Surveying Kuala Lumpur’s dazzling skyline, punctuated by futuristic skyscrapers and pencil-thin minarets, it’s hard to believe that less than 200 years ago the city was nothing more than a malaria-infested jungle. Over its short but dramatic history, the city has seen foreign rulers and waves of migrants leave their imprint on its architecture, cuisine and religion so that today the fast-rising metropolis thrives with a multiplicity of vibrant cultures sure to captivate all types of traveller.
For all its modern allure, Kuala Lumpur’s ethnic enclaves remain steeped in tradition. In Chinatown, joss-houses and incense-infused temples surround Jalan Petaling, a sense-assaulting thoroughfare bustling with hawker stalls. The beat of Bollywood leads to Brickfields, or Little India, known for its curry houses and rich silks. Find a snapshot of authentic local life at Chow Kit indoor market or seek out greenery at Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, a slice of rainforest in the heart of the city.
Those drawn to the city for its cosmopolitan flair won’t be disappointed. Many hotfoot it to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) for the city’s star attraction, the steel-and-glass-clad Petronas Towers, but the area also boasts an array of multi-story malls, sleek bars and top-end eateries that are buzzing day and night.