When we think of the great Asian metropolis, cities such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, irremediably come to mind. Destinations all of them very interesting and that, without a doubt, will be the
When we think of the great Asian metropolis, cities such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, irremediably come to mind. Destinations all of them very interesting and that, without a doubt, will be the subject of future posts in this blog (or have been already). However, this time I would like to talk about another city of special attraction, Kuala Lumpur, more than anything because it is the one I visited most recently.
The largest and most important city in Malaysia – the capital is the most unknown Putrajaya – serves as a residence for almost 2 million souls, although its metropolitan area exceeds 7 million. The millenary tradition of the ethnic groups that make up its population – mainly Malaysian, Chinese and Indian – is mixed with the most modern architecture, making Kuala Lumpur an urban destination of great interest.
A TRADITIONAL AND CULTURAL CITY
Kuala Lumpur has numerous buildings of great beauty in which the colonial style of its British past is mixed with the Malay and Indian style. Many of them are close to the Dataran Merdeka , the square where the Malaysian flag was first hoisted after its independence, and where the National Parade is held annually, as well as many other events.
You should not miss the imposing Bangunar Sultan Abdul Samad , the Masjid Jamek (a beautiful mosque at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers), the building of the Jabatan Warisan Negara (Heritage Department), the Panggung Bandaraya Theater , the Muzium Tekstil (Museum Textile), the National History Museum or the KL City Gallery – where you can learn about the evolution of the city through its collection of models.
In another area is the magnificent Kuala Lumpur Train Station (dating from 1910) and, just opposite, the building that houses the headquarters of the state-owned railway company ( Keretapi Tanah Melayu ).
A CITY OF VANGUARD
If there is an icon that identifies Kuala Lumpur around the world, it is the Petronas Towers , the tallest twin towers in the world 452 meters high. Work of the Argentine architect César Pelli – in our country he has signed skyscrapers such as the Crystal Tower in Madrid, the Iberdrola Tower in Bilbao or the Seville Tower in the Spanish capital -, they have an elevated passageway on the 41st and 42nd floors that connects both buildings , and which can be accessed to enjoy magnificent views.
The Petronas Towers are located in the Jalan Ampang area , the main business center of the city, with numerous skyscrapers and avant-garde buildings.
Not far away is another of the icons of this metropolis: the Kuala Lumpur Tower. It is a telecommunications tower that reaches 421 meters high. Its Sky Deck viewpoint offers magnificent 360o views that span the entire city. But the most special is its so-called Sky Box , a glass cube suspended 300 meters above the ground that will trigger your adrenaline, especially if, as is my case, you suffer from vertigo. But the experience is worth the trembling of legs, I assure you! I recommend you climb a little before sunset, to enjoy it from the heights, and stay until it is closed night, to admire the illuminated city.
A CITY OF CONCORD
Although Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country – in Kuala Lumpur there is the Masjid Negara or National Mosque , as well as a very important Museum of Islamic Arts – other religions coexist peacefully there. Good proof of this are, for example, the Guan Di Temple (Taoist) – where a spear weighing 53 kilos is stored and which is supposed to be magical powers -, the magnificent Sri Mahamariamman Temple (Hinduist) or the Cathedral of Santa Maria (Anglican).
On the outskirts of the city are the famous Batu Caves , one of the main Hindu temples outside India. The 272 steps leading to them are presided over by a huge 43-meter statue of Murugan – the Malay name for Kartikeia, the God of War and son of God Shiva and the goddess Parvati -. The effort is worth it. But be careful with the monkeys present on the tour, because they will take away everything they can shortly after you say goodbye.
It is also seen in its most picturesque neighborhoods, such as Brickfields – better known as Little India – or Chinatown .
A GREEN CITY
Kuala Lumpur has important green areas within walking distance of its center, including Selangor State Park or the Krau Wildlife Reserve – with an elephant recovery center -, among other spaces. However, it is not necessary to leave the city to enjoy nature.
The Botani Perdana or Gardens of Lake Perdana is the most important, and in it we find various spaces, such as the Taman Orkid ( Orchid Garden ) or the Bird Park (the largest aviary in the world). Not far away is the Tugu Negara or National Monument – the largest sculptural ensemble in the world made of bronze and dedicated to those who gave their lives for the freedom of Malaysia – and the Parliament .
The Petronas Towers have a newly created park at its base, the KLCC Park , very crowded by the photos it allows to take from them.
A CITY OF SHOPPING
Shopping lovers are in luck, because Kuala Lumpur is a shopping paradise. You can choose from bustling places to test your bargaining skills, such as the KL Central Market , the Kasturi Walk or Jalan Petaling ; or the luxury and distinction of shopping centers such as the Suria KLCC – where you will even find a branch of London’s famous Harrods Stores – or the Pavilion KL Shopping.