Travel Guide: Kuala Lumpur
It is not always easy for other Asian cities to live up to the standards set by Dubai, especially given that Dubai is very much one of those cities that is a standing monument to the extraordinary – but if you are looking for a city that will offer all the things that Dubai does without costing as much, then Kuala Lumpur is a genuinely excellent choice for any tourist. It may be dominated in some people’s eyes by the Petronas Towers, but KL, as the locals call it, is really about a lot more than just some of the most striking architecture in the entire region. The city has become the focus of a Malaysian tourist industry which is very much interested in developing for the future while retaining clear links to Malaysian history.
To get anyone interested in visiting Kuala Lumpur, the first step anyone should take is to show them the city’s skyline. It will rapidly disabuse anyone of the notion that KL is the Petronas Towers and little else. A night-time cityscape of this magnificent location is a sight which goes far beyond impressive and right to the point of visually and architecturally stunning. For six years up until 2004 the Towers were the world’s tallest buildings, and they are still the tallest in the country now. Of course, Kuala Lumpur is not all about the architecture. Many people these days do not see fit to visit a country or a city unless they can shop ‘til they drop once there. If this is what you are after, the city of Kuala Lumpur is ideal.
While outside, the Western tourist may well find that the temperature can get a little bit severe. In actual fact it rarely, if ever, drops beneath 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius), even in the winter months. The shopping malls are air-conditioned and may well be the best places in the city for getting a bit of a breather if the heat is becoming oppressive for you. Assuming you are well equipped to deal with the heat, however, then you can take to the streets and enjoy the markets (which can get very busy but offer a real range of bargains and an opportunity to practise your haggling). You have surely been to shopping malls and seen inside them fountains, big-screen displays and other center pieces, but only in Kuala Lumpur will you see a shopping mall with a canal running through it.
You won’t be short of hotels to stay in either, no matter what your price range. While in a lot of other cities you will get a feeling you are paying for the name (of the hotel or the city), KL offers a great range of hotels where even the best by public decree are less than $150 a night on average year round. For people used to a Western climate it may well be the ideal winter break. Not too hot overall, but hotter than a Western summer, and affordable too. A really interesting experience