Visiting Kuala Lumpur (KL) was an afterthought on a journey through Asia. We visited the city on a 48 hour lay-over in KL. What we discovered was this capital city is a traveler’s dream. It’s affordable, the food is fantastic, and there’s plenty of eye-popping sightseeing.
Getting there: Take a taxi! Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park is situated within the Lake Gardens area and its main entrance is along Jalan Cenderasari.
Perhaps our biggest surprise on our visit to KL was how much we enjoyed the butterfly exhibit. As mentioned above, it’s a little difficult to find so definitely take a taxi. Taxi options are very affordable in Malaysia. The butterfly garden claims to the largest butterfly collection in the world. That is a pretty bold claim, but it is definitely the largest we have ever seen! Upon entering you walk into a humidified Garden of Eden! The place is massive! It covers over 80,000 square feet. There are ponds, rivers, caves, and secluded walking paths throughout the plantation.
Butterflies! As you would expect there are literally hundreds of thousands of butterflies all around you. Every shape, color, and kind are floating on the gentle breeze. It is a photographer’s wonderland. Our only challenge was that our camera kept fogging up due to the humidity inside the gardens. Take a lens cloth in with you. Butterflies aren’t the only thing that you’re going to see. Each of the little rivers are stocked with Koi fish, turtles, and other aquatic life. They’re even beautiful waterfalls that make forget that you’re in a controlled environment. The natural flowers also make for lovely pictures.
Petronas Twin Towers
Getting there: Cant miss them!
One of the icons of Kuala Lumpur is, of course, the Petronas Twin Towers. You must take your traditional photo in front of the towers. We strongly recommend taking them at night when it is completely lit up in white light. There is a park a few blocks away from the Towers that is perfect for taking your Christmas card shot. The view from the top of the Towers is not to be missed on a clear day. You will need to shell out a few dollars get to the top.
- Both buildings are 88 stories tall. A fortuitous number in Malay culture.
- The Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world for six years, until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004.
- The two towers were built on a former horse-racing track.
- Contractors built Tower Two straight. However, Tower One was leaning 2.54 cm off vertical. So, to correct the problem, the next 16 floors were slanted back 0.2 cm.
- Scenes from the movie “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones were filmed here in 1999. Do you remember that suit she wore? Wow!
Getting there: Jojoba Spa, 15th floor, East Wing Tower, No.1 Jalan Imbi, 55100, Kuala Lumpur
If you follow the Fighting Couple, you know we never travel without hitting the spa. Our Kuala Lumpur visit was no different. By far our favorite was the JoJoba Spa. Yes, it is really that good. It is located in an upscale hole right in the center of the city. You must block out a couple of hours for your visit.
The spa menu reads like a food menu with names like “Lovely Chocolate, Jojoba Red Wine Special, and a Dragon Fruit paradise.” Are you hungry yet? We elected for the “Royal” couples massage. Which we highly recommend for every Fighting Couple!
A highlight of visiting Malaysia is of course the food. Malay cuisine is a fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian. Needless to say, in a city the size of KL, you are bound to find the perfect meal for any taste. The first place to start your foodie quest is along the famous Bintang Street.
During our recent visit, we met up with our friend Danny Chen with http://www.eatsingtravel.net/. He literally wrote the book on eating Malay. His guide entitled: Train2Eat, highlights eateries that are near metro and train stations around the city.
Getting there: Masjid Jamek (Muslim): Nearby is the Masjid Jamek LRT station that is served by the Kelana Jaya Line, Sri Petaling Line, and Ampang Line. Taxi is recommended.
The Masjid Jamek mosque is the oldest Muslim temple in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1907 and dedicated by the Sultan of Selangor in 1909, it was the official national mosque until the 1960s. The structure was designed by Arthur Benison Hubbock, a British architect employed by the city government.
This mosque is a good place to get a primer on the Islamic faith. In order to visit the mosque, you need to be dressed appropriately. There are long robes that you can borrow if needed. We took a short tour of the property. Candidly, there is not much to see on the inside, but it is interesting to learn about the history of the faith in Malaysia.
Getting there: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (Hindu), The temple is located within Chinatown, near Petaling Street. If you are coming by metro, just exit at the Pasar Seni LRT station.
What the Muslim temple lacks in pizzaz, the Sri Mahamariamman temple more than makes up for it. Located in the Chinatown area, this Hindu temple is loaded with color, activity and art. The temple was constructed in 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai. It is the oldest hindu temple in Malaysia, although it went through a near complete renovation in the late 1960s. The vibrant and active temple is filled with intricate detailed sculptures depicting historical and spiritual scenes.
Kuala Lumpur has earned a place in our hearts. We found the vibrant city inviting, easy to navigate, and extremely friendly. Have you been? If so what are your fave activities?