Kuala Lumpur – A Multicultural Mega-city in Southeast Asia

You already know the definition of city. But, what is multicultural city? We know that the actual meaning of multicultural refers to something that incorporates ideas, beliefs or people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds. And city is a big place where people live together. So, when different people from different countries around the world live together in a same place and where every people shares their culture with other people then it is simply called multicultural city. When we think about multicultural cities, we usually think about New York City, Toronto, San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, Sydney, Paris etc. If you are about to walk into any of these cities mentioned  then you will be able to see different people around the world and be able to notice many different cultures. So, Kuala Lumpur, the Capital city of Malaysia is one of them where different people from different countries around the world live together and it is one of the biggest multicultural city in Southeast Asia.

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A Busy Street of Kuala Lumpur. Picture Source – Self Captured.

As well as the national Capital, Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia. It’s a federal territory. Right now, it has an estimated population of  1.7 million and it is ranked 9th in Southeast Asia in terms of the biggest city ranking. The whole area of Kuala Lumpur is about 243 square kilometers. The main city of Kuala Lumpur is aproximately 55 kilometers far from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport which is located in Sepang district of Selangar. It will take about an hour to reach at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport which is the main airport of this city. when you will make an entry to this city, you will see buildings after buildings and one is taller than the other other one. For this characteristic,  you can compare Kuala Lumpur with New York City (NYC). In NYC, you will see the same. The rush of the citizens in the morning and the late evening is also similar to NYC. Besides the local and the foreign citizens, a huge number of tourists from different continents are coming here everyday. So, this city is also considered as a global hub and a gateway to Southeast Asia.

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A Night view of Kuala Lumpur City Center(KLCC). Picture Source – Self Captured.

Overall Observation

When you will make your first step into KL, you will see a rush of people and you will be able to see a variety of people around you. At the major points of the city, you will notice the number of foreigners which is more than the number of local residents. After that, you will notice the influence of Chinese culture within the city. The Chinese subtitle is available on almost every printed banners and digital billboards. And this is known to all that 22.3% people from the total population of Malaysia are Chinese. So, you will see a lot Chinese restaurants, Chinese souvenir shops, electronics showrooms etc. in this big city. The interesting fact is that the whole nation celebrates the Chinese new year together and the citizens get a long break about six official holidays. The preparation of this celebration starts about a month ago. At that time, you will be able to see that the shops and organizations are starting to decorate their buildings according to the festival theme. During that festival, Kuala Lumpur looks so amazing and colorful. You may think that where am I? Is it KL or Shanghai?

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Decoration for Celebrating the Chinese New Year inside the Pavilion Mall. Picture Source – Self Captured. 

Then you will be able to notice the presence of Indian Subcontinental culture. When you will enter into a super-shop or a supermarket, you will see a lot of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are working at there. Some people have their own business outlets in this city. You have to understand that these people from South Asia regions contribute about 7% of the total population of Malaysia. The best part of this culture is the food. The South Asian people have a long variety in their food range. A person from west can taste a spicy curry from any Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi restaurants located here in Kuala Lumpur. It will definitely amaze him or her. In addition to that, biriyani is the common food item in South Asian region. So, you must try this.

Then you will find out a lot of British people are living here as citizens. Once Malaysia was used as a sea port by the British colonizers when the British empire established a presence in Malaysia in 1786. Right now, many British people are considering Malaysia as their second home by depositing their money into the authority’s account through MM2H program launched by Malaysian government. They choose this option to get rid of the cold and wet weather of England. During the winter season, they are starting to come here and stay for 5 or 6 months. After that, they go back to their home. And most of them are choosing to stay in Kuala Lumpur. The living cost at here is much cheaper than London or anywhere in UK according to their statements.

