Overview of Kuala Lumpur

Geography of Kuala Lumpur

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Rich in colors and contrasts, the bright assortment of culture in Malaysia comes into focus in Kuala Lumpur, or "KL" as it is commonly known. KL is the focal point of Malaysia and first time visitors will cherish this fascinating destination and meeting point of the country's many attractions. Malaysia offers versatile landscape and venues. The charm and the warmth of Malaysians leave visitors in awe, as well has the white sand beaches, diverse flora and fauna, and rolling green mountains.

Over 150 years ago, Kuala Lumpur (which translates to 'muddy confluence'), was nothing more than a muddy marsh, but has evolved into a cosmopolitan capital city. The streets are lined with modern office buildings, posh shopping malls, loud and lively nightlife and shiny accommodation showing off Malaysia's jump into the future. Moreover, the British colonial buildings are still present in the city, reminding locals and visitors of the city's past. The city is embedded with a multicultural, traditional spirit, despite its recent growth.

Malaysia's ethnic community is unlike any other in the world, and the travel tagline 'Truly Asia' is easily reflected. The 28 million population of Malaysia is a melting pot of Asian cultures. Malays and Chinese make up 80% of the populations, while 7% are Indians, with a large number of internationals in the community too. The multi-faceted charm provides intriguing images and with such a diverse population, a melting pop you could say, everyone borrows culture and customs from one another. In this secular state, mosques, temples, and churches are sited close to each other, without any disruption.

Food is always on the mind of any KL-ite and is the national pastime as there is an abundance of food readily available 24 hours a day. From street-hawkers to fine dining, this food-obsessed city is perfect for every foodie in the world. 'Sudah makan?' (Have you eaten?) is the perfect icebreaker in KL and is a common greeting in Malaysia. Malaysian food is a multicultural fusion of Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Eurasian mix. It's electric, spicy, and most of all tasty. Kuala Lumpur and all of Malaysia is the best place to enjoy the art of eating and drinking.

See, feel, touch, smell and taste the hidden treasures of Malaysia. With the perfect mix of west and east, with so much to see and do, no one will ever complain about feeling bored. Regardless of what brings you to Malaysia, there is something for everyone and even more.


Malaysia has a unique mix of cultures, with 3,000 kilometers of coastline, the world's oldest rainforest, and the highest mountain in Southeast Asia; it is easy to say Malaysia is full of contrasts. Peninsular Malaysia is the economic center of the country and the home of the Malay People. Due east of the nation is Borneo Island where East Malaysia covers the northern rim of the island.

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia and near the equator. There are two distinct parts to Malaysia; Peninsular Malaysia to the west and East Malaysia to the east. This two land masses joined together in 1963 after the independence from the British. Peninsular Malaysia is located south of Thailand, north of Singapore, and east of the Indonesia Island, Sumatra. East Malaysia is located on the large island of Borneo and shares its borders with Indonesia and Brunei, with the Philippines to the north.

Malaysia has no active volcanoes, but earthquakes are occasionally felt, although they did not take place on Malaysian earth. What Malaysia can always expect is flooding. Flooding is particularly bad in the northeastern part of Peninsular Malaysia.

The most famous landmark in Malaysia is Mount Kinabalu; the 4095 meter tall mountain is the tallest in Malaysia and the 20th tallest in the world. Due to the biological diversity of the mountain, it is listened as an UNESCO Heritage Site. The climb to the top is not an easy feat, but the experience is well worth the struggle to the top.

Malaysian States

Malaysia is a federation of 13 states. In Peninsular Malaysia, there are 11 states:

  • Johore
  • Kedah
  • Kelantan
  • Malacca
  • Negri Sembilan
  • Pahang
  • Penang
  • Perak
  • Perlis
  • Selangor
  • Trengganu

On the island of Boreno, in East Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah are the two states.


Malaysia is a typical tropical climate and is always very hot and humid with various rainy seasons throughout the year. Temperatures fluctuate between 25 and 35 degrees throughout the year. The islands are much cooler, due to the cool breezes, and it is also cooler in the 'highlands' of Malaysia. Generally, temperatures never exceed 25 degrees. There's never a bad time to visit Malaysia.

The main variable of Malaysia's climate isn't temperature but rainfall. The extreme variations of rainfall are linked to the monsoons. From October to March, the climate on the east coast is affected by the monsoon season. It is best not to visit these parts of Malaysia (Perhentian, Redang and Tioman) because the weather is very rough during these months. In fact, most resorts and ferries close. The western side of the peninsula is not affected by this monsoon, and it is safe to visit. From May to October, the west coast is affected by the monsoon. Every day it will rain very hard between 4pm and 8pm, with thunder and lightning. Besides the monsoon months, it always rains in Malaysia; it is typical for a tropical destination. However, the typical rainfall is usually short and violent.

If you want to find a cool place in Malaysia, head to the Highlands. The temperatures are noticeable lower. Residents of Penang head to Cameron Highlands, while Kuala Lumpur residents head to Genting Highlands and Fraser Hill. If you find yourself in Sabah East Malaysia, head to the top of Mount Kinabalu, where at 8am it will be 4 Celsius.

Time Zone

Time in peninsula and East Malaysia is at UTC+8. No daylight savings time is conducted.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is centrally located on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula. Nestled in a huge valley, known as Klang Valley, KL is surrounded by the Titiwangsa Mountains to the east and the Strait of Malacca to the west. The name Kuala Lumpur literally means muddy confluence, as KL is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers. Located in the center of Selangor State, the capital city has over 1.6 million inhabitants in the city center.


Like the rest of the country, Kuala Lumpur has a tropical rainforest climate. Temperatures remain consistent; however, some days reach higher temperatures due to the haze air trapped inside the city. Kuala Lumpur receives a minimum of 100 inches of rain a year. From October to March, abundant rainfall is expected during the monsoon. June and July are relatively dry and barely exceeds 5 inches per month.

Flooding is frequent and problematic in Kuala Lumpur, especially during a heavy downpour. Also, haze has become a problem. Dust particles from forest fires from Sumatra cause a mass haze over the Klang Valley and are a major cause of pollution.

For up-to-date weather information, consult Kuala Lumpur Weather.


Kuala Lumpur proper has an area of 94 sq miles and seems to go on forever. The city is divided into neighborhoods and every neighborhood has a different feel. One can choose from the cute, the quaint, and the historical.

KLCC - The Petronas Towers mark KLCC, the most central location. Most professionals work within this fast-paced area lined with lights and modern skyscrapers. KLCC is in walking distance of many post shopping malls and popular entertainment venues.

Bukit Bintang - This has always been Kuala Lumpur's prominent shopping and entertainment district. Jalan Bukit Bintang is lined with cafes, bars, and night markets. This area is popular with both tourists and locals.

Chow Kit - Located 500 meters west of KLCC, this is the old city center and the traditional shopping district. Within Chow Kit, one can find Putra World Trade Centre and Kampung Baru, Malay food heaven.

Brickfields - South of the city center, and hear KL Sentral railway station, Brickfields is home to Little India. Sari shops and banana leaf restaurants line the streets. Some of the best and cheapest meals can be found here.

Bangsar - South of the city is Bangsar, is the oldest expat neighborhood and KL's trendiest neighborhoods. Besides a large international community, Bangsar is popular for chic restaurants and cafes and fashionable clubs.

Damansara and Hartamas - West of the city, this is where most middle-income households live and entry-level expats and home to the most diverse expat community. Many families live in these neighborhoods for the private schools and affordable living cost.

Update 3/06/2015

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