Kuala Lumpur lives up to its nickname as the magical capital of Malaysia. Locals call it “KL.” Chinese and Indian Immigrant cultures effortlessly fuse with native Malay culture. It’s a place where many races and ethnicities seem to get along.
That’s a little surprising compared to some other big cities in Asia with diverse populations. The Malay government has made a real effort to sustain that mostly tranquil vibe.
KL rarely tops an American’s must-visit list, but it should. The same Asian and European travelers who rave about Bangkok’s temples, Tokyo’s bullet trains, and Bali’s beaches love equatorial KL too. From the aromas of deep-fried samosas in the food courts to the splendor of mosques that dot the landscape, Kuala Lumpur delivers rich culture on an “I’m broke, but I love to travel” budget.
This energetic city, which also features Jazz clubs, easily merits inclusion on the bucket lists of more African American travelers.
More recently the city has become a playpen for architects who design eye-catching skyscrapers, including the 2nd tallest building in the world. Looking at the quality and quantity of its architecture, KL could give Chicago and Toronto serious design competition. And yet Kuala Lumpur maintains a human scale for walking to eye-catching temple & cave visits, bargaining with street vendors, and sampling street great cuisine on the cheap.
The Metro Rail system is extensive and Hop On-Hop Buses help you efficiently and affordably explore large swaths of the city and its main attractions. Utility infrastructure works. You will quickly feel why MasterCard’s recent Global Destination Cities report ranked Kuala Lumpur 6th, close behind Singapore.
In the 19th century, KL was an important tin-industry settlement, mostly because of Yap Ah Loy.
7 Reasons to Visit Kuala Lumpur
From diverse food aromas to magnificent temples and modern architecture, KL delivers.
No Black Tie Delivers Go-To Place for Jazz & Soul
If you’re a jazz or R&B aficionado, the cleverly named No Black Tie is the place to land.
Indigo and the Lights Illuminate a Bright Spirit on the Local Music Scene
Listening to the silky jazz vocals of Fatima of Indigo and the Lights brings to mind top American singers.
Kuala Lumpur roughly means “muddy river confluence” based on the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River that help defines its districts.