Kuala Lumpur Malaysia - Truly Asia


Kuala Lumpur is a great city, with so many places to see, activities to do and a lot of good finds and delectable foods to try. It has a fascinating history and diverse culture. Perhaps, it makes sense to begin this by sharing a brief story about its humble beginnings as a tin-mining shanty town.

The busy city of Kuala Lumpur 
According to history, the city was founded in 1857 at the confluence of Gombak and Klang river. It was under the British influence that time and it used to be the most peaceful, orderly and economically successful among all the cities in Malaysia back then. Hence, in 1880 it was named the capital city.

The name "Kuala Lumpur" literally means "muddy estuary". It has a thriving tin mine that attracted merchants to trade basic provisions in return of some of the tin. The tin which is used in making pewters is still abundant in the city up to now, and is world renowned for the largest pewter industry in the world.

As of today Kuala Lumpur is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. With its vibrant metropolis, affordable living, modern establishments, dazzling skyscrapers, rich and dynamic culture, it is one of the most desired places in Asia.

After delving into the famous Batu Caves and climbing the 272 steps we then moved into a series of photo stops which is just around the city. We only had a few hours left before our departure going back to Manila that same day and time is running fast. I realized that one visit is not enough to uncover the whole Kuala Lumpur, I need to come back! chosss!

Among the places of interest during our quick city tour are: The King's Palace, National Monument and a close by lake garden, Old Railway Station, National Mosque, Merdeka or Independence Square, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, National Museum and my favorite Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. Apart from those places mentioned, we also had a few shopping stops at the Batik Shop, Geneve Timepiece, Pewter Factory and Beryl's Chocolate Kingdom.

The King's Palace 

The Istana Negara or National Palace is the official residence of His Majesty or the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of the state of Malaysia. It is a huge complex surrounded by vast gardens and lush of greenery on top of a hill overlooking the city of Kuala Lumpur. Soldiers at every corners of the gates guarding the palace is a nice photo opportunity, it feels like London Buckingham Palace. Most people come here for photo stops but it can be very very hot in the middle of the day, the sun can burn you up.

National Monument

Tugu Negara or National Monument was built to commemorate the fallen soldiers who struggled in fighting for the country's independence against the Japanese during the World War II. It has the tallest freestanding bronze statue in the world. The statue is consist of 7 soldiers carrying the Malaysian flag. Each of the warriors represents one of the seven qualities of leadership: Command, Unity, Strength, Wariness, Suffering, Courage and Sacrifice.

The antecedent of the monument is the cenotaph erected at the back of the pavillion surrounded by the garden and fountains. It was intended to commemorate the deads of World War I. Names of the fallen soldiers are engraved on the plaques of the cenotaph as a tribute with the translated inscriptions "To Our Glorious Dead", included in the cenotaph.

Next to the monument was a nice garden, the Plaza Tugu Negara where you can enjoy some air while sitting on the benches shaded by trees. There are also a number of admirable sculptures by the asean around the garden. 

Old Railway Station

The Railway Station was build in 1910 to replace the older station at the same site. The building has a distinctive architecture which is a mixture of Eastern and Western designs. Close by is the Railway Administration Building. I love the old finish of its structural design especially the dome-capped covering of the building.

Before heading to the National Mosque I noticed another building which is the TV AlHijrah - a state-owned free-to-air television network in Malaysia, which is owned and operated by Al Hijrah Media Corporation, a government owned company.

National Mosque 

The National Mosque is the country's pledge to a progressive government in economic, architectural and social aspects. It is actually connected to the Old Railway Station via an underground passage. Its architecture is billed as one of the most beautiful mosques in the whole of Southeast Asia. The mosque is a place of worship and people who visit here are expected to observe proper decorum and appropriate dress to show respect to their religion and beliefs. Near the entrance is a booth where people are encouraged to register if they want to come inside and long purple garments are provided for visitors.

The mosque is surrounded by gardens and fountains. And from afar is a view of the Menara KL Tower which we missed. I really wish there will be a next visit to Kuala Lumpur, I missed a lot of places!

