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Info Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, simply called KL by locals, is the national capital and most populous global city in Malaysia.
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.
Kuala Lumpur is cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, impressive shopping districts, even better food and some of nature's wonders just an hour away, making this a dynamic city with much to offer.
The city covers an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi). It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in South-East Asia, in terms of population and economy.
Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they were moved to Putrajaya in early 1999. Some sections of the judiciary still remain in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur.
Rated as an alpha world city, Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia due to its position as the capital as well as being a key city.
Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Formula One Grand Prix. In addition, Kuala Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which have become an iconic symbol of Malaysia's futuristic development.
In May 2015, Kuala Lumpur was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan City, Doha, Durban, Havana, Beirut, and La Paz.
|POPULATION :||City: 1,768,000 / Metro: 7,200,000|
|TIME ZONE :||MST (UTC+8) Summer: (UTC+8)|
|LANGUAGE :||Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese|
|RELIGION :||Islam 46.4%, Buddhism 35.7%, Hinduisam 8.5%, Christian 5.8%, Others 3.6%|
|AREA :||243 km2 (94 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||56 m (184 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||3°8′N 101°41′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.50% |
• Female: 51.50%
|ETHNIC :||Malays 45.9%, Chinese 43.2%, Indians, 10.3%, Other 1.6%|
|AREA CODE :||03|
|POSTAL CODE :||50000 to 60000|
|DIALING CODE :||+60 3|
Tourism plays an important role in the city's service-driven economy. Many large worldwide hotel chains have a presence in the city.
Kuala Lumpur is the sixth most visited city in the world, with 8.9 million tourist per year.
Tourism here is driven by the city's cultural diversity, relatively low costs, and wide gastronomic and shopping variety. MICE tourism, which mainly encompasses conventions— has expanded in recent years to become a vital component of the industry, and is expected to grow further once the Malaysian government's Economic Transformation Programme kicks in, and with the completion of a new 93,000m2-size MATRADE Centre in 2014. Another notable trend is the increased presence of budget hotels in the city.
The major tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur include the Merdeka Square, the House of Parliament, the Petaling Street, the National Palace (Istana Negara), the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the National Museum, the Central Market, Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, the National Monument, and religious sites such as the Jamek Mosque.
Kuala Lumpur plays host to many cultural festivals such as the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Every year during the Thaipusam celebration, a silver chariot carrying the statue of Lord Muruga together with his consort Valli and Teivayanni would be paraded through the city beginning at the temple all the way to Batu Caves in the neighboring Selangor.
The entertainment hub of the city is mainly centred in the Golden Triangle encompassing Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Ampang Road. Trendy nightclubs, bars and lounges, such as the Beach Club, Espanda, the Hakka Republic Wine Bar & Restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe, the Luna Bar, Nuovo, Rum Jungle, the Thai Club, Zouk, and many others are located here.
Founded in 1857 under British rule as a tin mining outpost, Kuala Lumpur is fairly new as far as Malaysian cities go and lacks the rich history of Georgetown or Malacca. Due to the success of tin mining, Kuala Lumpur began to flourish but had problems with gang fighting in the late 1800s. Following this, Kuala Lumpur faced further misfortune after much of the city burnt down in a large fire as most buildings were built from wood and thatch. As a result buildings in Kuala Lumpur were required to be built with brick and tile. After these rough early years, Kuala Lumpur began to prosper and was made capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896.
During World War II, Kuala Lumpur and the Federated Malay States were occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. During this time the economy was virtually halted. Soon after the British regained power it was declared that the Federated Malay States were to become the Malayan Union and work toward independence began. In 1952, Kuala Lumpur was one of the first cities in the Union to hold elections. Malaysia's independence was declared in 1957 in front of huge crowds at what was later named Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), and Kuala Lumpur continued as the new nation's capital.
In 1972, Kuala Lumpur was given city status and by 1974 became a Federal Territory of Malaysia in its own right, hence losing the title as capital city of Selangor. The economic boom of the 1990s brought Kuala Lumpur the standard trappings of a modern city, but it was severely hit by the Asian financial crisis of 1997, which stalled the Malaysian economy and led to the abandonment or delay of many construction projects. Today, Kuala Lumpur has become a modern city, bristling with skyscrapers and with a modern transportation system. Despite this, Kuala Lumpur has still kept some of its historical charm.
Protected by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east and Indonesia's Sumatra Island in the west, Kuala Lumpur has a tropical rainforest climate, which is warm and sunny, along with abundant rainfall, especially during the northeast monsoon season from October to March.
Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover between 32 and 33 °C (90 and 91 °F) and have never exceeded 38.5 °C (101.3 °F), while minimums hover between 23.4 and 24.6 °C (74.1 and 76.3 °F) and have never fallen below 14.4 °C (57.9 °F).
Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover between 32 and 33 °C (90 and 91 °F) and have never exceeded 38.5 °C (101.3 °F), while minimums hover between 23.4 and 24.6 °C (74.1 and 76.3 °F) and have never fallen below 14.4 °C (57.9 °F).
Flooding is a frequent occurrence in Kuala Lumpur whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the city centre and downstream areas. Smoke from forest fires of nearby Sumatra sometimes cast a haze over the region. It is a major source of pollution in the city together with open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction work.
Climate data for Kuala Lumpur
|Record high °C (°F)||38.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||32.0|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||17.8|
|Source #1: Pogodaiklimat.ru|
|Source #2: NOAA|
The geography of Kuala Lumpur is characterised by the huge Klang Valley. The valley is bordered by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and the south and the Strait of Malacca in the west. Kuala Lumpur is a Malay term that translates to "muddy confluence" as it is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers.
