Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. It’s the nation biggest city with a population of 1.5 million people. Kuala Lumpur is considered a relatively young city which have transformed from a humble town in the 1850s to a financial powerhouse today. Aside from its modernity which encompasses magnificent skyscrapers, sophisticated restaurant and colorful nightlife, Kuala Lumpur also possess a rich cultural heritage that is revealed in its colonial architecture, temples and mosques as well as its various ethnic backgrounds.
As its name implies, Kuala Lumpur literally means muddy confluence in Malay. The name is derived from its location at the point where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet. History reveals the city was established in the Klang Valley in 1857 which the city back then was a ramshackle trading post for the booming tin mining industry. At that period of time, Kuala Lumpur was constantly plagued by floods, fires and civil wars.
The early population of Kuala Lumpur was mainly Chinese miners and traders who were mostly governed by a Kapitan China or headman. One of the famous Kapitan China was Yap Ah Loy. His popularity was mainly due to his contribution to the early city’s growth.
As industry boom began in 1880 after the British took control of Kuala Lumpur, the city was made the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States in 1896. The city was soon seeing a large influx of population made up of various ethnic backgrounds. In 1999, Putrajaya became the new administrative capital but Kuala Lumpur remains the country financial and commercial hub.
Even though Kuala Lumpur has been developed into a sophisticated and modern city now, its rich history can be traced back in the 19th-century architecture of the old colonial district and in neighboring Chinatown. The Chinatown is especially attractive with its incense-filled temples and chatter-filled coffee shops. Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisines are the most popular in Kuala Lumpur and can be easily found in places such as Kampung Baru, Little India and Chow Kit. As Kuala Lumpur is rich with culture and history, the modern city is witnessing a blend of the old with the new.
Kuala Lumpur can be best explored at several areas such as the Golden Triangle where it’s the hub of the city nightlife, while the Petronas Twin Towers dominate the business district of KLCC in the northeast. Besides, the tranquil Lake Gardens at the southwest are a perfect escape from the urban clutter. Moreover, you can see Kuala Lumpur’s old colonial core at Merdeka Square which is dominated by elegant colonial buildings.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre Travel Map
Getting To Kuala Lumpur
The state-of-the-art Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the main gateway into the country and services over 45 international airlines. KL is situated about 55km from the airport. A non-stop 28-minute ride on the KLIA Ekspres will connect visitors to the KL Sentral Station in the city.
KL is also easily accessible from Port Klang, the country’s largest seaport. An excellent road and rail network links KL to various parts of the country, including Thailand, the northern neighbor, and Singapore to the south.
Most international flights arrive in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). If you are coming from North America such as the United States or Canada, you can come to Kuala Lumpur via Air Canada. The flights from North America usually take more than 24 hours to arrive. As a result, you are recommended to consider direct flights that consist of the least transit to save your traveling time.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Guides
How to Get Around Kuala Lumpur
Find out here tips on how to get around this bustling city by all modes of transportation.
Free Pocket Handbook for Getting Around Kuala Lumpur
Don’t have a KL map or guides? Get a free travel pocket handbook as soon as you touch down at the KLIA.
Malaysia Airlines New Economy Class Tickets
Malaysia Airlines is on a promotion spree now to launch its latest package on Economy Class fares. Find out here the types of packages of budget plane ticket.
Travel Guide for Women in Kuala Lumpur
Discover how women can travel light with all the cosmetic, facial cleanser and cream.
Avoid Falling Sick while Traveling in Kuala Lumpur
Getting sick is the worst nightmare while traveling. Find out here how to avoid that.
Kuala Lumpur Food Trail
Kuala Lumpur Fish Head Noodles
Have you tried fish head noodle before? This is probably one of the most delicious fish head noodle in KL.
Kuala Lumpur Luxury Holidays Stay
A Romantic Rendezvous at Bukit Tinggi
Been to Kota Tinggi? Why not have a romantic stay at the Berjaya Hills resort for the weekend.
Sunway Hotel Pyramid Tower
Enjoy a luxurius stay at the Sunway Hotel Pyramid Tower after a day of shopping at the Sunway Pyramid Mall.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Maps
Places of Interest in Kuala Lumpur
Your trip to KL won’t be perfect if you miss the Chinatown. Find out here the attractions, visiting hours, what to see and how to get there.
Carcosa Seri Negara
The Carcosa Seri Negara is a famous historical mansion in KL. It is now a luxury hotel.