You will find out many Australians out there in Kuala Lumpur(KL). Most of them are tourists. They always start their journey to explore Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur. Because, there is a good flight connection between Kuala Lumpur to Sydney or Melbourne or any other Australian city. In addition to that, the flight fare is comparatively cheaper than the other flight routes. Air Asia always provides cheap flight tickets to the passengers specially in the Australian routes. Besides that, you will see many other nationalities around this mega city. But all of them are very respectful to local Malay culture and everyone celebrates the local festivals together. In the month of Ramadan which is very import for the Muslim people, you will see every restaurants remained closed until sunset. Because, this is a Muslim majority country and everyone respects that. For that reason, they don’t eat or drink in public because Muslims people are fasting from eating during this holy month. It will be so awkward if anyone eats or drinks in front of them. At later, the people of every religion take part in the iftar ( Muslims break their fast at the time) with the Muslims at the time of sunset. This is actually amazing. In the Diwali which is a Hindu festival, everyone celebrates with lighting up the lamps and enjoying and taking part in firework displays. And at the Christmas period, the whole city changes with a new look. During the Christmas day, you will see a lot of Santa Clauses in every point of the city such as Shopping Malls, Parks, Restaurants and Metro stations. They are continuously giving presents to the people in the walkway. And every Santas may not be christian, he might be from other religion but showing the respect to the christian community. So, this is a symbol of unity. Those characteristics made Kuala Lumpur a multi-ethnic and multicultural city.

The most amazing part for me was those Syrian Restaurants located in Bukit Bintang area while I was exploring Kuala Lumpur. They usually offer regular Arabian dishes with their unique style of cooking. The taste of those dishes are absolutely amazing. I won’t forget about that. Besides that, I found a Syrian sweet shop in a street of Bukit Bintang. The sweet items that I tasted were so delicious. If I come back to Kuala Lumpur again, I will go to that sweet shop at first. It was an amazing moment for me in KL.

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I was enjoying my biriyani in a Syrian Restaurant. Picture Source – Self Captured.

Things to explore in Kuala Lumpur

There are a lot to offer to the tourists for Kuala Lumpur. A traveler can explore many things at here. My experience of visiting  this city was awesome. But I couldn’t explore the whole 243 square Km area of this big city. I had some time limits. So, I mention here the important places, the places I saw and the places I heard about.

Petronas Twin Towers

If you search and write “Kuala Lumpur” on the Google’s search box and press “Enter” button then it will show you the pictures of Petronas Twin Towers on the image section. When any airlines company or travel agency promotes their activities on this city, they usually use the pictures of  this Twin Towers on their banners, billboards or commercial advertisements.  The people know at least something about Kuala Lumpur will tell you about this Twin Towers at first, if you asked them about the capital city of Malaysia.

This is one of the tallest tower in the world. Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and  it remains the tallest twin towers in the world. It had gone past the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in 1998, the year when these towers were built. The 88 storied buildings are about 1482 feet high each. Both towers joined at the 41st and 42nd floors (175m above street level) by a 58 metre-long, double-decker Sky Bridge. You will need a wide angle lens, if you want to capture a photograph of this Twin towers. And if you want to go inside any of these towers,  you have to buy a ticket. You must have to come here early in the morning because there are always plenty of visitors. So, the queue in front of the ticket counter is usually very long. Once you make an entry at the top of the tower, you will see a 360 degree view of KL. Besides that, you will be able to discover the peaks of other buildings.

Some views of Petronas Twin Towers. Picture Source – Self Captured.

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Skybridge of Twin Towers. Picture Source –  Collected.

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A View from the Skybridge. Picture Source – Collected.

There is a shopping mall which is located right beside the twin towers as known as Suria KLCC. You can have some shopping at there or you can enjoy a movie inside the theater at Suria KLCC. There is a beautiful park called KLCC park located just in front of the main buildings. The outlook of the park is so beautiful. You can have an evening walk or spend some times at there  and you will be able to explore the far view of Petronas Twin Towers from the park bench which will be amazing for sure.

The far view of Petronas Twin Towers from the park bench. Picture Source – Self Captured.

Some Views of KLCC Park. Picture Souce – Self Captured.

KL Tower

I saw this tower from the outside of the car window while I was moving across the city. This tower is the official landmark of Kuala Lumpur known as Menara Kuala Lumpur. This tower is used as a communication tower constructed on 1995 and it is 421 meters tall. There is an elevator to reach the upper area where you will find out a restaurant. You can have your dinner and enjoy the panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur. Moving up through the elevator will be very thrilling because the whole elevator is made of glasses. And you can do sky jumping from the top of the tower, if you are brave enough. That’s all I can tell you about this tower. You can do some research about this before you go.

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KL Tower. Picture Source – Wonderfly Asia.

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Observation Deck of KL Tower.  Picture Source – Collected.

Batu Caves

This tourist attraction is almost 13 kilometers away  from the Kuala Lumpur City Central. The main attraction here is a 100-year-old temple features idols and statues erected inside the main caves and around it. This Hindu temple is located on a limestone hill that has a series of caves. The limestone formations do the interior for the temple by itself which looks so amazing. The stairs to climb up the hill are so colorful and you will have an amazing view from the far.

