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Postcard from Kuala Lumpur on TravelSnapz

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Twin Towers

The KL Twin Towers - the tallest in the world?

Our stopover in Kuala Lumpur was well worthwhile and a pleasant surprise. Asian cities can be haphazard and exude an exotic grubbyness, but in KL we found a modern high tech environment with affluent, well-dressed locals.

Dominating the Kuala Lumpur horizon is the Twin Tower complex - (at the time of writing) the tallest building in the world. Like the ancient Egyptian pyramids, you can look and wonder about the logistics of getting just one of the towers built, let alone matching it with a double. As if like Siamese twins the towers are joined with a viewing level that spans between them. Entrance to the viewing level is free but only a certain number of access tickets are issued each day so if you want to see a bird's eye view of KL you need to be an early bird.

Our photo was taken on September 6, 2001. I can't help shuddering a little now as I look at the towers stretching upwards. No doubt security has been tightened after the unimaginable event in New York just a few days later.

The complex is surrounded by fountains and landscaped gardens. An extensive park nearby has a huge children's playing area with a soft rubberised surface to lessen the danger of falling off the play equipment. At 9pm when we strolled through this area it was filled with families enjoying the facilities and the cooler night air (and also present were city council employees who were keeping the place clean).

While you certainly need to look up at the twin towers, it is worth keeping your eye on the ground in front of you - not just your ordinary bitumen or concrete footpath in KL, most of the walkways are decoratively tiled.

Did I mention hi tech? Melbourne might have done away with its tram conductors but in KL they have eliminated the train drivers. The underground is fully automated with two-carriage driver-less trains that sweep into the stations on a regular basis. You purchase your ticket by pressing your destination on a touch screen. The cost is displayed and your ticket issued.

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mixed rice

Malay food is tasty - try the local soup that has a light curry base and includes whole peanuts in the ingredients. It is a sort of Asian minestrone and with some bread on the side, a meal in itself.

Our brief two day stopover was spent walking the city window shopping and enjoying the sights and then a visit to the Batu Cave, a Hindu shrine not far from the city. And perhaps you could take a visit to the Selangor Pewter factory - not only fine pewter, but fine jewellery as well.

Don't stay in at night - the streets of KL are ablaze with flickering lights and the trees are bud lit. Most of the shops are open till around 10pm.

The main religion in Malaysia is Moslem and this is quite evident with the number of women wearing the chador and head scarf. But for the majority of Malays, Islam is a belief and not a fanatic extremism. The chadors are fashionable and attractive and the scarfs are pinned with sparkling broaches.travelogues on Travelsnapz A government that offers advantages and promises to each of the ethnic groups holds the multicultural, multiracial Malay society together for the time being. But the 40% of non-Muslim Malays (and the majority of those that do follow Islam) are expressing concern about the more ardent members of the Moslem faith crossing the line - there have been recent instances of extremism that have caused death and injury.

The government appears intent on keeping the religious fervour in check - not an easy task and one which could create a divided Malaysia that would perhaps dampen the potential of this country where the warmth is not only in the weather but also in the reception you will receive from the locals.

Photos of Kuala Lumpur

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