A sprawling mash-up of aesthetic styles, flavors and attitudes, Kuala Lumpur is truly a study in contrasts. Looped by highways, shimmering high-rises stand in contrast to decrepit shophouses and throughout the city, urban spaces in stasis are slowly reclaimed by nature. While many of the Malaysian capital's natives continue to decamp for the suburbs in neighboring Petaling Jaya in light of escalating housing prices, they are inevitably lured back by the city’s dynamic feeling of organized chaos and its proliferation of stylish new eateries, bars and shops.
Aesthetically minded foodies regularly hoof it to Bangsar or Changkat Bukit Bintang, where the gastronomy is as conspicuously packaged as the restaurants that serve it. But much of the upmarket shopping action remains centered on The Petronas Twin Towers. Designed by the Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli, the city’s beloved landmark vaults towards the heavens from the heart of the Central Business District, showcasing 88 floors of perfect symmetry in twofold and a smattering of luxury boutiques.
The towers border KLCC Park, also known as the last finished project of the late Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx. Situated amid concrete blocks and adjoining a 33,000-foot-long, man-made lake, the expansive green space is everybody’s favorite outdoor respite and incidentally, the best place to take in the sunset as one jogs past lively water features and countless species of rare indigenous trees.