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Published on December 22, 2019

Malaysia’s capital has always been a canvas for the nation’s forward-facing ambition, and the 450-meter-high Petronas Towers stands as its centerpiece. The local shopping also is located around the “Golden Triangle” centered on Bukit Bintang — its modern shopping centers sell high-end fashion brands and late-model electronics.  But as forward-looking as its modern sights make it out to be, it’s Kuala Lumpur’s history that makes the city so unique. 

The Chinese enclave around Petaling Street; the Dataran Merdeka cluster of colonial-era buildings-turned-museums; the botanical gardens bequeathed by the British; the Kampung Baru Malay settlement; and the Indian enclave of Brickfields—all these make up the beating cultural heart under Kuala Lumpur’s hyper-modern facade. 

To get around Kuala Lumpur, ride its extensive LRT and Monorail system, or take the free GoKL buses that wind through the city center.