Things to see in Kuala Lumpur

Tourist information

Malaysia Tourism Centre (MTC)
109 Jalan Ampang, 50450
Tel: (03) 9235 4848 or 4800.
Website: www.mtc.gov.my
Mon-Fri 0800-2200.

Tourist information is also available from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station, 50050 (tel : (03) 2272 5823; ww.tourismmalaysia.gov.my). Open Mon-Fri 0900-1800.

Central Market

The blue and pink art deco Central Market would look right at home in Miami Beach or Havana. Originally built to house the city's bustling produce market, Central Market is now crammed with shops and stalls selling batiks, pottery, woodcarvings, basketry, kris daggers and other Malaysian handicrafts. It's touristy, but there are some attractive items on sale and there are regular cultural performances, both inside and on the riverside stage. Inside are restaurants and a busy food court, but there are more appealing eateries outside the market on Jalan Hang Kasturi.

Opening Times: Daily 1000-2200.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2031 0399 or 5399 or 7399.
Menara Kuala Lumpur

One of the world's tallest telecommunications towers, the dome topped, needle-like Menara Kuala Lumpur offers fantastic 360° panoramic views over the city from its 276m-high (905ft) observation deck. From here, there are jaw-dropping vistas of the soaring Petronas Towers and surrounding skyscrapers. It's a good place to come to get your bearings before exploring the city on foot. Other facilities at the tower include a revolving restaurant, cafes and a souvenir shop.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-2200.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Punchak, off Jalan P Ramlee, 50250, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2020 5444.
Merdeka Square

Ringed by the handsome buildings of the former British administration, this green square marks the site where the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time after Independence in 1957. On the west side of the square is the Royal Selangor Club, once a hang out for wealthy colonials, while the eastern edge of the square is flanked by the fanciful domes and turrets of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, built by the same British architect as the Jamek Masjid mosque.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Raja, 50050, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 9235 4848 or 4800 (tourist office).
Petronas Towers

One of a growing list of former 'world's tallest buildings', the Petronas Towers is a monument to the rapid transformation of the city. The twin towers burst skywards from the site of the city's colonial-era race track in 1997, giving KL its most distinctive architectural icon. At 452m (1,483ft) and 88 storeys high, the towers resemble the twin boosters of an enormous spacecraft, but the design of the building incorporates elements of traditional Islamic design. In cross section, each tower forms a Rub el Hizb – an Islamic star formed from two juxtaposed squares. The main lure for visitors is the chance to gaze out from the observation deck on the 86th floor, or stroll across the 58m (192ft) Skybridge that links the two towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. At the base of the towers is the Suria KLCC mall, with numerous restaurants, stores and family-friendly attractions.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 0900-2100 (closed Fri 1300-1430).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Level 4, Jalan Ampang , Suria KLCC, 50088, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2331 8080.
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

Veteran train traveller and writer Paul Theroux summed up this unique building when he called it ‘the grandest station in South East Asia'. This riot of minarets, towers, arches and spires was thrown together in 1911, but it now lives out its days as a minor stop for commuter trains. Nevertheless, it's worth visiting to admire the extraordinary mélange of architectural styles - a kind of Walt Disney meets Moorish British colonialism.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50621 , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: 1300 885 862.
Muzium Negara (National Museum)

Despite being marooned by expressways, the National Museum is an essential stop for anyone interested in discovering more about the rich history and culture of Malaysia. Founded in 1963, the eye-catching building combines architectural elements from across the nation, and the exhibitions inside cover everything from tribal culture to the development of modern Malaysia. Free guided tours take place daily except Friday and Sunday at 1000.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Damansara , 50566, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2267 1111.
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Close to the National Mosque, this fascinating museum displays an astonishing collection of Islamic painting, sculpture, jewellery, carpets, ceramics and religious manuscripts from across the Muslim world. Highlights include exquisite hand-painted tiles and illuminated medieval copies of the Quran. Allow a couple of hours to explore the cool, air-conditioned galleries and admire the equally striking building.

Opening Times: Daily 1000-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Lembah Perdana, 50480, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2274 2020.
KLCC Aquaria

Located beneath the shiny KLCC Convention Centre, across the park from the Petronas Towers, the nation's finest aquarium boasts everything from sharks and piranhas to seahorses and anemones, as well as a section devoted to land-dwelling reptiles. If you don’t have time to venture to the coast to explore Malaysia's rainbow coral reefs, this is a good second best. Things are very well-set up for children and there's even a 'Fish Therapy Centre', where you can have your feet exfoliated by nibbling 'doctor fish'.

Opening Times: Mon-Friday 1100-2000, Sat & Sun 1030-2000.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Convention Centre Complex, 50088, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2333 1888.
Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque)

The most atmospheric of Kuala Lumpur's many mosques, the Jamek Masjid is actually a British creation, constructed by an India-obsessed colonial architect in 1907. Standing at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers, at the point where the first settlers scrambled ashore, it's the finest Indo-Saracenic building in the city, with soaring minarets, arched colonnades, and bulbous onion domes. Visitors are welcome outside of prayer times, but remove your shoes before entering and dress modestly. Women should cover their legs and head with the sarongs and headscarves provided.

Opening Times: Daily 0830-1600. Closed 1230-1430 and Fri 1100-1430.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Tun Perak, 50400, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2274 6063.
Masjid Negara (National Mosque)

The National Mosque gleams as brilliantly as any of KL's skyscrapers, and the striking, geometric building, constructed in 1965, is full of Islamic symbolism. The unusual main dome takes the shape of an 18-pointed star to represent the 13 states of Malaysia and the five central Pillars of Islam. The huge main prayer hall can hold up to 10,000 worshippers, although this section is closed to non-worshippers. To the rear is a mausoleum holding the remains of some of Malaysia's most revered leaders. Visitors are welcome outside of prayer times, but shoes should be removed and modest dress is essential.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1200, 1500-1600 and 1730-1830.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Perdana, 50480, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 2693 7784.
Taman Tasik Perdana (Lake Gardens)

KL's most popular park, the Lake Gardens were laid out in 1888, when the British colonials built their elegant houses around the landscaped gardens. Covering 68 hectares (172 acres), this green oasis sprawls over a series of hills behind the old Kuala Lumpur train station. Dotted around the gardens are boating lakes, pavilions, sculpture gardens, an orchid garden, a hibiscus garden with 500 different species, plus a deer park, a butterfly park and an excellent bird park with exotic Malaysian birds. Also in the gardens are several museums and monuments, including the imposing Tugu Negara (National Monument), dedicated to the soldiers who fought against the Communists during the Emergency in the 1950s.

Opening Times: Daily dawn to dusk.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jalan Perdana, 50480, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 9235 4848 or 4800 (tourist office).
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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