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The DA Guide to Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian capital has come a long way since its 19th-century origins as a humble tin-mining town amid the dense tropical jungle. Gleaming glass towers sprout like bamboo shoots from one of Asia’s most recognizable skylines—a recent example being Merdeka 118, the second-highest megatall skyscraper on the planet. The city’s eclectic and multicultural character finds expression in all sorts of ways: public buildings dreamed up a century ago in a fanciful Indo-Saracenic style; colorful places of worship like Batu Caves and Thean Hou Temple; a diverse food scene spanning night markets, kopitiams and mamak stalls, and high-end restaurants doing modern twists on traditional Malaysian flavors. Then there are the cafés and cool cocktail bars breathing new life into the shophouses of older neighborhoods like Chinatown. For independent travelers, Kuala Lumpur can be an exciting playground by day and by night.