The Malaysian capital is a feast for the senses The futuristic architecture, tropical parks, exotic food and vibrant shopping are all part of its multicultural mix. Just jump right in, says Diana Khoo of Condé Nast.

Shopping scene

Shopping in KL, like so many other Asian cities, seems to be the national pastime and with so many strategically- located malls, it’s easy to see why. Suria KLCC, anchoring the Petronas Twin Towers, is a great place to head for a mishmash of designer and high- street brands – check out Aseana, set up by local fashion maven Farah Khan, which carries worthy names like Issa, Hervé Léger and Marchesa alongside her own eponymous label. Starhill Gallery has many stand-alone, international luxury horological boutiques and is therefore a Mecca for watch and jewellery lovers and, just across the road, the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur offers everything from luxe labels (brands like Hermès, Ferragamo and Montblanc all have beautiful duplex stores) to high street, as well as a plethora of dining and leisure options. Not too far away, the Central Market, with its Art Deco façade, is a good place to pick up local handicrafts and souvenirs or, if you enjoy the thrills of haggling, mosey over to nearby Petaling Street where the stalls ply everything – from fresh to faux goods – day and night.

Spectacular sights

Few buildings in KL stand out as much as the 88-storey monoliths that are the Petronas Twin Towers. Admire César Pelli’s Islamic-inspired architecture before taking a walk on the skybridge that links towers 41 and 42. For a more complete aerial view of the city, there’s also the 421m KL Tower, the tallest telecommunications tower in South- East Asia, which has a 360-degree observation deck and hosts extreme sports such as the KL Tower International Base Jump. On the topic of heights, don’t miss the Batu Caves, a temple complex located almost 100m above the ground and set within a limestone cliff. An important pilgrimage site for Hindus, this is the place to be during the annual Thaipusam festival. Climb the 272 steps to reach Temple Cave, which houses several ornate shrines, or marvel at the golden statue of the Hindu deity Lord Murugan – around 48m high, it’s the tallest of its kind in the world.

Culture hits

If you’ve ever wanted to learn about kampong cuisine or local herbs, sign up for Le Cordon Bleu-trained Rohani Jelani’s cooking classes at Bayan Indah, her verdant home that doubles up as a culinary retreat. The Islamic Arts Museum is a treasure trove of information and artefacts on Islamic history and diversity, while the musically inclined should take in a performance at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, set within a 35-acre park, also offers dance, drama and musicals, while The Actor’s Studio has a 250-seat theatre on the rooftop of the Lot 10 shopping centre.

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To read more about this destination, visit Destination MO, the online version of Mandarin Oriental's bespoke publication, MO Magazine.