Located in the centre of Selangor state, Kuala Lumpur was previously under the rule of Selangor State Government. In 1974, Kuala Lumpur was separated from Selangor to form the first Federal Territory governed directly by the Malaysian Federal Government. Its location on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, which has wider flat land than the east coast, has contributed to its faster development relative to other cities in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialised and economically, the fastest growing region in Malaysia.Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain government institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the city.
The city remains as the economic and business centre of the country. Kuala Lumpur is a centre for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is rated as an alpha world city, and is the only global city in Malaysia, according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC).
The infrastructure development in the surrounding areas such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, the creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor and the expansion of Port Klang further reinforce the economic significance of the city.
The large service sector is evident in the number of local and foreign banks and insurance companies operating in the city. Kuala Lumpur is poised to become the global Islamic Financing hub with an increasing number of financial institutions providing Islamic Financing and the strong presence of Gulf's financial institutions such as the world's largest Islamic bank, Al-Rajhi Bank and Kuwait Finance House.
Other important economic activities in the city are education and health services. Kuala Lumpur also has advantages stemming from the high concentration of educational institutions that provide a wide-ranging of courses. Numerous public and private medical specialist centres and hospitals in the city offer general health services, and a wide range of specialist surgery and treatment that caters to locals and tourists.
Old City Centre
Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit and Kampung Baru
Bangsar and Midvalley
Damansara and Hartamas
Internet cafes are quite plentiful in Kuala Lumpur and you can find them in most shopping centres. If you have your own laptop, Maxis' WLAN service is the best deal around, a prepaid 4$ card gets you unlimited use for 2 weeks. Many hotels provide free internet access and connections. Free Wi-Fi is also available in many cafes, restaurants and shopping centres.
Prices in Kuala Lumpur
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Milk||1 liter||$ 1.80|
|Tomatoes||1 kg||$ 1.28|
|Cheese||0.5 kg||$ 8.00|
|Apples||1 kg||$ 2.20|
|Oranges||1 kg||$ 1.70|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$ 2.45|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$ 14.00|
|Coca-Cola||2 liters||$ 1.00|
|Bread||1 piece||$ 0.75|
|Water||1.5 l||$ 0.60|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$ 17.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$ 33.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$ 50.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$ 3.10|
|Water||0.33 l||$ 0.60|
|Cappuccino||1 cup||$ 2.60|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$ 3.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$ 2.90|
|Coca-Cola||0.33 l||$ 0.60|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$ 9.00|
|Cinema||2 tickets||$ 8.00|
|Gym||1 month||$ 40.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$ 8.00|
|Theatar||2 tickets||$ 36.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$ 0.04|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$ 3.70|
|Antibiotics||1 pack||$ 8.00|
|Tampons||32 pieces||$ 4.80|
|Deodorant||50 ml.||$ 2.50|
|Shampoo||400 ml.||$ 3.40|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$ 1.30|
|Toothpaste||1 tube||$ 1.55|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$ 58.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$ 35.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$ 70.00|
|Leather shoes||1||$ 68.00|
|Gasoline||1 liter||$ 0.50|
|Taxi||1 km||$ 0.40|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$ 0.55|
32 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
77 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Malaysia's transportation systems function well, by regional standards. Planes, trains, buses, and taxis are linked in a system conceived and constructed by, if not an order-loving Teuton, at least a dedicated amateur. The planners' aims are an ultra-modern, chic, European-style system that are a far cry from the city's humble barrio beginnings. The reality is a sound B+ with still a long way to go before hitting the top. A bewildering jumble of initials and acronyms assault any first time journey planner in KL and it will take at least a day to decipher the scheme of things.
Kuala Lumpur is served by two airports: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport). KLIA is used by almost all airlines that fly to Kuala Lumpur whilst Subang Airport is limited to airlines with turboprop aircraft.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kuala Lumpur International Airport , is the primary airport serving Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley region, located some 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur in the Sepang district of Selangor. The airport opened in 1998 and superseded Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, which is now only used for charter and commercial turboprop flights. Over 50 airlines call at KLIA. The airport has two entirely separate terminals, with Malaysia Airlines and other mainline carriers at the "main" KLIA, and Air Asia and other low-cost carriers using KLIA2. Both are connected to each other (3 minutes) and the city (28-33 min) by the KLIA Ekspres train.
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport , more commonly referred to as Subang Airport, was the country's main international airport until KLIA opened in 1998 and is currently designated for turboprop aircraft. The airport is much closer to the city centre and less crowded than KLIA, which can make it a convenient entry point for those flying from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand or other parts of Malaysia. The airport is 25 km from the city centre and the convenient way to get there is by taxi. An alternative is to take Rapid KL bus U81 (destination: Subang Suria/Mah Sing) from Terminal Jalan Sultan Mohammad next to Pasar Seni LRT station, which goes past the airport. The fare is RM3.00 one way and takes approximately 40min in clear traffic. It can take nearly 1h30 during peak rush hour. The airport is currently served by the following airlines:
- Berjaya Air is a domestic and regional airline, which focuses on resort and island destinations. Currently, the airline flies between Subang Airport and Langkawi, Pangkor Island, Penang, Redang Island,Tioman Island and internationally to Hua Hin, Thailand.
- Firefly is a Malaysia Airlines subsidiary that began operating from Subang in late 2007 and operates as a regional turboprop airline. Within Malaysia the airline flies between Subang and Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kerteh, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Langkawi and Penang. Additionally, Firefly also operates international flights within the region between Subang and Indonesia - Batam, Medan, Pekanbaru; Thailand- Hat Yai, Koh Samui; and Singapore.
