Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - August 2006
Kuala Lumpur may be one of the most clean and green cities I have ever seen. It lies in a built upon slightly hilly terrain over what was once a jungle landscape. The city is well planned, and there is a lot of open space. And when it gets hot, there are plenty of indoor shopping malls to hang out in.
The skyline of the Petronas Twin Towers has become somewhat iconic, since they were built in 1996, but to appreciate them, they must be seen up close.
The shape of each tower is like a Moorish octagonal window, with a smaller circular tower jutting out in front of each one.
At the 40th floor, they are connected by a skybridge, where the observation deck is located. The tickets are free, but you need to get there by 8 am to get them. If you want to go higher than the 40th floor, one of the towers has a revolving restaurant.
There are lots of interesting geometric ideas that repeat themselves in the architecture. The building lobby is also the enterance for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra concert hall.
No major Malaysian development would be complete without a shopping mall, and the Petronas mall has five stories of the most upscale stores.
Malaysians are not ready to trade in the hawker cart food for McDonald's so the mall includes a food court that has much of the same items you can buy on the streets ...
...plus another new ethnic cuisine.
The Batu Caves are located in a limestone hill, about 10 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. They also house several Hindu cave temples. It is a 272 step climb to reach cathedral cave, with it's 300 foot high ceiling. The cave is busiest in January or February, during the Thaipusam festival, which commerates the birth of Lord Murugan, the youngest son of Shiva; that's him on the right, standing 120 feet high.
The temple is also home to many macaque monkeys, who not only beg food from tourists, but also steal the edible offerings in the temples.
Kuala Lumpur is also a popular destination spot for Saudi Arabian tourists. The men and children are hard to pick out, since they ofter wear western dress, while the women in there black niqabi are always a startling sight.
We visited the state mosque of Kuala Lumpur. Since Hendry did not bring long pants, he got this spiffy red robe to roam the grounds of the mosque. Alas, we pork eaters were not allowed to set foot inside the mosque.
Kuala Lumpur not only has the 2nd highest skyscraper, but also the 4th highest television tower in the world, and you get a much better view of the city here, than you do from Petronas.