Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
Who would have thought that the bustling metropolis of nearly two million people originated as a small tin-mining outpost? As the federal capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly the most populous and prosperous city in the country. Abbreviated as KL, the capital is a melting pot of many different cultures, ethnic groups, languages, and religions. To be honest, this is the most diverse city that I have ever been fortunate to visit. Having traveled throughout many of the countries in Southeast Asia, this city stands out as one of the most modern, second only to Singapore. Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the national language of the country, however English is widely spoken and used by nearly everyone.
You shouldn’t have any trouble getting around with the available, and largely reliable public transportation. While the airport (KLIA) is located fifty kilometers south of the city, buses regularly run to the central transportation hub (KL Sentral) for relatively little cost (9 MYR, or $3.00 USD). KLIA Ekspres trains are a bit more expensive (35 MYR or $12.00 USD), yet they bring you to to the city in less than thirty minutes. It’s really quite an experience using the city’s largely available and efficient public transportation. One of such options is the developed railway system called the Rapid Transit Network. The rail network consists of the LRT, the KL Monorail, and the KTM Komuter. All of which sufficiently allow for an ease of transit when combined. Taxis are also readily abundant, but are not a very cost-effective means of transport when compared to the metro. Blue and red taxi services are the best option here, charging 3 ringgit (Approx. $1.00 USD) for the first kilometer/flag down and another ringgit for each kilometer thereafter. With the amount of coverage by the rail system, taxis are not really necessary for the vast majority of destinations within the city.
One of the lovely attractions in Kuala Lumpur is the KL Bird Park. This is the world’s largest free-flight, walk-in aviary. Be forewarned though, as this park is the place of residence for over 3,000 birds. All within a contained space of 20.9 acres. With over 200 variant species in all, this park will leave avian enthusiasts with more than they can ask for. The free-flight atmosphere that is present in two of the four available viewing zones, can actually make one feel like they are really in a tropical rainforest. Minus the obvious danger of carinvorous beasts.
The most enticing aspect of the KL Bird Park has to be the photo booth area. From hooting owls and falcons, to eagles and toucans; you decide who you want your picture taken with. These birds have to feel as though they are regular celebrities in Malaysia. It’s not hard to see the potential tourist trap here, but who honestly doesn’t want to have their picture taken with an eagle on their shoulder. The fee for this picture is around 20 MYR (Approx. $6.30 USD), depending on if they use your camera or their own. If you are not time conscious, you could end up spending your entire day in the park, as it is very serene.