- Malindo Air is the latest airline to enter the Malaysian commercial aviation market and is a subsidiary of Indonesia's Lion Air. Currently the airline flies between Subang and Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu and Penang, with plans to expand further in the future.
The government owned Keretapi Tanah Melayu(Malayan Railway or KTM) operates intercity (antarabandar) diesel rail services throughout Peninsular Malaysia. Trains arriving in Kuala Lumpur call at KL Sentral, the modern transportation hub in Brickfields, just south of the city centre, and operate as far flung as Singapore, Hat Yai in Thailand and Kota Bharu in Peninsular Malaysia's north-east. Train services are reasonably priced and operate as both day and overnight trains with various class options available. Day trains comprise of reclining and non-reclining seating options only while overnight trains comprise of two-berth private compartments and open plan bunk-bed berths with curtains (similar to Thai trains) for privacy. Seating options are also available for overnight trains.
The Electric Train Service (ETS), a subsidiary of KTM, is a daytime express train service that currently operates between Padang Besar, Perlis and Kuala Lumpur. ETS trains call at Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, the old main station, in addition to KL Sentral. The old Kuala Lumpur Station is served by KTM Komuter trains and nearby the Pasar Seni LRT Station on the Kelana Jaya line. If you need to connect to any other rail lines it would be recommended continuing on to KL Sentral. Taxi services are available at both stations, but you will find more at KL Sentral and can purchase a taxi coupon when there so that drivers cannot overcharge.
Tickets for both KTM and ETS trains can be purchased at the KTM Intercity ticket office located on level two of KL Sentral or other stations which trains call at. You can also purchase your ticket online at the KTM e-booking site up to two months in advance, but remember to print out the e-ticket. Additionally, timetables and seat availability can be found on the main KTM website
Buses are a cheap, comfortable and popular transport option for Malaysians, with services reaching virtually all corners of Peninsular Malaysia and also to Thailand and Singapore. So it is no wonder that Kuala Lumpur has several bus stations (stesen bas or hentian) to handle long distance bus services. Despite the complexity of the network there is somepattern to the madness, with buses departing from particular stations depending on the region they travel to or from. To top that off, some buses may arrive at other locations including Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Bangsar LRT Station, Corus Hotel and the Malaysian Tourist Centre (MTC).Always confirm with the bus company where your bus will depart so that you do not miss your bus. In some cases you may need to exchange your ticket for a boarding pass, so try to arrive at the bus terminal 10–15 minutes before the departure time, although bus companies suggest 30 minutes.
- Pudu Sentral (Formerly Hentian Puduraya), Jl Pudu (Linked to Plaza Rakyat LRT Station), . The most central bus station in Kuala Lumpur, serving north-bound buses. Formerly hot and cramped, Pudu got a major facelift and air-conditioning in 2011, and could now stand in for an airport. However, ticketing and information is still not centralized, so finding the next bus to your destination still requires a lot of walking around. Tickets to services departing from other stations are also available. Taxis are on the prowl around the station and can be pushy and may not use the meter. Always negotiate a price beforehand if you want a taxi or the alternative is to head to the nearby LRT station.
- Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), Jl Terminal Selatan (Linked to Bandar Tasik Selatan Station), . This gigantic and ultra-modern terminal serves south-bound destinations, including Malacca, Johor Bharu and Singapore. Despite its less than central location it is extremely well connected by public transport and taxis. Three train services, KTM Komuter, Sri Petaling LRT and KLIA Transit call at this bus station, making it easy to reach from Kuala Lumpur and KLIA.
- Hentian Putra, 45 Jl Putra (Near PWTC LRT & Putra Komuter Stations), . Mainly catering east-bounddestinations this terminal is located in the city north in Tuanku Abdul Rahman. It is well serviced by the LRT and Komuter lines and taxis are available, but can be hard to find a taxi early in the morning or late at night.
- Hentian Duta, Jl Duta, . A small bus station serving express north-bound services. There are no public transport services to this station however if you head to Hentian Putra you can take a taxi to this bus station.
- Pekeliling Bus Terminal, Jl Tun Razak (Near Titiwangsa LRT & Monorail Stations), . This terminal handles some bus services to the East Coast, including Taman Negara and Local bus services.
There are quite a few bus companies that arrive and depart from Kuala Lumpur. Below are a list of the major companies that operate. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Transnasional , +60 3 2070-3300 is Malaysia's biggest long-distance bus company. Economy class departures to Singapore's Lavender Street terminal at 08:45, 10:30, 13:30, 17:30, 22:30 & 23:59 - RM30 one-way and takes 5h.
- Konsortium Bas Ekspres Semenanjung ( +60 3 2070 1321) has several buses daily to/from the Golden Mile complex in Singapore.
- Alisan Golden Coach Express , Hentian Pudu Raya, +60 3 2032 2273 have three buses every day which leave Kuala Lumpur to Hatyai, departure at 09:00, 22:00, and 22:30, ticket around RM45, 7h journey.
Most important roads in Peninsular Malaysia lead to/from Kuala Lumpur. The city lies about midway along the North-South Expressway (Motorway) (NSE; route numbers E1 and E2) which runs from the Malaysia-Thailand border at Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah to Johor Bahru in the south, on the Malaysian side of the Causeway to Singapore. The main expressway exits for Kuala Lumpur on the NSE are Jalan Duta (from the north) and Sungai Besi (from the south). The Karak Highway (E8), which later turns into the East Coast Expressway, links Kuala Lumpur with the East Coast states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. For those who do not want to pay toll, Kuala Lumpur is on Federal Route One (the "Trunk Road") which, like the NSE, runs through all West Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia from Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah to Johor Bahru. Those travelling along the West Coast Road (Federal Route Five) should leave the road at Klang and get to Kuala Lumpur via the Federal Highway.
