Kuala Lumpur (KL), like other modern metropolises, is not short of mega malls and Ikeas. But looking past all the humdrum of Western-inspired modernity, there are many hidden gems in the city that are authentically local. Here are five tips to make your experience in KL unique.
1. Café-hopping to quench that heat-induced thirst
Nowadays, the appreciation of the coffee industry is becoming mainstream as we see more stores pop up like weeds amongst lush trees of urbanization.
Today’s hip cafes – for example Jao Tim in Petaling Street that exudes vintage charm with exposed bricks and weekly live jazz music, including Bukit Bintang-bound VCR café that prides its modern interior and vaulted ceiling – prove that these venues are more than just Instagram-worthy stopovers.
One of the most talked about café in KL is Merchant’s Lane in Petaling Street with its culturally luxuriant interior and divine culinary offerings. It is one of the must-try places that invite city dwellers and travelers to roam into a mixed vision of the city’s past.
Classical ambience in Jao Tim cafe (Photo from Facebook)
2. Fill your artistic needs with gallery hopping
One of the advantages of being in an urban city is the access to art galleries. Gallery hopping is great when you have that extra day off with no plans and no commitments.
Art galleries when appreciated correctly, gives your mind the time and space to unwind from the clutter of work and worries. With their quiet spaces and soft lighting, you are bound to feel relaxed in an environment with string sense of space.
Some of the galleries worth visiting are Shalini Ganendra Fine Arts gallery in Petaling Jaya, Wei Ling gallery in Brickfields and of course the understated but always accessible Petronas Gallery at KLCC.
3. Can’t take the heat, but need the thrill? Try indoor sports!
For those who are thrill-seekers at heart, but are beaten down by the tropical weather of Kuala Lumpur, indoor sports venues might just be the antidote.
One of the most recent indoor sports venues is District 21, located within IOI city centre mall. It is an indoor theme park filled with extreme games that one would not expect to be situated in a popular shopping centre.
4. Opt for an Open Mic session to dish out your inner Shakespeare
Following the trend of other urban cities and their dynamic pop-culture, the platform for musicians, poets and the general public to share and perform or tell a story has sprouted like wild mushrooms after rain throughout the city.
It would be almost controversial to spend an evening at places like The Bee and The Grind 22, which confront their patrons with thought-provoking topics and emotional music; but it is popular for multiple reasons.
Open mic events allow you to not just support local artists and performers, but also be sensitive towards different life stories and experiences. Prepare to learn new things at every visit. Plus, it is highly entertaining!
If all fails, shopping is your best bet in Kuala Lumpur. Still, don’t be blinded by the countless branded stores at the malls; instead, shop creatively and shop peculiarly.
Specialty stores like Recro that sells refurbished, mid-century looking furniture, and CzipLee bookstore, whi
And if you’re not looking for an item to bring home, how about learning a thing or two on cameras at Bang Bang Geng at the Publika Shopping Gallery? The store hoards plenty of old collector’s item, and though they are not for sale, at a reasonable price, you can go home a bit more photography-savvy and win hundreds more likes on Instagram.
Zhongshan Building is another must-go attraction if you would rather spend your time at one place. Previously an abandoned building, this new oasis that houses local vendors who sell lovably quirky and edgy items, offers the chance for the public to shop all kinds of specialty items under one roof.
So, slip on your sneakers and pick your desired adventure. Each of these tips promises unique experiences that could only be found in KL!