The Merdeka Square is a happening place in KL, especially around the Malaysian Independence Day which falls in August. A world record holder in the form of a 100 metre flagpole draws a fair bit of attention, but the sight to behold would be the Sultan Abdul Samad building which houses the Supreme and High Courts, especially when highlighted in a flood of fluorescence at night.
Petaling Jaya or PJ is a welcome respite from the rigours of big city shopping, with certain charms of its own. The Sunway Lagoon Pyramid Shopping Centre here belies its label as a mere shopping mall to give you a tremendous experience that incorporates a water-park with real surf, a tropical resort ambience, and of course, a huge shopping mall with everything in it. Families with kids will love the added luxury of a supervised Kid's Club where kids get to paint, play, and generally do all sorts of kid stuff such as drawing inscrutable squiggles with the concentration of neuro-surgeons. PJ is not done yet, for there's One Uttam which is one heck of a shopping mall with the dimensions of a small city. From pearls to electronics and miles of clothing, be prepared to spend the better part of a day here, especially with splendid restaurants and cinemas for a change of pace.
A decided change of pace would mean a trip to the serenity of Seremban where nature takes over from man-made entertainments. A tropical beach would fit in nicely with most schemes. When the surf has done its job, there are the variety of Parks to be explored. The Galla Recreational Forest, Ulu Bendol Recreational Park, the Recreational Forest Park are all, as the name suggests, more than just trees. Enjoy trekking, mountain climbing, hiking, biking, and camping for a real close to nature tryst. The Lake Garden in Seremban is where you simply relax and regain a sense of placidity amidst violent bursts of orchid blooms and swathes of butterflies. While in Seremban, a touch of ethnic culture comes your way at the Seri Menanti Palace . This epitome of the ancient Minangkabau culture is sheer poetry in wood constructed entirely without nails. The edifice stands to this day as a magnificent token of a forgotten art.
Hopping aboard a water taxi to go shopping is certainly giving this activity a new twist. That's what's required to visit the Mines Shopping Fair in Seri Kembangan. A canal flows right through the plaza adding huge bytes of excitement to this routine. Stay aboard the water taxi for a ride that covers the Mines Resort City with its magnificent golf course, convention centre, and the spectacular Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel.
A noteworthy feature in KL and its outskirts is the ubiquitous mosque in various dimensions, hues, and shapes. The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam stands dome and minarets above the rest for sheer architectural beauty that mesmerizes. The majestic domes with stained glass embellishments can be seen for miles around and draws spectators regardless of faith. Entry is restricted to Muslims and photography of interior is prohibited. Others can admire from the outside and peek through the doorway. Explore the splendid Shah Alam Lake Garden where they sometimes have events like Orchid shows and International Boat Shows. A floating seafood restaurant adds considerably to the fun quotient. For those whose interest in Islamic architecture has been piqued there are the Masjid Negara, the golden domed Masjid Jamek, and the modern National Mosque with its star shaped roof to consider visiting. A point to note here would be the need to be fully clothed from shoulders to knees while visiting mosques and other places of worship. It is also best to avoid visiting on Fridays and during prayer times.
On a religious theme but easily topping the charts of natural wonders is the Batu Caves . This here is a Hindu temple in a cave perched atop a hill. As to why this should attract a tourist, well, for one, the cave is a natural wonder in limestone that has been embellished with gleaming precious stones and made suitable to house a Hindu deity. Then there are the monkeys that have the run of the place and are best left alone while keeping a look out for monkey paws that snatch food and hand bags in the blink of an eye. To top it all, there are the 272 steps that need to be climbed to reach the wondrous cave on the hill, traversing lush tropical undergrowth and the aforementioned simians. Put simply, it is an experience that combines adventure, natural beauty, some religious sentiment, and an enormous sense of accomplishment. An art gallery attached to the temple atop the hill and a Museum Cave at the bottom have plenty of Hindu artefacts and other souvenirs on sale.
Rough Guide to Kuala Lumpur