Kuala Lumpur Stole Our Hearts in One Day

I heart Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur stole our hearts

Our visit to Kuala Lumpur was one of the best surprises of our trip to Asia. We really only stopped there because it was a convenient place to meet up with friends before traveling to Sumatra, but we ended up loving this city! We spent three days there and KL offered an intoxicating variety of experiences, sights, tastes, and smells.

If you’ve got a couple of days to spend in KL, we definitely recommend you spend most of one day walking. KL offers an amazing variety of sights to see, and a web of monorail and metro lines makes it fairly easy to get around.

We started our day at the Pasar Seni MRT station near the Central Market, and wandered around that area of town for more than half the day. The Central Market houses many souvenir and clothing shops which seemed to offer high quality merchandise. There is also a section devoted to local artisans and their work. Upstairs we found a restaurant to take a nice break from the heat.

Other KL sights we enjoyed included…

The Sri Mahamariamman Temple – the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia. This is a fascinating place. The sculptures are incredibly ornate and colorful. You will be required to remove your shoes to enter and are likely to see Hindus at prayer or leaving offerings inside. You may also hear someone reading from a holy book over the loudspeaker. We found this to be a common practice in Asia.

Taoist temple

Temple incense

The Guan di Temple, a Taoist temple, is practically across the street from Sri Mahamariarimman and worth a quick stop. Devotees come here and light lots of incense.

Petaling Street (Chinatown) is the place to buy probably anything your heart desires – and many things it doesn’t. A stroll down this street is interesting and offers great people watching.
Kuala Lumpur

Jamek Mosque

The ornate, white Masjid Jamek can best be viewed from the river and it is a beautiful mosque. Non-Muslims are welcome to visit the interior of the mosque, but at certain times of day it’s only open to Muslims. Plan your time accordingly if you’re interested in going inside.

Dataran Merdeka, also referred to as Merdeka Square is where you’ll find the famous I ❤️KL sculpture where people queue for photos (see above). There’s a small KL museum there as well, along with a GIANT flagpole, the library, and several other buildings and museums. (Unfortunately, we found the tourism bureau here to be perhaps the least helpful one we’ve ever visited. Hopefully if you stop there you’ll have a different experience.) St. Mary’s Cathedral, an Anglican Church, is on the edge of Merdeka Square. It’s a lovely little church and the least Asian place we visited in our two months in Asia.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building, also on the edge of the square and one of the oldest Moorish style buildings in KL, is gorgeous, with fantastic copper domes, spiral staircases, and a clock tower. It was Erin’s favorite building in KL. It was fascinating to see that building juxtaposed with nearby modern skyscrapers.

In the late afternoon we took the train back to our hotel which was luckily just off of Jalan Alor, THE place to eat Malaysian street food. Because Malaysia is a mix of Asian cultures, Malaysian food is a mix too. Every afternoon Jalan Alor becomes a pedestrian-only street, and vendors set up their stalls and begin preparing food. Everything you can imagine (and a few things that you can’t) is being served on a stick there. There’s also plenty of food that’s not on a stick, of course! Lots of rice and noodles and fish and steamed buns. In addition to the vendors, restaurants line both sides of the street. And there’s cold beer (Singapore’s Tiger is quite popular) to help beat the KL heat.

If one visits in the summer and is either very Malaysian or very brave, there’s plenty of durian fruit available to eat on Jalan Alor, too. You’ll smell it for sure – there’s no avoiding it. To the, shall we say, unrefined palate, it basically stinks to high heaven and tastes worse. We just tried durian flavored ice cream and could hardly gag that down. Definitely not a fruit we’d ever choose to eat, but many Malaysians love it. To each his own, right?

Most places on Jalan Alor have at least a picnic table or two where you can enjoy whatever you bought from their stall before moving on to the next. Be sure you know how many things you’re ordering – our friend asked for two mochi, expecting two pieces, and ended up with two ORDERS of mochi! That’s 12 mochi, for those keeping score at home. We did a lot of laughing over that. Food is served until well after dark.

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur

Just before sunset we headed off on the monorail to the Petronas Towers. At 1,483 feet (452 meters) above street level, Petronas Towers are some of the world’s tallest buildings. They’re so tall that it’s hard to get a photo of them!

Suria KLCC, a six story shopping mall, is at the base of the towers and it’s worth checking out to see what an Asian mall is like (and, perhaps, to enjoy a little air-con). There is an excellent food court in this mall if you didn’t get filled up at Jalan Alor.

Behind the towers is the large and lovely KLCC city park, home of a big fountain at the base of the towers. Every evening (and perhaps every day at noon as well), the fountains are lighted and there’s a little choreographed water show set to music. It’s a crowd pleaser and crowded, but not overly so. There’s a nice mix of tourists and locals out enjoying the city.
Kuala Lumpur

Moonrise over Petronas Twin Towers

Watching the moon rise over the towers during the water fountain show at KLCC park was definitely a sight we’ll remember.

We ❤️ KL! Enjoy your visit to Malaysia’s capital city, whether it’s for a week or a weekend, and enjoy watching a moonrise, even if it’s not in KL!

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