To see the attractions around KL, use the free GoKL buses.
The pinkish-purple coloured buses are free (at least for now), has wifi on board and covers the KLCC, Bukit Bintang, Chinatown, KL Tower and Pasar Seni area.
Skip the taxis and use these free air-conditioned buses instead.
Kuala Lumpur has a few big mega sales each year and not only are they huge, they have some of the best deals around. Big malls such as the Pavillion and One Utama are massive with most shops having 50% to 70% off in their stores every year during March, May and December. These dates are known to change though and I've been to KL in July/August for some amazing shopping!
Stay at the Parkroyal hotel in Bukit Bintang where you have about three big malls within walking distance.
Pavillion KL is a glitzy mall where you can get the latest and high end fashion. Sungei Wang Plaza is right opposite Parkroyal hotel and this is where you will find 500 retail outlets selling everything from food to clothes and score a bargain!
Behind Parkroyal hotel,there is a Low Yat Plaza which is THE malls for electronics and IT products. I have bought cameras and computer accessories from here at half the price!
At the end of a long shopping day, hang out at one of the big food courts in the mall for really good hawker food in a comfortable air conditioned surrounding. Lot 10 (Starhill Gallery) in Bukit Bintang is known for it's fantastic and tasty food court.
www.kuala-lumpur.ws/klshopping/ - Top 10 shopping malls
Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
+60 3 2147 0088
Google map: bit.ly/ukkIUy
Take a tour of the state of the art KLCC aquarium with the kids and then head next door to the fish spa. Dip your legs in the pools of water and the fish will nibble the dead skin off. Lots of fun!
Kuala Lumpur, next to the Petronas Towers
Google map: tinyurl.com/3acufeu
The spiced crab is to die for. Good job, given the quantity of fat used in its preparation - the English pun on the name may be a happy accident but it's accurate all the same. It's quite cheap, too.
1, Lorong Awan 6, Kuala Ampang, Selangor
Google map: tinyurl.com/3a987pq
A Buddhist-run vegetarian restaurant, this is a lot more fun than it sounds. Stunningly good fake burgers, stir fry etc.
It's tricky to find but so, so worth it.
Unit 19-LG1, Level B1 Block D Jaya One,
No. 72A Jalan University,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +603 7968 1818
Google map: tinyurl.com/366mmhc
It's in a dining 'complex', downstairs by the car park.
If you're stuck for things to do in KL (besides eating well), a fun thing to do is go out to Kuala Selangor and watch fireflies on the river. Kids will enjoy the rickety boats, and maybe the nature too.
Hire a car or take bus 141 from Puduraya Bus Station in KL.
Google map: tinyurl.com/373dqbp
Jalan Alor, located in the heart of KL, just off the main thoroughfare of Bukit Bintang, is for me, the best place in the capital for fast, street food. It's basically a stretch of restaurants and food stalls that create a 'hawker stall' atmosphere. The selection of food is substantial, from super crispy pork to exotic (obviously) fish such as garoupa in mango. A view of this street from the top end is one of the highlights of this city - all bustle, bright neon lights and noise. As well as the outdoor seating most of the eateries have some indoor space too - worth bearing in mind if the weather looks like its about to take a turn for the worse! Food style is mostly Chinese here. I personally recommend the buttered prawns from the first stall at the top of the street.
Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
There's probably no better place in KL to eat out than in Chinatown. Visiting KL you have to avoid the tourist restaurants and eat on the streets in on of the numerous "street restaurants".
Also, just walk around the city and you'll find impressive places (more impressions on www.fm1721.com/experience/asia/kuala-lumpur/ )
Its a 20 minute taxi from downtown, but this place serve some fantastic food including the best barbequed pork ribs I have ever tasted. The Jamaican chicken served with plaintain and the Roasted duck (advance order only) are outstanding. Popular also is their breakfast for dinner.
Pick up a good bottle of wine from a supermarket and jump into a taxi. But do call early as the restaurant barely seats 25 max and they fill up fast.
