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Impressions of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur is the modern, vibrant, inclusive, culturally diverse capital of Malaysia.

KL is a fascinating multiracial blend of people, flavours, cultures, traditions and celebrations.

It is also one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in S. E. Asia.

It is safe, friendly, efficient, affordable and has good Wi-Fi to boot.

There are plenty of parks and green space.

KL is close to the equator so the weather is always some variation of hot and steamy, the temperatures do tend to drop in the evening making it quite pleasant (at least when we were there).

It can rain (a lot) here, especially between April to September.

KL on the surface at least, looks like a pretty good example how a thriving multicultural society functions. I am sure there are under currents below the seeming placid surface.

Kula Lumpur is a city of contrasts

A place where East meets West

Where old meets ultra modern

Some women wear shorts others Burkas – maybe both at the same time?

There are modern sky scrapers and Colonial architecture

Kuala Lumpur is somewhere between being clean and messy.

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Multicultural cultural diversity

The city is primarily comprised of 46 % Malays, 43% Chinese, and 10 % Indians.

Most Malays follow Islam. The other major religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Daoism. The dual track legal system imposes Syariah Law to Muslims only.

All the major religious holidays are observed and celebrated in Kula Lumpur and there are many festivals to participate and to observe.

There are lots of immigrant workers from other parts of Asia who build this city. KL attracts expats with a wide degree of skill sets from all parts of the globe.


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Really good food

One of the big benefits of a hugely multicultural city is the vast variety of cuisines on offer. What would you like for dinner tonight? Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Arabic, or Western?  Maybe some fusion?

There is a mind boggling array of restaurants, food stalls, bistros, and cafes serving up a cornucopia of flavours.  Kuala Lumpur is a foodies paradise.

An architect’s dream

Architects have been turned loose in this relatively young city. KL’s buildings are a blend of Colonial, Asian, Islamic and some very, very modern creations.

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The iconic Petronas towers are the tallest twin towers in the world. The second tallest building on the planet, the Merdeka 118, completed in June 2023 is located in the city as well.

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Splashy fountains, flashy malls, bioclimatic buildings.

The modern skyline can be viewed as somewhat higgly piggly.

The city is very well lit up at night – one could say it is quite showy.

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What you do not see in KL

Armed security guards


Predatory taxi drivers

Garbage strewn all over the place

Touts and street hustlers

There are not as many rip offs artists and hasslers as in other parts of Asia.

The People.

On the whole people here tend to smile.

Malays come across as courteous. They don’t seem to really care where you are from, why you are here, or what color your skin happens to be. As a traveler I like that I do not get hassled or have to pay a complexion tax.

The traffic.

Traffic can be obnoxious and in places it seems like one big traffic jam.

There are fleets of ‘grab’ food delivery motorcycles.

There is decent traffic control infrastructure – the drivers – ummmm not so much.

Turn indicators are not used, 

pedestrians are ignored,

there is constant honking,

there can be bumper to bumper tailgating, 

drivers tend to speed up at yellow lights and,

running reds appears to be a sport here.

Speaking of sports – shopping is a major sport in this town. KL is a city of shopping malls – shop till you drop baby.

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The place can be noisy.

KL can be quite noisy, call to prayer is rendered with alacrity.

Festivals are major events here with fireworks during all hours of the day and night – Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Deepavali etc…

In the downtown section there are plenty of exotic sports cars, they are crude, crass and throaty. These aggressive-sounding cars have exhausts that crack and pop like a Chinese New Years worth of fire crackers tossed into a metal garbage can.

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Racing in the streets at all hours of the night seems common.

The city never sleeps.

I get the impression that KL is a city that is going places. It is livable and is attracting money and talent. This is in stark comparison to other countries in Asia where the largest export is their human resources.

Kuala Lumpur Photo Album

PS: We spent 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur in January 2023








About the author: Michael was born under a wanderin’ star. He is an Engineer who became an explorer, a photography bug, and hack traveller writer with the propensity to be snarky. “Retired” in 2012 at the age of 44, he and his wife Yvonne travel and house sit around the globe on a full time basis. Michael’s goal is to share the process of escaping the rat race, exploring the globe, and some of the experiences along the way.

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