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It’s fairly straightforward to foretell what a first-timer’s Kuala Lumpur itinerary would seem like. You possibly can wager that it’s going to embody a cease on the Petronas Towers, a climb to Batu Caves, and a meals crawl by Jalan Alor. Maybe a day journey to Genting Highlands, too. These are staples, and for good cause. They’ve turn into essentially the most recognizable tourism icons not only for town however for Malaysia as a complete.

However for many who have visited KL earlier than, does the Malaysian capital have something contemporary to supply today? And the reply to that, my jet-setting pal, is a powerful sure.

Over the previous few years, Kuala Lumpur has restored previous websites and created new ones, including to the already lengthy checklist of issues to do and locations to go to within the metropolis. On this submit, we’ll share with you some that you simply would possibly wish to think about in your subsequent journey to the Backyard Metropolis of Lights.


Spanning virtually 70 meters, the Saloma Hyperlink is a pedestrian and bike owner bridge that straddles Klang River and Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Freeway. As a result of it connects the old-world village of Kampung Baru (Kampong Bharu) to KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Metropolis Centre), the place the Petronas Towers stand proudly, it additionally serves as an impressive lookout. From right here, one might admire the highest halves of the dual towers protruding from the skyline.

Saloma Link

Saloma Bridge was opened to the general public in February 2020, simply earlier than the pandemic introduced world tourism to its knees. Therefore, lots of those that had been to Kuala Lumpur earlier than in all probability have by no means seen this hyperlink but. And it’s a sight to behold, certainly! Designed by VERITAS Design Group, the construction is impressed by the betel nut leaf, a part of the Malay marriage ceremony customized. It’s best visited at evening, when it’s wearing colourful, virtually kaleidoscopic illumination, seemingly inviting and ushering guests to the Petronas Towers and different close by buildings. Which means it’s additionally extra crowded at evening, so simply preserve that in thoughts.

Saloma Bridge in Kuala Lumpur

It wasn’t plan of our authentic itinerary. We didn’t even learn about this hyperlink till we have been already on the best way to the Petronas Towers. Our AirAsia Trip driver casually talked about it as we handed by the intersection near it. He really useful that we go in that course after we had our time with the Twins. And we did!

From the Petronas Towers, it was solely a straightforward 10-minute stroll away. As a result of it was constructed to service each pedestrians and cyclists alike, it’s outfitted with ramps on both aspect and an elevator on the Kampung Baru aspect.

The bridge was named after the Malaysian-Singaporean singer Saloma, whose stays have been laid to relaxation on the close by Jalan Ampang Muslim Cemetery on the KLCC aspect.

Location: Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nearest Station: Kampung Baru LRT Station or KLCC LRT Station

We all know Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district has been round for a very long time. And if you happen to’ve been right here earlier than, you in all probability finest bear in mind Petaling Road, a 800-meter buying strip working from Leboh Pasar Besar/Jalan Yap Ah Loy on the northern finish to Bulatan Merdeka within the south. About 300 meters of it’s coated by a inexperienced roof (fondly nicknamed the “Inexperienced Dragon”) and marked by two Chinese language arches on both finish.

Petaling Street Arch

Petaling Road, particularly, has seen quite a few transformations since Cantonese and Hakka tin commerce employees arrived within the metropolis within the nineteenth century. However someday in direction of the top of the millennium, improvement slowed down and this a part of KL grew to become largely often called the go-to place for counterfeit merchandise — from branded equipment to unlawful DVDs.

Petaling Street Counterfeit Bags

However because the 2010s ended, Chinatown has been having fun with a type of renaissance. Counterfeit merchandise are nonetheless there, however cool, hipster, Instagrammable spots additionally started popping up. An evening meals market got here to life, serving an countless collection of Chinese language and Southeast Asian dishes and snacks. Some buildings additionally bought a much-needed face elevate.

However this transformation is most evident at Lorong Panggung, also called Kwai Chai Hong after a restoration ardour undertaking that spearheaded by Bai Chuan Administration. It was once a bleak and forgotten alleyway, however when it reopened to the general public in 2019, guests noticed a fascinating heritage web site that has been totally cleaned up and adorned by colourful road artwork and murals, depicting the Chinatown of yore.

Lorong Panggung Bunn Choon Restaurant

It covers the restoration of 10 pre-war shophouses — six on Jalan Petaling and 4 on Lorong Panggung — bringing again the Nineteen Sixties glory days of KL’s Chinatown. The once-neglected again lane has turn into an enthralling attraction that each locals and vacationers can take pleasure in.

Kwai Chai Hong Kuala Lumpur

Kwai Chai Hong Kuala Lumpur Chinatown

If you happen to get hungry or thirsty, attempt one of many eating places, cafes, and bars lining Lorong Panggung and Jalan Petaling. One of the widespread is Bunn Choon Restaurant, an iconic institution serving extremely sought-after egg tarts together with different pastries and dimsum since 1893. Simply subsequent to it, in the identical vivid yellow constructing, is Pandan Republic, additionally a neighborhood favourite best-known for its breakfast and dessert choices like Hakka lei cha (pounded tea), pandan gula Melaka cheesecake, and pandan mushy serve.

