Unless you were born and bred in Kuala Lumpur or thoroughly plied its sprawling network of public transport and walked its streets quite a bit, it’s highly unlikely that you would have seen all of its sights or heard all of its sounds.
As a visitor or business traveller faced with all the promise of spectacle and experience offered by the incredible city of Kuala Lumpur, how does one decide which place to see? If you’re visiting on business or for work, choosing a destination becomes even harder if you’re strapped for time.
Two of the least-known sights has to be along Jalan Raja Bot, often overlooked by locals and tourists as it is sandwiched between the more popular Jalan Chow Kit night market and Kampung Baru night stalls.
This tiny strip of night market starts around 10pm and lasts all the way to early morning – you can get uncommon jungle produce from here such as snails, pisang tanduk (tusk-shaped and -sized bananas), and Asian avocados. It’s where the big restaurants in KL also get their fresh meat and vegetables before the business day.
If you’re visiting Jln Raja Bot in the day, then be sure to stop by the Tatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara, the largest Sikh temple in Southeast Asia first built in 1922. If you’re free on Sunday, the temple gives out free vegetarian food to all lunchtime visitors.
If you’re hungry and keen on one of the best and hidden nasi lemak spots in town, then why not try Nasi Lemak Menangis (it’s so good it makes you cry) at Taman CT, just behind Kampung Baru National School? Forget Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, this one’s the real deal, and there’s a regular busking band to entertain you all the way past midnight.
If you like food, take your business partners to the Kun Yam Thong Buddhist temple at Jalan Ampang (by the main road, 100 metres from the Malaysian Chinese Association building), where you can try out literally more than a hundred different vegetarian dishes and desserts – at street food prices.
Staying at a business hotel right in the city centre? You’d be surprised at the good cost value of five-star hotels when looking to reserve a Kuala Lumpur accommodation. The Sunway Putra Hotel, for example, is near the Putra World Trade Centre and costs a fraction of market prices.
From there, if you’re looking for a spot to wind down and get away from the bustle of it all, pay a visit to the Perdana Botanical Garden (from Pasar Seni LRT or KL train station, walk towards National Mosque and watch for signboards). It isn’t a new place but since its ongoing refurbishment from 2012 onwards, the rehabilitated garden features some of the best wildlife scenery you can find in the city. It’s quite surreal to be looking at deer at a waterfall while being surrounded by skyscrapers!
And there you have it! Even if you’re not willing to travel beyond the confines of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre or your business hotel, and can only go out after hours, there’s still plenty to see. All within 15 minutes’ from a nearby train/light rail station.