Guide to Urbanscapes 2017
Ever since starting out 15 years ago, Urbanscapes has grown from a one-day event at a bar into a two-week festival held all over the city. The festival returns this year with its largest music line-up ever. Kicking off the two-week festival will be the HOAX music showcase featuring some of the city’s best young talents such as lurkgurl and Zamaera, among others. Over three weekends, there will be concerts headlined by Stars and Rabbit, Mew, Clean Bandit, TTNG, Yellow Fang and Cigarettes After Sex. The festival will close with a block party at The Row with performances by synth-punk duo Crystal Castles and South Korean indie act hyukoh. Let's also not forget that Urbanscapes is actually an all-rounded creative arts festival, so don't forget to check out the art exhibitions, markets and food events happening throughout. Consider May sorted. urbanscapes.com.my
Best rooftop pools in KL
For something a little more glamorous than your neighbourhood pool, make a splash at these top rooftop pools in KL, all offering stunning views of the city skyline. However, do take note that these pools are only open to the respective hotel's guests, but you can console yourself with a drink or two from the bars adjacent to the pools.
Quiet KL: Where to relax in the city
Hushed libraries and food courts during non-peak hours aren’t the only places in KL for you to sneak in some quiet time: If you’re looking for a spot free of the city’s hollering kopitiam uncles, loud mall rats and honking taxis, retreat to these quiet spots in KL.
Best classes and workshops in KL
You don't need to wait for a new year or a new month to pick up a new skill. Dip a toe into one of these creative workshops in KL and if you like it enough, turn it into a habit. Whether it's calligraphy, pottery making, cooking or silkscreen printing, we've got you covered.
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Jalan Besar in Salak South
The residents of Salak South are still living their days in a haze of ’70s nostalgia. But the small, Mandarin-speaking town was established way back in time – 1952 to be specific, when the British isolated the villagers from the Malayan Races Liberation Army during the Malayan Emergency. Jalan Besar, the main street abutting the LRT station, is populated by old-timers who live in close contact with disparate parts of the past. They have seen the war; they’re making ends meet with the trades bequeathed to them by their forefathers; they, naturally, also know where the best yum cha place in the area is. The first generation of shopowners and merchants pumped life into this sleepy town, but they also saw their communities wither as younglings left their nest to join the big city – this is a dominant, recurring theme among languishing townships. So it’s no surprise to find old sign boards dated from the ’50s still attached to storefronts, or medicinal hall owners putting their slightly rusty but trusty weighing scales to good use. Much of the activity in the neighbourhood now hinge on family businesses and longstanding eateries. Slowly, the outside world – drawn by Jalan Besar’s architectural jewels – starts to rediscover the battered corridors, ornamental grills and vintage roofs again, by way of independently hosted photography excursions and walks. The neighbourhood seemingly lacks a collective community spirit when you meander by. But you only need a snapshot of a group of
Pekan Sungai Besi in Sungai Besi
As if time has held Pekan Sungai Besi hostage, the town has remained fairly untouched for the past 80 years. Many have walked unsuspectingly into this former tin-mining hub, unaware of its economic significance that weaved KL’s rich tapestry. While skyscrapers have cowed our heritage sites into docility, Pekan Sungai Besi – with its pre-war buildings and ex-military community still intact – quietly thrives in its safe little bubble. Our knowledge of Pekan Sungai Besi is patchy at best – you probably know it as the congested kampung next to the Sungai Besi LRT station; the undocumented vestigial of the early settlements during the Emergency period. The town, labelled as a secondary heritage zone under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, was promised a RM10million facelift in 2013, but as of today, the roads are still riddled with holes, the drains clogged, the wet market in disrepair. In street names we find stories and our ancestry. But the original road names in Pekan Sungai Besi, like ‘Market’, and ‘Post Office’, didn’t reflect the historical importance of the area; they’ve since been renamed Jalan Suasa, which alludes to a type of yellowish metal that contains a mixture of copper and gold. The buildings dating back to the 1930s, however, serve more powerful narratives – they recount the lives of ex-miners, the old but highly essential trades of tailors and barbers, and the architectural footprints of colonialism. Pekan Sungai Besi’s old-school magnetism comes in part from
Little India in Klang
Little India, of Klang, isn’t a Little India of posters and postcards. Little India, of Klang, is one whose music – an exercise of high-decibel exuberance; a cacophony of Tamil chatter, of Bollywood film scores blaring out of speakers – cannot be defined, nor its meaning determined. A snapshot: marigold garlands brightening up the doorways of banana leaf eateries; a woman sitting cross-legged on a kaki lima, peddling a basket of greens already wilting in the heat of the early afternoon; and men staring impassively from behind the bars of jewellery stores, unperturbed by the glint and glitter of gold necklaces and nath. The sights, the sounds, the smells; and yet, this is a Little India that allows one to linger over a cup of masala, a Little India where the sweets never lose their shine, a Little India that’s home to the community that lives and makes its living here. Little India is a land of belonging, rather than of blood. One says ‘land’, though Klang’s Little India is little more than a street, situated as it is along Jalan Tengku Kelana in the south of the royal city.
