Kuala Lumpur is often overlooked and people tend to stop by one of Asia’s busiest metropolises – Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok – but the Malaysian capital is a city on the rise, full of fascinating art and architecture, top shopping and some Asian Street food at its best. It’s also cheap as the pound is strong against the ringgit. So put on comfortable shoes and elasticated trousers and hit those wet streets.
Most flights from the UK arrive in the late afternoon.Hop on air conditioner, enable wifi Kuala Lumpur International Airport Express Train (£19 return; kliaekspres.com), you should be in your slick, centrally located neighborhood by sunset.It helps jet lag switch to local eating and sleeping Learn the patterns as soon as possible and plunge yourself directly into Kuala Lumpur’s sensational street food scene.Pedestrian zone covered with red lanterns Yarrow Road is the place to go to find popular hawker food. It’s not fancy – expect folding stools, plastic plates and a roll of toilet paper for napkins – but the loud atmosphere, smoke and hiss make for a huge amount of fun.Start with sweet and spicy, perfectly charred chicken wings Huang Yahuaat Number 1 (60p for five wings), then continue down the street and end up with a bowl of hot red curry noodles exist Cape Yarrow Curry NoodlesAround the corner from Changkat Bukit Bintang (mains £1).
the next day
Fuel up with Malaysia’s Back Straightening Cup coffee (coffee) and a face so (thick cut toast with butter and coconut sauce) from a stall at Immi Market. Public transport outside the city center is complicated, so over breakfast, download the taxi app Grab – Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber – and book a £5 taxi to Batu Caves, an incense-filled Hindu temple complex on the outskirts of the town (free). Long before you reach the limestone cave, you’ll see the 140-foot golden statue of Murugan, the Hindu god of war, complete with mural paintings, shrines and families of macaques. Don’t get too close – they will steal your phone/food/anything shiny.
Indians are the third largest ethnic group in Malaysia, after Malays and Chinese, and while you’ll find pretty good Indian restaurants outside of Batu, there’s more authentic food in Batu fifteen monuments — Little India in Kuala Lumpur.So the taxi goes back to the cafeteria Visa Food & Catering (22 Jalan Scott), which serves more banana-leaf South Indian favorites, and order chicken biryani (£2) or lamb varuval (£1). Leave room for some extra poppadoms (50p). they are very good.
Escape the afternoon heat by making a beeline for light-filled air conditioning Museum of Islamic Art MalaysiaPerched on a hillside like a giant lace handkerchief, its numerous chambers are nothing short of a treasure trove, filled with 1,000-year-old gold-engraved Qurans, rare compendiums on astronomy and astrology, jade-handled tycoon daggers, and enough Diamonds, rubies and sapphires to sink a pirate ship (£3; iamm.org.my).
Street food stalls on Jalan Alor
Imagine cuisine that combines spicy Indonesian flavors with Chinese cooking techniques and fresh ingredients: this is Peranakan, the culinary heritage of Chinese immigrants who settled in Java and the Malay Peninsula. precious old chinaLocated in Central Market, serves some of the best food and is one of the most charming places in town – full of crystal chandeliers, mahogany carved furniture and Malaysian antiques.Standout dishes include ‘top hat’, a puff pastry filled with prawns and chopped vegetables, chicken ‘devil’s curry’ and Melaka Sugar Sago — Tapioca in palm sugar (mains around £6; oldchina.com.my).
Loss of appetite, just walk for 10 minutes Omakase + Appreciation, the first Malaysian entry to make the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, and the size of a shoebox. Order the Rum, Pineapple, Orange and Coconut Cream Pain Relief (£7.50; facebook.com/OmakaseAppreciate).
Time to do some exploring.Get an overview of the city from the 40′ x 50′ scale model Kuala Lumpur City Art Gallery (£2; klcitygallery.com.my), snap a selfie in front of the ‘I Love Kuala Lumpur’ sign, then check out the sights around Merdeka Square: the ancient Royal Selangor Cricket Ground; the turrets and domes of the Wahls; and the Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica. Get there early, before it gets too hot.
Good Omens: Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
The national dish of Malaysia is Nasi Lemak, Coconut rice with sambal, salad, peanuts and eggs. You’ll find fragrant plates for sale on every corner, or try a trendy version – Nasi Lemak Pancakes – at Gorgeous Merchant Lane, on a fern-covered terrace in the heart of Chinatown (facebook.com/merchantslane; mains £5). Afterwards, explore one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, wandering among ornate Taoist temples, colonial buildings and souvenir stalls hawking rayon pajamas, leatherette bags, kites and paper lanterns.
Nearby central market Batik cushion covers, rubber wooden boxes, bamboo bowls, beaded slippers and other exquisite handicrafts.Or go to a shiny mall like KLCC, audience or pavilionthe prices of international brands are 20% lower than those in the UK.
You can’t leave Kuala Lumpur without taking a leap on the 88th floor Twin Towers. Skip the lines by buying tickets in advance – best at sunset (£15; petronastwintowers.com.my).
walk from here KLCC Park (Pause for photo of towers between palm trees) Aperitif at SkyBar Traders Hotel. It is located around the swimming pool on the 33rd floor rooftop, which contrasts strikingly with the Petronas skyscrapers. Happy hour runs from 5pm to 9pm here, and deals include two-for-one cocktails (try the rich rum and basil powder; £8.50).
For dinner, move up to the 57th floor of Petronas Twin Towers 3 and Marini is 57 years old, a dimly lit Italian restaurant. Book a table by the window (main courses around £30; marinis57.com).
British Airways and Malaysia Airlines have daily flights from London.
where to live
this Mandarin Oriental Hotel Rooms with views of the Petronas Towers and access to the Club Lounge are half the price elsewhere thanks to a favorable exchange rate (from £108, rooms only, or £155, B&B, for club rooms; mandarinoriental.com).
For a calmer place, there are whitewashed Majestic Hoteland delightful afternoon tea – white jackets, curry puffs and mango jam – in an orchid conservatory and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired spa (doubles from £81, B&B; majestickl.com).
To learn more about Kuala Lumpur, visit malaysia.travel/en/uk.