19 Lorong Setia Bistari 2
Off Jalan Beringin
Tel 03 2095 3304
Mui Hiong is a hole in the wall restaurant that specializes in Cantonese and Hakka style dishes. Owner/chef George Lai speaks excellent English and will be happy to help with recommendations. Particularly outstanding are the steamed pork with salt fish, steamed pomfret or kurau (threadfin) fish, the bittergourd with salted egg yolk and the fish head in a sour spicy sauce. Also very good, but spicy, is the fish with black beans and chilli.
Not the most elegant place but excellent food. Acoustics are poor and it can be noisy on a busy night.
4, Jalan Medan Imbi, Off Jalan Imbi,
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 55100
Its a seven minute walk from the Ritz Carlton Hotel
Almost reluctant to publicise it. In the Brickfields area of KL, on the ground floor of the Temple of Fine Arts - a charitable arts institution. Great vegetarian Indian buffet where you are encouraged not to take more than you can eat and pay what you feel it is worth.
116, Jalan Berhala, Brickfields 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Anyone travelling in Asia or any other tropical countries should always pack a bottle of pure honey. It is the most natural defence against infection and inflammation. I used it after being bitten by an unknown insect in both Cambodia and Kuala Lumpa and both times without doubt the honey healed and restored in a matter of days, and in one case, hours.
Honey has natural antibiotics in it and was my saving grace against bacterial infection which would have curtailed what turned out to be a brilliant holiday. A small plastic bottle of honey tucked away in your backpack will be your best friend abroad!
Raw manuka honey is the best but any honey that has not been pasteurized will do the trick. Check out your local health food shops.
Trendy, yet still informally friendly, this city-centre bar-restaurant is contemporary KL at its best, all crisp, cutting-edge design, moody lighting and some rather fine food and drink.
There's a great view of the Petronas Towers too, in case you spend so much time in there that you forget where you are.
Ascott Kuala Lumpur, No. 9, Jalan Pinang, KL
+603 2161 7789
This is a great way to take in a bird's eye view of the city and eat a lovely meal at the same time.
The restaurant at the top of the KL (Menara) Tower is a revolving one, so within an hour you'll have enjoyed a 360 degree view of the city while eating a whole array of tasty food at the fixed-price buffet.
It's also excellent value - although I'd advise you to stick to water and avoid the overpriced drinks.
Book yourself in for a sunset meal!
No. 2 Jalan Punchak, off Jalan P.Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2020 5444
Sky Bar, Trader's Hotel, off Jln Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur:
This bar has incredible views and the best time to get here is around 6.30pm to watch the sunset and the fantastic views of Kuala Lumpur. It is expensive and when busy with all the wannabees and wannabeseens, service can be poor. But it is definitely worth a visit.
Hakka Republic Wine Bar, Level 2 Menara Hap Seng, 1-3 Jln P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur:
This Chinese styled bar has everything going for it. Great music, incredible wine and drinks list and innovative Western food all at a reasonable price. They have a popular set lunch and a great value Sunday Brunch. Good crowd that is focussed on food, drinks and having a good time.
No Black Tie, 17, Jalan Mesui, Off Jalan Nagasari, Off Jalan Raja Chulan, KL:
This quaint little bar that serves Japanese food is a pioneer of live jazz and music in Kuala Lumpur. Great atmosphere though slightly pretentious crowd. Call to find what's on and charges if any.
Sky Bar Tel 03 2332 9888
Hakka Republic Tel 03 2078 9908
No Black Tie Tel 03 2142 3737
This wonderful Chinese style bar is certainly one of the best in this lovely city. With great music, the best wine list in town and some incredible food at very reasonable prices it is quickly becoming the insider's choice in KL. Located just around the corner from the ShangriLa, it has 20 wines and champagnes by the glass and a menu you will not find anywhere else. This includes a great burger, steamed Wagyu beef (absolutely delicious), a scrumptious cod in miso and some great solid staples as desserts.
