Kuala Lumpur is the capital and largest city of Malaysia. The fastest growing region in the country, the city proper's population is heading towards 2 million. Its roots lie in tin prospecting in thick jungles, but it's now a modern metropolis. The gleaming Petronas Twin Towers which was the world's highest building until recently Taipei 101 now holds that record bears testament to that.
For many years Kuala Lumpur was over-shadowed by the more popular destinations of Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Hanoi, but now it's coming into its own in the tourism stakes particularly for those who love to shop.
Traffic can be very congested, but the monorail and train systems are modern and efficient. Taxis are also a good way to get around but try to avoid peak hours.
Hotels are generally in the city centre or south in the Golden Triangle area where most of the shopping malls are located.
The city's temperatures range between 21°C and 33°C with average humidity hovering around 82 percent. Don't let that deter your need for retail therapy. Malls are air-conditioned, so you can shop 'til you drop in comfort. They are open between 10am and 10pm later during sales. Most retail outlets in shopping centres have fixed prices, but bargaining is expected at night markets, stalls and bazaars.
Each year the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival attracts shopaholics. Next year will be the 10th carnival and will run through summer from June 1 to September 30, 2009. Government shopping inspectors ensure claimed discounted goods are true bargains.
The Traders Hotel is in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. It has 571 modern rooms and suites and is dangerously close to some of the best shopping to be enjoyed.
Gobo Upstairs Lounge and Grill is an elegant restaurant and claims to serve the best steaks in the city and the open-air rooftop SkyBar has a creative cocktail list. For casual dining and entertainment, Gobo Chit Chat restaurant is the place. It serves Western and Asian fare and views from the 33rd floor are stunning.
Traders has a 24-hour gym, rooftop pool with jacuzzis, sauna, steam bath and spa. There is a 1.3km jogging trail around the park at your doorstep.
Petronas Twin Towers and Skybridge is one of Asia's most popular attractions. The 170m-high 58m-long Skybridge on the 41st floor is open to visitors, but there are conditions. The first 1300 tickets are free on a first-come-first-served basis, valid only for the day of issue. You cannot book, and tickets are usually gone by 9am, so you need to get in early. Your scheduled time, up to 7pm, is on the ticket, but don't despair more than 2 million square metres of shopping, dining and entertainment are at your disposal at Suria KLCC, six levels of retail stores at the base of the towers.
It has international brand stores, some you won't find at home and you can find whatever takes your fancy. The stores sell men's, ladies' and children's fashion, footwear, lingerie, accessories, leatherware, jewellery, homewares, gifts and souvenirs, electronics and beauty items.
Suria has an interactive science centre, an aquarium, art gallery, concert hall, 12-screen cinema and outdoor park with playground and paddling pools.
The Golden Triangle is Kuala Lumpur's premier business, shopping and entertainment area. It has 700 retail outlets, 40 food stores, an Imax theatre and Asia's largest indoor theme park.
Berjaya Times Square is Asia's largest shopping mall with more than a million square metres of shopping area. It has 700 retail outlets, 40 food outlets, an Imax theatre and Asia's largest indoor theme park.
Cosmo's World Theme Park covers 115,000 square metres and is fun for everyone. There are 14 rides providing thrills, the adrenaline pumping 800m-long Supersonic Odyssey roller coaster, the 30m-high Spinning Orbit and the out-of-control Space Attack.
The Pavilion is Kuala Lumpur's newest mall with 450 retail shops on seven levels. One level is dedicated to pampering and includes something most unusual. At Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa, shopping can soak their feet in a tank where small, toothless garra rufa fish nibble away and exfoliate dead skin cells.
Even if your budget has its limits, Starhill and Lot 10 in the Golden Triangle are worth a visit. They are very up-market, selling designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy.
Out of the heat of the day, Chinatown's Petaling Street Night Markets will give you the chance to hone your bargaining skills. Stalls cramming the street sell fake designed handbags, wallets, watches and wallets, but remember what your mother said you get what you pay for! Sitting on plastic stools eating freshly cooked satays is a good way to enjoy the atmosphere of the markets.
Sunway Pyramid mall has an Ancient Egyptian theme, with a sphinx and pyramid at the entrance and the theme continues inside with hieroglyphics decorating facades and statues.
The mall covers more than 1 million square metres and has 800 retail outlets, Pyramid Ice Malaysia's largest indoor skating rink a 48-lane bowling alley, 12-screen cinema and a convention and exhibition centre.
Next door to Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall is Malaysia's premier theme park Sunway Lagoon. Not surprisingly it has become Malaysia's most visited tourist destination for locals and visitors alike. The park covers 32 hectares and is just 20 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
Sunway Lagoon has three major themed lands Waters of Africa, World of Adventure and Wild Wild West. Its water park has the world's largest man-made surf beach, backed by the world's largest wave churning machine. It churns out perfectly shaped waves up to 2.5m high. Waterslides include the Congo Challenge, a six-lane headfirst racer.
For adrenalin thrills there are Extreme and Scream Parks as well as Water, Amusement and Wildlife Parks.
It can't possibly be seen in a day, and there is a five-star hotel conveniently right next door.
Malay is the official language but English is widely spoken in KL.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital and shopping mecca of Malaysia.
Creative Holidays has five-day Shop 'Til You Drop packages for Kuala Lumpur, including return airfares with Malaysia Airlines, transfers, accommodation at Traders Hotel and a shopping tour with visits to Chinatown and the Petronas Twin towers.
Prices from per person twin share:
- Melbourne $1919
- Sydney $1929
- Brisbane $1935
Valid for sale and travel until 31 March, 2009. Seasonal surcharges apply.
Prices correct at November 13, 2008.
For further information
Phone: 132 627
Level 2, 171 Clarence Street
Ph: (02) 9299 4441
Fax: (02) 92622026
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088
Ph: +60 3 2332 9888
Fax: +60 3 2332 2666
3 Jalan PJS 11/11 Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya
Ph: +60 3 5639 0000
Fax: +60 3 5639 0050
It is recommended travellers to Malaysia see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.
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