KL to its friends – is more than just a capital city: it is a monument to Malaysian ingenuity and determination. From humble beginnings as a tin-mining shanty town, KL has evolved into a 21st-century metropolis, dominated by the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia and flush with the proceeds of international trade and commerce. Over the years, KL has faced its share of challenges but nothing has succeeded in suppressing the determination of locals to make KL, and Malaysia, a leader among Asian tiger economies.
The marketing slogan for the Malaysian tourist board is ‘truly Asia’ and nowhere is this more true than in the capital. KL is every inch the Asian cyber-city: historic temples and mosques rub shoulders with space-age towers and shopping malls; traders’ stalls are piled high with pungent durians and counterfeit DVDs; and locals sip cappuccino in wi-fi–enabled coffee hops or feast at bustling streetside hawker stalls serving food from across the continent.The most striking thing about KL from a visitor’s perspective is its remarkable cultural diversity. Ethnic Malays, Chinese prospectors, Indian migrants and British colonials all helped carve the city out of the virgin jungle, and each group has left its indelible mark on the capital. Eating, shopping and nightlife are undeniable highlights of any visit to KL, but don’t restrict yourself to the city – there are numerous parks and monuments dotted around KL that make easy day trips for a break from the hustle and bustle.
Off the coast of Kedah is a cluster of 99 islands offering the best of many worlds: beautiful beaches, world- class infrastructure, mangroves rich in flora and fauna, ultra- cheap duty-free shopping and fascinating legends.Langkawi has a lingering legend woven into its history. Ask anyone on the island about the tragic story of a beautiful young lady named Mahsuri, and you'll hear a tale of love, jealousy and a curse that was placed upon the island by her for seven generations.Today, the seventh generation of Langkawi's inhabitants has long come and gone, but people here still believe that the prosperity and blessings the islands enjoy today and the passing of the curse is no mere coincidence. The mysticism of this legend can be felt in many parts of this island, especially at Makam Mahsuri (Mahsuri's Mausoleum), where Mahsuri is said to be buried.
Despite what looks like a slant towards tourism, many of the islanders are actually farmers, fishermen and peaceful landscape of paddy fields by renting a car and taking a leisurely drive around the island. Some of Langkawi's most rustic and memorable views are along the road that circles the island.