The Batu Caves are just North of the city. Climbing the 272 steps you will find a Hindu temple built right inside a massive cave. The temple is dedicated to the god Murugan. Every year, during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, believers embark on a pilgrimage from the Sri Mahamariamman temple all the way to the Batu Caves. The site is easily accessible by the KTM Commuter Train from KL Sentral. The journey takes around 20 minutes.
The Central Market (Pasar Seni) is a gargantuan building housing hundreds of shops offering batik designs, the wares of local artisans, and every type of souvenir you can think of.
Exiting the Central Market and heading north, you’ll find 3 of the most important buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The first is Masjid Jamek Mosque. You may enter to have a look but be aware that a strict dress code in enforced: men must wear pants and women must cover their hair with a veil. On the other side of the river, you’ll next find the Merdeka Square. At 100m, the giant Malaysian flag at the center of the square is said to be the tallest in the world. Adjacent to the square, you’ll find the Royal Selangor Club; a historic building that has hosted some of Malaysian high societies most important meetings and celebrations since 1890. On the other side of the square, the Sultan Abdul Samad mosque is one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur.
It seems that you’re ready for a new adventure in Malaysia! Here are some useful tips that may be quite helpful before you hop on your flight. KLIA, the main airport, is located around 50km away from the city center. Although quite a trek, it is easily accessible by affordable taxis (45 min.) or with an express train (28min). Tickets for the train can be booked here. The KLIA Ekspres will shuttle you to KL Sentral, additional arrangements will be required to reach other areas. In general, taxis are quite cheap, although sometimes stubborn drivers will refuse to use meters. Uber and Grab are also both excellent options.
As for accommodations, i strongly suggest selecting a hotel in KLCC (city center). This is where the famous Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower (Menara KL) are located. KLCC is a very convenient neighborhood with easy access to mass transit, tonnes of restaurant, shopping options, and some great rooftop bars. Another good option is to stay in KL Sentral; another vibrant area with convenient access to China Town and many of the night markets.
The Pacific Regency Hotel is an excellent albeit pricey option. If you manage to find a good deal, you’ll be able to enjoy a great view of the KL Tower from the rooftop pool. It’s rooms are quite modern and very well taken care of.
Malaysia consists of 13 states and 3 federal territories spread across Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia on the northern coast of Borneo. Domestic flights are offered primarily by Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines, although a few other low cost options also exist. For getting around KL, the monorail is a great although rather limited option. Taxis and cars are definitely the most convenient, and fastest method to get around town. Many times, the fares are quite small. Remember to always negotiate or at least convince the driver to use the meter. I had the pleasure of meeting a great driver during my stay, Joseph. He can be reached at 0136242264.
Enjoy and remember…Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Little India and Chinatown are among my favorite neighborhoods!
In Kuala Lumpur, there are actually two different Indian neighborhoods: one in the South close to KL Sentral, called Brickfields, and another a little more off the beaten path, located just North of Chinatown.
Brickfields will leave you speechless. Just a couple of steps away from KL Sentral Station, the main drag, Jalan Tun Sambanthan is teeming with bars and shops. I was especially struck by the rich colors, sounds, and good vibes of the area. One particularly interesting experience that I happened upon by coincidence was a blind massage in Jalan Thambypillai. Yes you heard right, a massage performed by a visually impaired masseuse. I would have never imagined myself getting a blind massage! I was simply amazed by their expertise and extremely sensitive touch. Although the building may seem a little run down and by no means is it a luxury spa, don’t let that put you off :)
Little India, is the other colorful neighborhood. It consists of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the Sogo shopping center, and all the smaller roads in the vicinity. Here you can truly immerse yourself in a Bollywood environment full of colorful buildings, blaring Indian music, textile shops on every corner, beautiful flowers lining the streets, and the intoxicating scents of spices and curry. Altogether creating a beautiful atmosphere sure to leave you in awe. I suggest heading to Jalan Masjid India, another very lively area not too far away. Stop to enjoy a refreshing cononut milk before continuing to have a look at the India Mosque.
Masjid Jamek station marks the edge of little India and the beginning of Chinatown, another captivating and very traditional neighborhood.
Medan Pasar, a small square with a clock tower, is a great place to start your exploration of the neighborhood. I recommend walking along Jalan Hang Kasturi all the way to the Sze Ya Temple, Kuala Lumpur’s oldest Taoist temple. Here you’ll come face to face with a myriad of flowers, the perfume of which can sometimes be overpowered by the incense burned by worshipers.
Afterwards, on Jalan Benteng, you’ll have the opportunity to visit my favorite temple, the Sri Mahamariamman, one of the most impressive Hindu places of worship in KL. It consists of a 22m tower featuring many representations of Hindu deities.
Don’t forget to also have a look at Jalan Petaling. This street is well known for its various markets, the most interesting being the night market.
Not far from here, the famous Old China Cafe serves up delicious local cuisine. Why not try the Nyona Laksa, a noodle dish featuring coconut milk, chili, sea food, and greens. Laksa ressembles Japanese ramen, only much spicier and with flavors native to South East Asia. Great for anyone, who like me, love anything with coconut!