11 Things You Didn’t Know About Kuala Lumpur
The largest city of Malaysia offers many wonders for you to discover. Here are some of the most interesting facts about this hidden gem of Southeast Asia.
The place where millions of people from various cultures meet and live, Kuala Lumpur is a fascinating city and an ideal location for curious explorers. There’s much to see and experience in a city whose atmosphere and lively streets leave a lasting impression on all visitors.
If you’re planning a visit to Kuala Lumpur, here’s a list of facts about the sprawling metropolis that might surprise you.
1. Its Interesting History
Kuala Lumpur dates back to 1857 when Chinese miners founded the city. While it came into being purely due to necessity, the city today bears no resemblance to the humble town it was over 150 years ago.
Home to the largest Malaysian settlement, it gained the title of a city as late as 1972 because of the population boom it experienced around that time.
The city has continued growing at a high rate. That’s why today, almost two million people call the city their home, and the population growth isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.
2. Haggling Is a Must
The local markets of Kuala Lumpur feature everything from gadgets to artwork. But you’ll need to do some haggling if you wish to get the best prices.
The fine art of negotiating prices can also be much fun, although the experienced sellers will prove quite a competition.
3. Expect Floods
Rains can get very heavy in Kuala Lumpur. That’s why if you’re visiting during the rainy season, don’t be surprised at the sight of a flood. It may be somewhat shocking for the visitors but these locals are used to the sight.
The city lies by two rivers, Klang and Gombak. But interestingly, flooding in the city is never catastrophic.
Monsoon rains are common – when they come, it’s pretty much business as usual in Kuala Lumpur. A significant downside is that heavy rain makes sightseeing much more challenging, so if you want to enjoy the city to the fullest, you best plan your visit for the dry season.
4. Language Isn’t An Issue
The people of Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur locals in particular, often speak English and are glad to practice the language through chatting with native speakers.
Malaysians are extraordinarily friendly and will likely jump at the opportunity to hone their English skills. And since the language barrier isn’t an issue, your stay will be that much more comfortable.
5. The Meaningful Name
When translated from Malay, the name Kuala Lumpur clearly describes the city’s environment. In English, the name means “muddy confluence” – unsurprising for a city that lies at the confluence of two rivers that flood regularly.
Since the rising waters carry plenty of mud, Kuala Lumpur’s founders had an easy job of naming the settlement.
6. A Gourmand’s Paradise
Malaysian food doesn’t get as much credit as some neighboring countries’ cuisines, yet it deserves every bit of praise it gets.
While names like ‘nasi kerabu,’ ‘ayam percik,’ or ‘mee goreng mamak’ likely don’t mean much right now, they’ll become your favorite words once you discover the fantastic dishes behind the terms. Vegetarian options are also plentiful.
You can expect the best culinary experiences from the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Although there are many excellent restaurants, street food is where it’s at for everyone looking for a great meal.
7. Towering Architecture
If there’s one sight you might’ve already seen from Kuala Lumpur, it’s probably the image of the famous Petronas Towers. The buildings have become an iconic landmark of the city, holding the title of the tallest twin towers on the planet until 2004.
Today, the Petronas Towers still count among the tallest feats of architecture globally and the buildings boast several fascinating features. The most recognizable is the two-story-high bridge between the towers, which is located on the 41st and 42nd floors.
Yet the famed towers aren’t the only skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.
If you climb the KL Tower – a telecommunications colossus with no match in Southeast Asia – you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city and its gravity-defying wonders.
8. Getting Around the City
Kuala Lumpur cabs have something of a reputation – they are considered among the worst in the world. Luckily, avoiding their services is relatively straightforward.
The trains that frequently zip around the city cover all noticeable locations, and they’ll go easy on your budget. You shouldn’t view the reliable railway system as an alternative but more as the primary way of getting around Kuala Lumpur.
9. A Well-Educated Crowd
While Malaysia still can’t match some of the world’s leading nations when it comes to overall literacy rates or education, Kuala Lumpur calls attention in that regard.
Besides the highest literacy rate in the whole country, the city boasts excellent education centers that allow it to lead Malaysian education to new heights.
10. Fascinating Multiculturalism
The population of Kuala Lumpur mainly consists of Muslim Malaysians. However, the city has welcomed plenty of residents and visitors from around the world, including multi-generational immigrants from China and India.
You’ll find a staggering multitude of religions and cultures throughout Kuala Lumpur as well as the whole country, providing an opportunity for new experiences on every step of the city’s busy streets.
11. Elected Royalty
Sultan Abdullah of Pahang is the current elected monarch of Malaysia. And the leader of the unique governmental system has an official residence in the impressive Istana Negara palace.
The palace counts among the most beautiful landmarks of Kuala Lumpur and the extensive building is, naturally, a tourist hotspot.
The Perfect Malaysian Experience
From culinary delights to architectural wonders, Kuala Lumpur offers many attractions to its visitors. Lively and welcoming, the city will put a spell on you from the first time you lay eyes on its colorful landscape.
Whether you’re expecting a great vacation or you’re going without specific expectations, your visit to Kuala Lumpur will undoubtedly be inspiring and memorable.