A Day in Kuala Lumpur. 5 Must-See Attractions

Whether you are taking a trip around the world or hosting some out-of-town visitors, making the most out of seeing the local attractions can be a challenge. World-class cities offer several options for site seeing, and it can be hard to choose where to go. Literally meaning “muddy river confluence” in Malay, Kuala Lumpur has grown from a small sleepy Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of around 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million) in just 150 years. A cultural melting pot with some of the world’s cheapest 5-star hotels, great shopping, even better food and some of nature’s wonders in just an hour away, this dynamic city has much to offer for every visitor.

For travelers visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we’ve narrowed down the top five must-see attractions for first-time visitors:

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas Towers. Photo by Andy Mitchell via Flickr

1. Skyscrapers – Petronas Twin Towers & Menara Kuala Lumpur

A visit to Kuala Lumpur is incomplete if you do not go to the towering skyscrapers in the city. We recommend these two because of their iconic significance and the majestic view that they offer.
The city’s most striking landmark is one of the world’s tallest building, the 1,483 feet (451.9 meters) tall Petronas twin towers, whose identical towers are linked midway up by a skybridge. The towers reach a numerically auspicious 88 storeys above the traffic congested streets and house the contemporary Suria KLCC shopping mall, an excellent concert hall and thousands of offices.
Standing atop the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the 1,403 feet (421 meters) high KL Tower is, at present, the world’s fifth tallest structure. Officially known as Menara KL, it has been outshone by the Petronas Twin Towers but remains an important architectural marker and boasts spectacular views of the city. The viewing deck is at least 100 metres higher than the Petronas Tower’s Skybridge – to get free tickets be sure to arrive early. At the foot of the Tower is Bukit Nanas, a surviving area of rainforest in the heart of the city which is open to explore.

2. Merdeka Square

The Dataran Merdeka (or Merdeka Square) is the old colonial heart of Kuala Lumpur. It was here, in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building that the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on August 31, 1957 (Merdeka = Independence). Surrounding the Square are numerous architectural treasures which the British left behind when they handed the country back over to Malaysia. The most impressive is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Beside the sultan Abdul Samad building, you will find the Textile Museum which is similar in architectural design. Directly opposite it is the elegant former home of the National History Museum — the collection is now part of the National Museum. Next door is another colonial edifice which has served several functions in its life, both before and after independence. Built in 1899, its neo-Renaissance architecture is much more European in style than most of its contemporary buildings. It now houses the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, which is well worth a visit.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Entrance to Batu Caves and the Murugan statue. By Redtigerxyz via Wikipedia

3. Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples, located in Gombak district, 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance, besides a steep 272 climb up its steps to finally view the stunning skyline of the city centre.
Rising almost 100 m above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a very high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, visitors must climb a steep flight of 272 steps. At the base of the hill are two more cave temples, Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, both of which are full of Hindu statues and paintings.
Western tourists are often surprised by the monkeys that have in a way invaded the site. The monkeys are so used to the visitors that begging the food to tourists have become their habit. Treats for the monkeys can be purchased at the entrance.
Visitors who want to take their cave experience to the next level can try one of the rock climbing trails located at the Batu Caves.

4. Petaling Street and Central Market

In the bustling heart of old Kuala Lumpur, the so-called Chinatown district includes Petaling Street, famous for its street market, together with temples, restaurants, herbal remedy shops and so on. A few streets away is Central Market, a heritage building where you can find an extensive selection of Malaysian handicrafts, wood carvings, batik, pewterware, art works and other gift and souvenir items. There are also some popular restaurants here. The Central Market is situated at the border of China Town. Therefore why wouldn’t you combine a visit to the Central Market with a visit to China Town?

5. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Located in the serene and scenic famous Lake Gardens, the KL Bird Park, also well known as “World’s Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary”, offers a 20.9 acres of verdant valley terrain to be explored. It is the largest of its kind in the world and houses more than 3,000 birds and over 200 species all in their natural habitat. The park is divided into separate sections for parrots, flamingos, hornbills etc. Zone 1 & 2 are free-flight zones, Zone 3 is the Hornbill Park (also free flight concept) and Zone 4 contains birds separated in cages, enclosures and mini-aviaries.
Many of the birds are accustomed to humans and some (like peacocks) will come and eat from your hand.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikipedia

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