Kuala Lumpur – The Garden City of Lights

Exoticism, mystery, a world full of history and stories of sultans and their mistresses, but also impressive architecture, technology, and bustling commerce, that’s what you can expect to find in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s capital may not be the biggest city on the face of the Earth, but it manages to impress through its unique mixture of old and new. Perhaps the most famous symbol of Malaysian history is the palace of sultan Abdul Samad, with its one-of-a-kind design and majestic facades, while the new is represented by the Petronas Towers and modern hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

Photo by kalleboo

The glittering capital of Malaysia owes its existence and fast development to the large tin pockets, discovered in the XIX-th century, by Chinese prospectors. For many years, Kuala Lumpur was nothing more than a small, malaria-infested colony, made up primarily of bamboo huts. But as the tin trade progressed, so did this small settlement, and in 1896, it became the capital of the Malaysian federation. Located at the confluence of the rivers Klang and Gombak, in a muddy area, the new city was named Kuala Lumpur, which translates as the “muddy city”.

Photo by Christian Haugen

But the name did not discourage the locals, whose pockets were filled by the tin trade, and though Kuala Lumpur is just over 150 years old, it has quickly become a prosperous metropolis, and is still the fastest growing city in Malaysia, both in terms of population and economy.

Photo by Georg Wittberger

With a population of 7.2 million, “The Garden City of Lights”, as Kuala Lumpur is often referred to, as a modern, crowded and noisy city that manages to retain its identity, history and traditions intact. At first glance you might be tempted to categorize it as just another city dominated by impressive-looking skyscrapers, but in reality, Kuala Lumpur has many historical structures, and a rich cultural heritage, just waiting to be discovered.

Photo by Jean-Marc

Kuala Lumpur is home to a mixture of Arab, Chinese and Indian cultures that never tried to annihilate each other, but learned to coexist in peace and harmony. The main religion is Islam, hence the large number of mosques and minarets, of which the Friday Mosque and the Masjid Negara Mosque are the most impressive. There are also plenty of Chinese and Indian religious buildings, like Sze Yeah Temple, and the Sri Maha Marianmeu Temple.

Photo by Jean-Marc

The Petronas Towers, two architectural jewels piercing the sky, are the most famous structures in Kuala Lumpur. The tallest twin towers in the world, they also held the title of the tallest building on Earth, until 2003, when the Taipei 101 tower was completed. The most impressive characteristic of the Petronas Towers is the bridge that connects them, at 170 meters into the air. Open to the public, Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm, it offers a unique view over Kuala Lumpur.

Photo by Robboguy

Not to say Kuala Lumpur should be considered only as a shopping destination, but shopaholics will be pleasantly surprised by the various ways they can spend their hard earned cash, in Malaysia’s capital city. Starting with the giant shopping malls, where you can find the latest gadgets and devices, moving on to the trendy boutiques stocked with designer brands, and finishing with the outdoor markets, shopping possibilities are practically endless.

Photo by geoff-inOz

Last but not least, Kuala Lumpur is the perfect place to experience the fabulous oriental cuisine. Malaysian gastronomy is unique in its way of blending continental dishes from China and India, with foods from the islands of the Sea of China. This creates a colorful, aromatic and sometimes electrifying experience that’s definitely worth the trip to Malaysia.

9 Comments for "Kuala Lumpur – The Garden City of Lights"

Aland says on June 25th, 2010 at 9:30 am:

Malaysia is a unique mixture of the old and new, probably hotels in Kuala Lumpur are a good example – I was surprised to find stately colonial hotels and ultra modern high-rise hotels in the same district.


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