Friday, July 31, 2009

Good Bars-Jalan P.Ramlee area

Jalan P.Ramlee is one of the main party-streets in Kuala Lumpur. There's a couple of good bars and lots of clubs that don't get going until late.However, food options are a bit limited.Most places have live music and if you get there after 9pm expect to pay a cover charge.It's easy to walk the length of the street in 15 minutes or so and is a good bar-hopping street.
Negotiating a taxi home will probably be the only hassle you have.

Some places worth a visit include:

Hard Rock Cafe at the Concorde Hotel-almost an institution and a tourist attraction in it's own right having been around for over 15 years. Some people just visit to buy the T-Shirt. Sometimes it can resemble a McDonald's with Beer,complete with kiddies parties and balloons...but as the evening turns into nigh time the crowd changes as does the level of music.Drinks are fairly pricey but they do a good Happy Hour,buy-one-get-one-free.
It can get a bit too smoky and claustrophobic.A live band generally comes on around midnight.

Beach Club Cafe-another institution having been around for over 10 years.Has an "interesting" mix of patrons.Depending on your mood,you may see it as a bit of a pick-up joint,or just somewhere to have a bit of fun and a good night out. The girls are pretty friendly, relatively harmless and will leave you alone once they know you're not interested. Live music.

Similar to the Beach Club but with less obvious working-girls there is Sangria Bar,Thai Club and Rum Jungle. They all look strikingly similar to one another.
Modesto's and Retro Club are relaxed drink-dining places,whilst for a more "clubby" feel there is Aloha and,at the end of the street Poppy Garden,whilst the up-market 7atenine bar and restaurant around the corner is more chilled-out.
A short walk away towards the Novotel you can find the Borneo Barak Club or BBC,a huge barn of a place that offers food and live music.

Across from KLCC in Avenue K shopping mall is a bar complex Quattro that offers 4 themed places under one roof (Spring,Summer,Winter and Autumn) it even "rains".Slightly further afield and just within walking distance is the rooftop bar atop Traders Hotel which offers great views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.The staff here will do their best to ensure that you don't fall into the central swimming pool.
If bars with swimming pools on top of hotels are you thing there is also Luna Bar atop Menara Pan Global at the other end of Jalan P.Ramlee.

Monday, July 27, 2009


After a hard-day's sightseeing,getting hot, tired and thirsty you may want to find somewhere to relax and look for some fun things to do.
There are quite a lot of bars in Kuala Lumpur...but not too many good bars.And even fewer Really Good Bars!
Unless you're coming from Singapore or Scandinavia you'll find prices ranging from a moderately expensive RM 10 for a mug, to downright exorbitant. RM 20 and upwards!
Most places have a Happy-Hour policy until 9pm-or sometimes 10pm when drinks are often half-price.Midweek Ladies' Nights are quite popular in many establishments where ladies can drink selected sweet and sickly concoctions for free...

Most of the larger hotels have lounges which usually comprise a cover band belting-out renditions of popular songs and can be very popular with the more mature crowd and have a relaxed ambience.

The main areas for bars and clubs within the City Centre are Jalan P.Ramlee,Changkat Bukit Bintang and Heritage Row (Jalan Doraisamy)
Further afield and a cab-ride away are the suburbs of Bangsar,Sri Hartamas and Petaling Jaya

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting Around Town

Kuala Lumpur City Centre is compact enough to walk around but any attraction more than about 30 minutes away may leave you feeling drenched and exhausted.

BUS. There is a pretty good-value bus service using (mostly) clean,fairly new buses with aircon
Around the city,RapidKL is the main operator.The service can be a bit overwhelming and best avoided at peak-hours but they go just about everywhere,and at RM1 per trip it may be worth getting lost every now and again.

TAXI. If you are very,very lucky you may find an honest taxi-driver who has a clean cab,uses the metre and knows where he's going.Otherwise you'll get overcharged by about 3 times the meter rate-or higher if you look very wealthy or very gullible..or both.
Taxis should,by law use the metre but few in the city do,mainly because the fares are so cheap that the driver wouldn't make any money if he used the meter (they say)
Fares will be increasing from 1st August- by about 40% let's see if the situation improves.
If you're selected cab refuses to use the metre,you can walk away and try another one,or you can try negotiate the fare.Anything more than RM10 around town should be questioned

MONORAIL. Although it's a confusing walk from KL Sentral, the monorail is an interesting way to traverse the town but apart from Bukit Bintang station for Shopping,Medan Tunku station for Kampung Baru and Bukit Nanas station for Hard Rock Cafe and the bars on Jalan P.Ramlee it doesn't really serve the visitor that well.But you do get an interesting "roof-top" view.

