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Kuala Lumpur began life as a mining settlement in the late 1800s and is now home to the world's tallest twin towers and other skyscrapers. It is not only the commercial hub of the country, but also the cultural centre, with a vibrant arts and music scene. It has parks, museums and galleries and plays host to major sporting and cultural events. KL is completely cosmopolitan and its many restaurants, hotels and market stalls satisfy every culinary taste.
Petronas Twin Towers - Currently the world's tallest freestanding towers, the 88-storey towers soar to a dizzying height of 452m above the city skyline. This gleaming architectural delight inspired by the Five Pillars of Islam is the centrepiece of the ultra-modern Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Within the towers is the Petronas Philharmonic Hall, home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Petronas Performing Arts Group.
Kuala Lumpur Tower - Officially opened in 1996, this imposing 421m concrete telecommunications tower is reputed to be the highest in Asia, and the fourth highest in the world. Visitors can enjoy a bird's eye view of the Federal Territory and the Klang Valley from its observation deck, or the revolving restaurant.
Batu Caves Temple - The giant Batu Caves are just north of town and are set in limestone cliffs, hidden in the jungle. They were discovered in 1878 by a group of explorers and became a military hideout during World War II, but they have now been transformed into a Hindu shrine. Only three caves are open to the general public, including the Cathedral Cave, with a staircase of 272 steps leading to the natural architectural columns of stalactites and stalagmites. A bridge over a pond at the foot of the hill provides access to the other caves (Art Gallery Cave & Poet's Cave).
Chinatown - Southeast from the Central Market lie the exotic offerings of Chinatown, where you will find everything from Chinese apothecaries to Nepalese traders offering exotic jewellery, and from fortune-tellers to pet shops. The area comes alive at night, with pedlars selling replica watches, music, clothing, and ornaments, and the side streets full of open air restaurants selling meat, seafood, noodles, rice-pots and other exotic fare.
Taman Tasik Perdana - Built in the 1880s, KL Lake Gardens is the city's most popular and accessible park. It covers an area of 91.6 hectares and has a children's playground, jogging tracks, exercise stations and a lake with rowing boats. The Panggung Anniversari, set in a valley within the park, is the venue for regular musical and cultural performances.
Orchid and Hibiscus Gardens - Also located in Taman Tasik Perdana, the Orchid Garden has over 800 species of exotic Malaysian orchids, including some rare ones. Close by is the Hibiscus Garden with more that 500 varieties of the papery blossoms in a riot of shades and colours.
Bird Park - This is situated opposite the Orchid Garden and many species of birds from around the world are housed here under one huge net. The Sarawak Hornbill, some rare jungle fowl and birds of prey can be viewed in an environment that has been created to resemble their natural habitat.
Butterfly Park - This park is close by and features some 6,000 beautiful butterflies from about 120 species.
Deer Park - This occupies a hill slope leading down into a valley where tame deer, including the tiny kancil, roam freely. Visitors may mingle with these friendly and adorable creatures and it is a wonderful place to take children.
National Museum - This palatial building was designed along the lines of classical Malay architecture and is the principal museum in the country. Its imposing entrance opens onto an impressive collection of exhibits on local history, culture and customs, art and handicraft, weapons and currencies. There are also exhibits on rubber planting and tin mining and some samples of Malaysia's flora and fauna. Outdoor static displays include old locomotives, vintage cars and replicas of ancient Malay Palaces.
Mosques, Temples, Cathedrals & Churches - There are many fine examples of mosques and temples, churches and a cathedral. These include:

Masjid Jamek, an architecturally ambitious mosque, Indian Muslim in style with onion-shaped cupolas, numerous arched colonnades, minarets and balustrades.

National Mosque, built along modern lines with elements of contemporary Islamic art, calligraphy and ornamentation.

Sze Ya Temple founded by Yap Ay Loy, a city leader in KL's early days.

Chan See Shu Yuen, the largest temple, built in 1906 and dedicated to Chong Wah, a Sung Dynasty emperor.

Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple, a breath-taking display of colour, built in the style of a south Indian temple gatehouse-tower in 1873.

St Mary's Cathedral, the oldest church in KL, designed by A C Norman and housing a fine, rare pipe organ built by renowned 19th century British organ-builder, Henry Willis.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building - Probably Kuala Lumpur's most photographed building, designed by British architect A C Norman, it was built between 1894 and 1897 and was formerly the secretariat building for the British administration. It is a beautiful blend of Victorian and Moorish architecture and is now the venue of the Supreme Court and the High Court. Next to this building is a similar Moorish-styled building, housing the former City Hall.
Merdeka Square - Independence Square (also known as the Padang) has a black marble plaque marking the spot where the Union Jack was lowered for the last time at midnight on 30 August 1957 and the Malayan flag hoisted in its place. The national flag today flies on the tallest flagpole in the world, standing at 100m. This was formerly the ground used for cricket, hockey, tennis and rugby matches played by the colonialists.
Malaysian Tourism Centre - The centre is located in one of Kuala Lumpur's important historical and architectural landmarks. The main building was built in 1935 as the residence of Eu Tong Seng, a wealthy tin miner and planter. It subsequently served as the war office of the British Army, the headquarters of the Japanese Army, the venue for the first sitting of the Malaysian Parliament and also saw the installation ceremonies of several kings of the country.
National Art Gallery - The National Art Gallery is flanked by the National Theatre and the National Library. The art gallery creates a space for preservation, development, exploration and experiment in the various facets of art in Malaysia
National Planetarium - Galleries within the complex include the Space Theatre, Space Science Exhibition, Resource Centre, Viewing Gallery and Ancient Observatory Park. The Space Theatre screens two shows - The Space Science Show and Sky Movie. There is also an observatory equipped with a 14-inch telescope.
Bintang Walk - Located in the city's Golden Triangle, this Walk is the premier spot in Kuala Lumpur for dining out, shopping and entertainment. The area contains several shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and coffee houses that offer al fresco dining on fine evenings. There are also many discotheques, karaoke bars and pubs in this area.
Central Market - This pre-war building was the principal wet fish and meat market for KL in the early years. It was extensively renovated in the 1980s and turned into an arts and cultural centre. It has become the place for local artists to demonstrate their skills and display their work. There are numerous shops and stalls that sell bric-a-brac, antiques, souvenirs, handicrafts and Asian artefacts. An open-air stage serves as the regular venue for traditional and contemporary dance as well as musical concerts.
Istana Negara - The official residence of His Majesty, the King of Malaysia, is located on a hillock at Jalan Istana. Immaculate lawns cover the extensive grounds and formal gardens blaze with colourful flowers and plants. The Palace is also the venue for official functions and ceremonies.
The National Theatre - Permanent home of the National Theatre Company and the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Theatre is responsible for the development of all forms of theatrical art in Malaysia. The Theatre is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment while still retaining the national heritage and traditional Malay design. Drama, dance and musical performances are held regularly.
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