are everywhere in the Batu Caves temple. Set up in a 400 million years old cave, the Hindus consider this temple to be one of the holiest outside India. It is also the place where pilgrims all over the country congregate during the Thaipusam festivals, where hundred of thousands of Hindus say their thanks to Lord Muruga for prayers answered.
You have to be fit to scale the cave though. Climbing the 272 steps to the temple is not for the faint hearted.
4. Masjid Jamek
A former burial ground, the Masjid Jamek is a Mughal inspired Muslim mosque designed by a Christian. The location where the mosque is buillt is also significant because it is erected at the meeting point of 2 rivers -- the exact place where Kuala Lumpur was first founded by Chinese tin miners in the 1850s.
The serene mosque is a sight to behold with swinging palm trees guarding the riverview mosque. The muslims around the Chinatown area make way to the mosque on Friday afternoon, so visiting it during this time is a bad idea.
Otherwise, visit at around 6 in the afternoon or near sunset to appreciate the beauty and the architecture of this airy mosque.
Like other Asian holy places, take off your shoes when entering the praying area. Women will asked to cover but robes are available at the guard house for free.
5. Islamic Arts Museum
The Islamic Arts Museum is unlike any other museums in Malaysia.
Considered the most complete and important Islamic Museum in the South East Asia, it is built in the serene and green Lake Garden. It also has over 7,000 artefacts and exhibits sourced from China and India apart from Iran and Egypt.
One of the most fascinating galleries that you would find is the gallery with miniature scale of most important mosques around the world. It also houses other interesting exhibits like the tiny Holy Quran the size your thumb.
The museum also has a nice, award winning Arabic themed restaurant in the building for you to fill your empty stomach.
After your visit there, you can also drop by the Police Museum, Orchid Garden and memorials around the area. To get back to the city, wait for your taxi at the Bird Park.