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4 Hours in Kuala Lumpur -#2

Luscious green spaces, local cuisine and landmark towers mark a whirlwind tour of this star of Malaysia

June 1, 2019

Perdana Botanical Garden

Perfect for an attitudinal adjustmentto relieve stress, Kuala Lumpur’s oldest public park (1888) is the spot  to lose yourself amongst tropical flora and fauna. Wander the Hibiscus Garden and Herbarium, passing the central enclosure where a herd of deer roam freely. From there, it’s a short walk through Perdana’s lush gardens to the Bird Park, a public aviary containing more than 3,000 birds, with peaceful coffee breaks available on the Hornbill Café’s veranda. Open 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM daily; admission RM67/$16);;

Alternatively, head over to the famous Butterfly Park, a tranquil spot where vividly colored insects live in harmony with Japanese koi and freshwater turtles within a lush landscaped plantation. Open 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM daily; admission RM24/ $5.80; 

Masjid Negara, National Mosque of Malaysia

Leaving the Botanical Garden, continue along Jalan Lembah until you come to the Masjid Negara on your left. Opened in 1965 and since restored in contemporary style, this imposing building has capacity for around 15,000 worshippers. Known for its green-and-blue tiled roof and 240-foot-tall minaret, the country’s national mosque is also notable for its 18-point star-shaped dome, representing all 13 of Malaysia’s states plus the five pillars of Islam. Its sizeable prayer hall is adorned with intricate tiled mosaics, as well as colorful stained-glass windows and elaborate chandeliers.The mosque welcomes non-Muslims outside of prayer times, and robes and headscarves are available to borrow.

Central Market and Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

Crossing Jalan Kinabalu and the Klang River, a 10 minutes’ walk brings you to the art-deco Central Market, a recognized heritage site. Built in 1928, this former wet market was reinvented as a hub for artisans and craftsmen in the 1980s, and today is a major independent shopping hub. Offering traditional souvenirs such as batik and decorative carvings, alongside original Malaysian artworks and handmade jewelry, there’s something here for every taste and budget.The market’s first floor is the ideal spot to sample Malay snacks, including the delicious putu bambu, made from rice flour, pandan and coconut, steamed in a hollowed-out bamboo stem. A short distance farther along Lebuh Pudu is the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Built in 1864, this is the oldest Taoist temple in KL.

Aquaria KLCC and Petronas Twin Towers

A 15-minute taxi ride via Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan P Ramlee brings you to the Golden Triangle, the beating heart of KL. Here you’ll find Aquaria KLCC, one of Southeast Asia’s largest aquariums, with more than 5,000 aquatic creatures from giant sea turtles and sand tiger sharks to pot-bellied seahorses and Asian small-clawed otters. Taking you through various fascinating underwater habitats is a 295-foot-long glass tunnel with a moving central walkway, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by marine life. Check the website to schedule your visit for one of the aquarium’s interactive feeding sessions. Open 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM daily; RM65/ $15.70; aquariaklcc.comA short walk away, snap stunning cityscape photos from the 1614-foot-tall Petronas Twin Towers – the city’s most iconic landmark. Bypass the queues by purchasing advance tickets online for the building’s famous Skybridge or Observation Deck. Open 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM Tue-Sun, closed Mondays and 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM on Fridays; RM80/US$19;

Heli Lounge Bar

Grab a cab for the 10-minute drive along Jalan Ampang to Heli Lounge Bar, where you can toss back some well-earned sundowners accompanied by seriously impressive views. The clue to this place’s USP is in its name; while the venue features a slick aviation-themed bar on the 34th floor, it’s the 37th floor where the real action is – a working helipad that turns into KL’s coolest rooftop lounge at night, complete with extraordinary 360-degree city vistas. Sunsets here are breathtaking, even more so with a cocktail in hand. The helipad opens at 6:00 PM; BijanA five-minute taxi ride will bring you  to Bijan on Jalan Ceylon. This  award-winning restaurant offers traditionalMalaysian cuisine sprinkled with perfectly judged contemporary touches, in a charming rustic setting – think batik-print wall hangings, wooden furniture and a breezy outdoor terrace. Must-orders  include opor rusuk, a melt-in-the-mouth  slow-cooked beef rib curry; pucuk paku goreng tahi minyak, aromatic wild fern stir-fried with chili, caramelized coconut and prawns; and a deliciously decadent durian chocolate cake. Given Bijan’s reasonable prices, there’s no excuse not to order up a feast for your last KL pitstop. Open 4:30 – 11:00 PM daily;