Petronas Twin Towers
Standing majestically at a height of 451.9m, this gleaming structure of steel and glass is the tallest twin buildings in the world. Visit the famous sky bridge on the 41st floor to view the city from a dizzying height.
Have an unforgettable time at the world’s fourth tallest tower. Dine in a revolving restaurant or enjoy forest walks and cultural performances. For an adrenalin rush, try the reverse bungee jump.
Malaysia’s premier museum is the repository for the nation’s rich history and heritage. Built in 1963, its façade features a Minangkabau-styled roof and two impressive front murals. Highlights include the collection of keris or Malay dagger and ceramics from the Ming Dynasty.
KL Lake Gardens
Enjoy verdant greenery in this refreshing enclave. Within the environs are the Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens, Deer Park, KL Butterfly Park and KL Bird Park.
This huge bronze monument pays tribute to the valiant soldiers who perished while defending the country during the Communist Insurgency. It was designed by Felix de Weldon, the architect of the famous Iwo Jima Memorial.
The official residence of His Majesty The King of Malaysia is a stately mansion set within a beautifully landscaped garden. The daily changing of the guard attracts its fair share of visitors and photographers.
This is an important heritage site in the city. The Union Jack was lowered here on 31 August 1957 marking Malaysia’s independence from colonial rule. The nearby Sultan Abdul Samad Building is another heritage site.
This is the most distinguished mosque in Kuala Lumpur. It has a unique stylized star-shaped dome representing the 13 states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. Its 73m high minaret stands impressively against the skyline.
Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex
Styled like a Malay village, this complex is an artists’ colony housing handicraft shops, an art workshop, craft museum and food court. Shop for the best in Malay ethnic crafts, or try your hand at batik-painting. To view a fine traditional Malay house, visit The Heritage Centre nearby.
Malaysia Tourism Centre
An important historical landmark, this building served as the military base of the British army and the headquarters of the Japanese army during World War II. Today it is a one-stop centre offering a host of facilities for tourists.
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
A splendid building with Moorish architecture as well as graceful arches and minarets. It was the hub for the nation’s rail transportation system before the modern KL Sentral Station was built.
Built in 1909, this mosque occupies a historic location at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur. It is the city’s oldest surviving mosque. Nearby is Masjid India, built in southern Indian style.
Sze Ya Temple
This is the oldest Taoist temple in the city with a history dating back to 1864. It features an ornate interior and elaborate roof ridges.
Thean Hou Temple
Golden roofed pagodas and strings of lanterns are impressive features of this temple. Located inside are three majestic statues of deities.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
One of the most elaborate Hindu temples in the country, it boasts a magnificent 22m high gate tower and portico adorned with intricately carved images of Hindu deities.
Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin
This is a fine example of English Gothic architecture featuring beautiful stained glass windows, tasseled tile paving and buttresses. Of interest here is a beautiful pipe organ built in 1895.
Memorials and Galleries
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial and Tun Abdul Razak Memorial were established in honour of the nation’s past prime ministers. Galeria Sri Perdana houses the personal collections of Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
The many themed attractions in KL make for delightful family outings. Visit Aquaria KLCC, the largest aquarium in the world or make a trip to Petrosains for an exciting insight into the petroleum industry. To enjoy thrilling rides, visit Cosmo’s World Theme Park, touted to be the region’s biggest indoor theme park. It is situated in Berjaya Times Square.
KL is a veritable shopping paradise in the region with a wide range of shopping establishments catering to every taste and budget. A large number of upscale malls are situated in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Ampang and Bangsar. For bargain-hunters, Petaling Street is a not-to-be-missed shopping spot with a wide array of products and souvenirs. If you have an eye for novelty items, visit Pasar Seni or Central Market, a bazaar-styled arts and crafts center. Popular souvenirs include batik, pewter ware and woodcarvings.
For more information on shopping, please follow this link here, Shopping in Kuala Lumpur.
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Pavilion KL is the latest mega mall in Kuala Lumpur. Find out here what are the attractions.
The city has a wide variety of exciting nightspots, including karaoke lounges, clubs with live bands and discotheques. Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee are the favourite places to unwind.
For more information on entertainment, please follow this link here, Kuala Lumpur Nightlife.
Enjoy an abundance of Malay, Chinese, Indian as well as Balinese and Thai treatments within the luxurious comforts of the city’s spas. Several leading hotels offer exclusive spa facilities for the convenience of their guests.
For more information on spa and massage, please follow this link here, Spa and Massage in Kuala Lumpur.
Location, Driving Direction and Map for Getting Around Kuala Lumpur: