The Westin Kuala Lumpur

  • 199, Jalan Bukit Bintang
  • Kuala Lumpur,
  • 55100
  • Malaysia
  • Map

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Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower

Destination Guide

Overview

Learn more about this great destination and what it has to offer. Choose a section below for information on the area, including history and transportation details.

Kuala Lumpur Guide

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is in its totality, peripheral townships and all, a fairly large city of over 7 million people and may seem unwieldy to the unaccustomed eye. KL is the proud home of an amazing array of cultural and historical vestiges from a colorful past. It is also home to large Malay, Chinese, Indian communities, a number of lesser-known tribes, and a multitude of languages, religions, customs and quirks.

Malaysia offers an enticing concoction of some of the world's most interesting cultures - quite a deal for the Internet-age traveler looking to experience it all. At the very core of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a kaleidoscope of architecture, lifestyles, tropical flora, percussion, and international cuisines. Step on in and experience its magic!

Colonial Core

Kuala Lumpur began as a few square miles of unspectacular landscape that now hosts many of its most important buildings. Once you orient yourself along the lines of modern history, you will never get lost. Look for the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a Moorish-style, elongated structure dressed in salmon colors and perhaps the most photographed site in town. Its functioning clock tower has witnessed many historical milestones and faithfully provides a backdrop to important national events such as the annual National Day Parade.

Across the street lies the Dataran Merdeka, or Independence Square, which evolved from a British colonial cricket green and is now complemented by a lovely water fountain, colonnades, flower beds and an underground food and entertainment center. You cannot miss the Selangor Club and the Cathedral of Virgin St Mary, both unmistakable ornaments of the once exclusive lifestyles of colonialists.

The progressive spread of Islam since the 15th century has bequeathed Kuala Lumpur some of the greatest mosques this side of Istanbul. Jamek Mosque, the oldest in the country, is located just behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and offers a fine start for a day of exploring.

Chinatown

The Central Market, traditionally a fresh market, now hosts painters, sculptors, fortune-tellers and traders hawking a wide range of curios, collectibles and art. For connoisseurs of kitsch, paradise lies at Petaling Street. This 500-meter stretch of century-old shophouses and neighboring blocks of similar offerings are collectively known as Chinatown.

Lake Gardens Area

The greener side of Kuala Lumpur began as a vegetable and tapioca field. Today Lake Gardens and its vicinity still feature numerous parks - such as Orchid Garden, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Hibiscus Garden, Butterfly Park and Deer Park - but is also marked by the Parliament House, the commemorative National Monument, and the Tun Abdul Razak Memorial. Explore further and you discover the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, the National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and at the end of the line, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.

Golden Triangle & Kuala Lumpur City Ccenter (KLCC)

For the city's newest gadgets and gizmos, head for one of the many shopping establishments. Which one? To err on the side of caution, choose the tallest among them: the Petronas Twin Towers. These towers are among the tallest in the world. Or, take a stroll in the Suria KLCC at the base of the towers to find a wealth of luxury items.

Certainly shopkeepers and department stores abounded before Suria KLCC, and the most expensive and well-stocked of these lie scattered around the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Bukit Bintang. One of the most happening party strips - the Bintang Walk is also found here.

Ampang

What happened to the tin barons who got rich from the mineral that made Kuala Lumpur? The Ampang enclave hides a precious cache of private residences where the affluent still live. Some of these architectural marvels serve as glimmering veneers of cool and clever enterprises, and conceal several of the city's best-kept secrets, including Sungei Tua Waterfall.

The old footpath to the Ampang tin mines evolved into Jalan Ampang, now lavishly adorned with eateries and merry-making stops of a tantalizing variety, seamlessly blending in with the adjacent instruments of commerce: high-rise office blocks, hotels, foreign embassies and political offices. For an unbeatable view of all these and more, head to one of the world's tallest telecommunications towers, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, on Jalan Punchak.

