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Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide
Kuala Lumpur is the bustling capital city of Malaysia and its showpiece of prosperity and grandeur. Kuala Lumpur means 'muddy estuary', a name coined by the original tin prospectors who arrived at the confluence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers in 1860. The city has progressed considerably since then, and now the river water reflects the glittering skyscrapers that rise elegantly between some well-preserved colonial buildings of yesteryear.
This blend of old and new worlds, interspersed with the diverse influences of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural lifestyles, makes exploring Kuala Lumpur a fascinating experience. An orientation of Kuala Lumpur is best begun from Merdeka Square, the heart of the city. To the southeast of the square is the modern business centre and the bustling, colourful streets of Chinatown. The picturesque National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and impressive Railway Station can be located to the south, and beyond them to the west is the city's green belt. The tranquil and lush Lake Gardens provide some respite from the frenetic activity of the city. The National Museum (Muzim Negara), the National Monument, and the Malaysian Parliament are also found on this stretch. Kuala Lumpur's most famous landmark, however, is the stunning Petronas Towers, which affords visitors phenomenal views of the city.
The hot and humid streets of Kuala Lumpur are usually jammed with traffic, even on the pavements. The easiest way to get around, therefore, is on the five different commuter train routes, each operated by a different company. The KL Monorail is the one that serves the main shopping and hotel districts, while the Putra LRT serves China Town. Fares are reasonable and the trains are very frequent on all routes, which operate from about 5.30am to midnight. City buses are hot, crowded and totally unreliable. A hop-on hop-off bus service has been introduced as an easy and comfortable way for tourists to visit the major attractions within the city, and it visits 40 tourist attractions from 8.30am to 8.30pm every day. Taxis can be hailed at the roadside or found at obvious locations outside hotels, shopping centres and the like. Metered fares rise steeply between midnight and 6am, and drivers sometimes raise the price during peak hour or in bad weather. Hiring a car and self-driving is not recommended in Kuala Lumpur as the traffic is stressful and confusing and public transport is more than sufficient. In some areas it is enjoyable to walk around and this is generally safe, but the heat can be discouraging.