LRT. There are 2 LRT lines serving the city centre and suburbs.It's fast and efficient (most of the time) and inexpensive.The 2 lines are not very well integrated except at Masjid Jamek station

KL Hop-on Hop-off. Is a bus service specifically aimed at visitors.The buses run in a continuous loop around the city covering 40 attractions,served by 22 stops.There is an audio commentary and you can get-on and off as many times as you want.First bus is at 8.30am and the last at 8.30pm. and run at 20-30minute intervals.It's a good way to get an overview/orientation of the city.A day ticket costs RM 38,whilst a 48hr ticket is RM65

KL Aquarium

If you can't make it to the islands but would like to see some fish,KL Aquarium is a first-class alternative.
It's one of the newest and smartest attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
You can swim with sharks,get your toes nibbled by garrufa fish and learn all about water in different environments.
There are Discovery Zones with screen projectors with information and facts on the animals exhibited within the Aquaria. Interactive kiosks are also available for visitors to go on a virtual adventure in exploring other exciting creatures that inhabit the world’s oceans.
You can also view the spectacular ocean reef and its inhabitants through a large acrylic window at the Aquatheater. Witness daily fish feedings as well as diving sessions with the sharks.
It's a bit pricey at RM 38 and upwards, but very well done.

Kampung Baru

Kampung Baru is the oldest Malay residential area in Kuala Lumpur and still has authentic traditional Malay wooden houses set against a backdrop of the downtown KL sky-scrapers.
If you're not able to venture out of the city and want to see what an old Malay settlement looks like,then Kampung Baru can make an interesting visit.
Although lots of property developers are eyeing the place,for now at least you can see some nice old wooden houses and wander the streets in safety (but watch-out for the motorbikes)
Lots of restaurants and stalls with Malay food - Saturday night: Pasar Minggu (Sunday Market) 6pm - 1am, jewellery, clothes, fabric, Malay cooking, handicraft- Take Putra LRT (e.g. from KLCC) to Kampung Baru station - Monorail to Medan Tuanku station (5min walk from there) - 30min walk from Bukit Bintang or RM5 -10 by Taxi

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lake Gardens KL Birdpark and Butterfly Park

At the edge of the city,this area of landscaped gardens,statues and parks can be a welcome respite from the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur,or it can be a hot and sweaty walk....

The main attractions are the Butterfly Park,Bird Park and National Monument

The Bird Park houses more than 3,000 birds and 200 species from all over the world.If you've a few hours to kill and quite like birds or you just want to escape Kuala Lumpur and see some greenery the Birdpark is worth a visit. You'll come across miniature gardens, pools and water cascades, bridges, flowering plants ...and bird feeding stations. Divided into zones you'll find, a Flamingo pond, Pelicans, Hornbill Park, World of Parrots, a Waterfall Aviary, Amphitheatre, Children's playground and Seminar Room.Birds here include Flamingos, Hornbills, Water hens, Parrots, Cockatoos, Storks, Pheasants, Mynahs Pigeons, Macaws, and Ducks.

The Butterfly Park and insect museum is OK,especially if you like Butterflies and Insects.

The nearby National Monument looks suspiciously like the Iwo Jima monument in Washington DC and not surprisingly was designed by the same sculptor

Sunday, July 19, 2009

National Mosque

The National Mosque is the main house of worship for the inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur ,as the hundreds of cars parked outside on a Friday will testify.It has a 73-metre-high minaret and an 18-pointed star concrete main roof. The umbrella design of the dome gives the mosque a unique contrast to other onion shape domes and minaret of the buildings within its vicinity. Based upon the Grand Mosque in Mecca it has with 48 small domes and a grand prayer hall that is topped by the main dome with folded-plate roof in the shape of "semi-opened umbrella"

Pools and fountains are spread throughout the compound.Situated among five acres (13 hectares) of gardens, the building consist of a prayer hall, multi purpose hall, the warrior mausoleum, a library, offices, open courtyard and the minaret. The upper deck houses the main prayer hall and a pool.The Grand Hall which easily accommodates up to 8000 people, is surrounded by deep verandas which are screened off by white grilles of traditional Islamic designs.A very serene place to walk around for an hour or so

A short walk from the mosque is the Islamic Arts Museum,which contains amongst it's exhibits scale models of many famous mosques from around the world and exhibits from the days of the Ottoman Empire.

