Reasons why you should visit Kuala Lumpur
Credit: Anne Bonfert
When people talk about Asian cities they talk about landfills, plastic lying all around, streets filled with people, and an incredible amount of air pollution. But this city in southeast Asia is different.
This city is clean. This city is green. This city is modern and incredibly beautiful. And I’m saying that as someone who doesn’t like cities. I’m saying that as someone who would anytime trade city life against a life in the wilderness surrounded by nothing but nature.
“While it may seem small, the ripple effects on small things is extraordinary.” — Matt Bevin
This city impressed me by its high standard of public transport. By its modern society and friendly people. This city made me come back for its lovely charm. In 2019 I visited Kuala Lumpur (short as KL) twice within 30 days while living in Thailand.
Kuala Lumpur. The capital of Malaysia.
The city from above
Looking at the city from the Kuala Lumpur Tower also called Menara I only got the real picture of this place. Being over 400 meters above the city I was able to see its huge size but at the same time also its green appearance.
Getting a 360-degree view from up there I could see from any point parks, huge trees, hills, and green areas. In every part of town. Despite being a city with almost two million people and having several skyscrapers in all directions it is still a green city.
And it’s a green city in a modern way. Old trees have been left standing when houses and towers were built. Parks got enforced and kept alive for the people.
A canopy walk in the city
Yes, you did read that correctly. In the city of Kuala Lumpur, you can walk on suspension bridges from one tree to another. The Forest Eco Park is close to the Menara Tower and offers you little escape from the city life.
No entrance fee is charged to climb the stairs and walk across the several bridges. Starting in the forest you forget about the fact you’re in a big city. You hear birds singing and monkeys screaming when the canopy of the forest opens up and you get to see the city all of a sudden. Being surrounded by treetops you feel drawn to nature while seeing human achievements in form of skyscrapers.
I enjoyed walking over the bridges. Only a few tourists make their way down here. At the end of the canopy walk, you take the stairs down and walk along the bottom of the forest back to the entrance gate.
No, I am not in the middle of a rain forest. This picture is taken in the heart of the city. In the middle of the capital with almost two million inhabitants. The only thing showing you this is part of a civilized area is the lamp pole on the left.
KLCC is built in front of the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers. The Park with its 50-acre garden, a manmade lake, water fountains, waterfalls, a huge playground, and jogging track is a huge attraction to the locals.
Shelters and benches are placed throughout the park to provide protection when one of the heavy downpours appears. A children’s swimming pool is open to the public at one side of the park and a lovely walking trail leads throughout this oasis.
This park includes 1900 indigenous trees which give you the feeling of standing in a rain forest. In the evening this place attracts crowds when the water fountains start to shine in rainbow colors and the Twin Towers stand bright in the sky.
Perdana Botanical Gardens
Aside from a rainforest in the city center Kuala Lumpur also has an area of over 90 hectares of nothing but nature. The Botanical Gardens or also known under the name of Lake Gardens.
The Botanical Gardens are a collection of parks. Next to the Bird Park, there are various other parks worth visiting. I explored nature all around, visited the deer park, enjoyed the colorful Orchid Garden, embraced the sound of the waterfalls, and watched birds feeding in the Bird Park.
It was wonderful to be so deeply connected to nature while visiting a city. I passed squirrel, ducks, and monkeys while walking along footpaths, fountains, and even climbing some hills included my visit.
Wildlife in the city
Fences might be obstacles and borders for humans but not so much for wildlife. Animals of the Botanical Gardens are walking on both sides of the park entering residential areas and exploring other habitats.
The small spots of green
Outside of Parks and Gardens, there is still lots of green to capture in this place. Due to the calmness of the city, I was able to slow down and even get some small things like raindrops on a leaf on camera.
The peacefulness of this place was just overwhelming.
“Enjoy the little things in life. For one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big thing.” — Kurt Vonnegut
Skyscrapers of the future
Apart from building lots of parks and green playgrounds the city does all it can to have lots of plants covering their production of clean air. Skyscrapers have gardens on the top and some of them are even covered from top to bottom in plants.
Buildings of the future I call them. Creating an entire ecosystem within a place of civilization. It’s so simple yet so powerful. Including Nature in your city life. Embracing nature’s power through the trees of life.
The river of life
While developing a new residential district the city created a peaceful neighborhood involving the river of life. The project initiated by the government planned to uplift the Klang River into a vibrant and livable waterfront.
It’s a wonderful place to go for a walk when getting tired of exploring the city. Several cafés, restaurants, and even a shopping mall are within walking distance. The path next to the river invites you to calm down and go with the flow of the water.
In the evening a gloomy feeling appears when the mist comes out of the pipes and the sun is disappearing behind the mosque. A wonderful scene I will never forget.
The National Mosque
Masjid Negara is the National Mosque of Kuala Lumpur and can fit thousands of people inside of it. I took a local bus from the Botanical Gardens to get here. Arriving at the wrong time I wasn’t allowed to enter but was able to take pictures of the surroundings.
Like every attraction site in the city, the Mosque as well is surrounded by trees and offers a great view of skyscrapers, the Menara Tower, and other buildings of the city.
Where to stay
Living in the city is easier than thought. To find a place to stay as a tourist you just have to choose your preferences. I wanted to stay close to the city center while not staying in a skyscraper and found this lovely B&B in a residential area.
It was safe to walk at night (for me at least) and easy to reach public transport. I loved traveling by buses and trains which brings me to the next part of this green city.
Public transport as a sign of green living
While I was overwhelmed at first arriving in the city taking a taxi from the airport to the city center I never stepped in one again. Not because it was a bad experience, but because public transport is just incredible.
Getting from one place to another one couldn’t be easier. Getting a city card I could use buses and trains in all directions and combinations. I even used them to reach the popular Batu Caves outside of town and get back to the airport when flying out.
Public transport is a sign of an environmentally friendly type of transport and cities having a great network of buses and trains are our future. Whenever I can wherever I am I try to move as mindful as possible towards mother earth.
When I am not walking for once then this is what my other option would be. Where available at least.
Being Singapore’s little sister
I’ve been saying this about the city because I knew about the modern city of Singapore but didn’t know how lovely Kuala Lumpur is. While Singapore is a country on its own, KL is only part of a huge country with problems of itself.
Trying to look up to the neighboring country and city of Singapore, KL does copy a lot of their green structures and the cleanliness of the streets. Singaporeans laugh at the attempt and call Kuala Lumpur therefore the little sister.
I still have to visit Singapore for being able to compare those two while I’m thinking it isn’t bad for a city to have such a high aim. Having a great idol is what makes you ambitious to become a better version of yourself.
The impact of a green city
Parks, trees, and other natural features lift the quality of life to a huge amount. Walking in parks reduces stress, calms your mind, and gives the soul a place to rest.
Seeing plants and trees from your window in the office is a great way to lift your mood and inspire you for the upcoming task at work. In our urban world are green cities the way forward.
“Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” — Jochen Zeitz