Jalan Desa Jaya in Taman Desa
Budding entrepreneurs are sniffing out the cheap shop lots at Taman Danau Desa, filling the spaces with coffee machines and putting fried squids in our waffles (hello there, Jemi Café). The bombardment of new shops in that area has brought fortune to the less trendy neighbourhood of Taman Desa, ie Plaza Faber. The grimy commercial hub on Jalan Desa Jaya, teeming with medicinal halls and aquarium shops, is bristling with new life in ways you never quite expected – welcome to the heartland of yakiniku, yakitori and meringue on cocktails. The neighbourhood isn’t crying out to be discovered – the old-timers living in the flats, whom you’ll find puttering around between kopitiams with an afternoon beer in hand, are happy with how things are. ‘Just don’t make the place jam,’ an uncle told us when asked about the new rash of apartment blocks and restaurants nearby. Surrounded by gutted buildings with broken satellite dishes as the only adornments that survived, this part of Taman Desa isn’t pretty at all. But the weave of diverse cultures gives it character: An Indian uncle selling curry puffs outside a Chinese eatery; Thai workers who can speak basic Cantonese; a Malay auntie buying shampoo from a shop with screaming neon signs. When the shops close at night, the centre of Plaza Faber roars to life – like a campfire – as the smell of grilled meat from Gerai Makan Japanese BBQ drifts down the corridors. If there’s a better way to eat, drink and be merry in the open right undernea
KL area guides
Bangsar has gone through many phases – unobtrusive residential area, clubbing haven, arts and culture quarter, and now, café district. From the busy streets of Telawi to the more laidback Jalan Bangkung and Jalan Kemuja, we round up the best restaurants, bars, cafés and things to do in Bangsar.
Populated by expatriates and upper middle class families, Hartamas is fancy – even its name says so (‘harta’, treasure; ‘mas’, gold). This isn’t saying that the area is inaccessible for us 'mere mortals' – in fact, it’s quite the opposite now. With many cafés and eateries opening up around the 'hood, plenty of non-Hartamas residents flock here, and not just for the lineup of Japanese restaurants. By the way, we're also including the best places to eat and visit in neighbouring areas Mont Kiara and Solaris Dutamas. Fun fact: The area was the premise of a local TV show titled (surprise, surprise) ‘Hartamas’ starring Ida Nerina and Rashidi Ishak.
The wide land that is Damansara has the privilege of being both KL and Selangor. It can be confusing – Bukit Damansara for example, is not exactly near the main Damansaras while Ara Damansara is somewhat Subang (and sometimes even Shah Alam). To make things easier for you, we've picked some of the best restaurants, cafés, bars and things to do in each Damansara area.
Damansara Utama is home to Damansara Uptown, the land of hard-to-find parking spots and more cafés than you can shake a stick at. We say park in the new Starling Mall and walk about the area before you eventually step in to an eatery. Here are our picks of restaurants, cafés, shops and things to do in the area. PS: If your favourite spot isn't featured here, let us know in the comments.
Let’s not mask the fact that Sunway is an area dominated by students, which isn’t saying that it’s a bad thing. If you need help getting around the area, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is making things better. It’s fast – not a concept Malaysians are accustomed to hearing and practising. Let’s not also forget about Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Lagoon, where there are plenty of things to do. If you don’t have plans in Sunway, you do now.
