Malaysia: Truly Asia

The vibrant dazzling and multicultural capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, boasts of an imposing skyline, exclusive culture where one can see how tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously.
At first you are greeted by the magnificent, perfectly built and the grand Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The staff at the airport is extremely friendly, the help of whom one will hardly require as the airport itself is so well planned and simple in its approach. To reach the city, tourists can take the KLIA express that straight takes them to KL Central, or one can cab it to the their hotels. It is a good 40 minute drive to the city.

Established in 1857 at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers in peninsular Malaysia, KL as it is referred to as by tourists and citizens alike is one of the most dynamic cities in Asia today. It is commendable to see the level of rapid infrastructural growth from the time the country gained its independence in 1957. Within a span of fifty years it has acheived remarkable growth and yet the people of the country are so grounded.

The impressive skyline includes the famous Twin (PETRONAS) Towers. KL tower, Berjaya Times Square, out of which many of these house shoppers’ paradises in the literal sense, the extensive and well designed malls are extremely shopper friendly and there is no way by which you can miss out on a label.

KL is a city of contrasts. While Malaysians are justly proud of their new structures, older buildings retain their appeal and get their due share of attention. The architectural heritage includes Moorish styled edifices, stately colonial buildings. All the concrete in the city has not diminished KL’s charm of being the garden city. Beautifully landscaped parks and an abundance of greenery have been retained.

Accommodation here exists to cater to everyone’s needs, from a budget traveller to a luxury one. Hotels are situated, and strategically scattered all over the city right from the central districts to in and around shopping areas to ethnic Indian places also.

The city’s transport system is efficient and well spread and connected; throughout the city are three lines of trains, two of the LRT lines and one KL Monorail. Other than that if one wishes to travel to the agglomerations of KL one can take the inter city train system i.e. the KTM Komuter. The intra city bus services are also cheap and convenient, as for tourists they can get on to busses with open tops that have their separate routes meant for tourists only to take them around all the tourists spots of the city. The service is called KL hop on and hop off, and the busses ply every ten minutes from a designated stop.

The other essential component of KL is the soul of the people who give the city its distinctive and truly Asian character. English is widely spoken and locals are obliging when approached by tourists looking for directions and help. Visitors are bound to have a stupendous holiday and are advised to respect cultural norms and sensitivities.

As for the food, the Malay cuisine is distinctly aromatic, and is diverse in its own way, food prepared in different regions of the country although will have similar ingredients but are cooked in different styles. The Chinese food is also widely enjoyed As for the vegetarians, Indian food is readily available in abundance in Indian mamaks (food stalls) and high end Indian restaurants. Keeping in mind the considerable amount of Tamil population in KL, south Indian cuisine is more likely to be found in the smaller food joints. The food however is sensibly priced and is reasonable according to where one is eating.

The currency in circulation is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), the general exchange rate of which to INR is 7.90 MYR for 100 INR, and to USD is 3.5 MYR to 1 USD.

As a tourist it is very unlikely that anyone would face any sort of issues be it related to language, food, or moving around. One gets a chance discover a delightful fusion of three of Asia’s oldest civilizations- India, Chinese and Malay. Bursting with brilliance, pulsating with life KL should be the your next choice of destination.

Aditya Sinha

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