Kuala Lumpur is not located by the sea, so it is not possible to get in directly by boat. The nearby Port Klang, about 40 km west of Kuala Lumpur, serves as the main port for this region. Ferries operate international services from Sumatra, Indonesia and a domestic service to Pulau Ketam. Cruise ships also call at Port Klang, usually on the way to other destinations in Asia, allowing for a day trip to Kuala Lumpur. For more information refer to the Port Klang article.
Transportation - Get Around
Kuala Lumpur's ambitious public transport system is sufficiently developed to be fairly efficient and convenient, but much room for improvement lies in its integration. The city, like many developing cities, suffers from paralysing traffic jams periodically throughout the day. In the rush hours, consider combining various methods of transport.
Urban rail comes in four distinct flavours, which are not always fully connected. All lines, with the exception of the Ampang/Sri Petaling LRT lines travel through Kuala Lumpur's main transport hub, KL Sentral. However to reach the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines from KL Sentral involves a simple trip on the Kelana Jaya LRT to Masjid Jamek station.
- The LRT is a light rail transit system and is the closest thing to a metro system in Kuala Lumpur, with three lines making up the system. The Ampang line and Sri Petaling line merge at Chan sow lin station and run on the same platform at all stations to Sentul Timur station. This line can be used for access to Chinatown and Pudu Sentral Bus Station at Plaza Rakyat station. The Kelana Jaya line travels through several key tourist areas including Pasar Seni station for Chinatown and the central market, KLCC station for the Petronas Towers and Suria KLCC shopping centre. Additionally you can alight at Masjid Jamek station and transfer to the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines without leaving the ticketed area.
- The KL Monorail is an entirely elevated line that loops through the Golden Triangle in a semi-circle. Use this line for access to Bukit Bintang, a major shopping area, or Bukit Nanas, for clubbing at Jalan P. Ramlee and the Petronas towers. Be aware that fares are a little more expensive than the LRT. Is often quite congested but plans are under way to its double capacity, with completion expected sometime in 2013.
- The KTM Komuter is a commuter train service and comprise of two lines that meet in the city centre and run out to the suburbs. The service is not as frequent as other rail in Kuala Lumpur and it is not odd for trains to be late either. Despite this the rolling stock is quite modern and fares are cheaper than the LRT and Monorail. The KTM Komuter is great for travel to Batu Caves and Midvalley Mega Mall.
- The Express Rail Link (ERL), completed in 2002, runs between KL Sentral and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with 2 types of train services, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA transit. The KLIA Ekspres service runs non-stop between KL sentral and KLIA, taking 28 minutes, whilst the KLIA Transit service stops at Salak Tinggi,Putrajaya/Cyberjaya and Bandar Tasik Selatan en route, taking 36 minutes.
In the past connectivity between the different lines was quite poor but upgrades to the system have helped to integrate a few key stations along the LRT and Monorail lines without purchasing separate tickets. To transfer between the Kelana Jaya line and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines, alight at Masjid Jamek. For transfers between the KL Monorail and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines then alight at either Huang Tuah or Titiwangsa stations. Beyond the above mentioned interchange stations the only way to transfer between lines is to purchase separate ticket for each leg and potentially walk for some of the journey.
The Touch 'n Go card (RM10 at major stations) can be used on all lines except the airport express. Photo ID is required to buy the card and it can only be bought on weekdays and part of Saturday. Concession prepaid cards are available but require proof of qualification.
A few quirks of the Kuala Lumpur Rail Network:
- The LRT lines have had various names in the past (Kelana Jaya line was the PUTRA line; Ampang line was the STAR line), don't be surprised to see signage different from the names listed here.
- KL Monorail's "KL Sentral" station is not that close to KL Sentral. The way between the two is signposted and generally has a steady stream of people you can follow. Briefly: from KL Sentral leave via the exit by Burger King, go down the stairs, turn left and follow road to the street corner. After crossing the road, turn right and continue until you reach KL Sentral Monorail station. However, starting from 29 March 2014, the train and monorail stations will be more smoothly integrated through the new NU Sentral shopping mall.
- Trains usually follow a timetable, with the period between trains decreased to two/three minutes at peak hours. However, if the "driverless" trains of the Kelana Jaya line breakdown, services may be disrupted for two hours or more, although such breakdowns are few and far between.
Normal red and white taxis (RM3 first 2 km, then around RM0.90/km) and bright blue executive taxis (RM6 flagfall + a slightly higher per kilometre rate) are good options if you can get them to use the meter. There are also various small surcharges for radio call (RM2), baggage (RM1 per piece), etc.
Drivers are less likely to use the meter when demand exceeds supply, such as during the rush hour or when it rains. Prices then become negotiable (before setting off) and inflated (2-10 times the meter price). This is illegal but realistically the only thing you can do is walk away and find a different driver (by law they are required to use the meter). A cab hailed off the street is more likely to use the meter than one that stalks tourist spots. If stuck with a driver that won't use the meter, negotiate hard: RM5 should cover most cross town trips of 15min or so, even with traffic. If you are staying in an expensive hotel, hide your affluence and give a nearby shopping mall as your destination instead.
After midnight, meter prices are increased by 50% (e.g. at 01:00, if the meter shows RM12, you pay RM12+6).
During rush hour it's generally best to combine public transport with taxis.
