A sparkling capital
A cruise of one day is enough to appreciate the best of Kuala Lumpur’s main attractions, including the colonial core around Merdeka Square and the adjacent enclaves of Chinatown and Little India, plus, to the east, the restaurants, shops and nightlife of the so-called Golden Triangle, the modern heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur, your MSC Cruises port of call in Malaysia.
It can be equally rewarding just to take in the street life, in particular the boisterous markets, ranging from fish and produce markets stuffed into alleyways, via clothes and accessories stalls, to stands selling cooked food of every shape and description. Indeed, the capital offers some of the most exciting cuisine in the country, not only in the street markets but also in a plethora of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Kuala Lumpur’s hinterland highlights making it one of the most unique stops on an MSC Grand Voyages cruise, too; among them the rugged limestone Batu Caves, which contain the Malaysia’s most sacred Hindu shrine.
Rather than a discernible city centre, Kuala Lumpur has several hubs of activity. Close to the rivers’ original “muddy confluence”, the former colonial district and its distinctive architecture surrounds Merdeka Square with the busy tourist hub of Chinatown just southeast. In between the two lie the attractive old Jamek Mosque and the craft cornucopia that is Central Market. Worthwhile forays can be made north to Little India’s more locals-oriented shops and altogether grittier Chow Kit Market. Some 2km east, the Golden Triangle presents the city’s modern face, lively Bukit Bintang packed with upmarket hotels, restaurants and designer shopping malls. Overlooking it to the north is the tall, strikingly modernist Petronas Towers; visitors flock to the skybridge here, though in fact the westerly Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower, poking out of wooded Bukit Nanas, has better views.