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Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur’s not so quiet charm

February 22, 2009

Who would have thought that over a hundred years back in time, Kuala Lumpur was a series of mining towns on the banks of a muddy river mouth. Exotic as the city may seem today, Kuala Lumpur was then a quiet place lacking in charm, and modern conveniences.

Take a look at the city these days and you wouldn’t believe its history – and its name. Kuala Lumpur, muddy river mouth, attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a city that differs greatly to its southern neighbour Singapore; it comes complete with unorganised chaos. Perhaps not as chaotic as other countries like Saigon or Bangkok boast, but wherever you venture in this growing city, there is evidence of it.

Wrapped up in this chaos is charm. Kuala Lumpur holds a special kind of charm, special because it comes with noise. A mixture of developing and developed, expats and locals; and cultures of three: Indian, Chinese, Malay.

Architectural marvels

It’s a city where buildings have reputations. Where people come to admire, photograph, or simply sit around and soak it all in. No matter where you are in Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Towers call out vainly, “look at me I’m beautiful”.

by Cate

by Cate

It’s a city with colonial history, where buildings perhaps once famous, have been forgotten.

by Cate

by Cate

Modern and old modes

Modernity exists within Kuala Lumpur, from its once remarkable but now aging trains.

by Cate

by Cate

To its sleek upwardly mobile monorail.

by Cate

by Cate

A great way to see the central area of Kuala Lumpur.Well suited for shoppers and tourists, it’s user friendly, cheap and offers views you won’t see from the ground.

Malls to Markets

Old derelict buildings continue to give way to mega malls and shopping centres. Centres where shopping is attractive, fashionable and always cool.

by Cate

by Cate

Yet it’s the open markets, with the ongoing changes and development around them, that continue to thrive. Where people meet just to meet. Religious, non religious, junk enthusiasts and tourists. Markets continue to be a part of Kuala Lumpur’s character, and charm.

by Cate

by Cate

Having been to Kuala Lumpur several times now, this has to be one of my favourite cities in this area of SE Asia. It’s a city that helps visitors not hinders them. A place where you can experience exotic Asia, enjoy the food, meet some of city’s characters and still enjoy the pleasures of modern life.

Caffeinated Traveller

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9 Comments
  1. Bear permalink
    February 22, 2009 5:12 pm

    The old building with the motor bike parked in front — what is it, or was it, for — do you know? I think it’s intriguing. Love the saffron color of the monk’s robe, too.

    • February 22, 2009 11:43 pm

      Thanks Bear – it was a hot day when I was looking around KL. Didn’t think I would survive. The old building just used to house shops in Chinatown. Nothing spectacular but I liked the picture. The one with the monk in it doesn’t look as good when it’s on a small blog post, would look great blown up.

  2. February 23, 2009 4:20 pm

    The shopping malls look pretty busy. Did it seem like people were spending a lot? How did you cope with the heat and humidity?

    I love the photo you took of the Petronas towers reflected through the mirrored building!

  3. February 24, 2009 8:51 am

    Nice take on KL.

  4. February 24, 2009 11:58 am

    Sharon – it’s a busy shopping centre at the base of the Petronas Towers. Great shops there and it’s very cool inside away from the KL heat. I drank a lot of water while walking around and made sure not to venture out during the hottest parts of the day. I think people were still spending but properly not spending as much. And there seemed to be some good sales on.
    Yes the photos a good one. It’s hard to take a different kind of shot from well photographed buildings. In fact I was amazed with the clear reflection I nearly got ran over as I was standing right in the middle of the road.

    OO – I take your comment with the greatest compliment given that you’re email tells me you are from Malaysia. It is sometimes difficult to write about something that could be inaccurate from a local viewpoint. Thanks 🙂

  5. February 26, 2009 2:33 am

    Enjoyable! I, like Sharon, have been curious about economic impacts in KL. What an intriguing place!

    • March 1, 2009 2:16 am

      I think Malaysia is suffering badly from the economic crisis. A number of the victims are the migrant workers from other developing countries, who are being ousted out of Malaysia. Singapore also has a pool of migrants, but I don’t know if they are taking such harsh measures. I guess that’s what happens when the economy expands to quickly. South Korea is also suffering more than the govt expected. Still, Malaysia appears to be busy with tourists, I don’t how badly the tourist industry has been affected…yet.

  6. March 7, 2009 5:54 am

    Howdy C
    Fab photos buddy – got any with you in them? Come on now – just one will do!!!!!!! Also curious to know what’s the strongest brand of tea you’ve come across? As you know, coffee ain’t my thing, but love a good cuppa. Also shoes!!!!!!!!! Have you seen any particularly weird or whacky shoes (whether in shops or on feet)?

    • March 9, 2009 6:00 am

      BOH tea – read the post Hughesy you will feel like you just entered heaven. I loved the shoe styles of the women in Singapore. Actually I thought they were much better attired than ladies in Hong Kong. As much as I wanted to go around chasing these fashionistas with my camera, I couldn’t do it. Too much like a neurosis.

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