A few popular places (notably both airports, KL Sentral, Menara KL and Sunway Pyramid Megamall) enforce a prepaid coupon systems, which generally work out more expensive than using the meter, but cheaper than bargaining. Taxis from Pavilion Shopping Mall's taxi counter cost the meter with a RM2 surcharge.
Some taxi drivers will hang around near hotels offering tours similar to those offered by established companies. Some of these drivers are quite knowledgeable and you may end up with a specially tailored, private tour for less than the cost of an official tour. Know the going rates before driving a bargain!
If you get so off the beaten track that you need to call a cab, here are some telephone numbers:
- Comfort Cabs +60 3 6253-1313
- Sunlight Taxi Unicablink 1300 800 222 (www.sunlighttaxi.com)
- Public Cab +60 3 6259-2020
- Uptown Ace +60 3 9283-2333
- Keeganlam Executive Taxi services +60 17 663-2696
- Executive Taxi Tour Service +60 14 267-5934
Double-decker KL Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour buses serve 42 notable places. There is free Wi-Fi on board. An information commentary is given through headphones. Tickets (valid for 24 or 48hrs) give unlimited use during their validity. Children under 5 ride free. The buses are scheduled every half hour but waits may be as long as two hours due to traffic jams, so try to maximize use of the service outside rush hours.
The free bus service Go KL started 1 September 2012 in the Central Business District (CBD) with two circular bus routes. The Purple Line starts at Pasar Seni and travels to the shopping area of Bukit Bintang, where it links up with the Green Line looping around KLCC. From 1 May 2014, two more routes have been added. The Red Line connects the North of CBD with the South, linking KL Sentral to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman through the Chow Kit area. At Medan Mara it meets the Blue Line, which goes on from there to join the per-existing lines at Bukit Bintang .
RapidKL operates a cheap and comprehensive public bus network in and around Kuala Lumpur, but low frequencies (2-3 per hour on most routes) and the near-total lack of signs makes this a poor option for the casual visitor. The buses themselves have clear destination information; so if you happen upon one heading in the right direction, jump on board - though be prepared for cramped waits in rush hour traffic. For those (few) attractions best visited by bus, specific bus information is given at each place of interest on this page. If you do venture on board a RapidKL bus, it's worth noting that these buses are broadly divided in three categories:
- Bandar (B) routes are city centre shuttles,
- Utama (U) buses travel to outlying suburbs
- Tempatan (T) buses are feeder services for train stations.
For all three RapidKL routes, you can either buy zone-based single tickets (RM1 for Zone 1, up to RM3 for Zone 4) on board, or use a Touch 'n Go card (sold on board). In addition, Ekspres (E) services use the highways and cost a flat RM3.80. Buses run from 6AM-11PM or so, with no night services.
Kuala Lumpur has good quality roads, but driving in the city can be a nightmare with massive traffic jams, a convoluted web of expressways and often-confusing road signage. If driving, be especially aware of sudden lane changes by cars and reckless motorcyclists who tend to weave in and out of traffic.
Do not park in the road in busy districts such as Bangsar or Bukit Bintang because other cars might block you by parking next to you in the 2nd or 3rd lane. Use covered car parks or park a bit off the beaten path, and then walk back.
Renting a car is an option for travelling in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia.
The old centre of Kuala Lumpur fairly compact and the old buildings in various state of repair are great for exploring on foot. Even plodding between the colonial area and the new glass and steel sector is enjoyable outside the hottest hours of 11:00-03:00. Major roads are well lit, making evening strolling undaunting and pleasant. Signs are clear and well placed and pavements are wide and uncluttered, but slippery in the rain. Shady tree-lined walkways provide shade on some of the larger roads. Pedestrian crossings are common and are generally respected by drivers. Jaywalking is technically illegal but overlooked (on-the-spot fine: RM20/30 for tourists/locals if unlucky).
This circular walking tour (2-3h) starts in Chinatown and loops through the modern Golden Triangle, missing the historic buildings of the old centre:
- Start in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
- Head towards the vertically striped wedge of the Maybank building. Head along Jalan Pudu, passing to the left of Pudu Sentral bus station. After 800 m, turn on to Jalan Bukit Bintang at the Royale Bintang Hotel.
- Jalan Bukit Bintang is a major shopping street: stop for coffee atBintang Walk, or check out the electronics mega-mall, Plaza Low Yat.
- When Bintang meets Jalan Sultan Ismail and the monorail, turn left, following the monorail.
- After 1 km of Sultan Ismail, turn right on to Jalan P. Ramlee. This lead to the Petronas Twin Towers. Be amazed!
- Head back down Jalan P. Ramlee
- Merge onto Jalan Raja Chulan near the KL Tower and head back to the Maybank building and Chinatown.
If you're fortunate enough to do this walk on a typical Sunday afternoon you will find a calm and attractive city.
Like many cities in SE Asia, KL presents a great challenge for travelers with mobility impairments. Sidewalks are often in disrepair, curbs are high, and curb cuts are often missing or inadequate. Wheelchair users will frequently find their path of travel obstructed by poorly designed or narrow sidewalks, parked cars, motorcycles, fences, stairs, trees, etc., and will rarely be able to travel more than 50 meters without having to backtrack or divert to the road. In many areas of the city, it is virtually impossible to travel without an assistant. Crossing the road or having to wheel on the road (in case the sidewalk is obstructed) can be very dangerous, as many drivers do not expect, nor yield to, wheelchair users. You will occasionally find accessibility features like ramps or elevators obstructed or unserviceable. A notable exception are the KLCC and Bukit Bintang areas, where shopping malls and pedestrian areas are built to modern accessibility standards. Public buildings, hotels and malls provide an adequate supply of handicap bathrooms. Much of the rail system is inaccessible, most notably the monorail (which is in the process of being fitted with stair lifts, but is currently off limits). Some buses are equipped with ramps, but they are assigned haphazardly and do not run on a fixed schedule. Many locals will not be used to seeing travelers in wheelchairs, but will generally be helpful.
