Malaysia and I have a love hate relationship. Some of my biggest travel disasters have happened there, and from being robbed (passport stolen), falling super sick to staying in a spooky hotel, this diverse Asian country has not been easy on me. However, I have always kept going back to Malaysia every year since 2009 and have lingered longer than planned. There is some kind of magnetic charm which keeps pulling me back to Malaysia every year and I have always felt at home in Kuala Lumpur. Large, gritty and glitzy, Kuala Lumpur is oddly a sort of doppelganger of India and I can handle its disparity better than the sterile, pure environment of Singapore. Perhaps, it is the dark, grungy side of a glittering jewel like Asian behemoth of a city, which makes me visit Kuala Lupur so often. I love feeling the city‘s pulse on its streets, inhale its intoxicating mix of food smells and listen to the soft, lilting Bahasa Malaysia.

My relationship with Kuala Lumpur over the years

Walking around Kuala Lumpur is like wandering around continents and cultures and it is interesting to see the controversial, yet tenacious social fabric which holds Malaysia together. This change of cultures can be best felt when you visit Kuala Lumpur and I love the idea of weaving in and out of them on a daily basis. Call me greedy, but it seems to offer the best of all the worlds, and this is one important reason why I visit Kuala Lumpur so often. My first trip to Kuala Lumpur had been confined to a glitzy hotel near Merdeka Square and I had wined, dined and played in the popular touristy “Golden Triangle”. My nights were blazing and I loved the way Merdeka Square was lit in different coloured lights as Malaysia was celebrated its Independence Day with a blast. Those were days of a long past and over the years, professional visits toned me down. My perspective broadened as I traveled more and better grounded experiential trips taught me to embrace the world from a deeper angle. Thus, my travel focus shifted to exploring rather than hedonistic fun and Malaysia opened up whole new oppurtunities. Though I still love visiting the Petronas Twin Towers at night, Kuala Lumpur became more earthy for me and someday I would love to call it home.

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The colonial houses you can see when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur sometimes does not seem real.

What makes Kuala Lumpur tick?

After that, I made it a point to revisit Malaysian destinations from my past adventures and see those places with a new set of eyes. In retrospective, this turned out to be a brilliant decision, because basic familiarity made those trips seamlessly comfortable and I could enjoy them in an unguarded manner. Needless to say, Kuala Lumpur ensnared me with its varied charms and I spent huge amounts of time there. The Malaysian capital intrigued me a lot and I often asked myself, “What made Kuala Lumpur tick?” Was it the “kopitam”, the neighbourhood watering hole of street cafe which churned out delicious food along with incredible amounts of kapi, te and Milo, or the swish malls housed in glittering skyscrapers and powered by super fast technology, or the pockets of “kampung”(traditional village) which still exist in the heart of Kuala Lumpur? The answer perhaps lies in its fiesty festivals which irrespective of any cultural differences revolve around making and sharing delicious food with one and all, and the deep rooted reverance of traditions of the locals. Quite possibly it is the mind boggling diversity which makes one get addicted to visit Kuala Lumpur often and the vast teeming, heaving urban space has an incredible skyline which is a rugged tapestry of minarets, skyscrapers and sensuous domes. Punctuated with red roofed colonial buildings, Kuala Lumpur is a city bursting with colours, aromas and sights. Think traffic gnarled smooth roads, lined with food stalls, deep emerald canopy of old banyan trees and slim busy overhead tracks of the skytrain.

Suggested Read: Wandering through Georgetown

Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur

It is a city with young history and rich heritage.

The lush tropical urban jungle which makes you want to visit Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur struck me as an urban jungle of Asia, even while I was writing this post and despite the city‘s cutting edge modernism, it has a laidback lush tropical charm. This comes from KL‘s young history and the lively Asian capital has a very humble origin. What started as a tin mng shanty at the head of the Klang Valley in the 19th century, has grown, expanded and developed into one of Asia‘s powerhubs and this has provided KL it‘s unique non coherent style. The eclectic melange is visible in every aspect of the Malaysian capital and strikes most travelers hard when they visit Kuala Lumpur for the first time. I have been happily caught in the eclectic fusions of KL for nearly a decade now and it is this quality which has driven me to spend countless hours exploring the depths of the city.

Recommended Read: The secret little island of Lang Tengah

Peacock feathers for sale at Kuala Lumpur Brickfields

It is a lush tropical urban jungle.

The addiction of Malaysia‘s truly Asian city

From the kaleidoscope of Little India in Brickfields to the kitschy Chinatown, KL has history and tardiness enmeshed in a very endearing way and there is an unmistakable rush of life which races through the city. Be it the conversations that you hear in the city streets, the mind boggling variety of food, the profusion of magnificent mosques, gorgeous temples, Buddhist shrines or the Indian, Chinese and Malay faces that make up KL‘s humanity, the Malaysian capital is truly adictive. This photo essay to dedicated to the lovely Asian capital, and portrays the scenes which I found fascinationg during my long walks in the city. Colourful, frenetic, charming, bedazzling, and often soulful, these are the reasons why I visit Kuala Lumpur so often. They say that pictures speak louder than words and these 30 photos are snippets of the city‘s soul, which will tempt you to visit Kuala Lumpur too.

More from Malaysia:  Melaka and Perankan heritage of Malacca Straits

Street art can be enjoyed when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a young city

Chinatown is an exciting place to see when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Bearing the heavy crown of

Street food is a major attraction to visit Kuala Lumpur

One of Asia‘s most diverse cities.

Flower garlands on sale at Little India in Kuala Lumpur

It is exotic,

Chestnut seller at Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur

Full of life and

Ramadan feast at Merdeka Square in KL

Steeped in traditions.

Street art can be seen in Kuala Lumpur

For a city racing towards

The beautiful skyline of Kuala Lumpur

Cutting age technology,

Street photo of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur offers some

Beautiful street photography which will tempt you to visit Kuala Lumpur

Beautiful secluded moments.

Street food is must try when you visit Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian capital has

Beautiful street photos of Kuala Lumpur

A lot of character too.

Gorgeous streets of Kuala Lumpur

Pockets of culturally diverse

Little India is a must see when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Heritage quarters

Beautiful streets of Kuala Lumpur

Often gives Kuala Lumpur

Beautiful city skyline of Kuala Lumpur

A surreal look and

Beautiful old doors at Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur

Makes it a very

Enjoy incredible street art when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Exciting place to visit.

KL National mosque

The best thing about Kuala Lumpur

Street food is a must try when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Is its amazing diversity,

Street food vendors in Ramadan bazaar in Kuala Lumpur

Which can be seen

Food walk is a must do when you visit Kuala Lumpur

In the city faces,

Malaysian batik on sale in Kuala Lumpur

In the wide array of handicrafts,

Fish head laksa is a must try when you visit Kuala Lumpur

Intoxicating smells,

Litchis on sale at Kuala Lumpur

Exotic tastes, and

Street art in Kuala Lumpur

Disparity in living styles.