The perfect day in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1857 as a sleepy tin-mining village, with its iconic skyscrapers that rival any major international metropolis today.
In town for just 24 hours? No problem. There’s plenty to see and do in Malaysia’s capital that is within minutes of the city centre. Kuala Lumpur has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1857 as a sleepy tin-mining village, with its iconic skyscrapers that rival any major international metropolis today. Here’s our guide to the best that this cultural melting pot has to offer, from sights to shopping, food and natural wonders.
For the time-poor, a good location makes all the difference. Little beats Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur for convenience, which is ideally situated in the heart of the CBD. Continuously recognised as one of the city’s top-performing hotels with its 571 well-appointed rooms and suites and comprehensive business facilities, it has been awarded the Certificate of Excellence and Travellers' Choice Award by TripAdvisor, the largest travel review site, for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Perhaps its most talked-about highlight is the open-air rooftop SkyBar, a glamorous hotspot for sundowners against the stunning city view, which was named Best Malaysian Bar by Malaysia Tatler. It transforms from idyllic pool oasis in the afternoon to party central with uplifting beats in the evening.
The hotel boasts enviable views of the legendary Petronas Twin Towers, the jewel in Kuala Lumpur’s crown, soaring to heights of 451.9 metres and comprising 88 storeys. Take the elevator up to 170 metres to walk across Skybridge, the world’s highest two-storey bridge. For those brave enough, an even more spectacular view can be seen from level 86.
“These iconic twin towers look especially mesmerising at night, and it’s no wonder people love to share pictures of this architectural wonder across social media platforms,” says Lex Ariff, a member of the hotel’s communication team.
If ground level suits better, wander though KLCC Park on a nice day. The 50-acre tropical hideaway feels like an escape from the city despite its location, shaded by 1,900 indigenous trees and 74 plant species. Featuring a two-acre children’s playground, symphony fountain, wading pool and jogging track, it’s the perfect place for respite from urban life. See the two musical water fountains at Lake Symphony, which is programmed with 150 magical dramatic animations, where water appears to dance.
In the afternoon, cool down in the shade of nearby Suria KLCC, the city’s premier shopping destination with international designer brands aplenty. For local wares, try Central Market, originally a wet market in 1888 before being revamped into a hub of Malaysian art, culture and handicrafts. Central Market’s Annexe Gallery houses art galleries, while Kasturi Walk is lined with colourful kiosks and stalls.
Should browsing work up an appetite, head to Nasi Kendar Pelita, which pays tribute to the traditional hawkers bearing baskets of food hanging from yokes across their shoulders, selling their wares from house to house. Sample a taste of Malaysia’s famous street food with menu highlights like sambal udang, tiger prawns drenched in spicy curry; daging kicap, a meat sauce combining soy and beef; and burung puyuh, fried quail with herbs and spices.
If your schedule allows, make time for a show at the Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, Malaysia's first dedicated classical concert venue and home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Classical pieces performed by the orchestra and visiting artists are brought to life with state-of-the-art acoustics. Before turning in for the night, catch one last glimpse of the splendid cityscape with a nightcap at SkyBar, ending your Kuala Lumpur adventure with those incredible towers etched in memory.
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I usually stay at the Shangri-La property but this time I'm booked to stay at the Traders KL property for 5 days next week. Can't wait!