"KL - where the rivers (and all things else) meet." Top 5 Page for this destination Kuala Lumpur by mansionion

Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide: 6,164 reviews and 14,283 photos

Been here for a decade

As a kid, I stayed briefly in Kuala Lumpur ("KL" in short as it is known to locals) with my parents when dad was posted there. As I was the only child staying with them, being lonely made me longing to return to our hometown in Melaka - where my other siblings stayed with my grandma.

Finally the day came - off we left to Melaka where my parents settled down, and I left a fond memory of KL, hardly coming back for a long stay. Over the years, KL always fascinated me whenever I was there for visits.

I only returned to KL in the 1990s when I further my studies in collage and stay rite in the heart of the city centre. My... KL had changed a lot then, not the one that I know when I used to stay there. As I finished my study and started working, KL has been my domicile for the past decade or so. Over the years, I witnessed the changes to KL before my eyes and had a mixed feeling of it - be it the construction of the world's tallest building or demolition of the city heritage, or the introduction of the LRT or the cessation of the mini buses services... Whatever it is, I still enjoy my stay in KL and proud of it.

How it all begin

The name Kuala Lumpur (means muddy estuary) was coined from the very location of the first settlement in KL - where the rivers meet at the confluence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers. The name appropriatley describe KL in the early days as well as nowadays after flash flood whenever its rain heavily in the city.

History recorded that a royalty from the state of Selangor, Raja Abdullah of Klang, discovered KL in 1857 and saw its potential as tin was aplenty there. Chinese tin miners were later brought in and KL became the tin-mining centre of the country. This led to the development of a trading settlement in KL. However, the trading post was an unhealthy and dangerous place to live in as it was plagued by floods, diseases, civil war and clashes between the Chinese clans. In 1868, Kapitan China Yap Ah Loy was appointed as the leader of the Chinese community in KL and was responsible for the growth and survival of the city.

The state of Selangor came under British protection in 1874 and in 1880 the capital of Selangor was moved from Klang to KL. Under the British colonial rule, KL was chosen as the capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896. As it was designated as the British administrative centre, KL was developed accordingly in accordance with its status. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the field opposite to it (now known as Dataran Merdeka) as well as the old KL Railway Station are legacy of this.

During the World War 2 the Japanese forces occupied the city and just like the British made KL their administrative centre. Post WW2, KL's population increased drastically and leads to the establishment of its first satelite town, Petaling Jaya.

In 1957, the Federation of Malaya gained independance from British rule and KL was chosen as the capital of the newly formed independent state. Upon the formation of Malaysia in 1963, KL was again chosen as the capital and maintans that status to date. In 1972, KL attained its city status and in 1974 it was declared a Federal Territory - saparated from the state of Selangor and under the administration of the Federal Goverment.

KL today

From its humble origins as a trading outpost at the confluence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers, KL has emerged as the capital city of Malaysia and hence the hub of commercial, economic, financial, transportation and even the entertainment life of the nation. Today KL is one of the emerging city in Asia as evidence by its fast paced development. It is a city of contrast - a combination of modern, cosmopolitan and old world charm. It's legacy - old shophouses, minerets and domes - blends well against a backdrop of skycrappers. The Petronas Twin Towers (world tallest building until recently) dominated its skyline yet the feeling of old world charm still linger at the older part of the city. The lush greenery everywhere make it a garden city and at nite, its buildings and streets are lit brightly and turn KL into a city of light - hence the nickname Garden City of Lights.

Some facts and figures on present day KL:

Area : 243.6 sq. kilometres

Climate : Tropical, warm throughout the year with temperatures range 70-95 F/21-35 C. Rain occasionally but heaviest and most frequent during the Northeast Monsoon (November-February).

Population : 1.379 million ( Cencus 2000)

People : 43.6% Malay, 43.5% Chinese, 11.4% Indian & 1.5% others (Cencus 2000)

Major Religions: Islam, Budhist, Christianity & Hindu

Main Languages : Malay (Bahasa Malaysia), Chinese, English & Tamil.

KL is a pot porri of everything. Its multiracial population - Malay, Chinese, Indians and others - lives in harmony and give the city a unique-blend of age-old customs, traditions, colourful festivals, cultures and a variety of delicous foods to sample.

Fascinating KL is the place where east and west, old and new meet.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:An emerging modern city yet with old world charm
  • Cons:The traffic and the unpredictable flash flood.
  • In a nutshell:A mixture of everything - culture, heritage, food, modern city etc
  • Intro Updated Feb 1, 2004
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Reviews (81)

Comments (61)

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Great page, interesting tips. Thank you for sharing. Irene

  • Apr 15, 2009 at 7:54 PM

    Room very Small for 2 person & not worth RM108.00.

  • sheherezad's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    As another Ipoh-mali KLite, I would certainly promote 'more local' fare - I certainly would not recommend Chicken Mushroom Pie and Apple Pie :-( There is SO much GLORIOUS Malaysian food to choose from! :-)

  • Dec 27, 2008 at 2:35 AM

    This was the most photographed building in Malaysia before the Twin Towers. Cheers! The Malaysian Explorer

  • i-s-a's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2008 at 11:33 PM

    btw, we are having our xmas party next month and vt's most friendly malaysian is cordially invited ;0) hope you could join us, even as virtual attendee.

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 10:49 AM

    Hey, Onion, excellent tips here! Was several times in KL, but I hope this time (soon) I will have time to see more than usually, and your tips will be precious. I like the historical perspective when visiting a place. Thanks for the tips.

  • jgemini65's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    I will take your word for it on the quality of the food...however, I would be looking for something a bit more exotic!

  • nora_south_africa's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    informative travel tips

  • Feb 27, 2008 at 12:53 AM

    5 star tips!!!! Well done! So informative with great historical facts too. I took my time to read each tip and enlarged every photo :) Brilliant.

  • Jan 31, 2008 at 6:39 AM

    Next time that i visit Asia i plan and a trip to Malaysia!

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