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Being the retail and fashion hub of Malaysia it is no surprise that shopping is one of Kuala Lumpur’s greatest pleasures. From the local pasar pagi(day market) and pasar malam (night market) to top end shopping malls and everything in between, you will be sure to find something to suit you budget and style. Many shopping options also exist beyond the city proper in the adjacent satellite cities of Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya. For more information on shopping in these areas please refer to the buy section of these articles.
Suria KLCC is one of Malaysia's premier shopping destinations due to its location beneath the Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur's premier shopping district, the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle, resembles Tokyo's Ginza, New York's Fifth Avenue and Singapore's Orchard Road and has the highest concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur, which cater to varying budgets. Bukit Bintang, which is part of the Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, spans over 3 roads, namely Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Sultan Ismail. It houses various cafes, alfresco (open air) dining outlets and shopping complexes such as Berjaya Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Imbi Plaza, Kuala Lumpur Plaza, Lot 10, Low Yat Plaza, Pavilion KL, Starhill Plaza and Sungei Wang Plaza. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is a recent addition to the cluster of shopping malls in this area and houses a wide range of international retail brands in an ultra-modern complex. Fans of electronic gadgets would delight in the multitude of choices at Low Yat Plaza, whilst shoppers hunting for the latest in affordable Asian style should definitely check out Berjaya Times Square and Bukit Bintang / Sungei Wang Plaza. It is also the location of the largest single department store in Malaysia, SOGO Kuala Lumpur which is located at a landmark site on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, one of the best known shopping streets for locals in Kuala Lumpur.
Several popular malls lie outside the Golden Triangle. The Bangsar and Midvalley areas are home to some of the best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, namely theMidValley Megamall and the adjacent upmarket The Gardens, the more cozyBangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Centre in Bangsar. Nearby Subang Jaya is home to Sunway Pyramid Megamall, known throughout Malaysia for its Egyptian-themed architecture.
Despite the onslaught of malls, Kuala Lumpur still offers some Asian tradition with traditional shopping streets and markets. The best area for such shopping isChinatown in the City Centre. This district is also the best place to hunt for souvenirs, especially in Central Market, a former produce market which has been converted into an art and craft market. It is also known as Pasar Seni in Malay.
The Little India near Jalan Masjid India offers various fabric for use. Most of the fabrics are imported from countries like Indonesia, India and China while some are locally produced. Indonesian traditional batik and songket are traditional fabric commonly found in Central Market. For greater satisfaction choose the hand made ones. You may be interested to buy ready made baju kurung or baju kebaya (the traditional Malay blouse). For peace of mind, buy from the bigger stores. Some Thai handicrafts are also sold here, alongside handmade Malaysian wooden souvenirs.
Since 2000, the Ministry of Tourism of Malaysia has kick-started the mega sale event for all shopping in Malaysia. The mega sale event is held thrice in a year—in March, May and December—where all shopping malls are encouraged to participate to boost Kuala Lumpur as a leading shopping destination.
Malaysian food is amazing, making Kuala Lumpur an excellent place to eat as it hosts cuisine from all around the country and beyond. Most restaurants close by 10PM, but in the city centre there's always a few 24hr kedai mamak (curry houses) or fast food places if you get stuck.
Delicious food can be very cheap too: just head to the ubiquitous roadside stalls orkedai kopi (literally coffee shop, but these are all about the food). These shops operate like a food court with many stalls selling a variety of food. Some coffee shops have tables and chairs by the roadside. Chinatown (especially Jalan Sultan, Jalan Hang Lekir and Jalan Petaling) in the city centre and Jalan Alor in the Golden Triangle have some of the greatest concentrations of coffeeshops and stalls. They mostly open only at night.
Also extremely common are kedai mamak (curry houses). One famous collection of streetside Mamak stalls is at Jalan Doraisamy near the Heritage Row (Tuanku Abdul Rahman). Along with full-blown curries, these places also serve roti canai (generally RM1 each), a filling snack that is almost half chapati, half pancake but certainly wholly delicious. It is served with dhal and curry sauce.
Shopping malls' food courts provide cheap Malaysian food in more hygienic conditions, although the prices will be a little higher. Lot 10 shopping mall in the Golden Triangle has a collection of 20 street vendors who were invited to relocate in the food court. While there are some international choices, the specialty here is Chinese.
The Golden Triangle, Bangsar and Midvalley, Heritage Row and some areas in Damansara and Hartamas are the usual places for people looking to dine out with a bit of flair.
Ethnic generalizations: Malay food can be found in Jalan Masjid India and Kampung Baru in the Tuanku Abdul Rahman district. Chinatown is the best place for Chinese(especially Cantonese) food, although all kinds of Chinese cuisine, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, can be found all over Kuala Lumpur. Head to Lebuh Ampang in the city centre and Brickfields for Indian food. Bangsar has many high-end restaurants offering Western food. If you are dying for Korean food, head to Ampang Jaya. A lot of Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants have mushroomed in Bukit Bintang, Cyberjaya and Damai.