Other Interesting Districts

For those who want a taste of India, check out Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, a mile-long street running north from the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the adjacent Jalan Masjid India.

Historical Background

Kuala Lumpur's early history started taking shape when the state of Selangor gained eminence in the 16th century with the discovery of tin deposits, a material Western colonialists needed to build their empire. This brought the Chinese and the Bugis (Malays from Macassar) into the state's economics and politics. There, they established themselves throughout the 18th century forming the Selangor sultanate.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) itself was not built until 1857 when miners and traders came in search of tin and poled upriver to where the Klang and Gombak rivers converge. The Gombak estuary was the highest point upstream that the miners could land their supplies for prospecting tin in Ampang. Others soon arrived, building shelters and opening trading posts. They named the settlement Kuala Lumpur, which means "muddy estuary" in Malay. By the 1860s, the miners' landing place had become a flourishing village. The city's oldest mosque, Jamek Mosque, built in 1908, still overlooks the spot where it all began.

Kuala Lumpur was founded in turbulent times, when fierce rivalries over mining claims and water rights led to civil wars with frequent gang clashes, feuds and murders. Kuala Lumpur was a predominantly Chinese pioneer settlement with a rambunctious handful of brothels, gambling booths and opium dens. The continuous fighting worried the headmen so much they elected a kapitan cina (Chinese captain) named Yap Ah Loy to establish peace and order. He played a major role during the civil wars and continued to direct the affairs of the town until his death in 1885.

In 1881, fire and a flood destroyed the city and by the time of Yap Ah Loy's death, the town was nothing more than wooden huts huddled along narrow lanes. A few eateries, incense shops and medicine shops from the old days remain on Petaling Street. Several temples built between 1873 and 1906 managed to withstand the test of time, including two Chinese temples, Chan See Shu Yuen and Sze Ya Temple, and the highly ornate Sri Mahamariaman Temple. The Central Market and the National Museum shops are great places to buy antiques and artifacts from years past.

In 1882, Frank Swettenham was named Resident (advisor) to Selangor and the settlement began to assume its modern shape as he encouraged local businessmen to build brick houses, in contrast to the largely thatch and board structures that were washed away in the floods. Street by street, the old town was pulled down and reconstructed with wider thoroughfares and stone and brick structures. At the same time, Swettenham also encouraged the growth of the coffee and tobacco industries. During this time the British erected both a railroad and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and other colonial establishments. These include one of the Malaysia's oldest Anglican churches, the Cathedral of Virgin Saint Mary and the Royal Selangor Club, once the main communal center for colonial society.

The city's oldest railway station, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station was built in 1910. Though renovated with air-conditioning and restaurants, it still evokes a colonial ambiance with its Moorish and Edwardian architectural styles. Seven years later, in 1917, the Keretapi Tanah Melayu was built in a similar architectural style just opposite it.

Kuala Lumpur's development was rapid from this time onwards. By the end of the century, it was the colonial capital of the newly created Federated Malay States. In 1946, Kuala Lumpur became the headquarters of the Malayan Union, which would become the Federation of Malaya two years later. The city gained historical significance again in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence from British rule and the first Malayan flag was raised on the grounds of the cricket field, known today as Merdeka Square. In 1974, Kuala Lumpur came of age, formally detaching from its mother state of Selangor and becoming part of the Federal Territory. The federal government of Malaysia directly governs Kuala Lumpur and the two other territories in the Federal Territory. Since 2001 federal administrative and judicial functions have been moved to Putrajaya. Otherwise, Kuala Lumpur remains the central and largest city in Malaysia.

For all its modernity, the atmosphere of British colonialism is still occasionally present in Kuala Lumpur. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building, until recently, housed law courts; the Royal Selangor Club is now filled with food outlets; and on warm evenings, cricketers still play on the cricket field.

