Visiting Kuala Lumpur

A GUIDE by Mindy McAdams

Even if you have a great guidebook, Kuala Lumpur can be intimidating to a Western visitor -- it's big, the heat is incredible, and transportation might at first seem hard to manage.

Printable PDF Guide to Kuala Lumpur

To help you get the most out of a short visit, print this nine-page text-only guide and carry it with you, along with a map.

> Notes for Visiting Kuala Lumpur

This guide is intended for people who like to see the sights on their own, hang out, and soak up the local atmosphere. That said, it is also a guide to the tourist highlights of KL -- it won't get you deep inside the culture.

It includes advice on how to get around using public transportation and taxis; where to find backpacking or trekking equipment if you happen to need some; a guide to the Bird Park in the Lake Gardens; where to find local crafts and souvenirs in KL; and a listing of other notable sites and how to reach them.

If You're a Book Lover

After you have spent even one day in KL, if you are the literary type, I urge you to buy The Consumption of Kuala Lumpur, by Ziauddin Sardar (London: Reaktion Books, 2000 [237 pp.]). This nonfiction book is an absolute pleasure to read, a tasting menu of modern life in the Klang Valley, Malaysian history and Malaysian culture.

An outsider who has lived in KL on and off for years, Ziauddin celebrates all that is uniquely Malaysian without pulling his punches when he chooses to throw them.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, period -- although I don't think it would mean much to someone who has never been in Malaysia.