History of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur was founded by incidence in 1857. In the said year, there were 87 Chinese of Chinese miners landed themselves at the confluence between Klang and Gombak rivers and set up a camp there. The place was named Kuala Lumpur due to the muddiness of the area. The place attracted more tin miners to mine the area that it quickly booming into town ruled over by triads (a network of Chinese criminal gangs). Sounds like a Malaysian version of west wood.
The Sultan Selangor at the time appointed a Kapitan China to rule and discipline these unruly Chinese and their secret societies. Yap Ah Loy took on the task and ruled the area. Due to this, he is credited as the founder of KL.
Ruling Kuala Lumpur is not without the challenge. Soon after establishing control, the Malay civil war broke out. Kuala Lumpur had become the participant of the war and burnt to the ground because some of the triads going against Yap Ah Loy ruling and siding with Malay royalties who wanted to perform Coup d’état against the ruling monarch.
This incidence allowed the British government representative, Frank Swettenham an opportunity to pressure the Sultan to transfer the central government from Klang to KL in exchange for the help to suppress the Coup d’état attempt. In 1896, Kuala Lumpur became the capital city of Selangor.
The British fled Malaya during the second world war leaving the Kuala Lumpur residents to fend for themselves against the Japanese occupation. Many Chinese were murdered while other races we sent to Burma to the Burma’s most notorious ‘Death Railway’. The second attempt of British comeback were short-lived when the people of Malaysia demanded for independence.
The British at the time which was still in the process of recovery decided it is best to let go of Malaysia. The prospect of a new resistance that would led to more money being wasted was not something they were fond of. Malaysia finally declared its independence in 1957 at Merdeka Square. The square which is in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur officially became Malaysia’s Federal Territory in 1974. The then Sultan Selangor in good faith ceded the city to the Malaysia federal government. The mayors are appointed to rule and maintain the wellbeing of the Federal Territory.
Kuala Lumpur is well integrated by public transportation. Always keep a map of the transportation route handy for references. For those who commute with public transportation, it is advisable to buy the KL Travel Pass. This pass allows the visitors to travel on rail public transport services in Kuala Lumpur. The pass includes KLIA Express airport transfer to KL Sentral and 2-day unlimited rides on all Rapid KL rail services like LRT, MRT and KL Monorail lines. The price is around RM120. It is worth the price considering the ticket price for KLIA Express single ride alone is already RM55.
Kuala Lumpur uses Ringgit Malaysia in their daily transaction. The currency is pegged to US dollar. So, make sure to check the valuation and the devaluation before exchanging the currency to ringgit. Malaysians in general won’t trade with other currency even US Dollar or Great Britain Pound for fear of receiving fake money.
Kuala Lumpur is quite advance with the cashless transaction. So, the travelers don’t have to worry if they don’t have the cash handy. Chances are almost restaurants and shop have cashless service machine. Unless if they go to the area that sells cheap stuff or filled with street vendors. Cash is king there.
If one goes at the market or stall areas, please be mindful to bring small change. Most of the street vendors don’t have big change. Small changes like RM10 and below really help making things smooth for everyone.
Malaysia’s official language is Malay Language and the second language is English Language. Due to its multiethnic population, Mandarin Language and Tamil Language are also widely used. Some Malays can also speak Arabic.
The travelers shouldn’t be scared to communicate and talk to the locals. Most of them understand English very well. Even if they don’t, they will point the travelers out to those who can.
Malaysia is placed second in Asia behind the Singapore and twelfth in the world for its English literacy rate. Language shouldn’t be a barrier here.
Malaysia is located at the middle of the equator line. Officially, there is only one season in Malaysia. The weather in Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid with constant rain throughout the year. Unofficially Kuala Lumpur experience haze season, durian season, flooding season and wedding season.
It is not obligated to tip in Malaysia. Most of the service staffs in Malaysia are not on minimum wage and the customers are usually charged 10% out of their bills for the service charge. So, fret not, No one will be looked at indifferently just because they don’t to part with their hard earn money.
However, there’s nothing harmful about showing a little bit of gestures to those who serve us. A simple smile and or a short greeting of hello could really make their day. If the travelers are in the mood of doing something nice, they could leave some small change behind or gifts like chocolate or thank you not for the service staffs.
Almost all accommodation except for the budget hotels abide the rules of No Smoking areas. Starting next year, all the eatery places indoor or outdoor are forbidden for smokers. The same rules for public transportation and highway areas.
The travelers can see some rebellious citizen would ignore the ban and keep on smoking. Don’t be tempted to follow suit because once get caught, the fine will be quite a hefty amount to pay compared to one-time misdemeanor.
There are several places the travelers can go find information about Kuala Lumpur. The places are KL City Gallery, Kuala Lumpur Tourism Board, Tourist Information Center and Ministry of Tourism (Matic). These places provide information about Kuala Lumpur, Guide map and advise on places to go for free. KL City Gallery is located at the side of Merdeka Square. Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau is located at Perdana Botanical Garden area. The Tourist Information Center located in KL Sentral and Matic is located along Jalan P.Ramlee.
The information can also be gathered online. There are lots of website services, whether government affiliate agencies or from service provider regarding the Information on Kuala Lumpur can be found.
Most of the place in Kuala Lumpur is equipped with electricity so don’t worry, you won’t find yourself lost in the dark at night. Jokes aside, the power socket in Malaysia is of type G which is the same as British power socket. It has three pins and the standard voltage is 240 V while the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Adapters are cheap and easy to find. If one stays in the hotel, they can request the adapter from the reception area. If the travelers come from countries that has standard similar voltage between 220 – 240V such as the UK, Europe, Australia and most of the Asian and African country, it is safe to use their own electrical appliances. However, it is a different story for travelers from US, Canada and most South America. The standard voltage for electrical appliances in those country is within the range of 100 V – 127 V. So, if one insists to use their electrical appliances, they must use voltage converter.
The emergency contact in Malaysia is 999. It connects to other emergency services like police, ambulance and fire services.
It is advisable to keep the embassy of the travelers home country’ phone number. The embassy could provide legal help and take care of its citizen welfare if something unfavorable happened during the travel.
Also, it is very pertinent for the travelers to keep the phone number the accommodation they stay in and always update them on the itineraries and the number to call for emergency purposes. While overall trip in Malaysia is generally safe, bad things happen. This way, the travelers will be assured that someone will be alerted if something were to befall them.