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Kuala Lumpur
 
  To Airline   Fare  
  Kuala Lumpur Gulf Air £249
  Kuala Lumpur Etihad Airways £329
  Kuala Lumpur KLM Airlines £279
  Kuala Lumpur Qatar Airways

£379

 
High-rise ambitions in a colorful whirl of cultural diversity.

Kuala Lumpur is an Asian tiger that roars: in almost 150 years, it has grown from nothing to a modern, bustling city. Take in its high-flying triumphs from the viewing deck of one of the world's tallest buildings, then dive down to explore its more traditional culture in the back lanes of Chinatown.

It's a modern Asian city of gleaming skyscrapers, but it retains much of the local color that has been wiped out in other Asian boom-cities such as Singapore. It has plenty of colonial buildings in its centre, a vibrant Chinatown with street vendors and night markets, and a bustling Little India.

Weather

It's hot and humid throughout Malaysia all year round, with overnight lows rarely sinking below 20°C (70°F) and maximums rising above 30°C (86°F) on most days, so whenever you go, take it easy. Rainfall is variable and falls all year round. It is rare for rain to fall all day; it usually confines itself to short-lived torrential downpours in the afternoons. The driest months tend to be June and July.

KL is hot and humid almost all the time. Although there is rain through the year, March to April and September to November are the wettest months. KL's wide ethnic diversity means that celebrations of one kind or another are usually going on somewhere around the city; these can make transport more crowded than usual. Public holidays are a surprisingly good time to be around, as most locals head for the beaches and hills. In more liberal KL, Ramadan doesn't pose the same 'where to eat?' problems that affect the more devout Muslim areas on the east coast.

A Top Day in Kuala Lumpur

The best place to watch KL wake up is in Chinatown. At one of the street side stalls on Jln Hang Lekir, I can see piles of mangos teens being carted while I'm downing a bowl of juk (rice porridge) followed by a black coffee. Now fully charged, I can do a lap of Chinatown - no doubt discovering another tea shop or backstreet temple - then wander up past the Central Market and through to Masjid Jamek so I can take in the beauty of this century-old mosque. In order to continue the cruisy morn, I head over to the verdant Lake Gardens for a bit of a nature fix and a chance to visit the striking Islamic Arts Museum.

Lunch beckons, so it's over to Little India for a South Indian lunch of rice, dhal and pickles served on a banana-palm plate. If the shopping bug bites, I get on the monorail to be transported to the mega lexes of Jln Bukit Bintang, KL's consumer core. Once the sun starts dropping it's time to head to the top of KL tower for a knockout view across the city as it starts to twinkle. But where to for dinner? Back to Chinatown for Hokkien noodles and a chance to pick up some suspect DVDs? Over to Jln Alor for some chilli-grilled stingray? If it's Saturday night it's a no-brainer: straight over to the Little India night market, a frenetic mile of fantastic food.

 
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