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ASIAN DESTINATION great

Gathered from previous travels of Living Asia Channel correspondents and fellow explorers, with cooperation of local tour guides, is a collection of information on various Asian countries and its provinces to make traveling easier for the common tourist.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Time Zone +8:00 hours from UTC/GMT

Malaysia is a  multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual heritage, with a multifaceted economy, in the last 5 decades it has multiplied expeditiously to rise as a formidable Asian force. Kuala Lumpur or KL is the epicenter that pulses with economic activity in Peninsular Malaysia. With building upon building taking over the skyline, KL prides itself as Malaysia’s most advanced city drawing the attention of many across the world.

HOW TO GET THERE

BY AIR

 

Fly Direct to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

One of Asia's transit hubs, the airport is a destination in it of itself.  It is roughly 50 Km south of Kuala Lumpur. The airport not only worthwhile duty free stores, they also have art installations, themed exhibits and special offers. It has full access to wifi with public computers and free wifi, although you must log in with your mobile number and register. The food here is also not bad place to start your food trip. If your parched from a long flight and need an extra energy boost, look for any restaurant and ask for Teh Tarik on Ice (Iced Milk Tea) to beat the heat.

 

From here you can take a the KLIA express transit lines to access the city center.

BY LAND

 

● Via Bus

The Malaysian peninsula is bordered by Thailand to the north and by singapore to the south. There is a 21 hour bus ride from Bangkok, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s probably the cheapest option and probably the most uncomfortable. Traversing the border daily, there are deluxe air conditioned buses that already offer basic comforts like pillows and snacks. Some “in-bus” entertainment with huge screens at the front of the bus to watch movies. Our big tip is to ready to hit the snooze button for most of your trip.

 

● Via Train

The train system connects Thailand to Singapore, passing through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Traveling via train offers a leisurely ride through stretches of rice paddies, small towns and scenic terrain. A ride from either Bangkok or Singapore will cost around USD 55 and the travel will take about a day and a half including scheduled stops in Butterworth (From Bangkok) where you can take a ferry to the island of Langkawi  or Johor Bahru (From Singapore) for an adventure at Legoland.

 

If the romance of the old railway is something your after, you may want to book your ride on the East and Orient-Express. Not to be mistaken for Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” the train company offers a luxurious suites and exotic dining experiences.

 

 

GETTING AROUND

● BY MRT

 

The urban train lines of KL are fairly extensive and can get you to most major destination in the metro. There are currently 8 lines including the two airport express lines that will bring you to KL Sentral.

 

● RENT A CAR

 

If you planning to hit many stops and prefer a dedicated ride, you can opt to rent a car. Remember the Malaysia uses right hand-drive, so make sure your adjusted for the vehicle. In addition you must have an international driver's license valid for up to 1 year.

WEATHER

 

Kuala Lumpur has a tropical climate that enjoys a fair amount of sun throughout the year. Expect rains to fall during March to April and again from October to November.

WHAT TO DO

 

 

Shopping in Bukit Bintang, a series of shopping district around the Low Yat Plaza and Fahrenheit 88.

Visit the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin structures in the world.

Merdeka Square a historic landmark of neo-moorish and mugal architecture

Learn about the history of the old Chinese Apartment District near Merdeka Square

Temples of the various major religion in Malaysia.

Head over to Jalan Masjid and sample local culture in the centuries old district of Little India.

Chow Kit Food Market and sample the local open air markets, the largest in KL, that sell rack upon rack of local flavors during the day, and a host of nick-nacks at night all at cheaper prices.

WHERE TO STAY

● Hotels

 

At the city center there are a host of hotels you can choose from of every caliber. Consider staying near Bukit Bintang if you prefer easy access to the train station.

 

● Homestays

 

Although more popular outside of the KL, there are  few homestays in places like Kampung Baru, where you can have that homey feeling at the heart of the city. Also there are home stays just a short drive outside of KL that offer farm stays to give a different experience from the run of the mill hotel experience..

LOCAL CUSTOMS AND CULTURES

 

Malaysia is a multiethnic country  made up mostly of  Malays, Chinese and Indian descent.  Malay composes the majority of its people (about 58%). The predominant religion is Islam, distantly followed by Buddhism, Christianity and Hindu. Due to its history of infighting between cultures, sensitivity over discussion of ethnicity should be observed.

 

Kuala Lumpur is a highly developed metropolis, with an active urban scene composed of fun loving locals and expatriates. It is relatively open society, although many consider Malaysia to generally be a conservative country.

 

The currency is called the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR / RM)

WHAT TO EAT

● Hawker Stalls For those in it to really get a sampling of KL’s multicultural experience then its time to get of the main roads and hit the side streets. Street food stalls open till about twelve midnight and offer up mostly Malay dishes. Lamb and Chicken Satay drowned in a peanut sauce is a must. The cubed rice that can be order with it is a cute touch to this simple meal enjoyed at all hours of the day. ● Mamak Stalls If there is one experience one can expect from Malaysia, it is the profusion of great dinning choices and their general appreciation home food.Mamak stalls, as locals call it, are road side canteens serving a host of inexpensive home grown malay dishes. Enjoy Nasi Lemak (coconut rice steamed in pandan leaves) or blue rice coloured with butterfly-pea flowers. Add your choice of sides and you'll fine yourself full for hours. Curries and Roti like the one in Seetharam Family Curry House, are also staples on the menu. ● Teh Tarik and Coconut Jelly As this traveler can attest to, Malaysia has one of the deepest tasting tea based drinks in the south east asian region. The The Tarik, as its called, is a milk tea drink, pulled in the most entertaining fashion. The coconut jelly is made with young coconut juice tipped with a little gelatine. Served frozen and still in the husk, this drink may save you from the heat of the city, at least that's what vendors say. ● Fine Dining in Tamarind Springs The right mix of fine dining against the sprawling decadence of the tropical forest reserve, if you want to have a feel of Malaysia’s tropical experience, then the Tamarind springs should be on your list. The restaurant serves a personal blend of Indo-Chinese cuisine. It’s a relaxing refuge for both mind and palate.

FESTIVALS / CELEBRATION

WHAT TO BRING HOME

● Music Festivals

 

The concerts and music festivals are big in Malaysia. Aside from big headliners they also host international music events in and around the city like the Future Music Festival and the Good Vibes Festival (an hour away from KL in Genting, Malaysia)

● Tempoyak or fermented durian a common condiment to Malay food. It is an acquired taste but one that can complete a dish especially when you recreate their cuisine at home.

 

● Tudung or Muslim Head Dress worn by women, it's not just the products that are of interest but also the chance to gain a varied cultural experience.

 

● Curries and Special Sauces from each of the cultures. Form Sambal Oelek (Chilis in shrimp paste) and Sambal Bajak (Chili Sauce) to Peanut sauces and other preserves.

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