Kuala Lumpur Photo Essay

To some, Kuala Lumpur is a shopping destination with stylish malls and international brands. It’s a city of skyscrapers and one of the few public transport monorails on earth. Home to one of the most impressive and once-tallest buildings on earth. But there’s more to it.

I wanted to present you with as many sides of Kuala Lumpur as I could. While many overland southeast Asian backpackers wiz through KL, a little exploration may prove rewarding. While it certainly doesn’t have the sights of Bangkok, if you travel down the Malay Peninsula, chances are you’ll wind up in Kuala Lumpur for a few days. Give the city some effort. And don’t forget to try the most delicious Malaysian foods!

The Many Faces of Kuala Lumpur


malaysia flag

The Malaysian flag hangs outside of a barber shop. The fourteen red and white stripes represent the 13 states of Malaysia and the central government.


making mini murtabek

A man grills mini murtabak on the street in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

skyscrappers kuala lumpur

Skyscrapers play a prominent role in the recent development of Kuala Lumpur. This shot was taken out of the 18th floor of the Prince Hotel.

Kuala Lumpur fashion

Displays outside of shops in KL’s Little India. Contrary to what it once was, “Little India” today is primarily filled with things Malay, like these head scarves.

outside the Coliseum Cafe in Kuala Lumpur

The façade of the Coliseum Hotel and Café doesn’t look like much from the outside. But it’s one of the few Colonial leftovers from the days of British Malaya.

inside the Coliseum Cafe (2)

It doesn’t seem like much has changed inside the Coliseum Café since the days when W. Somerset Maugham spent time here on his route through southeast Asia. Open since 1921, the café is a Kuala Lumpur institution.

pot of coffee at the Coliseum Cafe in Kuala Lumpur

A pot of coffee at the Coliseum. Much of the interior decor like the woodwork and tiles remain seemingly untouched for decades.

Temple in China Town Kuala Lumpur

A temple in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.

selling flowers outside a Hindu Temple in China Town KL Malaysia

A man sells flowers outside of a Hindu Temple in KL’s Chinatown.

Petronas Towers

The ambitious Petronas Towers stand as a testament to Malaysia’s infrastructure development and the country’s arrival into the modern era. Visitors can take elevators to the top or to the bridge connecting the towers. Petronas Towers stood as tallest skyscraper in the world from 1998 to 2004, but they remain the tallest twin building in the world.

Under the Petronas Towers at night

Night scene at the park under the Petronas Towers.

colonial building in Kuala Lumpur

Only a few colonial building survive in the frantic development of the city.

KL streets at night

Traffic in the “Golden Triangle” district at night underneath the city’s monorail.

banana leaf meal

Malaysians are passionate about food. Eating is not restricted to ridged meal times and eateries can be packed at any time of the day or night. Here two diners enjoy a “banana leaf” meal at a local KL restaurant.

pool of the Prince hotel

Kuala Lumpur is known for its cheap 4-star hotels. Often times, luxury rooms can be scored for less than $100 US.

Art Deco Cetral Market KL Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market dates from 1888 when it served as a wet market selling seafood, meat, and vegetables. It acquired its Art Deco style in 1936 and today it a serves as a Cultural Bazaar with a variety of handicrafts stalls.

rmbutan for sale in Malaysia

Rambutan for sale at a fruit stand.

Kuala Lumpur wildlife

Wildlife in Kuala Lumper moves at a different pace.

There are a plethora of high end hotels in Kuala Lumpur at excellent prices. Most are conveniently located in the “new” downtown area where high rises, trendy restaurants, and fancy malls  have taken over. Kuala Lupur is a city fashioning itself anew in the twenty-first century.