Level 2,Menara Hap Seng, 1-3 Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03 2078 9908
Monorail staion:Sultan Ismail
A lot of lower-end accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur for backpackers and people/families on a budget are quite poor (bed bugs being a common complaint). For £20-24 you can get a double room at the Swiss Inn, located right in the heart of vibrant Chinatown, close to Central Market and importantly, light rail inter-city transport links. It represents a great value option and comes with an excellent buffet breakfast. Room has TV and tea making facilities etc. Book online for some decent deals. No extra cost for children though they do not provide an extra bed.
Raju's serves south Indian breakfasts in the mornings and banana leaf tiffins (the Malaysian BLT - a pile of rice and curry served, as everything is at Raju's, on a banana leaf) in the afternoon.
Now, it is not on the tourist beat, it is not within sight of the Twin Towers, it's not even technically in KL but it is one of the best restaurants in the world.
It is situated next door to La Salle school on Jalan Chantek which is off Jalan Gasing which is off the Federal Highway heading towards Shah Alam. This is not the reason it's the best restaurant in the world though. It has a large outdoor dining area shaded by trees and with a charmingly bubbling storm drain running down one side. But this is not the reason it's the best restaurant in the world.
It is situated in a stand of shops which includes a picture framers, a photo shop and a barber's in a suburban residential area, populated by rather well off Malaysians, with Indians rather more plentifully represented than is perhaps the average. But this is not the reason it's the best restaurant in the world.
The reason it's the best restaurant in the world is because it serves, in the mornings, roti canai - which is the best breakfast in the world.
Basically a paratha-style flatbread of many calories, it is griddle fried freshly so that a crisp, friable crust forms on the dough, which is then punched and broken up before serving. Fairly boring, really. But then add some dal, some fish curry kuah (the gravy, not the actual fish) and perhaps a small piring (dish) of mutton curry, or a piece of fried tengiri, then add to this a teh tarikh (tea made with condensed milk which has been "tarikh'd", i.e. "pulled" through the air from one vessel to another to aerate and cool) and heaven, my friends, is a place on earth.
So. Be seated. There is no reservation, there is no plate captain, no "This way sir" - this is Malaysia old-style. There are many south Indian waiters in white shirts and blue trousers however. Call one over and ask for "roti canai" (pronounced "rotty chan-eye") and a teh tarikh. The dal, some carrot chutney and some coconut chutney are dumped unceremoniously in front of you along with a damp banana leaf. It is perfectly permissible to dry off the leaf with a tissue. I don't bother. And wait. A short time later (longer if at the weekend) and the roti, steaming, fragrant and - a sticking point for many - slightly smaller than average disc of bread is casually clapped onto your leaf. Serve yourself with dal, chutneys in small pools around the circumference. Some pour great ladlefuls of dal all over the roti, mash it into a mush and devour it sloppily in handfuls. A perfectly acceptable way to eat it in my opinion.
But we will choose the dainty option (though not the daintiest - forks and spoons are available, and widely used).
Tear off a small piece of roti, drag it through the dal (whilst arguing with your friends about whether or not the best nasi lemak is to be found in Ipoh or Penang) and pop it in your mouth. There is a faint cuminy, asafoetida tang to the dal, a faint sweetness (not too sweet, oh no) to the roti and a mouth feel (as Mr Blumenthal would have it) which is crunchy, soft, full-flavoured with mild spice (but not too mild, oh no) and completely satisfying. Tear off another piece. Pick up a perfectly tender piece of curried mutton - and although I never had a bad mutton curry when I lived in Malaysia, Raju's has to be the best - and once again, those curious contrasts are there. Crunchy/soft, spicy/bland, tangy/sweet. Take a sip of your scaldingly hot teh tarikh: it is foamy, sweet, strong and in combination with the roti and the curry as precisely perfect as any of the great pillars of Malaysian food when made perfectly. nasi lemak, laksa, prawn mee, char kway teow - roti canai. These are the five. Now you know one. Seek the rest.
Raju's Banana Leaf Restaurant, nearest LRT Taman Jaya, but it's quite a hike in the heat. Take a cab and ask for "Jalan Gasing, PJ" (pron. "gassing" pron. "peejay") then take the first left after the elevated LRT line. Raju's is at the end of the stand of shops on the right hand side of Jalan Chantek.
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