Kuala Lumpur translates as ‘muddy city’, but while KL – as it is known – was once nothing more than a shanty town, it is now one of the glittering jewels in Asia’s crown. Boasting the fourth tallest building in the world, The Petronas Towers the skyline is dominated by modern and postmodern architecture, which rubs shoulders with mosques, megamalls, and street stalls. Locals and visitors sip cappuccinos in air-conditioned cafes, or eat cheap food from the hawker stalls, before browsing one of the 66 shopping centres that make the city a retail paradise. KL is incredibly culturally diverse with Malays, Chinese, Indians, and westerners living alongside one another.
Cultural diversity, delicious Malay cuisine, and exciting nightlife entice travellers to Kuala Lumpur. Sit outside a hawker stall with a plate of sumptuous food, sip on a Tiger beer and enjoy the buzz from the stalls and the people around you.
Kuala Lumpur has a year-round tropical rainforest climate, which is warm and sunny, with temperatures remaining constant. It can get very hot and sticky but thankfully shopping centres, and even some street stalls, provide much-needed air-conditioning. The monsoon season is from October to March, but even in June and July, which are relatively dry, rainfall often exceeds 125mm (5 inches) per month. Still, rain in KL is warm and it won’t stop you enjoying the city.
KL’s main airport is Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) located 50km south of the city centre at Sepang. Direct flights are currently only available from London Heathrow and London Stansted, and take around 13.5 hours. Trains, buses and taxis provide transfers into the city, with the train taking 28 minutes. Taxi fares are paid in advance at the counter at the airport.
While the Petronas Towers are awe inspiring, visiting can be difficult as tickets are on a first-come-first-served basis. Instead try the KL Tower for stunning views, a free shuttle ride and a ride in a Formula 1 simulator as part of the package. In the evening head to the elegant SkyBar located at the top of Shangri-La's Traders Hotel in the city centre for a creatively designed cocktail.
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