While it lacks substantial historic character, there are several sites and attractions that date to the turn of the 20th century. Gentrified colonial mansions and lurid Chinatown markets easily transport visitors to a bygone era that still persists in corners of Kuala Lumpur.
But looming over it all are the twin peaks of the Petronas Towers, a testament to the grandiose vision of an ultra-modern city. In its shadow are world-class shopping malls and five-star hotels that rival those in any great Western metropolis.
Modern KL's most iconic landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers were once the world's tallest. Rising 1,482 feet above street level, this architectural marvel is visible from anywhere in the city's central districts. Visitors queue up for the chance to walk across the Skybridge, a suspension bridge spanning the towers on the 41st floor.
In the Lake Gardens district, the Islamic Arts Museum exhibits a fascinating collection of art and artifacts from the Islamic world. From famous mosques in miniature to a meticulously recreated Ottoman room, visitors are sure to enjoy the displays. It is even possible to purchase artwork from the gift shop or dine at an onsite Middle Eastern buffet.
Synonymous with Chinatown, this is Kuala Lumpur's liveliest avenue. Thousands of shoppers, diners, vendors and people-watchers converge on this single location from early morning until well into the evening.
There are more than 1,000 artifacts on display in this Lake Garden's facility. Exhibits span Malaysia's art, history and lifestyle, with an emphasis on post-colonial developments. The building was built in the 1960s to resemble a longhouse from a Sarawak minority group.
Geographically close to Chinatown, but miles from its hustle and energy, is the park that once served as a retreat for Kuala Lumpur's colonial elite. It covers nearly 230 acres and centers on a picturesque lake. This is still the perfect place to escape the hectic straits of the city for an hour or two.
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