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General Information

Kuala Lumpur

More than any other spot in the country, Kuala Lumpur, or "KL" as it is commonly known, is the focal point of new Malaysia. While the city's past is still present in the evocative British colonial buildings of the Dataran Merdeka and the midnight lamps of the Petaling Street nightmarket, that past is everywhere met with insistent reminders of KL's present and future. The city's bustling streets, its shining, modern office towers, and its cosmopolitan air project an unbounded spirit of progress and symbolize Malaysia's unhesitating leap into the future. To some, this spirit seems to have been gained at the loss of ancient cultural traditions, but in many ways KL marks the continuation rather than the loss of Malaysia's rich past. Like Malacca five hundred years before, KL's commercial centre is a grand meeting place for merchants and travelers from all over the world.

In the same way, the city brings together Malaysia's past and present, its many constituent cultures, and even its remarkable natural treasures, allowing first-time visitors an invaluable opportunity to see Malaysia as a whole before setting off to explore its parts

Points of interest

  • Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens - dates to the 1880s and is the city's most popular park. Built around an artificial lake, it encompasses 91.6 hectares of undulating greenery interspersed with flowering shrubs, shady trees, exceptional botanical gardens, and other notable features. The Panggung Anniversary, set in a secluded valley, is a regular venue for musical and cultural performances. There is a children's playground, jogging tracks, exercise stations, and rowing boats.
  • The National Museum - located atop a hill at Jalan Travers, provides an interesting introduction to the history and culture of Malaysia. Built in the style of a Malay palace, its impressive facade of two large murals depicts scenes of the country's colourful past. The museum houses various galleries, each with its own theme. The Historical Gallery traces the different periods in the history of Peninsular Malaysia. The Cultural Gallery is a collection of various aspects of the Malaysian culture, from common everyday pastimes to important ceremonial customs. Included in the exhibits are a Malay wedding scene, a royal circumcision ceremony, and an presentation on the heritage of the Straits-born Chinese.
  • Petronas Towers - With a height of 1,453 feet, one of the world's tallest buildings rise above the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. They are called the Petronas Towers, and, inevitably, they have become the symbols for the astounding growth that has taken place in Malaysia over the last two decades.
  • Central Market - Fifty years ago this site was occupied by a wet market. Today, the art-deco structure of the Central Market is a centre for the display and development of Malaysian culture, arts and crafts. There are many performances, demonstrations, and activities offered here, including batik painting, fortune telling, shadow puppet plays, glass blowing, dance classes, art classes, and many others. The building won the Coronation Architecture Design Award in 1953.
  • Malaysia Tourist Information Complex (MATIC) - A good place to begin any visit to Kuala Lumpur is the one-stop information centre, which provides a general picture of what the city and Malaysia have to offer. Audio-visual equipment provides background information on each state in the country. You can book a tour, arrange to go on a trishaw ride in the city, change your money, and book air or bus tickets to various destinations in Malaysia.
  • Petaling Street - The center of Kuala Lumpur's original Chinatown. Petaling Street maintains much of its traditional atmosphere, particularly at night when vendors spread their wares out on the street. While it is possible to purchase anything from gems and incense to toys and t-shirts here, enjoying the night market is really a matter of just wandering about and enjoying its sights, sounds, and energy.
  • Kuala Lumpur Railway Station - Located at Jalan Hishamuddin, this Moorish-style terminal was designed by architect A.B. Hubbock, who also designed the Masjid Jam. Built in 1910, it underwent extensive renovations in 1986. It is equipped with air-conditioned waiting halls, snack kiosks, money changing booths, souvenir shops, restaurants and a tourist information counter. Across the street is the Malayan Railway Administration Building, another fine example of the British colonial adaptation of Moorish architecture. It is linked to the station by an underground thoroughfare.

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