from By Lonelyplanet.com © By Lonelyplanet.com
Kuala Lumpur, the best of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, best known as KL, is located on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsular in between Thailand and Singapore. "Kuala Lumpur" literally means "muddy confluence", signifying the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers.
Malaysia's capital was once a mining town. Nowadays, it looks more like an urban jungle packed with historic monuments, skyscrapers, parks, enormous shopping malls, street markets and trendy nightspots.
When you enter KL, you'll notice the city's colourful vibe. It is not unusual to have a Muslim mosque, a Hindu shrine, a Christian church and a Buddhist temple in the same neighbourhood. Malaysia is a cultural fusion with various festivals being celebrated: Aidilfitri, Aidiladha, Chinese New Year, the mid-autumn festival (also known as Mooncake Festival); Deepavali and Christmas.
Despite the risings skyscrapers (such as the famous Petronas Twin Towers) for the past 15 year, you can still find the laid-back ambience and jungle lushness that it once was as you travel out to Kampung village.
A little further out (11km north of Kl), you should have a look at the mesmerizing Batu Caves' 400 million-year old limestone hill (with a 100-year old temple within it), known for the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam.
Want to feel like a local? Join them in one of their favourite pastime: shopping. You can spend days exploring air-conditioned malls (Pavilion KL and Mid Valley Megamallâ€¦). Otherwise enjoy the Central Market for locally made souvenirs, then dive into the culinary melting pots. Here, it's all about food too, a mix of Asian culinary traditions. Kuala Lumpur has its own Chinatown and Little India or visit the cultural heart of the city's local cuisine, Jalan Alor.
By 22:00, Kuala Lumpur's vibrant and lively nocturnal scene comes to life with countless bars, pubs and clubs on the streets, as well as rooftop establishments.
KL's weather has three phases: hot, hotter and hottest so drink lots of water. Occasionally, there is rain to cool down the weather. Despite the heat, it won't take you long to realise that Kuala Lumpur is a city best explored by foot.