Getting Around

Getting There

Air

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) (http://www.klia.com.my/) is the city's main airport and located 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the city. The following airlines serve the Kuala Lumpur International Airport:

Air Asia: (+60 3 8660 4343 / http://www.airasia.com/)

Air India: (+60 03 2142 0166 / http://www.airindia.com/)

Air Mauritius: (+60 03 2142 9161 / http://www.airmauritius.com/)

Cathay Pacific: (+60 03 8787 2808 / http://www.cathaypacific.com/)

China Airlines (+60 3 2148-9417 / http://www.china-airlines.com/)

Emirates Airlines: (+60 03 2058 5888 / http://www.emirates.com/)

Korean Airlines: (+60 3 2144 0200 / http://www.koreanair.com/)

Malaysia Airlines: (+60 3 7846 3000 / http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/)

From the Airport

Train:

The fastest way to reach the the city from the airport is via high-speed train. The ride from KLIA Ekspres (+60 03 2267 8000 / http://www.KLIAekspres.com/) to KL Sentral only takes 28 minutes.

Bus:

Airport Coach SDN BHD: (+60 036203 3064) Triton Express: (+60 03 8787 4258)

Taxi:

Taxi ranks as well as a limousine service are located at the airport, all are operated by Airport Limo (+60 3 9223 8080). Coupons can be purchased at the international arrival hall, the domestic arrival hall, and the baggage reclaim.

Car Rentals:

To reach the city by car takes much longer than riding the KLIA Ekspres. It takes up to an hour to reach downtown Kuala Lumpur via highway. Car rental companies (all located at the arrival hall) at the airport include:

Kasina Baru (+60 3 8787 1739)

Hertz (+60 3 8776 8448)

Thrifty (+60 3 8787 1988)

National (+60 3 8787 3890)

Mayflower (+60 3 8776 4578)

Orix (+60 3 8787 4151)

Pacific (+60 3 8787 3922)

Avis (+60 3 8787 4087)

Sea

Kuala Lumpur's harbour, Port Klang (+60 3 3168 8211 / http://www.pka.gov.my/), is located about 64 km (40 mi) southwest of the city.

Pangkor Lumut Ekspres Feri Sdn. Bhd.: (+60 5 691 4102)

Gemilang Express: (+60 19 871 3561)

Anjung Holidays Sdn. Bhd: (+60 09 697 4095 / http://www.pulauperhentian.com.my)

Getting Around

Light Rail & Monorail

Only 16 percent of Kuala Lumpur's population use public transport. However, Kuala Lumpur's railway system consists of three different systems that extend throughout the Klang Valley:

RapidKL (http://www.rapidkl.com.my/)

KTM Komuter (http://www.ktmb.com.my)

KL Monorail (+60 3 2267 9888 / http://www.monorail.com.my/)

Stations, underground and above ground, are located throughout the city. Kuala Lumpur's central station is KL Sentral (http://www.klsentral.com.my/) which also provides trains to Singapore and Thailand.

Car Rentals

Since driving is the main mode of transport in the city, Kuala Lumpur's highway grid offers connection to every part of the city. However, roads are not toll free. Fees can be payed in cash or via value cards such as Touch 'n Go or SmartTAG. Car rental companies in the city include:

ASIAN Rent A Car Sdn Bhd: (+60 3 7494 9800 / http://www.asianrac.com.my/)

Hawk Rent A Car: (+60 3 5631 6488 / http://www.hawkrentacar.com.my/)

Sime Darby Rent A Car: (+60 3 8776 4507 / http://www.simedarbycarrental.com/)

Dynadrive Rent A Car: (+60 3 2148 8877)

Boustead Emasewa: (+60 03 8787 3890 / http://www.emasewa-car-rental.com.my/)

Sistem Sewa Kereta: (+60 3 8787 4087 / http://WIDvis.com.my/)

Insas Pacific Rent A Car (+6 03 2287 4118 / http://www.iprac.com/)

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is not responsible or liable for any errors or inaccuracies with respect to the information contained on this page.

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