Exhibits are well labelled,the collections are quite extensive and the museum is definitely worth a visit

Old Railway Station

This is one of the best looking buildings in Kuala LumpurL,with a roof designed to withstand up to 2 feet of snowfall-some would say it was slightly over-engineered for the tropics.

Now,sadly it's a shadow of it's former self,surrounded by ill-conceived elevated highways and to add insult to injury,since the completion of the new KL Sentral station complex most trains don't stop here anymore except for the local commuter service.

Next to the station building there is an old run-down hotel that too has seen better days.

Opposite is another fine example of colonial architecture,the headquarters of KTMB,the national railway company

Masjid Jamek

The uniquely Mogul Masjid Jamek is the oldest mosque in the city. Located at the confluence where the Gombak river flows into the Klang river, it is the very spot where the initial settlers of Kuala Lumpur settled.Inspired by the Mogul architecture of India,the structure has chatris, domes, cupolas and minarets and arched colonnades.With palm trees and tranquil settings on the banks of the Klang and Gombak rivers, this striking red-brick and marble building was officially opened on 23 December, 1909 by the Sultan of Selangor.
Three domes surmount the prayer hall; the central dome flanked by two lower domes. The prayer hall opens out onto a walled sahn (courtyard), which has now been covered over.
At the corners are two red and white striped minarets, identical in design with chatris (umbrella-shaped cupolas, usually domed and open-sided) on the top. A large number of small chatris top the entrances and corners of the Mosque. chatris (umbrella-shaped cupolas, usually domed and open-sided) on the top. A large number of small chatris top the entrances and corners of the Mosque.

Central Market

Built in 1928, it was once the largest wet market in the city. In 1986 it was converted into an arts and crafts centre, with many shops showcasing the work of local artists and craftsmen

Central Market is the place to go if you are looking for local crafts and souvenirs as almost everything is under one roof here.
The many shops housed in this heritage building offer antique, curios, batik, pewter ware, woodcarvings, gems, handicrafts, souvenirs and a lot more. Visitors can see local craftsmen at work - portrait artists, batik painters, glass craftsmen, T-shirt artists, souvenir makers, cobbler, key maker, seamstress, etc.
To be honest,some of the usual tourist tat is cheap,nasty and tacky but you can also find some high quality pieces

Petaling Street

Chinatown has a distinct character of its own, with colourful streets of shops, restaurants,temples and hawker stalls.

It's noisy,chaotic,smelly and crowded..... Petaling Street is the main pedestrianised shopping area.

The stalls are packed very close together-it can be a bit claustrophobic.
A marketplace for Chinese goods such as medicines and herbs and more contemporary items like fashion accessories and electronic products.

Petaling Street is best visited at night when stalls spread their wares out on the street.
You can get cheap goods and some great food.

Products range from (illegal) designer replicas, Gucci winter fur-lined coats, t-shirts, leather goods, jewelry,fake watches accessories, and copies of latest DVD / CD.
Go with an open mind and aim to sharpen/hone your bargaining skills!... From early afternoon till late at night, the entire street is cluttered with stalls peddling all manner of goods from under the sun.

The stall holders are very aggressive,if you look at something for too long...or,heaven forbid actually touch an item the stallholder sees it as your commitment to buy

Most stallholders tend to double even triple their price so beware.

A haven for pickpockets and snatch thief's so be careful.....

A canopy roofing has been added over the street, so you can walk and browse rain or shine.

Enjoying the night market is really a matter of just wandering about and enjoying its sights, sounds, and energy. It's always fun for a first-time visitor.

- Other must see sights while you are here is the Mahamariamman Hindu Temple and the Kwong Siew Chinese Temple.
If you've made the decision to stay in one of the run-down grotty looking hotels in this area instead of the nicer Changkat Bukit Bintang/Jalan Tong Shin area a good nightime spot for a beer would be...
The Reggae Bar,just of Petaling Street.It's a magnet for backpackers and has some really good drinks deals-and they don't play reggae all night.

Dataran Merdeka

Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) was where on midnight of August 31, 1957 the Union Jack was lowered for the last time and Malayan flag (Jalur Gemilang) was hoisted for the first time. As a symbol of this historical event, a 100 metre high flagpole (the world tallest) was erected at the very spot where the Malayan flag was first hoisted. The square is used to celebrate national events, carnivals, live performances, cultural events and other social awareness campaigns.
It was formerly part of the Selangor Club and was known as the Selangor Club Padang, and was originally the cricket green of the Selangor Club (now Royal Selangor Club).
The Square was the focal point of colonial Kuala Lumpur. Surrounding the square are many buildings of historical interest, such as the Royal Selangor Club, the Sultan Abdul Samad building, St. Mary’s church and the National History Museum.