In one other nook, you’ll discover Beryl’s Chocolate and Cafe at Lot 18. Beryl’s, after all, is Malaysia’s homegrown chocolate model, which I finest know for its dragées, these merely irresistible egg-shaped candies with almonds or raisins at their core.

You would possibly even spot an artwork set up or interactive displays.

Location: Lorong Panggung, Metropolis Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nearest Station: Pasar Seni MRT Station

Kuala Lumpur River of Life

The River of Life is seven-year RM4-billion authorities undertaking that ambitiously aimed to wash up, rehabilitate and beautify Klang River (Sungai Klang) and surrounding areas. However for tourism functions, it largely refers back to the level the place the Klang meets the Gombak River (Sungai Gombak), which finest exemplifies this spectacular transformation. This is a vital a part of town as a result of Kuala Lumpur actually means “muddy confluence” in Malay, referring to the convergence of those two muddy rivers.

From the lookout alongside Leboh Pasar Besar, essentially the most eye-catching construction is the Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque), wearing Moorish structure, standing proudly on the junction. Inaugurated in 1909, it is likely one of the oldest within the capital. So sure, this isn’t new in any respect; it’s fairly historic. What’s contemporary is what’s occurring round it.

Kuala Lumpur River of Life Mural

Within the day time, the primary issues to in all probability get your consideration are the big murals adorning the facade of the flanking buildings! At evening, the location is flooded with blue illuminations. We have been additionally advised {that a} fountain present prompts each 20-Half-hour or so, making a splash of magical visible show with the mosque within the background to varied acquainted tunes. It was round midday once we visited, so we didn’t get to see any of those gentle and water reveals, although.

Alongside the river, you’ll additionally discover cafes and bicycle paths.

Location: River of Life, Leboh Pasar Besar, Metropolis Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nearest Station: Masjid Jamek LRT Station

Japan’s borders stay closed for impartial vacationers, but when you really want a dose of it and also you’re KL-bound anyway, head over to Bukit Bintang, the place Japanese institutions have been mushrooming.

First on the checklist is Don Don Donki. Doesn’t ring a bell? That is truly the identical as Don Quijote, Japan’s largest low cost retailer chain. Why the identify change? As a result of its very first Asia-Pacific department exterior Japan was opened in Singapore, the place one other model has already been utilizing the identify in order that they used Don Don Donki as a substitute. When it opened its first Malaysian retailer at Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang in March 2021, they adopted the SG branding for regional consistency.

Don Don Donki is Don Quijote in Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

For the uninitiated, Don Quijote is a neighborhood and vacationer favourite in Japan, with over 160 shops throughout the archipelago. Even we will’t resist coming into a Donki retailer every time we see it simply to snag some pasalubong. It has virtually every part you can consider — from snacks to attire to equipment to cosmetics to houseware — at a pocket-friendly worth. Like in Japan, Donki right here in Malaysia makes use of the identical cute penguin mascot. It was truly how we acknowledged the shop as we handed by.

Since then, they’ve launched one other department, at Lalaport additionally in Bukit Bintang, which can also be a brand new addition to the rising checklist of buying malls in KL. Opened to the general public in January 2022, Lalaport is the primary Southeast Asian department of Mutsui Procuring Park, one other well-known establishment in Japan. It homes a number of recognizable manufacturers like Nitori, providing Japanese-style furnishings just like Muji (if you happen to’re extra aware of the latter); Nojima, well-known for electronics; and Coo & Riku, Japan’s largest pet retailer chain.

Don’t go away with out climbing the LED-illuminated starcase and trying out the open rooftop backyard, which affords an impressive view of town skyline together with the KL Tower, particularly at sundown.

In fact, we nonetheless extremely suggest the traditional culinary points of interest in Kuala Lumpur, particularly if you happen to’ve by no means been there. However if you happen to’re searching for one thing new to attempt, new meals spots have additionally sprouted all through town even within the midst of the pandemic.

On our final KL go to, after a vibrant photo-op session on the Saloma Hyperlink, we determined to go all the way down to Kampung Baru. Whereas the identify interprets to “New Village”, it’s truly one of many few remaining conventional Malay strongholds in KL, as extra trendy surroundings and constructions dominate town. Formally established on the flip of the twentieth century, it was formally declared because the Malay Agricultural Settlement in 1950. Whereas vacationers flock round Jalan Alor, many locals hang around right here for meals and drinks. It’s fairly previous, and it’s dwelling to some time-tested eating institutions.

