Words by Carlie Tucker
The call of Kuala Lumpur is strong for professional travellers as an increasing number of businesses expand their global connections in Malaysia. It may well be a hive of business activity, but this vibrant capital city is more than a corporate travelling hub.
If you can manage 24 free hours, you'll be rewarded with an intriguing blend of contemporary comfort and rich cultural heritage. Here's how to get started ...
Image courtesy of marinis57.com
Where to Eat
The dining scene in Kuala Lumpur is alive and well! In fact, a crop of new eateries have popped up across the city, adding an extra element of filling fun to the already vibrant 'foodscape'. From western-style brunch spots to the intoxicating aromas of street vendors, a good meal is never far away.
Leading the breakfast charge is Red Beanbag where head chef Muhammad Fhalzal serves up a mix of traditional and western-style breakfast and brunch dishes.
Choose from The Light Side, with offerings like house-made Banana Bread, or the Dark Side adorned with heaping plates like Portobello & Pancakes (stuffed portobellos with two poached eggs, hollandaise and tomato chutney on a bed of fluffy pancakes). They also happen to serve a pretty mean cup of coffee.
When it comes to lunch, food on the fly is going to suit a busy day of sightseeing. Luckily Kuala Lumpur is known for its delicious street food.
Try a hunk of salted roast duck from the Chong family cart on Sze Chye or savour the sweetness of Tong Shui from the cart on Jalan Ipoh. Alternatively, banana leaf dining is well worth trying.
Whether you get it to go or not, these leaves are filled with delicious curried morsels, from rice to steamed fish, to be eaten with your fingers. Just remember to fold your leaf inward when finished to show appreciation for your meal!
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To cap things off with an extra memorable experience, reserve your table at the award-winning Marini's On 57.
Named one of the city's best restaurants for 2015, this exclusive restaurant sits on level 57 of the Petronas Tower 3 with floor-to-ceiling glass maximising dramatic views across the cityscape and its sister towers.
Serving up traditional Italian with contemporary flair, indulge your senses with both a la carte and personalised tasting menus. The latter includes a line-up of signature dishes both on and off the menu.
Image courtesy of marriott.com
Where to Stay
When it comes to where to stay, business travellers will benefit from a top spot that offers easy access to the city's key business districts while maintaining close contact to a few sightseeing opportunities.
The good news is that 5-star stays won't break the bank and often offer easy access to both business and leisure activities. The Renaissance Kuala Lumpur is one such hotel.
Sitting at the heart of the city, this top stay is an expression of timeless elegance. Guest rooms are well appointed with a sweep of modern amenities sure to please any corporate travellers. This includes a large in-room desk and access to high-speed internet.
Beyond the rooms, there are no less than seven drinking and dining options to choose from, a spa and fitness centre and facilities to accommodate on-site meetings and events.
Image courtesy of Getty
Where to Play
There's more than enough to keep you entertained in and around Kuala Lumpur as this buzzing city welcomes curious travellers with a veritable playground of activity. From cultural pursuits to natural wonders, it's easy to fill a day and then some!
Kick off your leisure adventure with a trip to the Central Market. This is the place to go for unique souvenirs as this bustling Art Deco market houses stall after stall of locally made handicrafts. Be sure to check out nearby Chinatown and the street artists selling their wares along the riverfront.
One of the most memorable experiences of Kuala Lumpur actually lies approximately 10 kilometres north of the city. The Batu Caves are a popular series of limestone abutments reached by a challenging 272-step climb past a giant golden Hindu god statue. At the top you'll be rewarded with excellent views and a series of three caves with Hindu temples and shrines.
Any visit to the city wouldn't be complete without a journey up the famous, steel-clad Petronas Twin Towers. Casting an imposing presence over the city, these unique buildings stand out for all the right reasons.
Head to the nearby park for a photo op in front of the towers around sunset to watch the sisters shimmer as the last rays of sun play off their curved facades. Then purchase a ticket to the observation deck for panoramic night time views from the 86th floor. You can also walk from one tower to the other using the world's highest double-decked sky bridge.