Tourists who visit Malaysia always return with a top view of the country — quite literally. Kuala Lumpur, which is home to Malaysia’s tallest towers, takes tourists to new heights with its natural beauty and towering cityscape. And if you are planning your next family vacation there, here are a few things that can help you map out an affordable trip that will incorporate the best of what the city has to offer.
• The Petronas Twin Towers - Catch a bird’s eye view
If you aren’t afraid of heights, don’t miss the view from the observation deck on level 86 and the sky bridge connecting the once world’s tallest buildings. The bridge has the ability to sway, but as the guide will reason, that is only to stabilise the towers.
Open Tuesdays to Sundays:
9:00am - 9:00pm.
Cost of tickets:
• National Monument - A moment for monuments
Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Parliament House and the Perdana Botanical Gardens, the monument honours the Malay soldiers who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom during World War II and the Malayan Emergency. Take a tranquil moment here to breathe in the beauty and get in touch with the country’s history.
• Bukit Bintang - Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle
It is also known as ‘Star Hill’ because of its shopping and entertainment combo. For nightlife lovers, this is the place to be. Take a long walk along the beautifully lit-up Jalan (road) Bukit Bintang shopping strip and stop by at the street-side cafe or pub for a quick bite. If you’re tired, walk up to the nearest massage parlour and rejuvenate yourself.
• Chinatown - Why shy away from shopping
It is the town’s commercial hub where you can sample authentic Malay street food and indulge in some retail therapy. From home decor to accessories, this place is a paradise for bargain buys. For successful haggling, slash the price of the item by 50% and then work your way upwards till there is a consensus.
RM60 (for a pair)
• KL Tower - See you at the top
The tower stands tall at the peak of KL Eco-Forest Park and is the seventh tallest telecommunications tower in the world. You can move up to the observation deck and capture some stunning views on your camera and later grab a meal at the tower’s revolving restaurant, Atmosphere 360.Operational hours:
9:00am - 10:00pm
Family package RM138
(2 Adult + 2 children)
All that attracts
• Aquaria KLCC
If you’re travelling with children, this will be a fun and educational experience for them. They have an underwater tunnel with a moving walkway where giant turtles and sharks float right above you.
10:30am - 8:00pm
(3 years to 12 years)
Senior citizen RM30 (60 years and above)
• Sunway Lagoon
This is a one-stop fun destination for tourists. You will need an entire day to complete all the rides at their Water, Amusement, Extreme and Scream Parks. Don’t miss out on the Waterplexx 5D and the suspension bridge that offers a 360° view of the parks and the Sunway Hotel.
10:00am - 6:00pm
(11 years and below)
Senior citizen RM90
(60 years and above)
Freeze your joyous moments by visiting Malaysia’s largest snow-play attraction at i-City Leisure Park. In controlled temperatures of below 5 degrees Celsius, enjoy riding the ice slides and taking pictures with the ice carvings.
10:00am - 1:00am
• Bird Park
This walk-in aviary is simply mesmerising with its manmade waterfalls and landscapes. You get a chance to get up close and personal with the birds and even take pictures with the tamed ones at the photo booth.
9:00am - 8:00pm
A mouthful of flavours
Akin to their culturally diverse population, Malaysian cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese, Indian and Thai flavours and can easily satisfy a wide variety of palates. Although Malays are a little light-handed with the spices, the overwhelming variety of food helps to make up for it.
Rice and seafood are staples here so do help yourself to the freshest calamari, lobsters and prawns that are on display in tanks at most restaurants. And if you wish to sample traditional Malay food, just hit the streets. The chicken skewers and roasted chestnuts are great for snacking and will keep your energy levels and spirits high as you indulge in some retail therapy alongside.
Given that a meal in Malaysia is incomplete without fruit, every menu includes a platter of sliced fruits in the dessert section. The star and dragon fruits are particularly refreshing. Also, fresh fruit juices, especially watermelon, are the perfect accompaniment to a meal.
• Pack an umbrella as it rains almost every evening, at the most for two hours.
• Do not spend money on a cab ride that will cost you around RM20 to RM25 to drop you at the next street when you can easily walk the distance. This way you will get a chance to experience the bustling street life as well.
• Visit Chinatown and Central Market before hitting the high-end malls or you’ll end up regretting the unnecessary amount you spent on wares that are available worldwide.
• All malls shut down by 10:00pm, so plan your trips accordingly.
• Pack the most comfortable pair of sandals as you will be walking a lot.
• Free Wifi is available at most places, so you won’t necessarily have to buy a local sim.
Dilaira Dubash is a senior subeditor on The Express Tribune magazine desk. She tweets @DilairaM
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 20th, 2014.