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The Front View of the Main Temple. Picture Source –  Collected.

Some Views. Picture Source –  Collected.

There’s a big statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan located in front of the stairs. You have to hike 272 stairs to reach the main temple. I was not able to hike the stairs due to my illness. So, I saw the entire view from outside of the main complex. You will see a lot of monkeys at the different points of this place. Exploring the whole area will take at least 3 to 4 hours. So, you better keep a whole day in your hand to discover these caves.

National Museum

If you have interests about exploring history then this is the place for you. Here, you will know about the Malay culture and history. You will see the old photographs and the replicas of different things. The museum complex itself is an architectural wonder. The museum was built in 1963. The building has a sweeping, traditional style roof and a main entrance flanked by two large murals of Italian glass mosaic that portray the country’s major historical events and cultural activities. A renovation work was done by the local authority about few years ago. Many cultural exhibitions are organizing regularly at the museum complex.

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The Front View of the National Museum. Picture Source – Collected.

After visiting the museum, you can hang out in the lake gardens which is located very close to the museum. This place is also known as Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park and it’s an amazing place for the nature lovers. You may plan to have your evening walk at there.

Some views of Lake Gardens. Picture Source – Collected.

National Mosque of Malaysia

This is the biggest prayer hall for the Muslims in Kuala Lumpur having the capacity for 15000 people. This entire building is an architectural masterpiece which was built in 1965. It has a minaret which is 73 meters high. It is very close to the KL Railway Station. The design of this building was done by the architects of UK and Malaysia . 

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National Mosque of Malaysia. Picture Source – Collected.

You must have to be dressed properly to have an entry to this mosque which means no short dresses are allowed here. You can borrow dresses, if you aren’t prepared. The entry is free but you can’t go inside at the prayer time unless you are Muslim .                     

Where to Stay, How to Move Etc.

If you come to Kuala Lampur, you can make your base at Bukit Bintang area. Because, it’s the major tourists area in the city. You will find the hotels of different categories, shopping malls, street markets, restaurants, street food vendors, bars, gaming zones etc. Which means you will get all facilities of living in this area. You will see the restaurants of different countries and cuisines at there and you will be able to taste all of the food Items, if you want. If you want to have some quality shopping then just go to the Pavilion Mall. You will get almost all the branded stores out there. Or you may explore some street side shops around Bukit Bintang. The Atmosphere of night at Bukit Bintang will amaze you.

Street Views of Bukit Bintang at night. Picture Source – Self Captured.

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Street Food Zone in Bukit Bintang Area. Picture Source –  Self Captured.

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The Atmosphere outside The Pavilion Mall. Picture Source – Self Captured.

If you are a Chinese or you like Chinese culture and traditions or you are used to this then you can stay at any hotel located in China Town, Kuala Lampur. You will get everything Chinese at here.

Chinatown Views. Picture Source – Collected.

If you want to access easy transportations then it will be better to stay at KL Sentral. You will be able to find any kind of transport to reach anywhere around this city from this area. But it will be difficult for you to find any convenient restaurant in this zone.

If you are a practicing Muslim and you are about to pray five times a day then Jamek Mosque area will be suitable for you to stay . You may have your prayer at Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque which is main attraction of this area. You will get every food items 100% halal at the restaurants of this zone.

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Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque. Picture Source – Collected.

For transportation,  you shouldn’t use taxis inside the city because they are expensive. You can use the Grab app for finding your private transport which will be cheaper than taxis in KL. For a quick city tour, you can access to the Hop On bus services which is a tourists bus service which will take you to all important points of the city for a day trip. There is a free bus service as known as GO-KL which I noticed in my journey. I was stepped into that bus for couple of times and I was moving to Bukit Bintang from KLCC with a GOKL bus. Other routes are also available. If you wanna go to the airport then you can use the MRT or you can take a bus. Bus will be the cheaper option where a MRT ride will cost you 50 RM per ride. But you can avoid the traffic jam by using the MRT. So, if you are in hurry then take the MRT.

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MRT in Kuala Lumpur. Picture Source – Tune Hotels.

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GOKL Buses. Picture Source – GOKL.

At last, I wanna say that you must visit this city because a lot arrangements are waiting for you. So, travel more & be happy. Always remember that your mobility is your freedom.

 

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