Many travelers like to visit different destinations around the world that aren’t the usual beach or theme park location. Kuala Lumpur is a large city located in Malaysia, and has a population of over 1.73 million people. Not only is it a city of significant global economy, but also has a long history, with plenty of culture and sights to interest any traveler.
All About Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is officially called the “Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur”, and often known just as “KL”. Not only is it the national capital of Malaysia, but it’s also the largest city in the country. It’s also the only city in the country that has a strong economic influence in the world today. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in southeastern Asia.
Kuala Lumpur flows over 243 square kilometres of land. This is where the official residence of the king is—Yang di-Pertuan Agong. There are also the tallest twin buildings located in the world here, named the Petronas Twin Towers.
Kuala Lumpur has been named number 70 of 140 liveable cities around the world today. In southeast Asia it ranks at number two. Forbes Magazine has ranked KL at number six out of ten for the best cities where you can retire, with number one in Asia.
Not only is it the best place to receive excellent healthcare, but you’ll enjoy an affordable cost of living, and be in one of the best tourist destinations in the world today.
Perfect Tourist Destination
Kuala Lumpur is considered one of the leading cities in the world for tourism. It’s also a popular location for shopping. It’s not only the seventh most visited city in the world today (each year over 8.9 million tourists visit the city), but also has three out of ten of the world’s largest shopping malls.
Kuala Lumpur is also a city where English is taught in all the schools, and where it’s widely spoken. The mayor of the city is Mhd Amin Nordi Abdul Aziz, who has been in office since July 2015.
The Intriguing History of Kuala Lumpur
The words Kuala Lumpur actually mean “muddy confluence”, which gives an indication of what the region was like in the past. Kuala means the point where two rivers join together, while confluence means mud. The name could come from one, two, or three rivers in the region: the Sungai Lumpur, the Klang River, or the Gombak River. There has been some dispute over the name and how the rivers are joined together, though it’s possible the positioning differed a bit in the past. But since it’s at the point of Klang River and the Gombak River, this is the likely conclusion.
No one knows who originally named Kuala Lumpur but it would have began as a small settlement, with a few houses and shops.
There were Chinese miners in the town around the 1840s. They would do tin mining at the Selangor Lumpur. Sumatrans also settled here around the 19th century.
Kuala Lumpur became formally established as a town in 1857. This was when the Malay Chief of Klang and his brother raised funds to open up a tin mine in the region. And it was at the best location on the river where supplies could be brought in for the mining industry and its residents.
Despite some challenges, the mining industry proved to be quite lucrative for the region and the town thrived. Eventually Chinese and Malay settlements went up on the Klang River.
In 1884, it was declared that all new buildings would be constructed of brick, to make them less flammable and more impervious to flooding. A railway line was constructed in 1886, which led to more rapid growth in the town. In 1884 there were 4500 living in the town. By 1890, that increased to over 20,000 people. As the town developed, a strong focus was placed on sanitation and waste disposal, and the general upkeep of roads and streets. This decreased the effects of disease in the region.
During the 20th century, Kuala Lumpur underwent considerable expansion. The population increased to 80,000 by 1920. During WWII the Japanese invaded the city, with significant loss of life. They soon surrendered, and the city bounced back. There were also some civic unrests throughout the years.
In 1972, Kuala Lumpur became an official city, one of the first cities in Malaysia to do so after being granted its independence.
Excellent Network of Roads & Transit
During your visit to Kuala Lumpur you won’t have to worry about it being difficult to get around. This city has a modern road system to help you get from place to place, whether you take taxi cabs or rent your own vehicle.
If you choose to take public transport, you’ll find it easy to get around. There is the MRT—Mass Rapid Transport line, the LRT—Light Metro line, a monorail system, and BRT—Bus Rapid Transit. There is also the commuter rail and the airport rail link.
The Sights of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has an interesting geography that’s situated over the Klang Valley. In the east are the Titiwangsa Mountains, and in the north and south several minor mountain ranges, with the Strait of Malacca in the west.
The Peninsular Malaysia is located on the west coast and has wider and flatter lands than the eastern coast of the country. Likely this is also why the western coast has developed more quickly.
The city is broken up into eleven different districts, mostly for administrative and geographic purposes.
Best Time of Year to Travel
When planning your trip to Kuala Lumpur you may wonder what the weather is like, and whether it’s suitable to travel here year round.
The city experiences fairly steady temperatures throughout the year, usually with highs of around 36 to 38 degrees Celsius, and lows of 17 to 23 degrees Celsius. Since the city usually experiences fairly hot temperatures here, instead you’ll want to investigate average rainfall times, as the city can be subject to flooding during certain times of the year.
December is the worst time of year for rain, with an average of 2700 millimeters. If you want to visit during the least rainy parts of the years, go from June to August. However, be aware that it can still get 130 to 170 millimeters of precipitation during these times too.
Most hotels and buildings have air conditioning, so if the heat bothers you, you can always head indoors.
Finding the Best Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Since Kuala Lumpur is a major tourist destination, all visitors will find hotels and motels to suit their budget. All of the major worldwide hotel chains have a presence in this city. You can expect to find reasonable prices here too.
You may wish to stay a few nights at the Hotel Majestic. This is one of the oldest hotels in the city. It’s been renovated and updated over the years.
Finding Places to Eat
There is a wide diversity of foods to eat here, whether you try one of the restaurants on the street, or one of the food courts inside one of many shopping malls. You can also find food choices for every type of preference
Best Tourist Destinations
Besides shopping and outdoor activities, there is much to interest the tourist here. The Petronas Twin Towers are one of the most popular destinations. While they no longer hold the record for being the tallest buildings in the world, they still hold the record for the tallest twin towers. The towers are connected by an upper walkway. Beneath the towers is also the Suria KLCC shopping complex, complete with cinema, so you can get more than one activity in at once. You may also wish to sight-see at night, as not only are the towers lit up, but the entire city too.
The Kuala Lumpur tower also stands out on the skyline. This is a communications tower that was finished in 1995. You can actually travel to the observation deck by elevator or stairs. There is also a revolving restaurant where you can eat a meal.
Best Museums to Visit
If you tire of walking around the city, you may wish to spend a day or two inside one of the many excellent museums. There is the National Museum and the Islamic Arts Museum. Stop and take a look at the National Monument too.
Cultural & Holiday Events
During your trip check to see if there are any coinciding festivals or events. The Thaipusam celebration is one of the most important. It’s an annual celebration. One event involves a silver chariot that parades throughout the city with statues of important historical figures on it.
Begin Your Kuala Lumpur Trip Planning Now. There is so much to see and do in Kuala Lumpur that you may wish to make a detailed travel itinerary before you go. The city also has a major international airport, so you can fly here from all the major cities in the world.