Reaching New Heights Backpacking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Known locally as ‘KL’, Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s largest city and it’s also the youngest capital in South East Asia. It has a grand bi-cultural feel, a mix between the Indian Malays living in the north of the city and the Chinese Malays in the south. Constantly growing, constantly evolving, it’s a city of rapid metamorphosis. Building schemes, new road systems, flyovers, skyscrapers and great architectural feats are being constructed in line with the rapid rise in Far Eastern economic influence. And it’s a well-beaten track for travellers too, with Thailand, Singapore, and South East Asia all reachable over land , and increasingly now, by Western style low-cost airlines.

Up the Petronas Twin Towers

One look at these soaring spires and you’ll see why the iconic towers are a must for any visit to KL. Together they idolise the civic centre of the city, and its identity amongst the world’s most influential cities. In fact, it’s hard to find a street where they can’t be seen from. If you want sensational views across the cityscape then you need to navigate your way to the 41st floor and to the famous ‘skybridge’.  Arrive at the bottom of the towers (accessible via the Suria KLCC shopping mall) at 7.30am (when it opens) as the queues can stretch to dizzying lengths, and they only let a certain amount of visitors in per day.

Shopping Centre

On your way to the Petronas twin towers you will pass trough the Suria KLCC mall, and you will see that it’s no ordinary shopping destination. It’s regarded as one of the best shopping destinations in Malaysia. There’s the educatory Petrosains Discovery Centre, the stunning and slightly surreal underwater aquarium and a vast concert hall. It also houses a huge multiplex cinema and flagship shops from all over the word, including Marks and Spencer from the UK and Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore.  More than that, the Suria (meaning ‘Sunshine’) is one of the best places to eat in Kuala Lumpur because, like most of the city, it incorporates cultural influences from all over the world. Head to Signatures Food Court for a unique opportunity to compare tastes, which is the best, Indian or Malaysian biryani?

A Touch of Class at Skybar

Dubbed ‘Malaysia’s best bar’ more times than can be flattering, ‘Skybar’ at the top of Trader’s Hotel draws clients from all over the globe.  The appeal begins in the lift, when your eardrums strain against the rising altitude (floor 33). The bar itself is a visual phenomenon; a darkened aura pierced by soft blue lights reflecting off a bottomless glass floor. Luxurious sofas take in the spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur at night, where the Petronas Towers light up like beacons, seeming closer than they ever did on the ground. This is before you’ve even tried a cocktail. It’s a touch of class and its open to everyone, even though it’s at the summit of one of the best Kuala Lumpur hotels.

5 Things not to miss out on in Kuala Lumpur

  • Climbing the Petronas Towers
  • Visiting the Suria KLCC mall
  • Take a stroll round the leafy colonial area of Victoria school
  • Visit the culturally diverse satellite city of Putrajaya
  • Wander through Chinatown and the herb markets on Petaling Street

If you like the look of KL then why not check out some other great travel destinations in Asia….