I like Kuala Lumpur, a city that’s cheaper than Singapore and a tad more conservative than Bangkok. On the way to the city center from the airport, I caught the familiar scent of humid, tropical air I knew so well from previous visits to Asia. This was my first visit to Malaysia, and was anxious to find out what the nation’s capital looked like.
I stayed in the centrally located Concorde Hotel, and felt as if this was the best place to crash for a few days because it was so close to the action. Like the World Trade Centers which used to stand in New York City, the Petronas Twin Towers dominate the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. The external design of these buildings has a noticeable Islamic motif and serves as the headquarters of Petronas – the national oil company of Malaysia. Next to the Petronas complex is the Suria KLCC mall – one of Kuala Lumpur’s more popular centers for material consumption. The place was huge, of course, with six levels and an ultra-modern interior.
I’ve always had a fondness for history, and always make it a priority to learn something about a country’s past. I spent a few hours around the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Merdeka Square (or Independence Square) was where Malaysia declared its autonomy from Great Britain at the stroke of midnight on August 31st, 1957. The British used this square as a cricket pitch, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. Didn’t they play cricket in just about every country they colonized?
On the east side of the square is the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which the British used as an administrative center in colonial times. The architecture is Moorish in appearance and reflects the Islamic heritage of Malaysia.
I had eaten great food (Malaysian satay is scrumptious), seen wonderful sights and met nice people in Kuala Lumpur. It was a pleasant taste of a country that I would like to visit again. Kuala Lumpur isn’t so ostentatious and it takes a while to find the city’s charms but they exist, and the infrastructure is impressive. And, many locals speak English! That eliminates any communication worries, particularly for tourists from North America and Britain.