Wacky architecture, cultural contrast, call it what you will: In “KL,” as this town is widely known, it is not unusual to, say, see a modern skyscraper situated next door to a centuries-old shophouse. It’s one of the things that make Kuala Lumpur unique.
Superficially, KL may appear to be a modern Asian city of gleaming skyscrapers, but it retains much of the character and local colour which has been so effectively wiped out in cities such as Singapore. It has plenty of colonial buildings in its centre, a vibrant Chinatown with street vendors and night markets, and a bustling Little India.
The real heart of KL is Merdeka Square, the site of the city’s parades and celebrations and home to a 95m (312ft) high flagpole. In colonial days, Malaysia’s administrators used the square for cricket matches, but it was also here that Malaysia’s independence was declared in 1957. On the eastern side of the square is the moorish Sultan Abdul Samed
Building, topped by a 43m (141ft) high clocktower. KL’s magnificent railway station is built in a similar moorish style, with its full quota of minarets, cupolas, towers and arches, and may be construed as a delightful example of British colonial humour. The Petronas Towers building is less decorative but impossible to miss. It’s almost half a km (1640ft) high and is one of the tallest structures in the world.
The picturesque, striped onion-domed Masjid Jame (Friday mosque) is set in a grove of palm trees overlooking Merdeka Square and is neatly reflected in the new mirror-glass office building nearby. Just south of Jami Masjid are the teeming streets of KL’s Chinatown – a crowded, colourful area with the usual melange of signs, shops activity and noise. At night the central section is closed to traffic and becomes a brightly lit, frantic night market.
Budget hotels and hostels can be found in Chinatown and Jalan Pudu Lama. Mid-range hotels are concentrated in Chinatown and on Jalan Bukit Bintang. The night market in Chinatown is the most interesting place to eat in the evening.
All fares listed are cruise only, per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability. Fares may include port charges – click price for details. Early Booking Fares are subject to availability and may be discontinued at any time. All itineraries and fares are subject to change. Fares for third and fourth person when occupying the same cabin are available upon request. Government fees, taxes and air taxes are additional. All terms and conditions can be found in the passenger ticket contract.
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