Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is so often called, intrigues visitors to its city limits through its diversity and multicultural character. It is a city that has not forgotten its past, but certainly hasn't shied away from the present. In Kuala Lumpur visitors can enjoy shopping and other activities in colonial buildings and skyscrapers alike. As a city with financial ambitions, the discerning visitors will find no shortage of luxurious hotels, top-notch restaurants and other ostentatious attractions within this melting pot of Southeast Asia.
When it comes to shopping in Kuala Lumpur, the experience is all about shopping malls. Over recent years, mall after mall has risen from city lots and have come to be filled with hundred of retail stores. The shopping malls are home to everything from haute couture to discount bargain stores, each sitting side by side with each other. Although KL's Chinatown, or Petaling Street, is the most popular shopping area in the city, it is filled with discounted goods and knock-off brand names. For the discerning visitors looking for the real deal when it comes to designer labels, they will want to head to the city's most famous landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers. Just beneath this skyline-dominating behemoth is the Suria KLCC shopping centre. Within this beautiful building are a number of brand names stores including the Aseana Fashion store that specializes in Asian haute couture, iKartini which stocks high-quality batik clothing and Pucik Rebung which offers a number of Peranakan clothing options as well as antiques.
Those in the market for souvenirs should head to the Central Market in the city. Pewter, brass and silver items are popular in Kuala Lumpur. They are shaped into jewelry, unique figurines and more practical objects by the famed metal-smiths of the city. Wood carvings and traditional fabrics also prove to be popular souvenirs as well for those who have an eye for more intricate designs.
Pampering at the Spa
When it comes to luxury activities within Kuala Lumpur, they generally fall into the two categories of shopping and eating. However, after hours of walking around the city's Chinatown and Little India, discerning visitors are due for a little time off their feet. Spas and other health centers permeate the city. There are a few affordable options, but even more luxury quality establishments. While some of the best luxury spas sit outside the city in the natural serenity of the rainforest, there are still a number that reside in the beautiful modern skyscrapers and 5-star hotels within the city limits. As Kuala Lumpur combines a number of Asian cultures into daily life, the spas combine a number of treatments from Asia within to provide the best possible experience in pampering and relaxation.
Those who are feeling a little more adventurous should pay a visit to a fish spa. These establishments are perhaps the strangest spa experience one will ever have. Visitors dip their hard, calloused feet into a pool of hungry, flesh-eating fish and they will eat all the dead, rough skin off them. When visitors pull their feet from the pool, they are left with baby soft skin, but beware, it tickles!
As a city that uniquely mixes Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, diners have a wide world of dining options available to them. The city isn't just street stalls and shopping centre food courts, however. Their luxury dining options go above and beyond the call of duty.
Tamarind Springs sounds more like a natural attraction than a restaurant, but nestled within the greenery of the Ampang district, why can't it be both? The extensive menu at the Tamarind Springs boasts a selection of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian cuisine so diners can get an eclectic taste of Asia. The Vietnamese soft shell crab comes highly recommended, but be sure to save room for Italian-style ice cream for dessert.
While in Malaysia, it would be a shame to get distracted by all the other Asian influences and not sample some Malay cuisine. Bijan Restaurant provides a taste of Malaysia in a chic setting. Heavy with meat dishes, the stand out on the menu is the rusuk panggang, a set of marinated short ribs that are grilled to perfection.
Kuala Lumpur is filled with international business-class properties like Westin, Hilton, and Mandarin Oriental to house the hordes of visiting businesspeople to this growing financial capital. However, for those the find themselves in need of a more unique luxury hotel, KL has its options.
Although located in the city centre, the Villa Samadhi evokes a sense of exclusivity, relaxation and luxury like no other. The 21 different villas on the property look as though they are nestled between the forest and the beach rather than shopping malls and skyscrapers. The interiors are inspired by designs from Indo-Sino and Neo-Asian influences, featuring dark wood, brightly coloured furnishings and lagoon-style pools.
What could be more alluring than an establishment named the Majestic Hotel? The Majestic is an icon on the landscape of Kuala Lumpur, towering over the city in all its classic style grandeur. The interior features high ceilings, Roman columns and a gold leaf domed roof which lends endlessly to the visual appeal of this hotel.