“Are you from Malaysia?” is generally the question Malaysians would ask me whenever I start talking about Kuala Lumpur (KL).
I know the city like the back of my hand; I know how to work its public transport system, the locations of the best shopping malls, the best streets to hit up for a good feed and the regions surrounding the city best for day trips.
I admit, I am a bit of a fan of Kuala Lumpur, and have been to the city at least once every two years (or, in the past three years, once a year) while en-route to and from various different destinations.
It is no coincidence. I specifically choose the airlines that takes me to KL to and from my destination, and I like to schedule in a three to five days stop to enjoy this vibrant city.
What is it about Kuala Lumpur that I love? Well, here are my top three reasons.
A vibrant blend of cultures
Malaysia is a country made up of mainly three ethnic groups. Although a Muslim country, the Hindu Indians and the Christian Chinese practise their religion culture freely and openly, and it is in Kuala Lumpur you’ll see the evidence of this.
The Malaysians will tell you they have problems with such a multi-cultural society, but compared to many of the other similar societies where traditions can sometimes collide and blow into violence you’ll find Kuala Lumpur is generally a happy and peaceful city to be in.
And that is what makes me love this city. It is easy to find a church next to a mosque next to a temple next to a shrine, and its most popular tourist attraction – the Batu Caves – is of Hindu origin.
The cultures also introduced a rich blend of cuisine from around the world, flavours often improvised to add that bit of difference unique to Malaysia.
Speaking of food..
Food is another reason why I continue to return to Kuala Lumpur. It is almost impossible to have a bad meal here, unless you were always eating at MacDonalds and KFC.
Other than strong air conditioning, food will have to be all Malaysian’s biggest passion, and as mentioned, often improvised to create a unique Malaysian cuisine.
Think a hearty curry meal on banana leaf, roti canai, curry noodle soup (laksa), the famous Straits chicken rice and Nonya cuisine; add in good local coffee and excellent street snacks selection. The fact that everything is cheap, is just a bonus.
Don’t succumb to those international franchises. Try the street foods or at least the locally run cafes and restaurants. You’ll never look to the golden arches again.
The Asian capital of shopping
I always find it odd that people would choose to go to Singapore or Hong Kong for shopping, for I have compared them all and find Kuala Lumpur’s shopping bordering the ridiculously good scale.
There are shopping malls, and there are shopping MEGA-malls. Inside the city centre alone there are at least eight shopping malls, each attached conveniently to a monorail or train station so that you wouldn’t even need to walk far. There is also a mall for every budget: Suria KLCC and The Pavilion house the luxury international brands that require a security guard at each store, while Sungei Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square have outlets that sell no frills clothing from only RM10 (around 3AUD) a piece.
Get a train and head out of the city centre to Mid City Valley Megamall, where there are shops for all range of wealth, as well as an excellent food court and some brilliant supermarkets to browse.
There are so much more to Kuala Lumpur than what’s been written here. Why not go and see it for yourself?