If you’re traveling to Malaysia, the one city that you’ll undoubtedly be seeing is Kuala Lumpur. After growth by leaps and bounds in the last fifty years, Malaysia's metropolitan capital has come a long way from its tin mining roots, standing at a population of around 6.5 million people in the exponentially developing Klang Valley region of the western coast. If you’re looking for Malay society at its most varied and multicultural, then KL is it. You’ve got the flashing lights and decadent nightlife of the Golden Triangle, 5-star accommodations as cheap as European hostels, a variety of dining options from sophisticated dining-in to the pungent flavors and inviting clamor of hawker streets, and some of Malaysia’s most iconic cultural landmarks. In short, KL is Malaysia with its best foot forward and nothing short of an enticing international destination.You'll quickly find that this isn't the type of place to sit on a beach and live out your twilight years while stirring cocktails with umbrella straws; it is, instead, a true adventure experience. Whether you are taking on the huge nightlife scene on streets like Bukit Bintang and Jalan P. Ramlee or an abundance of authentic Asian foods that include a thriving stable of street hawkers, you'll have plenty of novel ways in which to spend your eating and drinking hours. The Petronas Towers, Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), and the Menara KL Tower in Bukit Nanas are all must-see landmarks in the city and are indicative of Malaysia's place in the contemporary world. Consumerism (the true harbinger of international relevance) is also alive an well in a thriving downtown, while exemplary cultural attractions like the Batu Caves, known for a massive Hindu shrine that greets visitors after the 272 step climb to the cave entrance, are well worth the day trip. Our culture page has more on these types of activities.
If you are one to break from the restraints of packaged city tours, as our archetypal user is known to do, there are numerous forest parks and hiking areas within an hour or two of KL that will indulge the need for fresh air, waterfalls, and jungle treks. Local destinations like Sungai Tekala and Kanching Rainforest are great options, while larger, more popular areas like Endau Rompin National Park to the southeast are more than attainable in a day or as an overnight camping trip. The view of the Kuala Lumpur from the Klang Gates Ridge is also quite the reward for some tough scrambling stretches if you're up for a challenge, while the floating houses of Perdana Putra are a coastal highlight. For more on KL's more active pursuits, our adventure page will do the trick.
Within the city, there exists a liberal mentality that is much more Western than in more rural, Muslim areas of the country, where travelers of all colors, persuasions, and interests have a place, making a good place for many travelers to start. Add to this the high standards of safety, the reliable public transportation, and an extensive range of activities. The truth is that if you can't find something to entice you in Kuala Lumpur, then you haven't really looked. Check out our related travel pictures, videos, and much more for further inspiration.