Kuala Lumpur, 2016
I remembered that I once considered of Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia, as one of my travel destinations in 2010, which was six years from now. At that time I just searched in Google to see what I could go in the city, and I made a conclusion that 'KL is like Singapore and there is nothing special for me blah blah blah' so I didn't go there but the other places.
Starting from the following year I began to travel in Malaysia, and I had already been to Penang (for twice), Melaka and Kuching but not KL.
Is KL not a good place to travel? A local I met in Taipei said so.
How is KL for me actually? I realize that the best answer is from my real experience. Neither from Google nor the others.
That is why I finally visited KL last month (January 2016), together with northern Thailand!
Traffic | 路面狀況
I usually walk and even ride a bicycle in a city, and so I have deep impression on the road of every place. In Kuala Lumpur, crossing the road is somehow a nightmare! They do have traffic lights for pedestrians, but there are not many and they are always unreliable. I discovered that there is a traffic light near to Masjid Jamek subway station which NEVER turns green! People end up in crossing anywhere when the road has less vehicles at that moment. This is not only the case in old areas, but also in newly developed commercial and residential districts which still lack a friendly road system for pedestrians and cyclists.
Lunar New Year | 農曆新年
Chinese are one of the major population in KL, and they have great consumption power. I went to the city before the Lunar New Year, and every shopping centre does have decorations related to the Chinese New Year, which is believed to attract a large amount of Chinese to visit them for shopping. There are also shops selling lanterns and flowers for people to celebrate their own festival.
It seems that the festival atmosphere of Chinese New Year in KL is much stronger than that in Hong Kong, at least in terms of the related decorations in shopping plazas.
Street food | 街邊小吃
When I visited different cities in Malaysia I could always enjoy various kinds of street food. But in KL there are much less hawkers on the streets. You may find them in Chinatown and Jalan Alor, but the new soho and commercial districts usually don't have space for the street food.
Old buildings or heritage | 舊建築
There are not many old buildings or heritages in the city when compared to other cities like Penang. Some of them I saw have become ruins and I am afraid they will be all demolished when I come to KL again.
Transport | 交通
The transport system in the metropolitan is comprehensive. There are subways, trains and buses covering most areas of the city, while you can choose free city shuttles in downtown.
However I was shock when I still saw many bus stops without the relevant signs and information. I know this is a common phenomenon in the whole country, but I don't expect the capital does have this problem. The problem is that the bus stops' locations are already fixed, and you can't get on anywhere you like (they will never stop for you).
I also had an interesting observation that some drivers like using smartphones or tablets for social media and videos. In Penang I saw one checked Facebook when the bus stopped at red light. In KL I saw a subway driver watched videos while driving!
New towns | 新發展區
It seems that there are so many new towns for residential and commercial uses. Their architectures are stunning, and the gardens are so nice.
Cafe | 咖啡店
There are lots of coffee shops and it is easy to find one you like. See so many customers bring their laptops and order a cup of latte. They are not all Malaysians but many of them are from all over the world. KL is really an international city!
Climate | 氣候
It's too hot to walk in the sun during the afternoon, but I feel comfortable if I go out in the early morning and at night. The city with modern architectures mainly does not have so much shade for one to cool down outdoors, and force people to stay inside with air conditioning. Almost every day afternoon I was in a cafe enjoying the delicious flat white and doing some sketching.
Kuala Lumpur is a modernized international city. Kuala Lumpur City Gallery told visitors that there will be more high-rise buildings and trees, which may imply that the city is going towards a giant garden.
It may not be as attractive as other cities like Penang, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, while it is not that boring and 'there is nothing to do' as some people said. If you still think it's a place bridging other parts of Malaysia, try to stay one or two more days to wander around and see.
I have created two guides about KL in Townske, a travel social media with guides and places of different cities. Hope they can give you more ideas about Kuala Lumpur: