Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is well known in the world, but only because of the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Everybody knows them from the TV channels like Discovery. They also were the film set of the movies "Entrapment" and "The Apocalypse Code" (episode).
Actually, the Petronas Twin Towers and park around them are the best and the most beautiful place in the capital. As for the rest, Kuala Lumpur is not a tourist-friendly city. It tries to seem so, but at the moment it's not very convenient. An ideal way to visit the interesting places is to move by car from one location to another. But traffic jams are waiting for you, as in every megapolis. We walked on foot, it's also possible, though not always convenient, as most sidewalks are either narrow or non-existent; covered pedestrian overpasses are built instead.
You may need a tourist information center. It's located on Jalan Ampang between the KLCC and Dang Wangi stations (map).
There's a Hop On Hop Off Bus in Kuala Lumpur, here is the map. You can get on the bus at any stop, the tickets are available for 24 hours ($14) or 48 hours ($25). In general, it's a good option, but we didn't use it because of possible traffic jams.
Taxis in Kuala Lumpur are inexpensive. At the main locations look for taxi stands near the exit, buy a a ticket and get in line.
The Malaysians are fond of abbreviations: KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center) - the downtown KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) - the main international airport LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) - the low cost terminal KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) - the railway system LRT (Light Rail Transit) - the monorail or light rail
We spent one day in Kuala Lumpur. We didn't visit the viewpoints on the Petronas Towers or on the TV Tower, maybe next time. Early in the morning we went by train to the Batu Caves (separate article). On the way to the downtown, we got off at the Bank Negara station and went on foot to the Merdeka (Independence) Square. You can also come here by the LRT (light rail) to the Masjid Jamek station. Before the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers, the Merdeka Square was the main attraction of the city. In 1957, a Malaysian flag was raised here in honor of Independence.
At the square you can see the British colonial architecture and even houses in the German style. Actually, this is the last remaining colonial architecture in the city. And the most elegant structure is the building of Sultan Abdul Samad.
Jackie Chan fans saw the square in the movie "Police Story 3" (video). Since that time almost nothing has changed at the square.
Behind the mosque begins the large Lake Gardens Park. We strongly recommend visiting it, as it's quite pleasant to walk around. It seems like you are in the forest and not in the busy Asian city. Here you can find the Bird Park, the Deer Park, the Orchid Park, the Butterfly Park etc. We had already visited the Bird Park in Singapore, so we went to the Butterfly Park (separate article).
From the park we took a taxi to the KLCC, as the Petronas Towers look better in the evening. The KLCC is a new city center, the area that was built in the late 1990s. The park in front of the towers is just gorgeous, it has a lot of good photo points, so you can spend hours walking there.
We planned to stay at the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur (booking.com). This is one of the few hotels which offer a nice view of the towers. But, despite the rather high room prices, it was all sold out for our dates. So we stayed at Impiana KLCC (booking.com), they always have some promotional prices and we booked a room for only $82 (without breakfast). It's very cheap for the hotel of such class. There's a nice outdoor pool on the fourth floor.
What else can you do in Kuala Lumpur? On this map we marked the interesting places. We already visited some of them, and some of them we'll visit next time.
Observation Decks on the Petronas Towers - there are two of them: the bridge at the 41st floor and the observation deck at the 86th floor. The bridge can be reached at a lower price. The tickets are sold at the lower level of the building from 8-30 am. The main problem is that the number of tickets is limited every day and at 8-30 am there'll be already a long queue. So it makes sense to buy tickets for the future date or online. The best time to visit the observation decks is about 6:30 - 7 pm, so you'll see both the daylight and evening lights. Menara Tower - located between the Merdeka Square and Petronas Towers. For $15 you can visit the observation deck. Central Market China Town National Palace (Sultan's Palace) - it's possible to see the palace only from the outside. Bukit Bintang - fashionable shopping street Planetarium Fireflies Park (Selangor Fireflies) - see here how to get there by public transport. Putrajaya - the new capital - can be reached by the KLIA Transit train in 20 minutes ($3), runs every 30 minutes. Upon arrival better take a taxi on hourly basis (from $10 per hour), as the distances are large.
Getting there: Take the KLIA Express train ($11) from the main airport (KLIA). There's also KLIA Transit which stops at several stations along the way to the central station. Besides, there are buses ($3, 55 mins to go). From the lowcost terminal (LCCT) you can reach KL either by bus ($3) or by taxi ($27 - $32), about an hour to go.