1. Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan city
You will find Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur is home of a wide range of people from different countries and backgrounds around the world. The majority of the population are Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysian. There are also a great number of people from different countries and different religions living and working in Kuala Lumpur like Thailand, Philippine, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, America, Europe, etc and a huge mixed-race community.
Kuala Lumpur is home to many different religions like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, etc. According to data reported by Wikipedia (in 2010), 61.3% of the population in Malaysia practices Islam; 19.8% Buddhism; 9.2% Christianity; 6.3% Hinduism; and 3.4% traditional Chinese religions. People live in harmony with each other disregarding many differences.
2. Don’t expect to eat much pork here
There are a majority of Muslims in KL who don’t eat pork, then it is a bit difficult to find pork or bacon. Especially for newcomers it would be almost impossible to find good pork restaurants since they’ve just moved to KL. If you live in KL for a while, you will notice that they will mark “halal” and “non- halal” for the restaurants, BBQ areas, hotel serves, microwaves or even the drink. So what do Halal and Non- Halal mean?
– Halal simply means “no pork”. Actually in Arabic, it literally means “permissible or lawful”. Halal food is ‘permissible/lawful’ food for Muslims. So when you see a restaurant with “halal” sign, definitely there is no pork in the restaurant or when a microwave is labeled as “halal”, you are supposed not to use it if your food is pork or any kind of pork products.
– Non- halal means that the restaurants got bacon, or you can use the microwave to heat your bacon.
So, when renting a room in KL, before moving in, make sure that you ask your owner or your roommates whether you can cook pork or not. But no worries, pork lovers, there are such a bunch of pork restaurants list that you can easily find out in Google.
Then, what kind of meat is common in KL? This is chicken, chicken is everywhere guys; chicken burgers, chicken noodles, chicken soup, chicken rice, BBQ chicken, etc. Welcome to chicken kingdom!!!!!!
3. Not a city for ‘vegetable’ lovers, like me!
According to freemalaysiantoday article, “Health Minister S.Subramaniam said the National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that only 6% of adult Malaysians consumed sufficient fruits and vegetables last year compared to 7.5% in 2011.” The fact is that there is a lot of kind of vegetables in the supermarkets, but it is difficult for me to find a vegetables dishes in most of restaurants in KL though.
In Vietnam, my home country, people love eating different kinds of vegetables and you, as a foreigner, visiting Vietnam might sometimes be surprised with a long list of vegetables dishes. Then, Malaysian, I guess most of them are meat lovers. In one meal, there are maybe 1 vegetable with 3 meats, or sometimes no vegetable at all.
For that reason, I usually visit Vietnamese restaurants or Thai restaurants or cook at home. In case you are a chicken or beef lover, Malaysia is a perfect country to live.
4. An ideal place for nature lovers
There are various hiking trails and a plenty of excellent waterfalls near Kuala Lumpur. The best thing living in KL is that I can easily find a trail or a waterfall to trek at the weekend to escape from the busy and crowded city life. In fact, within 1 or 2 hours away from KL center by car, you can enjoy your weekend in the nature of Malaysia.
My condo is in the middle of the city, it just takes about 20 minutes to KL Sentral by train, but there is a fabulous trekking trail which is walking distance from my house, is it amazing??!! I walk there on weekends, it takes me 40 minutes walking and around 1 hour to 2 hours trekking depending on which trails I choose.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner hiker or an experienced climber looking for challenges, there’s always a trail for you to choose. If you love hiking and nature, then KL is a great place to move to.
Check out these trails:
5. Got a number of local night markets
If you want to experience the local lifestyle, there’re a large number of night markets (or pasar malams in Melayu) in KL. Usually they just open 1 or 2 nights a week, but no worries, it should be a few night markets around your area to check out. There’r tons of authentic local food, street food, noodles, nasi lemak, and other snacks with an excellent price. You can also shop a lot of cheap fruits and vegetables there. Beside the food, visitors can easily find out gadgets, clothes and other common household items in these lively street markets.
The very famous and big local market in KL that is recommended to visit is Taman Connaught Night Market, locally known as Cheras Pasar Malam. Some local food you should try at least once here: satay, deep fried squid, chicken crips, dimsum, cendol, …. Besides, Jalan Alor is well-known for tourists, but it is quite expensive and it’s not really a local market because you can find a lot of different food there, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnam, Indonesian or even Western food.
