3 cities in 1: The strange charm of Kuala Lumpur

Like almost every major city in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur has gone through several different periods before it is considered an economic center but also a travel destination of interest.

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Three different dimensions are those that build its current character (the modern piece, the old neighborhoods and the jungle), which is also true for the mix of the different ethnicities that make up the majority of its population (Chinese, Indian and Malaysian).

History
The history of the largest city and of course the capital of Malaysia begins in 1820, at the confluence of the Kang and Gobak rivers. Its name translates as a “lumpur” contribution (kuala), and was basically founded by Chinese workers looking for bauxite and seated in the wider region. Of those Chinese, only 17 people managed to survive the malaria epidemic that was raging at that point. But the mine they discovered attracted more and more people. For almost 1.5 century, the village (so called by its then inhabitants) had been filled with even more Chinese and Indian people, who slowly formed the local community and – later generations later – the Malaysians.

By the middle of the 20th century, the place reminded something of the Wild West: saloon and bargaining houses, merchants and illegal, Chinese Trinity, and frequent conflicts to mine control. Things calmed down when trade through the rivers grew more and the daily routs went smoother. The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur was made in 1957, when the country was no longer under British rule (since 1897), and according to the latest census now numbers more than 1,800,000 inhabitants.

Since then, more and more natives have arrived in the city from various parts of the country, but their income remains for several years lower than that of Chinese and Indians. However, the outbreaks of violence remain at significantly lower levels than in previous decades. By May 13, 1969 – a date recorded in the history of the country as “the event of May 13”: A pogrom against Chinese with nearly 800 dead will force the government to resign and on September 16 of that year a new government structure will be formed , which will gradually offer more equal opportunities to all, reduce economic differences, carefully manage nationalist sentiments, and build a properly structured multinational society.

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Until the beginning of the 21st century, the proportion of Malaysians will dominate while improving the standard of living and the education system will smooth out any racial differences. Mixed weddings will become more and more, and there will be better cooperation for people of different ethnicities in the workplace.

The top attractions of Kuala Lumpur

The twin towers of Petronas: The skyscrapers that until 2004 were the highest buildings on the planet with a height of 379 meters (reaching 452 if their antennas are taken into account). The two towers are joined by the two-floor bridge between the 41st and 42nd floors, higher than any other in the world (107m).

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The Lake Gardens area: A lush green area that includes gardens and theme parks.

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Thean Hou Temple: An interesting architectural structure that stretches over 6 levels and is dedicated to the Chinese deity Mazou.

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Merdeka Square: This is a vast square, a center of protests in the past. Nowadays, it is covered with grass and cricket and parades are taking place there. At its center, one Malaysian flag stands out in a 100-meter pillar.

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Shopping on the Petaling Street: One of Kuala Lumpur’s biggest streets bustling everyday life. Everywhere there are street vendors and small or larger open-air markets.

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Kuala Lumpur today
Being hyperactive and buzzing, today’s Kuala Lumpur has evolved into a modern metropolis that, despite its intense fog and stuttering atmosphere, exerts its own charm. The modern one coexists with the old, the skyscrapers with the huts, the green parks and the jungle (yes, the jungle) with the big avenues, the rich with the poor and the jungles with the people. Differences in national criteria are perceived by the visitor when visiting the most characteristic neighborhoods of each tribe: There is Chinatown in the northern part of downtown, Little India just south of Chinatown and Malay village to the west. Each of these areas is encircled by a modernist environment that includes towering buildings and gigantic shopping malls, creating a whole picture of a chaotic urban landscape. But somewhere among the skyscrapers, open-air traditional markets and tiny stalls – worthy representatives of the renowned street food of Southeast Asia are emerging. And in addition to all this, the jungle. In Kuala Lumpur, within the city center, the green image of several tens of hectares of tropical vegetation, in which monkeys and deer, rare species of plants and insects are inhabited. In fact, there are few buildings where one can open the window and touch the jungle trees.

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If you expect to remind Bangkok or Singapore, you will probably be disappointed. Kuala Lumpur is much smaller, gathered and special. It may be even more representative of Asiatic. A trip can always convince you.


This article ws originally published on: https://esquire.com.gr/

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