Sights & Landmarks
When people think of Kuala Lumpur the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Petronas Towers, which is located in the Golden Triangle. Whilst they most certainly are an architectural delight (particularly at night), there is much more to be discovered in Kuala Lumpur. Competing with the Petronas Towers is KL Tower (Menara KL), which looks oddly similar to other famous skyscrapers. The real joy of Kuala Lumpur lies in wandering randomly, seeing, shopping and eating your way through it.
Being part of a former British colony, many colonial buildings are scattered throughout, with many lending themes from both British and North African architecture. The grandest colonial buildings lie in the city centre including the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, the charming Masjid Jamek at the confluence on the Klang River and the former offices of the Colonial Secretariat (now the Sultan Abdul Samad Building) on Merdeka Square. To top it off on Merdeka Square's west side, you will find the Royal Selangor Club, looking like a rejected transplant straight from Stratford-upon-Avon.
The National Mosque, Masjid Negara, (1965) celebrates the bold ambitions of the newly independent Malaysia. The National Monument in the pretty Lake Gardens is inspired by the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Also in the lake gardens is Carcosa Seri Negara, the former residence of the British High Commissioner, which now houses an upmarket hotel and colonial-style tea rooms. Within the city centre is also the fascinating narrow streets of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur's traditional commercial district, with its many Chinese shops and places to eat.
Nature and wildlife
While Kuala Lumpur is more of a concrete jungle compared to other parts of the country, it is still easy enough to delve into nature. The Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) [www] is a great escape from the busy life of Kuala Lumpur for RM5.30. The hikes are easy and you can go up a canopy walkway for RM10.60 to get a good view of KL on a clear day. There is a nice tea house in the FRIM compound where you can sample various types of local teas and snacks. Get there early as it is more likely to rain later in the day. You can get to FRIM via KTM Komuter. Stop at Kepong or Kepong Sentral and grab a short taxi ride.
For something more centrally located try the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, located at the base of Menara KL. The forest provides for an easy trek that you can enjoy on your own; but the many specimens are likely more appreciated through guided tours which are free and can be arranged from KL Tower. The massive Lake Gardens, located in the western part of the Old City Centre is another great option and you could literally spend a whole day venturing around the park. Within Lake Gardens are many attractions and various parks including the KL Bird Park, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Deer Park, Mouse Deer Park and a butterfly park. An indoor alternative is the Aquaria KLCC, in the Golden Triangle near the KL Convention Centre. The aquarium contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish.
Things to do
Skyscraper Gazing is the obvious option, with glass and steel abound and excellent views available from the Petronas Towers or the KL Tower (Menara KL) viewing decks, both located in the Golden Triangle.
Arts & Culture
Like much of Kuala Lumpur, there is an interesting mix of arts and culture to experience, ranging from traditional Malay to Islamic to modern. Several good theatres and performance halls have emerged as part of Malaysia's drive to encourage greater cultural expression. These include the National Theatre (Istana Budaya) and the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in the northern part of the city, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (Dewan Filharmonik) in the Twin Towers, and the Actors Studio at Lot 10. Leading museums in the Old City Centre are the National Museum, which covers the region's history, and the well-regarded Islamic Arts Museum, which houses a small but captivating collection.
Pampering and spas can be found in several five-star hotels and independent centres in the Golden Triangle. There's also nail parlours and beauty salons, which are generally good value, there's also high-end ones offering similar services for a premium. Reflexology and foot massage places are everywhere, especially in Bukit Bintang in the Golden Triangle and in Chinatown.
For those who are willing to be a bit more adventurous, try hunting down a fish foot spa and relax whilst fish nibble away at your feet. However do be careful which one you go to as some are of low standard and you may get an infection or even a blood borne disease. Try a fish spa in a tourist area as these tend to be better maintained.
Urban sports such as golfing, cycling, running, jogging and horse riding are common in Kuala lumpur. If you’re into rock climbing, the Batu Caves in the Northern suburbs is popular. However given Malaysia's stunning terrain, you’re better off heading to other places for anything more strenuous or challenging.
You can also watch the local football match at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras. Kuala Lumpur FA is a football team based in Kuala Lumpur and currently plays in the top division of football in Malaysia, the Malaysia Super League. Match schedule and fixture can be seen at the KLFA website.
Volunteering is not often the first thing you may considering doing when in Kuala Lumpur, however there are various projects to give your time and help out the community. Regardless of spending one day or even a week or more volunteering for a cause, you will probably find something that you are interested in. Below are some volunteering options available within Kuala Lumpur.
- Nur Salam (Chow Kids), 24A-B Jl Chow Kit, . Volunteer with the street kids of Chow Kit (KL) to "help improve the quality of life for the children of Chow Kit whose parents are usually former and current drug addicts & sex workers in Kuala Lumpur". Chow Kids offers training for volunteers who wish to spend any amount of time interacting and helping these deserving children.
- SPCA Selangor, Jl Kerja Air Lama, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, . , SPCA Selangor is an animal welfare organisation dedicated to protecting defenseless animals and to alleviate their suffering. Volunteer to help out at the animal shelter, SPCA's marketing and communication department or SPCA's outreach events.
- Zoo Negara, Hulu Kelang, Ampang, Selangor, , e-mail:[email protected]. Love animals? Volunteer at the National Zoo - Zoo Negara outside the city. Simply fill out the Volunteer Form on the website and show up for a shift at the zoo in a variety of areas. Their volunteer website gives for more information.
Festivals and events
Chinese New Year (January/February)
Chinese New Year is a joyous occasion celebrated with feasts and lion dances to ward off evil spirits and usher in the lunar new year. Family reunion dinners are a must among the Chinese on the eve of the new year.
