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Malaysia Traveling: We begin our Visit in Kuala Lumpur

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KL is not the most charming city in Malaysia. The name means ‘muddy estuary’ in Malay. The city started out as a swampy staging post for Chinese tin miners in the 1800’s.

Just a few of blocks from the Petronas Twin Towers, shanty towns stand in startling contrast against the glossy modern architecture. These back streets come alive on weekend evenings with street food, trinkets, and durian vendors. Intermingled with the exposed raw sewage running along the sidewalks, it can be a feast–or an assault, on the senses.

Most visitors stay only long enough to plan where to go next.

Where is Kuala Lumpur?

Modern Kuala Lumpur is in the city’s Golden Triangle, in the city center. It is bounded by Jalan Imbi, Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang. This section contains most of KL’s hotels, shopping malls, the KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers.

ARRIVING BY AIR

You will arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The former international airport, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, is now used for chartered flights.

 

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Leaving the KL Airport

The KLIA Ekspres high-speed train into town takes only 28 minutes, and is a good option if you arrive early. A taxi takes approximately 1 hour and costs about $30US. This is prepaid at the taxi counter inside the airport.

TIP

Ignore taxi touts. Everyone wears badges and looks ‘official’; they are not. Don’t follow anyone trying to be helpful. Just go to the taxi counter inside the airport and buy a prepaid coupon.

Malaysia Traveling: We begin our Visit in Kuala Lumpur

BY TRAIN
You can travel by train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, to Bangkok. For more information:

Kuala Lumpur Taxi


Always agree on a price before you get in. Make sure it includes everyone in your party, and any luggage you may have. If possible, keep your luggage with you. If it’s locked in the trunk, it may be held ‘hostage’ until you pay.

TIP:

Just because a taxi has a sign that says ‘metered’, it does not mean it actually has one.

WHERE TO STAY

TIP:

We strongly recommend going first class here. It is best to stay on the main street, in the main tourist area.

If you are on a budget, the following are fine accommodations just 2 blocks off the main street in Bukit Bintang, in the Golden Triangle.

The Green Hut $20US

This one has gotten rave reviews in local newspapers. It is very basic, clean and inexpensive. Breakfast is nominal: a bag of sliced bread and a pot of tea in the hallway.

If you take a taxi, tell the driver to take you to the Allson Genesis hotel, which is right across the street.

THINGS TO DO Outside Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves

Sacred Hindu cave temples. You will have to climb 272 steps up to the caves. They are located 7 miles north of the city. From the Golden Triangle you can take a taxi, or take a public bus at the Pudu Raya Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur.

Cameron Highlands

Nature area with tea plantations, produce farms and flower gardens. Located about 3 and a half hour drive from either KL to the south, or Penang to the north.

Gentin Highlands

A mountain resort and casino, also known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia, is located about 1 hour drive from KL.

Fireflies watching at Kampung Kuantan. One of the largest firefly colonies in the world is just outside Kuala Selangor. You can take a half hour boat ride on the Sungai Selangor to watch the display. The tour includes a visit with monkeys, and dinner at a Chinese fishing village.

Basics

Weather in Kuala Lumpur:

Kuala Lumpur is so close to the equator that the temperature does not fluctuate much. The average temperature during the daytime is around 96F and at night around 65F.

What to Pack:

Light, breathable, clothing. Insect repellent with Deet. Sun protection.

Money:

Currency is Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

Telephone:

Country code 60, Kuala Lumpur 3, Penang 4

Mail:

Read and manage your postal mail online from anywhere in the world.

Malaysia Language:

The official language of Malaysia is Malay known as Behasa Melayu. Secondary languages are: English, Tamil and Chinese

Electric Voltage:

240V, 50HzHz

Time in Kuala Lumpur:

GMT +8

Health:

Recommended vaccines:Poliomyelitis (childhood booster), Tetanus (childhood booster), Typhoid (food & water borne diseases), Hepatitis A (food & water borne diseases). For those venturing outside cities and towns, further recommended vaccines are Hepatitis B, Rabies, Japanese B Encephalitis, Tuberculosis and Meningitis.

For those visiting Sabah and Sarawak, Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa.

Mosquitoes are present throughout the year. Use an insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing. The risk of malaria is insignificant in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and other major cities. However, in East Malaysia, the risk of malaria is present throughout the year. Prophylaxis is recommended in Sabah and Sarawak.

Generally, the level of food hygiene throughout the country is high. Water at hotels and restaurants is generally safe. Food from street vendors should be treated with care. Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.

Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. Bring along iodine tablets and portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. Also, wash your hands often with soap and water. As an extra precaution, bring along anti-diarrhea medication and an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor to self-treat moderate to severe diarrhea.

Kuala Lumpur Visa:


Valid passport is required. No Visa is required to visit Kuala Lumpur for up to 3 months, extendable for 2 months.

Leaving the U.S.? Don’t Forget Your Passport!