Kuala Lumpur

The languidly tropical city of Kuala Lumpur, flanked by the Strait of Malacca and the impenetrable rain forests of the Titiwangsa mountains, is one of three enclaves within the state of Selangor. Malaysia’s seat of power is home to parliament and the royal palace (the Istana Negara).

Today, Kuala Lumpur’s (KL’s) iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s tallest twin towers, are representative of the status quo. Economic growth and political stability prevail, and the city’s melting pot of cultures exists peaceably.

Indeed, the city draws its strength from a dizzying blend of Asian cultures; here you’ll find some of the world’s finest Asian and fusion cuisine in the city’s abundant food stalls and restaurants. If and when your palette tires of exotic flavors, KL’s large expat community, drawn primarily by the country’s oil and gas sectors, has given rise to a gratifying range of international supermarkets, specialty (including organic) food stores and restaurants.

Here, most expats opt to live in the city’s many high-rise condominiums, which generally include residents’ pools, gyms and minimarts. The other option is garden houses on the city’s more picturesque outskirts. However, most are discouraged by the proximity of the rain forest and the vividly exotic – and often deadly - bio-diversity it hosts.

In some places monkeys overrun the city. Children delight in seeing them hanging off playground equipment and dashing across the less busy roads. Monkeys simply add spice to the driving experience here, where it is not uncommon to see mopeds straining under the weight of three or more people, wobbling brazenly across eight-lane motorways, with the driver visibly mouthing "Inshallah!" ("God willing!").

If you tire of the heat and frenetic pace of the city, you can always retire up North to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, or hop across the border to Thailand. Kuala Lumpur is akin to living a snapshot of Asia, affording you a glimpse and a taste of the region’s many and varied cultures, against a backdrop of one of Asia’s most progressive cities.