Malaysia is located in one of the world's most biodiverse regions. Despite losing 40% of its original forest cover to urban development and agriculture, in particular palm oil and rubber plantations, Malaysia still has close to 20 million hectares of forested land. By the latest official accounts, The country has about 15,000 vascular plants, 229 species of mammals, 742 species of birds, 500 species of marine fishes etc. Kinabalu, Mulu and Taman Negara National Parks and World Heritage Sites attract visitors from the world over. Beyond Kuala Lumpur's pleasant Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), KLCC Park and other small urban gardens, short drives outside of the city will bring the keen environmentalist to nature hotspots high in biodiversity and relaxation values.
About 70 km Northwest of Kuala Lumpur (Routes 5 and 54) or Bus 141 from Puduraya Bus Station
Opening Hours: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
Admissions: RM 4 for adults, RM 1 for children (7-16 years)
There are a handful of mangroves around the world that have been successfully opened to ecotourists and other nature lovers, and only a handful within easy reach of a capital city. Kuala Selangor is located at the mouth of the river Selangor about 70 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur. Pathways, trails and boardwalks easily wind around mangrove forests, mudflats and pools. Visitors can conveniently hide and peek at bee-eaters, kingfishers, herons, milky storks and the elusive Silvered Leaf Monkey (Presbytis cristata). Without ever touching mud, children will marvel at mudskippers, monitor lizards and crabs. The famous synchronously flashing fireflies, kelip-kelip, which guide fishers at night can be observed from small boats for hire. Not bad for an area that almost became a golf course in 1987.
About 25 km north of Kuala Lumpur on Route 1 (GPS 3.30,101.62)
Opening Hours: Depends...
Admissions: Free for now...
Head out north of Kuala Lumpur, far enough from suburbia. On Route 1, drive past the Country Club, whose membership we can't afford. The faded sign directing to Templer's Park from Route 1 will likely be hidden by leaves. Less than 25 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, the 1,214 hectare forest reserve is great for family picnics and some child friendly paved trails. The main attraction is the natural freshwater swimming pool for a safe and refreshing dip in the river. Waterfall with real water straight from the mountains requires a little further trekking into the forest, and with some luck amateur naturalists may spot some wildlife. Avoid the park on weekends and holidays as uncontrolled crowds of wandering homo sapiens (Kuala Lumpurus maximus) usually frighten off the local fauna.
About 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur on KL-Seramban Highway; Exit at Kajang Toll; Head for Seminyih, then drive on Road B19...
Opening Hours: Depends...
Admissions: RM 1 for adults, RM 0.5 for children below 12
Sungei Tekala is a forest park with streams, waterfalls and KL-ites roughing it up in the wilderness of the weekends. Rest huts with picnic tables, changing rooms and toilets are conveniently located around the waterfalls. The further you trek up river and away from the picnic areas, the fewer people you will meet, and on weekends you may even get a glimpse of the local fauna. There are plenty of opportunities for wild jungle pictures and low shutter speed shots of the flowing waters. In the same area, Sungei Chongkak accessible by a narrow (and usually crowded road) has chalets where the whole family can stay, while Gabai also features waterfalls and icy cold swimming holes.
About 150 km south of Kuala Lumpur on the North South Expressway
The historic city of Malacca is a little far for a day trip. At a good two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, it is beyond the fringes of our usual territory. But we have held Malacca dear in our hearts, long before it became a World Heritage Site in 2008. A couple of days would be well spent in order to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this sleepy but steep in culture settlement. Founded in 1402 by Parameswara, the Raja of Singapura, Malacca was the capital city of a Sultanate which stretched from Phuket in present day Thailand to Sumatra. This wealthy trading empire was later subjugated by the Portuguese, then the Dutch. Visitors looking for a bit of brain stimulation after endless days of shopping in KL will enjoy the unique multicultural architecture and townscape of Malacca.