Merdeka Square 

From the National Mosque we went to the Merdeka Square or the Independence Square. The sights at Merdeka are the Islamic historical and cultural side of Malaysia. This is the place where the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time in the midnight of August 31, 1957 to commemorate the end of British colonization. Malaysians celebrate their independence here every year. During our visit, there were barricades along the streets because it was closed the other day for the National Parade. The most significant feature of Merdeka is the 100 meter high flagpole which was said to be the tallest in the world.

Across the flagpoles is another building of significance, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It is one of the earliest Moorish-style buildings in the city. The distinguished building is now home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia. It remains to be one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and historical landmark.

As we move along from the Moorish building we stumbled across another building and some historical statues that pays tribute to the world war. We visited here Sept.1 and the other day was their celebration of Independence that's why the place is a bit mixed up and unorganized with all the barricades and tents around the square. 

Below is the old National History Museum which was now turned into a Music Museum and will be opened to the public soon.

Beside the old National Museum is my favorite. The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, another historical building in Merdeka Square that served as an interesting tourist information center. The sights of the present and future of Kuala Lumpur can be found here with miniature scales of buildings crafted by the locals. This is also a souvenir shop with a lot of good finds. It's Cool! I will be talking more about this place on my next blog! By the way, there's FREE WIFI here!

City tours around Kuala Lumpur is not complete without having a photo stop at the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. We've been here the other night to take pictures and to walk along the park with my kids but then we still visited it to take more photos during the day. Of course the view is different at night!

These twin silver rocket-shaped towers is the archetype of contemporary KL. Home to the headquarters of the national oil and gas company Petronas. It is an 88-storey building, nearly 452m tall making them the seventh highest-built structure in the world and remains to be the first tallest "twin" tower in the world. 

In between our photo stops from different locations - starting from Batu Caves until we moved around the city, we visited some shops for souvenir shopping. We are in a private tour so the options depends on us. Our driver took us to a watch shop, the Geneve Timepiece - Malaysia's largest watch distributor.

Then we had a short stop at a Pewter Factory. I didn't have much photos because picture taking is not allowed inside the shop. I thought it was Royal Selangor but I guess it was a different one. It was small but there's a lot of good and expensive finds. Pewter is an alloy made primarily of tin, antimony and copper. It is used to make kitchen utensils like glasses and other home ornaments.

A man giving a short talk about the composition of Pewter. 

We had a quick visit at Beryl's Chocolate Kingdom just to buy some chocolates for take home. There's nothing really special actually, but they got a lot of different chocolates to choose from. They say they got the best tasting chocolates and is famous in Malaysia. You should try their Tiramisu chocolates, they offer FREE TASTE for guests.

I almost forgot that we also dropped by in a Batik Shop, where you can find Malaysia's pure silk products woven into dresses, blouses, sarees, and some national costumes. They also have available souvenir tshirts but I find them quite pricey than the other stores.

Uncovering the city's most visited landmarks in less than a day is not enough, even three days cannot cover them all, because there's more to see and experience not just in Kuala Lumpur but in other cities like Penang, Malacca and Putrajaya. Now, I think of planning another trip to those places, maybe not so soon but in God's perfect time! 

I love the city for three reasons: First, its colonial buildings and iconic towers. Second, the temples and religious establishments. And third, the natural parks and gardens which we weren't able to dig in deeper. Well, I also like the cost of living which is cheaper compared to nearby Asian countries. There's just one thing that I am not comfortable with, it's Malaysia's equatorial climate that gives Kuala Lumpur a hot and humid weather all throughout the year. I am one person that could not really stand the extreme heat though I can spare some burns just to take pictures! (ouch)

Generally, with the impressive architecture around the city, the beautiful surroundings, its historical significance, the affordable shopping experience, and all the favors we got to enjoy this place, made it really unforgettable for me and my family. The whole of Kuala Lumpur presents a wonderful memory and enjoyable moments on our holiday in Malaysia. All the photographic remembrance is something that I am proud to show back home and to keep in my heart forever! I always thank God for making this trip possible...

Forever grateful,

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