WHAT TO SEE - KUALA LUMPURJanuary 20, 2015
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia's capital an up-and-coming Asian city. It's a destination that often gets overlooked on South East Asia travel itineraries and because of this I feel it's somewhat underrated. The city is a meting pot of predominately Malaysian, Chinese and Indian people which makes for a rich and diverse tapestry of culture, heritage and of course cuisine.
Instana Negara is the former residence of the king of Malaysia; which has since been replaced with a newer and more extravagant palace elsewhere in the city. You can walk around the surrounding area to get a glimpse of the historic building and like Buckingham Palace, there are uniformed guards manning the gates.
The KL Lake Gardens.
There's an abundance of green space within the city which include the KL Lake Gardens, Orchid Gardens, Bird Park, Butterfly Park and Deer Park, so it's easy to get a breather from some of the bustling, all-go areas of the city.
Stall selling traditional Malay souvenirs in the Central Market.
The Central Market was founded in 1888 and is a great place to explore for an hour to two to get an insight into Malay arts and crafts, culture and heritage. Although nowadays it's a bit touristy, it's worth a visit if you want to pick up a couple of traditional Malaysian souvenirs.
Sepak Takraw - Traditional Malaysian woven balls that are used to play kick-volleyball which made great souvenirs.
As Malaysia is a Muslim country, it has lots of interesting mosques to see. Masjid Jameck is the oldest mosque in town and is located in the historical district of Kuala Lumpur. It's also known a little Big Ben due to it's resemblance.
Inside the National Mosque.
The National Mosque is another tourist hotspot. When you enter you are asked to wear a purple Jedi robe.
The largest tankard in the world.
Kuala Lumpur's Royal Slangor factory is well worth a visit if you love to find out how things are made. Its the world's biggest pewter maker and free guided tours of their Kuala Lumpur factory are available to the public.
Royal Selangor products for sale at the gift shop.
The Lucky Teapot.
This pewter teapot has the most wonderful story behind it - it saved someones life! Back in the 1940's when Kuala Lumpur was muddy and war torn, a man by the name of Ah Ham noticed something shiny in amongst the mud. As bombs fell around him, he hastily scuttled over to retrieve what turned out to be a pewter teapot from the dirt. At the very moment he knelt down to get it, a piece of shrapnel hurtled past him and had he been standing upright at that exact moment then the shrapnel would have hit him directly in the head. He lived to tell the tale thanks of the lucky teapot and the legacy of his story lives on today, with thousands of tourists coming to visit it each year.
Mini version of the Patronas Twin Towers.
All of the employees at Royal Selangor have their own personalised, pewter hand print on the wall.
Formula 1 and Grand Prix trophies made by Royal Selangor.
Royal Selangor products are finished by hand by the highly skilled team of workers who were nice enough to give me a demonstration. The sheer speed at which they work with the molten pewter is gob-smacking.
They were also nice enough to let me try my hand at their craft. Although I wasn't entrusted with the molten pewter (probably for the best for everyone) they did let me have a go at adding a dent design to a pewter cup using a small hammer. The dents are supposed to be evenly spaced and uniform in size and shape - it's a lot harder than it looks...better not give up the day job!
If you would like to cast and create your own pewter bowl then a half hour excursion to the School of Hard Knocks workshop is well worth a go if you visit the factory.
The Sunway Resort is located just outside the city centre is a fantastic place for family fun in Kuala Lumpur, with its water park lagoon and attractions that sprawl out across 80 acres. In addition to this it has two luxury hotels, fancy restaurants and it's own pyramid shopping mall.
The Petronas Twin Towers.
The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world and are Kuala Lumpur's unmissable trademark. They almost resemble two gigantic glittery hypodermic needles that reach up to the heavens. They are a vast and unique feat of architecture and they look particularly spectacular at night when they are lit up. The Towers are one of my favourite structures in the world.
The towers at night.
The towers boast some breathtaking views of the surrounding city-scape with its Sky Bride (on the 41st floor) and its Observation Deck (on the 86th floor). At ground level there is a swanky shopping mall which is one of many amazing places to shop in the city. Kuala Lumpur's abundance of shopping destinations is one of the its main selling points, not to mention the fact that you can bag yourself a bargain if you are willing to look around. If you love to shop then this city might just be the destination for you. I would recommend the Times Square mall which is mostly made up of seven stories of unimaginably cheap clothing. I was pretty chuffed when I purchased a dress for around £3, which would likely have cost at least ten times that back in the UK.
Traders Hotel bar.
Located just adjacent to the Petronas Twin Towers is the Traders Hotel bar which is equipped with its own swimming pool and is one of the coolest hangouts in the city. You can party by the pool on the 33ird floor with the stunning view of the Petronas Twin Towers in the backdrop. There's little wonder why it's received global notoriety.
View of the Petronas Twin Towers from the Traders Hotel Bar.
In this article I have only scratched the surface on what KL has to offer. Other notable attractions include Little India, China Town, the KL Tower, the Battu Caves, not to mention it's amazing food...but that's an article for another day. My time in Malaysia was limited to a few days but I would love to return to check out some of its other smaller cities such a Penang and Malaka, which from what I've heard are well worth considering visiting if you are planning a trip.