Christmas (25 December)
Midnight services are held at churches on Christmas eve. Shopping centres and hotels echo with refreshing carols. In KL, the revelry and Yuletide spirit of Christmas is enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.
Deepavali or the “Festival of Lights” is a Hindu celebration to mark the triumph of good over evil. Hindu homes are emblazoned with lights to symbolize the triumph.
Malaysia Fest (September)
This is the annual showcase of Malaysia’s cultural heritage and culinary delights. For two weeks, the major hotels and shopping complexes join forces to feature the culture, cuisine and handicrafts of various states in Malaysia.
Floral Festival (July)
Kuala Lumpur booms even lovelier during this time with decorated side-walks and buildings, flora hunts, flower sales and exhibitions of Malaysia’s diverse flora at public gardens, hotel lobbies and shopping malls. The festival culminates in a spectacular international floral parade featuring floral floats in spectacular colours.
Shopping Carnival (October)
Bargains galore at shopping complexes in KL during this not to be missed annual two-week long shopping extravaganza which offers attractive discounts for various products.
KL City Day (1 February)
Kuala Lumpur commemorates its declaration as a Federal Territory on 1 February with festivities, performances and competitions centred at Taman Tasik Perdana, its premier lake gardens and Taman Titiwangsa
National Day (31 August)
The National Day is celebrated with parades and public performances at the Independence Square. KL will be gaily decorated and adorned with lights for the grand annual occasion.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Hari Raya Adilfitri is celebrated by Muslims after the month-long Ramadan fasting. Muslims usher in the festival with prayers in the mosques followed by receiving well-wishers in their homes.
Kuala Lumpur has quite a vibrant night-life and the Golden Triangle is the epicentre of most of the partying which goes on in the city. Jalan P. Ramlee, just south of KLCC, is Kuala Lumpur's central clubbing area, while the action also spills onto Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Pinang and Jalan Perak. Nearby Bukit Bintang also throbs with action, and its neon-lit nightclubs, many of them with hostesses, certainly have a more Asian feel to them. Heritage Row, in the Tuanku Abdul Rahman district, is fast catching up as a popular nightspot. It occupies a row of refurbished colonial-era shop houses and is now home to one of Kuala Lumpur's swankiest clubs and trendy bars; strictly for well heeled visitors and locals. It is on Jalan Doraisamy just off Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Dang Wangi. Bangsar has long been one of the busiest places in Kuala Lumpur after the sun goes down. The action is around Jalan Telawi and its side streets, and is definitely the place to go for clubbing and deafening music. Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara in the Damansara and Hartamas district have popular pubs and some clubs as well as nice coffee places. You may be able to find live performances in some of the outlets. After a tiring night out, Malaysians like to head to Mamak stalls - street side stalls or shops operated by Indian Muslims - which offer a range of non-alcoholic beverages like teh tarik (frothed tea) and light food. In fact, these stalls have also become night hangouts in their own right, and many outlets have installed wide-screen projectors and TV where they screen football matches. Most outlets are open 24 hours. They are found all over the city and are a wonderful part of the Malaysian night scene. Another trend that has hit Malaysia is the kopitiam fad, a more upmarket version of the traditional Chinese coffee shop. These mostly open during the day and offer some of the best tea and coffee and light meals and snacks like nasi lemak (coconut flavoured rice with fried anchovies and peanut) and the ever popular toast with kaya (coconut curd, used as a spread). If you prefer Western style coffee, there are many coffee outlets in Kuala Lumpur: most of them are part of international and local chains like Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and San Francisco Coffee. Most of them can be found in shopping malls.
Things to know
Kuala Lumpur is ostensibly a liberal city by Malaysian standards and wearing revealing clothes will rarely cause major problems. However, avoiding overly revealing clothes goes a long way towards blending in. Many mosques and temples require covering up, and you will get more respect from officialdom if you dress up a little. Many places of worship including all mosques will require you to take your shoes off before entering. When eating with hands rather than cutlery, do not eat with the left hand in public as it is considered impolite. If you can speak just a few words of the four main local languages, namely Malay, Chinese (especially Cantonese), Tamil and English, it will ingratiate you a lot with the locals. Also, while you may drink in pubs, restaurants and bars, public drunkenness is not tolerated. You will be more vulnerable to getting robbed or will find yourself in the back seat of a police car.
As befitting the nation's capital, Malay is universally spoken and understood by locals in Kuala Lumpur.
However, as Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur is also home to Malaysians of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and this is often reflected in the number of languages that are used by locals in daily life. The lingua franca of the Chinese community is Cantonese, and most of the ethnic Chinese can speak Cantonese regardless of their native dialect, with a significant number also able to speak Mandarin. Kuala Lumpur is also home to many Indians, most of whom are native speakers of Tamil.
English is also widely spoken, and English-speaking tourists should generally not have a problem getting around.
Safety in Kuala Lumpur
Crime is not rampant in Kuala Lumpur. The perception of crime is high, but in recent years the Malaysian police have managed to reduce crime significantly in and around urban Kuala Lumpur. Reports of violent crime against foreigners are uncommon but instances of pick pocketing and bag snatching have risen in recent years.
Kuala Lumpur is generally very safe for travellers (it is locals who are often the targets of crime), but be wary of over-friendly locals trying to con you. Police presence, particularly around tourist areas and at night has increased in recent years.
During the rains, pavements and streets become small rivers and crossing a street can be an adventure. Pavements become as slippery as ice so wear proper footwear.
Malaysian law requires that visitors carry their passport at all times, and both police and "RELA" (civil volunteers) carry out spot checks for illegal immigrants.