Kuala Lumpur is a metropolitan city that offers you... city sightseeing! Such as super tall buildings, super crowded markets, and super expensive malls. I like staying in KL but not for more than 4 days, not because I don’t like what KL presents me, but because the living cost in the city almost bleeds me dry! Especially since I came from Malacca where everything was so cheap and affordable.
So, where should you go in KL if money is an issue?
Entrance Fee: Free for KLCC Park and Suria KLCC
Everybody in my country visits Malaysia, or in this case Kuala Lumpur, just to snap some pictures in front of these twin skyscrapers. Then, they can upload them to their Instagram with some ordinary tags, such as #Malaysia, #PetronasTowers, all that jazz. What’s wrong with these people? Why do they want to visit these towers?
Petronas is actually a Malaysian oil and gas company. The name of the towers was derived from this company, whose logo can even be seen on Formula 1 cars. But that’s not the main reason.
Built in 1996, this building was heralded as the tallest building in the world from 1998-2004, before something like Burj Khalifa took its position. Inside the building, you can find not only a group of Petronas’s workers, but also some restaurants that you can visit while enjoying an amazing view overlooking the KLCC Park. There is also a museum that offers you bunch of information about the history of this building.
As I have mentioned before, I am a bit stingy when we're talking about money. So, instead of spending my precious ringgit on the top level, I normally just take some pictures (like all the other people from all around the world) in front of these towers. Don’t forget: Petronas Towers look more stunning after dusk with its sparkling lights. But, don’t be shocked if you meet millions of tourists around this area because it’s a very well trodden place for us - the tourists.
Tired of buildings? Want some relaxation? There are two choices for spending time around the Petronas Buildings. First, you can just visit SURIA KLCC - a big department store with hundreds of store and restaurants available - or soak your stress away on the fountain in KLCC Park.
Pasar Seni (Central Market)
Entrance Fee: Free
As its name suggests, Central Market is a huge market that sells souvenirs, food and clothes. As one of the cultural heritage sites, Central Market is always full of visitors trying to get the cheapest souvenirs or sample some street food, located beside the main building.
Masjid Jamek & The Surrounding Area
Entrance Fee: Free (please wear modest clothes)
Built in 1909, Masjid Jamek is considered one of the most popular mosques, and the biggest in Kuala Lumpur. With a Moorish, Indo-Saracenic or Mughal architecture, Masjid Jamek is not only well known as a place to pray, but also a tourist destination, especially for Muslims.
In 2011, when I came to KL for the first time, the building was being renovated and the result could be seen when I came for the third time: a clean and fantastic river beside it, with a light show every night, a place for sitting and listening to the Muadzin right in front of the riverbank, and also the mosque looks more comfortable now than before.
As a Friday Mosque, Masjid Jamek is always full of devoted men every Friday. My friend and I even were trapped in the middle of hundreds of people who had just come back from prayer. So, make sure you choose the other side of the road, or be patient and wait for the sea of humans to pass.
Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka) & Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad Building was known as a government office in the British Colonial Period. The reason why the Brits took the decision to move their office from the Bluff Road (where they needed to go up and down the hill) to this place is quite understandable. I can well imagine that it wouldn’t have been pleasant at all to do all that exercise before work. Forget hills - even stairs can make me collapse, sweating profusely like an olympic athlete!
In 1974, the building, which was before simply called “Government Offices”, was renamed after Sultan Abdul Samad, the reigning Sultan of Selangor at the time when the construction began. Nowadays, it houses both the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia.
The location of Sultan Abdul Samad Building is quite strategic. It is situated right in front of Independence Square and the Royal Selangor Club. So, you can “kill two birds with one stone” and save your budget. If you go from Pasar Seni (Central Market), you just need to turn left and go straight, then follow the street until you find the intersection where these buildings are situated.
What is the Royal Selangor Club?
Found by the British in 1884, the Royal Selangor Club was a meeting point for educated and high-ranking members of British Colonial Society.
How about now?
As its name suggests, the club often shows various sporting activities, from cricket to the world cup, so it’s a bit like a pub where you can drink and order food while watching sport events.