Kuala Lumpur is a city of contrasts, based on the architectural, climatic, financial as well as on a social point of view. Buildings of different styles and eras stand next to each other, it can be unbearably hot and cloudy at the same time, and the population consists of more than ten different nationalities. With a rather modest, especially for the capital, size of the city, a lot of people wonder how everything can be combined here so well. As the city is such a cultural melting pot, Kuala Lumpur is widely influenced by the variety of people who call it home.
Kuala Lumpur strives to become second Singapore in organizing urban development, business development and economic growth. The capital is the country’s main city for travel, shopping, and gastro tourism.
When you are living in Kuala Lumpur as an expat, you sometimes forget that the state religion of the country is Islam and all born Malays are Muslim. Because local people treat representatives of other cultures with respect and without strict requirements for a dress code. The city is quite modern and open-minded, and even some local people are more relaxed about their own style, not to say about foreigners.
The Shopper’s Paradise
Malaysia is a great shopping destination, so much so that exploring the city’s countless shopping malls is a popular pastime adopted by locals, tourists and expats.
Expats moving to Kuala Lumpur need not worry about packing all their favourite wardrobe items. One trip to the Golden Triangle, the city’s premier shopping area, will see all the old favourites replaced, renewed and revitalised.
The Golden Triangle is central to Kuala Lumpur in terms of entertainment and business. Bukit Bintang Street is lined with shops and malls stocked with electronic goods, fashion merchandise and designer brands. Malls like Low Yat Plaza, Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10 and Berjaya Times Square also stock all these items and more. At the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, shoppers can find the popular Suria KLCC, which has a host of designer goods.
Jalan Hang Kasturi is the place to go if looking for Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market, which is the best place to buy arts and crafts, antiques, paintings, handicrafts and quirky souvenirs. Nearby Chinatown is an ideal destination for finding a bargain and has everything from herbal medicines and dried food through to designer t-shirts, jewellery, wallets and handbags.
The Mega Sale Carnival in July and August is orchestrated by the Ministry of Tourism for Malaysia in an effort to boost Kuala Lumpur’s reputation as a world-class shopping destination.
People in Malaysia are in for a treat for the senses when it comes to the range of dining out options available. Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines and this is particularly evident when sampling the delicious fare on offer in the exotic, trendy and stylish restaurants.
Being a meeting point of cultures and immigrant communities, Malaysians have come up with some unique tastes such as nasi goreng, a rice dish cooked with coconut milk and served with anchovies, roasted nuts, cucumbers, a slice of egg, chilli paste and curries. The mixture of fragrant spices, coconut milk and curry leaves make mamak Kuala Lumpur’s most popular cuisine.
Chinese dishes are also a firm favourite with prominent dishes such as fried pork and stir-fried noodles with prawns, eggs, pork and sprouts readily available throughout the city.
Despite the majority of Malaysia’s population being Muslim, Kuala Lumpur’s many other cultures and religions are welcome. The local population is largely tolerant of many of the indulgences which Western expats enjoy. Alcohol is widely available, with a range of bars and nightclubs operating across the city.
From rooftop bars with city skyline views to trendy cocktail lounges and glitzy dance clubs, Kuala Lumpur has something to suit every night owl’s preference and budget. Karaoke is also a particularly popular activity in Kuala Lumpur and most establishments have happy hours with drinks specials.
The Golden Triangle is Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife hub. Jalan Bukit Bintang, which is one of Kuala Lumpur’s busiest streets, is lined with bars, restaurants and clubs, while Bangsar Baru, which was once a run-down business district, has also become a trendy area with many bars and restaurants.
Weekends allow people with families to travel the region. There are also clubs and gyms to join for those interested in the sports scene in Kuala Lumpur, as well as social groups within the city that meet over the weekends. Kuala Lumpur also has many beautiful parks for the whole family to enjoy, including the Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kanching Rainforest Waterfalls and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. The city also offers many museums and cultural activities for expats to learn about local heritage and culture.