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Kuala Lumpur Attractions

Merdeka Square
Site of the proclamation of independence in 1957, the square - formerly known as Padang - is the centre of National Day celebrations. Surrounding the square are many buildings of historical interest, including the Royal Selangor Club where KLs elite meet, the Sultan Abdul Samad building, which is a great example of the Victorian-Moorish architecture common to Malaysian cities, the National History Museum and library and the impressive, modern Dayabumi Complex. The square is in the heart of downtown KL, near the convergence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers.

KLs Chinatown is a crowded colourful melange of signs, shops, activity and noise. The central section, Jalan Petaling, is a frantically busy market that is closed to traffic. It is most spectacular at night, when the combination of street stalls, food, haggling and bright lights makes impressions on all five senses. The old buildings - undergoing constant restoration by conservation groups - are interesting in themselves, while bargain-hunters and collectors of kitsch might be in luck as well. Chinatown is about 300m (330 yards) south-east of Merdeka Square.

Lake Gardens
When the bustle gets too much, head to the green belt - 92 hectares (227 acres) of planned parkland less than 1 km (0.6 mi) west of the central city. The main focus of the park is Tasik Perdana - the Premier Lake - where locals and visitors cavort on the banks or in little paddle boats. Attractions in the park can be reached either on-foot, or by regular shuttle buses. If youre into the birds, Bird Park is an enormous walk-in aviary boasting about 160 species from throughout South-East Asia. If the bees are more your thing, you might get lucky at the nearby Orchid Garden, where 800 species of flower vie for your attention. There are also sections of the gardens dedicated to tame deer and butterflies. From the gardens, you can also see the massive bronze National Monument, Parliament House and the Planetarium.

Golden Triangle
If all of KLs peace, quiet and culture is getting to you, head to the high-rise-heavy Golden Triangle: a small city in itself, dominated by the tallest building in the world, the Petronas Towers. Surrounded on all sides by shopping, commerce and entertainment outlets, youll feel like youre in another country altogether. This area contains all the expensive hotels and restaurants, with nightlife not for the budget-conscious. Visitors will enjoy the Kuala Lumpur Tower - the fourth-highest telecommunications tower in the world - with superb panoramic views on offer from the observation deck.