Whether dance, drama or music, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) is bound to have something for everyone's taste. You can rent one of many danse studios to rehearse your own show. And if nothing's on, visitors can still enjoy the backstage cafe and the Japanese tea house. Danse connaisseurs should not miss the Sutra Dance Theatre, founded by renowned ballet and Indian classical danser Ramli Ibrahim. The performances are a visual and musical feast, supplemented by regular arts exhibitions at the Sutra Gallery.
Kuala Lumpur is a place where you don't need to break the bank for an all night casual party. Beer starts at around RM 10, and even less for local watering holes, while the trendy lounges will charge RM 30 or more. Same taste really, and after the wee hours, same crowd no matter where. Maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's the laid back and relaxed KL atmosphere that makes going out smooth and easy. A morning top up with a hearty bowl of spicy laksa is ideal for lingering headaches... There are three main areas to hang out, drink a bit, eat a lot, watch the night fauna and flora. We like to alternate, depending on the moods, who's around and what's happening in our great city of KL...
KL's main shopping district is also the city's main nightlife hotspot. The Golden Triangle covers a wide area that includes Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan P. Ramlee, all the way to the KLCC Twin Towers. Dance, sing, eat and chit chat with the locals. Between cheap and tawny pick up joints and high end classy five stars, there are romantic corners and relaxed coffee shops to be found. Mainstream and casually safe Zouk is an easy Gnarfgnarf pick for playing it cool and trendy without trying too hard in six different dance rooms. Go here for professionally designed interiors, the latest music hits and bartenders with above average personal hygiene. Flying yuppies and overworked consultants need to check out the roof top Luna and Sky Bar which rival for the best looking staff and resident DJs. Amateurs of the real deal will appreciate live music at the oft under-rated Hard Rock Cafe which occasionally hosts heavy weight artists. For a taste of fusion east west R&B jazz and some expensive wines, up and coming Hakka Republic might do. "Listen to your heart, let music fly" at Wings Musicafe, a venue for local artists.
This is where the expats hang out in Kuala Lumpur, but it is still a totally okay place to hang out for us locals. Located at the border of KL (Jalan Telawi), Bangsar is readily accessible by cab. The area comprises a few streets that are filled with cafes, pubs and restaurants of every kind. Full of good-looking and trendy people (or at least they think so). The outer limits of Bangsar are residential in nature and tend to be occupied by the upper middle class KL-ites. Hence, the groovy cars parked all over Bangsar. No coffee-shop or stall food here so stick more wads of Ringgit Malaysia into your wallet. Check out Café Alexis. This outfit serves great local and foreign delights. The laksa and nasi ulam (traditional Malay rice dish with a variety of curries and spices) are fabulous. Very cool interior and the food-weary may filter upstairs to the Alexis bar for some soft fusion music and relaxed chic. The bar offer a great bird's eye view of the people on the streets below. Study the way they cat walk and do the same after a few drinks. Good look-out point. For drinks, see if you like The Talk, Modestos and a whole host of other pubs. Or you could pub-hop in Bangsar. Guaranteed a good time. The younger and less-affluent KL-ites like to eat at the open air food street in Bangsar. If you've blown your budget, you could eat here first (good Indian and Malay dishes) and move towards the pubs and clubs later so you don't miss out completely on the Bangsar experience.
Successfully marketed as Asian Heritage Row, this street lined up with historic shophouses was scheduled for demolition. Instead, a dozen bars and restaurants have conveniently cropped up, making it ideal for a bit of night hopping. With Chow Kit and Little India close by, there are plenty of mamak stalls and food hawkers for some cheap and delicious eats.
Nature and Culture Hotspots
Asian Heritage Row
Sutra Dance Theatre
Mangroves originated here in Southeast Asia at the fringe between sea and land. The animals and plants of mangroves have biological mechanisms for coping with salt, low oxygen, high temperatures and tidal flooding. These species are usually highly specialised and do not occur elsewhere but in mangroves...>>