Out of country escapades have always been a part of our goals as young professionals. But with all the countries we can go to, choosing a destination is a difficult decision.
There are always several factors to it, like distance and money. Luckily for us, destinations like Kuala Lumpur are a stone’s throw away and hopefully within our budget. So to all my fellow yuppies, here’s your ultimate
guide to a lit rainy day sojourn in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur.
Back in the old days, Kuala Lumpur was a small tin mining and trading village.
Led by Klang Chief Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar and Lukut Chief Raja Juam’at, the town thrived which led to a ton of growth and development. It wasn’t long until Kuala Lumpur was appointed capital of the Federated Malay States under the British government, for which they declared independence from August 31, 1957 and received city status in the year 1972.
Now considered the largest metropolis and capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a thrilling tourist hub, filled with life, art, and culture.
While everyone’s first instinct is to jump to the country’s best known landmarks, we should always make it a point to know some basic history first, therefore our first stop should be the National Museum. Founded in 1963 and designed by Ho Kok Hoe in the Rumah Gadang style of architecture, the exhibits include artifacts from multiple eras in Malaysian history as well as traditional and contemporary modes of transportation like the Kitson &Co. Steam locomotive and the horse-drawn carriages of Melaka.
Visitors can enter inside the chengal wood made Istana Satu, built in Kuala Terengganu. The National Museum is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM. Entrance fees range from two to five Malaysian Ringgits for foreigners and locals, and free entrance is given to children below twelve years old.
Another landmark worthy of a visit is the Islamic Arts Museum, whose galleries showcase ancient artifacts from India, China, and Malaysia as well as an exhibit of Islamic glass wares and Qurans.
Open for public viewing since the year 1998, the museum operates daily form 10 AM until 6 PM. Entrance fees cost RM 14.00 for adults and RM 7.00 for students and seniors. Children below six years old can get it for free.
Getting around Kuala Lumpur
Hailed for having one of the world’s fastest modes of transportations, a visit to Kuala Lumpur is not complete without stepping inside the Malayan Railway Administration building. Constructed in the year 1917, the edifice’s Moorish Revival style of architecture is a masterpiece of its own created by Architect Arthur Benison Hubback. The façade of the building features five looming towers of moorish cupola and turrets erected on each of the four corners and a middle one; a mixture of large and small gothic arches of pointed, corbel, and round styles standing on top of
intricately designed doric columns; and moorish pinnacles adorning each of the top of the domes .
The building is also affectionately known as the Keretapi Tanah Melayu. Because nothing beats hassle and traffic-free travel, Malaysia has you covered with their very own monorail system. Holding the record of one of the world’s fastest railway transportation, Rapid KL has over 116 stations and can travel up to 80km/h. In addition, Rapid KL also has a bus system consisting of over 98 bus routes.
The Islamic Appeal
Architectural buffs will surely have a good time roaming inside two of Kuala Lumpur’s Islamic structures; namely the Sultan Abdul Samad and the Masjid Jamek Mosque. Complementing each other along the Jalan Raja road, these two buildings showcase Malaysia’s exceptional culture.
Finally completed three years after its foundation stone was laid in the year 1894, the 19th century Sultan Abdul Samad is a unique work of art by architects Arthur Benison Hubback and Regent Alfred John Bidwell. A mixture of Moorish and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the two floored building features two flanking towers each with a circular staircase inside; a clock tower looming over 135 feet and whose large bell strucks the hour; a copper-made, onion-shaped dome on each of the three towers; and the numerous gothic arches of Neo-Mughal style.
Visitors of the Sultan Abdul Samad can also enjoy a walk at Merdeka Square located just in front of the building. It holds significance as the venue of the country’s declaration of independence in 1957 and holds an annual independence day celebration every 31st of August.
The square’s most prominent feature are the flagpole standing over 95 meters tall and the adjacent Cop’s Fountain dedicated to Police Inspector Steve Harper.
Don’t miss the chance to enter the Masjid Jamek Mosque located near the Sultan Abdul Samad building at the conjuction of the rivers Gombak and Klang. Considered the oldest Islamic mosque in Malaysia, the place of worship is another Arthur Benison Hubback masterpiece.
It’s distinct features includes two complexly designed minarets that stand over twenty-five metres tall, the
star-shaped ablution basin within the mosque’s courtyard, the three looming domes reaching at an estimated height of twenty metres, and the clean prayer hall for religious goers and foreign visitors.
The mosque is open to all every Saturday until Thursday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:30 PM. until 4:30 PM. Visitors are reminded that while headscarves and robes are for rent outside the mosque, dress codes are strictly implemented. Non-locals are also advised to wear shoes that are easily removed to avoid any inconvenience outside the prayer hall.
Masjid Jamek Mosque is also affectionately known as the Friday Mosque. A few steps away from the Masjid Jamek Mosque is another mosque named the Masjid Negara or the National Mosque. Constructed in the year 1965, the complex can hold up to an estimated 15,000 individuals.
Aside from its large prayer hall, its features include the star-shaped roof and the seventy-three metre tall minarets as well as the numerous pools and fountains that adorn the whole area.
After visiting three of Malaysia’s Islamic influences, take the chance to stroll around Petalling Street and the Central Market. A shopping district brimming with affordable Malaysian souvenirs, handicrafts, and jewelries, visitors will surely go home with an empty wallet but a handful of trinkets and keepsakes. Aside from that, these areas are famous for food crawls of authentic Malaysian cuisines and exotic foods.
Dominating the Skyline
While many ornate buildings are a sight to behold whenever visiting Kuala Lumpur, the metropolis’ contemporary structures on the other hand can never be left out. Two of which include the Kuala Lumpur Television tower located on top of the Bukit Nanas Hill and the ever famous Petronas Twin Towers hailed as one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
Kuala Lumpur Tower stands at an estimated 335 metres from the ground to the roof and 421 metres from the roof to the tip of the antenna spire. It consists of six floors with four elevators and a number of staircases inside. Hailed as the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world after the Milad Tower in Iran, the tower has an observation deck at 276 metres high, a souvenir shop, a rotating restaurant that offers a panoramic view of the metropolis, and a mall in its grounds.
A few broadcasting stations also hold office inside the tower. Visitors can reach the area by car, by monorail, or by the shuttle service provided by the tower management.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Petronas Twin Towers’ construction was fully completed in March of 1996. Following a post-modern style of architecture, Architect César Pelli truly surpassed himself with the tower’s eighty-eight upper floors, five underground floors, and forty elevators found in each tower.
The buildings host the Suria KLCC shopping mall that houses over three hundred luxury fashion outlets, state of the art cinemas, art galleries, the Petronas Philharmonic Concert Hall, and a seventeen-acre park located just outside the tower complex.
Also a distinct feature of the Petronas Twin Towers is its double decker sky bridge located on the 41st and 42nd floor.
Sliding in an out of each of the towers to prevent it from breaking, the sky bridge is made up of steel and glass that make for a perfect observation deck for visitors who want to see a panoramic view of the surrounding cities.
Tickets to enter the towers and the sky bridge are available online and at the ticketing office located inside the complex. It is advisable to book in advance as tickets are always sold out and only the one thousand visitors are permitted daily.
Today’s generation lives like there’s no tomorrow. We work to travel and travel to live (and admittedly, achieve our feed goals).
Kuala Lumpur is definitely an Instagrammable landscape that makes for a perfect rainy day escapade.