6. English is as simple as ever
There are three main languages in Malaysia: English, Melayu and Chinese. English is a second language in Malaysia which is spoken by most of Malaysian. Since a lot of foreigners from different part of the world live in KL, basic daily conversations become more interesting and easier.
Sometimes, people just use one word to express the whole sentence, like
– Can/ Can not instead of “Can I use it?” “You can not use it!” ….
– Finish! ( in the restaurant) instead of “Sorry, we are all out of the beef” or “the restaurant is closed now!”
Let’s look at some Malay- English words that helps you sound like a local:
Can/ can not => Can lah/ cannot lah or boleh/tak boleh
Ok => Ok lah
Let’s eat/ drink => Makan! Minum!
Let’s take a walk! => go jalan lah 😀
Most of people in KL can speak multiple-languages, and they usually combine all in a conversation; they speak Melayu but sometimes use English words or Chinese words. That’s quite interesting and funny to me!!??And if you are an English beginner, no worries when travelling or moving here, everybody will try to understand you. And anw studying some basic Melayu will be useful for your life here.
7. A very diverse public transport system.
Kuala Lumpur develops a varied and efficient public transportation system. You can get almost everywhere in KL by public transit. There are different types of train in KL: LRT, KTM, MRT, Monorail, KLIA Transit, KLIA express. Besides, you can travel around the city by regular bus, BRT(bus rapid transit), KL hop on- hop off, KL free bus.
There are also train and bus connecting to other cities or states or even Singapore. There are KTM and bus that run daily to Penang, Genting, Melaka, Ipoh and other travel spots near KL.
Train ticket is quite cheap, from my condo to KL Sentral by KTM only 1.9RM (in around 15 minutes), MRT is a bit more expensive.. You should by a ‘touch and go’ card for your daily commute when moving to KL.
So, let’s see how many ways to get to the airport – KLIA1/KLIA2
- By bus: A trip to the airport from KL Sentral by bus will cost only 12RM, and take roughly 1 hour, depending on traffic. It’s definitely the cheapest way to travel.
- Express Rail Link (ERL/ KLIA Express Train): it is the fastest way to travel. It will take you only 30 minutes to reach the airport. Ticket price: 55RM/ person.
- KL Transit train: ticket price: 55RM, with 4 stops: Bandar Tasik Selatan, Cyberjaya/Putrajaya, Salak Tinggi and KLIA2. Estimate travel time: 35-40 minutes.
- By taxi/grab: if you have checked luggage with you, you are better to take grab or taxi which takes about 50 minutes depending on traffic. The estimate fare is around 60-80RM.
8. It is home of the tallest twin towers
Petronas towers were originally the tallest tower in the world until they were surpassed by Taipei tower in 2004. Although no longer the world tallest buildings, they’ve remained the tallest twin towers in the world since 1996. Petronas is a major tourist attraction which is listed as one of the must-see spots in KL.
The towers are open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 9pm. The ticket price is 80Rm/aldult for foreigners; if you are local, it costs about 10RM as I know. Visit Petronas official website to update info.
9. A shopping mall paradise
KL is paradise for shoppers, you can easily find tons of malls from small shopping malls to world-class shopping centers. Discount become part of marketing strategies throughout the year. There are many big brands’ products being sold at discount prices during special occasions to attract customers to the shopping malls: Black Friday, 11-11 Sale, 12-12 Sale, Chinese New Year discount, Hari Raya promotion, Deepavali promotion, etc. So if you are a shopping lovers, KL is a perfect place.
Check it out the shopping mall list of favorite local hunt below:
- Suria KLCC Mall
- Pavilion (Bukit Bintang)
- Sunway Pyramid (Sunway)
- Midvalley Megamall
- The Gardens Mall
- One Utama Shopping Mall (Petaling Jaya)
- Mytown shopping center
- Berjaya Times Square (Bukit Bintang)
- NU sentral
- Central Market
10. Kuala Lumpur literally means “muddy confluence” in Malay
According to Kuala Lumpur Etymology, the city is located at the junction of Gombak river (earlier Lumpur River = ‘muddy river’) and Klang Rivers. The city was named after the river when many crucial history events happened in this confluence. Literally, Kuala means ‘confluence’ and Lumpur means ‘Mud’, so KL is a muddy confluence’. It is quite interesting for me when reading about the history of the city. And nowadays, Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Mosque is at the spot where KL was founded in 1857.
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