The country of Malaysia, divided by the South China Sea, consists of two distinct parts. Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia situated in the upper northwest area on the island of Borneo. East Malaysia comprises more than 50% of Malaysia’s land area and is divided into two states – Sabah and Sarawak.
Kuala Lumpur is a modern metropolis with a vibrancy that reflects its history and multi-ethnicity. Founded at the confluence of the Kland and Gombak Rivers, in the 19th century, it is fondly known to the locals and the international community simply by its initials KL. Cultural Impressions from the city's early history and from the traders and merchants who came and contributed to its development can be clearly felt. Despite its diverse, multi-religious and multi-cultural background, Kl enjoys peace and harmony. Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world converge into KL to experience it unique blend of culture and festivities that are both mesmerizing and captivating.
KL has a population of 1.4 million people comprising Malays, Chinese, indians and Eurasians who have co-existed well with one another. Today, KL is also home to many other nationals who appreciate its cultural heritage and diversity.
Kuala Lumpur is centrally located near the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is the capital of Malaysia. “KL”, as locals and frequent visitors call it, is Malaysia’s pride and joy. Kuala Lumpur’s rapid economic growth spurs much of Malaysia’s development and epitomizes the success of the country’s long standing government UMNO – the United Malays National Organization.
Malaysia is a federation of 13 states plus 2 federal districts (Kuala Lumpur and Pulau Labuan) and ruled as a federal constitutional monarchy with a King (Yang Di Pertuan) as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the head of the government. Nine of the thirteen states are ruled by Sultans. These nine states are all in Peninsular Malaysia. East Malaysia, with two states (Sabah, Sarawak), was not part of the original colony of Malaya and are administered by a governors appointed by the federal government as are the two remaining states on Peninsular Malaysia (Penang and Melaka).
The King is elected on rotational basis by the Sultans who rule the nine peninsular states and serves for a term of 5 years. There are two legislative houses (houses of parliament) – the 180 member People’s Council which is elected every 5 years and the State’s Council with 70 members – 40 of which are appointed by the King. For all practical purposes it is the People’s Council that has the real power and forms the government and is led by the Prime Minister.
Places you must visit
Dataran Merdeka/Merdeka Square
This is the place where the declaration of the independence of Malaysia was made on 31 August 1957. Relive the historic moments when Malaysia was born. Take in the tapestry of heritage buildings in the vicinity, especially the moorish-styled Sultan Abdul Samad Building (built in 1887) which has been home to the Malaysian supreme and High Courts. Another Moorish-styled building that has been the attraction to many is the KL Train Station which is only a stone's throw from Bataran Merdeka.
Within walking distance from Dataran Merdeka is the KL Lake Garden (also known as Taman Tasik Perdana) which boasts an expansive 100 hectares of lush natural greenery. It also houses a Bird Park , Orchid Garden , Butterfly Park , the National Planetarium , National Monument , islamic Arts Museum and the National Museum.
Another facet to historic KL is its cosmopolitan character. Standing side-by-side to ancient architecture are skyscrapers that reflect the modern face of the city. Here, business pulsates with the rhythm of world trade, Shopping malls and complexes are spread over KL city center and offers variety, quality and often provides great value to the discerning. Visit the magnificient Suria KLCC where the renowned Twin Towers loom, for great shopping, the Central Market to have a better glimpse of local cultures and for a piece of Malaysian handicrafts or souvenirs, Chinatown, Berjaya Time Square, Lot 10, Starhill and many more.
Symbols of Progress
The Twin Towers and the KL Tower are must-visits for the tourist. Get a panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur from the top of KL Tower. Have a feel of the pulse of the city from 282 meters above sea level, Perhaps even dine at the revolving restaurant for the experience of a lifetime.
The City Never Sleeps
For the young and young at heart, night life in KL city presents yet another interesting aspect of the city's attractions. Here the tourist has many choices of entertainment, from sidewalk cafes to posh restaurants and clubs and hotels.
Today, this mosque is the only place in Kuala Lumpur where coconut trees still survive
the onslaught of modernity to give the place a countryside feeling. Clearly it’s the most scenic coconut site in town.
Banyan and Raintrees
Most of these trees that were planted more than a century ago can be found
along Jalan Ampang, Jalan Cenderawasih, Merdeka Square, Lake Gardens and Brickfields.
Why some roads ore higher than the shophouses?
Over the years, the roads were repaved, more sewersand utilities were laid beneath, thus raising the level above the five foot walkway. The older a shophouse the higher the ground would be. When it’s too high, the floor and windows had to be opened inwardly and the stairs had to be built inwardly too. Most of these shophouses can be seen along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee.