Kuala Lumpur

Overview

Introduction

Kuala Lumpur (or KL, as it's known to locals) is the center and symbol of Malaysia and its rapid rise as an economic powerhouse. The rocketlike Petronas Twin Towers soar above a city built to impress, from the modern buildings of the Golden Triangle to massive shopping malls to driverless trains that glide across the bustling city.

Yet nestled amid the high-rises, you'll find remnants of the city's past: enchanting temples and mosques, small whitewashed colonial churches and British Tudor-style clubhouses. At night, markets and lantern-lit streets ring with the sound of Malay, Chinese and Indian hawkers selling tantalizing dishes. Though it's running hard toward the future, KL still offers a glimpse of its colorful heritage and a taste of traditional, exotic Asia.

With such diversity in the population, communication could prove problematic. However, many people, especially in Kuala Lumpur, speak English fluently. Although the national language of Malaysia—Bahasa—is commonly spoken among Malaysians, the government has encouraged English as the language of business, and it continues to thrive.

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