Kampong Bharu Welcome Arch

However once in a while, a brand new identify pops up. And final yr, one which took Malaysian social media by storm was Papa Kanafa, a stall that whips out tray after tray of candy Turkish pastries in a spectacularly entertaining style. And if you happen to’ve ever been right here, you’ll perceive why there may be a lot on-line traction. The workers tirelessly and stylishly prepares every order of kunafa in entrance of shoppers, in a way just like a Salt Bae efficiency and exclaims “Welcome, Habibi!” earlier than closing the lid.

(We’re nonetheless getting ready the movies so we might present you higher. Within the meantime, listed here are some screencaps.)

Papa Kanafa Kampong Baru

Papa Kanafa Kuala Lumpur

It’s so widespread that it’s laborious to overlook the queue. We needed to burn Half-hour earlier than our flip, however a lot of the wait was as a result of they needed to warmth the pastry after they change trays, which I feel is nice. It’s additionally time for the workers to relaxation a bit as a result of I might think about how exhausting it may very well be doing it numerous instances. And as a deal with to those that are patiently ready, in addition they handed out complimentary servings of balah el sham, a candy deep-fried finger fritters made with sugar, vanilla, and flour. Consider it as Center Japanese churros.

But it surely’s not all kind. It serves fairly tasty desserts! Its principal product is the kunafa — a pastry constituted of baked kataifi or shredded phyllo dough, doused with syrup and topped with bits of pistachios — which comes with one in all two stuffings — cheese and cream (in all probability ashta). Whereas we didn’t care a lot concerning the cream model, the cheese kunafa was actually definitely worth the wait. The beneficiant quantity of stretchy cheese complemented the sweetness of the syrup. It wasn’t too candy, which I appreciated. The nuts merely add texture.

There are additionally a couple of cafes that just lately opened inside the Malay enclave however we didn’t get to attempt. If you happen to’re not within the temper for one thing new, Kampung Baru additionally has its extra established homegrown eating spots together with Suraya Seafood and Nasi Lemak Wanjo.

One other meals place getting good opinions on-line is The Chow Package Kitchen and Bar, situated on the floor ground of its namesake boutique lodge, a part of the Ormond Resort group. Essentially the most outstanding maybe is its inclusion to CNN Journey’s checklist of 20 Greatest New Eating places in Asia Pacific for 2020. The menu modifications but it surely places its trendy tackle conventional Malaysian fare at its heart together with rendang and laksa. You don’t should be a lodge visitor to dine right here.

If for no matter cause you don’t wish to eat out, meals supply apps are additionally thriving within the metropolis, the latest of which is AirAsia Meals. Yep, Malaysia’s greatest low-cost provider now has its personal meals supply service through its unified AirAsia SUPER APP!

AirAsia Meals gives a large spectrum of gastronomic delights, excellent for once you had an extended day and wished to only keep in your lodge (or hostel) for dinner. You possibly can select from completely different meals classes — halal, vegetarian, Asian, Western, wholesome, desserts, and so forth. You would possibly even get a reduction by its many promos.

AirAsia Food Delivery

You’re in all probability questioning why Batu Caves is on this checklist. However hear us out.

If you happen to final visited earlier than August 2018, then you definately’ll be stunned that lots has modified since — not less than visually. That yr, the location was given a colourful — albeit a bit controversial — makeover. The 272-step staircase resulting in the Cave Temple was painted in vivid rainbow colours, fully altering its appear and feel, so that you would possibly wish to test it out once more!

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a vital and sacred place for the Hindu folks. It’s a community of caves and chambers carved right into a 4-million-year-old karst hill. There are three large caves however the largest is the Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, so known as for its excessive ceiling and quite a few Hindu shrines it homes. Positioned 13 km north of the Malaysian capital, Batu Caves is definitely in Gombak, Selangor. It was named after the close by river Sungai Batu.

OK, this one isn’t an attraction in itself however a strategy to get round! Except for meals supply, AirAsia has additionally launched a ride-hailing service — AirAsia Ride — out there by the AirAsia SUPER APP. You should utilize it not simply to get out of the airport to town heart, but additionally to get across the metropolis!

AirAsia Ride Kuala Lumpur Airport

AirAsia Ride Kuala Lumpur

When AirAsia invited us to KL, they allowed us to make use of this service when going round on our personal. Sure, sure, we all know there are already extra established related apps providing this, however we like it when manufacturers get some competitors as a result of as a rule, it comes with aggressive costs! And true sufficient, once we tried AirAsia RIDE, we discovered that it expenses lower than regular, at instances virtually 50% cheaper in comparison with direct competitor. That’s an enormous plus for funds vacationers like us. It means we will spend extra on different issues, like meals and points of interest.

It gives various kinds of rides — LadiesONLY, Compact (extra inexpensive), and Anyride (closest to your neighborhood).

AirAsia Trip and AirAsia Meals can be found on the airasia Super App! It’s possible you’ll obtain it right here: iOS users, Android users.

Article and images by: Yosh Dimen
Further phrases by: Asta Alvarez

Our current Kuala Lumpur journey was made doable by AirAsia. Opinions are our personal.

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