At one end of the square is an old ornamental fountain and drinking trough.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is probably the most beautiful building around Merdeka Square The predominantly Moorish appearance of the building reflects the cultural background of Malaysia. The gleaming copper domes are topped by a 43 meter clock tower. The central tower holds a clock that was first heard during Queen Victoria's birthday parade in 1897. The building became the centre of British administration in Selangor. The Post Office and the Sanitary Board were also located here. The building was extensively renovated to house the nation's judiciary.
it now houses the Department of Information,Heritage and Culture.

National History Museum (Muzium Serajah Nasional).First erected in 1888 to house the headquarters of the Chartered Bank, which was the first commercial bank operating in Kuala Lumpur.If you're short on time,best to skip it as the exhibits inside are not really that good.

St Mary's Cathedral, a neo-Gothic church more than a hundred years old.

KL Tower

Menara Kuala Lumpur or "KL Tower" is one of the tallest concrete towers in the world. Situated on higher ground atop Bukit Nanas at 94m above sea level, it is on whole higher than the Petronas Twin Towers with its top being at 515 metres above sea level. Although the tower itself stands at 421m
Menara Kuala Lumpur is the tallest tower in Southeast Asia and ranks fifth amongst the tallest telecommunications towers in the world
The viewing gallery is well worth a visit and you also get an audio commentary telling you what you're looking at...The view on a clear day is spectacular.For some reason tourists pay more than locals.
Close to the Tower you can find Bukit Nanas Recreational Park and City Forest Reserve an area of walking trails amongst some large trees.
There are many different trails to follow and some nice big trees to look at-but be careful of the mosquitoes.....For a while you can escape the concrete jungle and experience the real thing,right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur


Kuala Lumpur is a fairly compact city and easy to navigate.Just walking around soaking-up the atmosphere can be quite good fun-but it will be hot,so always carry a water bottle.

KLCC Twin towers have rightly become a recognised landmark,for the best views head for Jalan Stoner/Lorong Kuda towards Jalan Tun Razak. The view from this intersection day-or-night is spectacular.From here,it's a 10 minute walk through the park to the towers themselves.Standing at 88 floors,or 452m high with a shopping mall at the base they are very impressive buildings

It is possible to visit the sky-bridge that links the towers at the 42nd floor. There is also a small exhibition detailing the construction. Admission is free.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Arrival in Kuala Lumpur

First of all though,you've got to get here.
If arriving from the airport,you'll either be at the budget airline terminal LCCT-Low Cost Carrier Terminal (unkindly called the Low Cost Crap Terminal) or you'll be at KLIA the International Airport
Both are about 80 kms from the city centre.


The cheapest way into town is by bus/coach from the terminal to KL Sentral and will cost about RM9.KL Sentral is the main transportation hub where trainlines and many bus routes converge.
It also houses the KL Hilton and Meridian Hotels and a host of offices and shops,but despite it's name it's not very central to the rest of Kuala Lumpur.
From here you can access the monorail which is a slightly confusing 10 minute walk away and the LRT/KTM train services are in the same building.

Taxis from KL Sentral are usually plentiful and operate on a coupon system which you buy at the booths either where the bus drops you of,or inside the station complex once you've exited from the train.
KL Sentral can be noisy,chaotic and confusing especially for tired travellers but is well-signed and shouldn't be too much of a problem to navigate.


You can chose from the very fast KLIA Expres train service at RM35 for a half-hour journey,a taxi,again using the coupon system for RM70 or there are bus/coach services for about RM 20

The problem of touts hanging around the arrival hall has largely been eliminated.Buy your coupon from the official booths,don't deal with the taxi-touts.

Depending on where your hotel accommodation in Kuala Lumpur is and how much luggage you're lugging around the taxi service is probably the best bet.The journey takes about an hour. and can be a bit boring...


OK,here we go.....I always get a little frustrated when searching for things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Most of the "official" sites offer glowing reports and just tell you how wonderful everything is,whilst many other sites are somewhat dated and list establishments that closed-down ages ago.

If you are new to Kuala Lumpur,just arrived or passing through for a few days,what should you do and see to make the best use of your holiday in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia?
and...what's not really worth the effort to go and see?
This is not an exhaustive listing,just a selection of attractions and fun things to do when you're here on vacation. It's probably a little biased but feel free to comment and add your opinion.