The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a diverse area that includes Tamil, Chinese, Malay, and indigenous inhabitants. The most populous city in the nation, Kuala Lumpur is spread over 200 square kilometers and now merges with neighboring suburbs to create a hub of activity and commerce.
Tourism is a central focus in Kuala Lumpur and as such there are a huge variety of attractions for visitors to choose from, ranging from the more traditional to the more modern depending on your tastes. There are temples and mosques to reflect the diversity of the city, spectacular futuristic towers and skyscrapers, local markets and street food, and just about anything else you can imagine.
The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers (Malay: Menara Petronas, or Menara Berkembar Petronas), are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 when they were surpassed by Taipei 101. The Petronas Towers remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. Another Islamic influence on the design is that the cross section of the towers is based on a Rub el Hizb, albeit with circular sectors added to meet office space requirements. The circular sectors is similar to the bottom part of the Qutub Minar.
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is KL’s haute couture shopping Mecca. It takes a lot to stand out in the city’s mallscape but this shopping centre, which occupies prime real estate along Jalan Bukit Bintang, does just that. Opened in 2007 it has three major sections – a retail mall, an office block and two residential towers.
With hip dining options, big-box retailers and access to both international designer labels and local specialty retailers, Pavilion KL is a favourite among KL-ites. Popular no matter the day of the week or time of day, the seven-storey lifestyle centre has six shopping ‘zones’ and a row of street boutiques.
CHINATOWN KUALA LUMPUR
Back in the olden days when Malaysia was still known as ‘Tanah Melayu’ or Malaya, the Chinese had come to this country to work at the tin mines. However, during the Selangor Civil War, the tin mines were temporarily abandoned. The Chinese returned after the war, only to find the mines flooded. Yap Ah Loy, an influential Chinese figure back then, had opened a tapioca mill on Petaling Street in his bid to persuade the Chinese to stay on. To this day, Petaling Street is sometimes called ‘Chee Cheong Kai’, meaning ‘Starch Factory Street’ in Cantonese, referring to its history as the centre for the production of tapioca flour back then.
A green awning covers the length of the street, acting as a roof to shield vendors and shoppers from the heat and the rain. An Oriental-style archway with the words ‘Jalan Petaling/Petaling Street’ spelled out in gold letters greets visitors at its main entrance.