The rural and the urban collide in Kuala Lumpur (or KL to its friends), where monkeys bound close to high-rise buildings and the occasional snake glides across six-lane roadways. With its ordered structure a legacy of its colonial history, the Malay capital is a melting pot of cultures including Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and Arab. What really strikes you when you explore the city is how modern city life coexists with an ancient Asian culture of lively restaurants and bustling markets.
Petronas Twin Towers
See KL’s clash of old and new for yourself with a visit to the 88-story Petronas Twin Towers
, designed to reflect the country's high-tech ambitions. Ascend the stainless steel structure for thrilling views of the city from the mid-level Skybridge and savour the incredible variety of options available at the food courts in the Suria KLCC Mall. There’s a little-used park all around the towers, with a merry-go-round, mosque, and jogging trails. Tucked away in the structure is the underappreciated but acoustically excellent Dewan Filharmonik Petronas
, home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
KL Bird Park
Kuala Lumpur is paradise for children. The beautifully tranquil Lake Gardens (a legacy of the British) is full of family-oriented attractions, the best of which is the KL Bird Park,
also known as “The World's Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary. Amid almost 21 acres of lush valley terrain, you (or the smaller people in your life) can chase peacocks and hornbills, let parrots and owls perch on your shoulders, feed parakeets, see ostriches laying eggs, and watch storks and flamingos take flight in natural surroundings.
Malaysia’s landscape is full of exotic features, not least of which is the network of eerie caves located within the country's limestone abutments. You don’t have to travel far to explore them, as some of the most accessible are to be found on the edge of KL city. Be prepared to climb, however, as the breathtaking Batu Caves
sit atop a steep set of 272 steps.
Forest Research Institute
Anyone who appreciates nature will love the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia - FRIM
. Situated 16 km from the city of Kuala Lumpur, the 1,528-hectare rainforest teems with wildlife and vegetation alien to most Western eyes. A 200m canopy walkway suspended 30m from the forest floor offers spectacular views of the city and the verdant forests that surround it. You can camp here if you wish, stroll along the shaded paths, or take a picnic to the waterfalls. The best time to visit is before lunch, as strong winds in the afternoons mean the walkway is closed after 2.30 PM.
Malaysia National Museum
Enjoy a glimpse of Malay culture with a trip to The Malaysia National Museum. Two huge, stunning murals adorn the facade, one of which portrays Malaysian history from the Melaka Sultanate, and the other illustrates Malay craft and culture. Inside, you will find several impressive galleries. The Cultural Gallery features typical costumes of various Malaysian races; The Faces of Malaysia gallery introduces Malaysia’s different ethnic groups; The Weapons, Music and Ceramic Gallery illustrates the development of weapons from 35,000 to 2,500 years ago and exhibits musical instruments from different cultures.