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Best shops in KL: The full list From slick concept stores to bargain finds, fresh produce and genuine heritage institutions – we’ve got the city’s best retail therapy right here. We handpick the best local and independent stores the streets and malls have to offer. Get your wallets ready Everyone says KL is a shopper's paradise, but not many people look beyond the big brands and international chains. We’ve handpicked the best local and independent stores the streets and malls have to offer. Get your wallets ready. Best shops for fashion 17A Select Store If you’re confused, 17A Select Store until recently was known as The Off Day & Snackfood. A quick rebranding exercise and it’s now 17A Select Store, specialising in fashion, home decor and general curiosities. The super-street concept store brings in unique labels such as Schott Bros NYC, Supreme, Jungmaven as well as homegrown brands like CheeseDenim and Suavecito Pomade. Also, they stock a small quantity of Kinfolk, Smith Journal and Uppercase magazines. Actually KL With one of the best selections of denim in the city, Actually KL may be tiny but it packs a fashionable punch. The multi-label shop is one of the only places in town you can marvel at Jeffrey Campbell shoes in the flesh, as well as sample Dr Denim jeans, Kanken backpacks, Spitfire sunglasses and Lazy Oaf T-shirts. Shoes Shoes Shoes Seven years on and Shoes Shoes Shoes is still one of the best local shoe brands around. Owner Ung Yiu Lin is big news now – her sho
The elusive hybrid of breakfast and lunch has never tasted this good. So kickstart your lazy weekend with these best brunch dishes Best brunch spots The Good Batch This new one is owned by former manager of The Bee, Andrew Tan. The setup is less cluttered and more spacious than most new cafés, and focuses more on food than coffee. All-day Western brekkie dishes are served, like upgraded mushrooms on toast, corned beef with fried potatoes, blueberry pancakes, and ‘roti canai’ burrito. What we like best is the all-day bar, where wines, beers and cocktails are available, including the popular passionfruit mojito. Ming Room Opened in 2003, The Ming Room serves authentic Cantonese cuisine with a touch of creative liberty. Recently refurbished, be impressed with the historical and elegant renovations, complete with antique terracotta horses as well as six private dining rooms to cater to 300 pax. Highlights include the baked foie gras with stuffed sea clams and the steamed fresh water prawn with radish cakes. In addition to the obvious Hong Kong dim sum, standard Chinese fare with a twist is served, such as the double-boiled superior shark’s fin soup with wanton in pumpkin and river carp medallion in stock. A popular dessert among their patrons is the chilled durian pudding. As featured in Time Out KL's 101 things to do in KL Awards Food 40 Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team memb
You’ve got to admit that a trip to a good café sets you in a cheery mood – the sun-soaked space, glorious sunny side ups and that tingling dose of caffeine. The Time Out KL team maps out the best cafés for every occasion, from Instagram eye candies to the brunch of champions. The ultimate guide to KL's best cafés. Your café-hopping days start now Guide to coffee in KL The ultimate guide to cold brew coffee in KL Featuring a crash course on cold brew and the best places to drink them What is cold brew? We dive into the cold brew trend that’s taking over the city one cool bottle at a time. KL's best coffee shops for cold brews The best places in town for your cold-brew coffee fix. Other types of cold coffee Want something else? Try the ice-drip, reverse iced latte, Vietnamese drip and more. Here's where to find them. More coffee features KL's third wave coffee: The trends and the cafés We examine the third wave coffee trend in KL and highlight the cafés that are at the forefront of this artisanal coffee movement. The geek's guide to different coffee brewing methods Coffee brewing is a serious science. Here's all you need to know about six of the world's hand-pour coffee equipments, as explained by an expert. Kopitiam: KL's original coffee shop Kopitiams have long been a mainstay of our café culture, but they won’t be around forever. A documentarian takes us on a tour of these ageing coffee shops. Best coffee in KL KL's coffee culture is an expanding landscape of imported bean
KL's coffee culture is an expanding landscape of imported beans, state-of-the-art machines, hip baristas, and silky smooth pours. Here are the best coffee shops in KL that call the shots BEAM Short for Bean Expedition at Manufactory, BEAM launched in the unlikely neighbourhood of Bandar Sri Damansara to much fanfare. The specialty café not only churns out quality brews but also sells raw green beans for roasters to purchase. Meanwhile, customers can buy raw beans by weight and have them roasted at the café for consumption at home. Aesthetically, BEAM has got the exposed-brick look down pat; like the furniture at Wood & Steel, some of the pieces here are built from scratch and thoughtfully laid out to emerge as one of the year’s best-looking cafés. Brewmen Amidst the bustling, double parking chaos of Solaris Mont Kiara, Brewmen is an isle of calm that serves notably inventive concoctions, including Espresso Bomb, Queen Bee, and Reverse Coffee – an ice ball of espresso accompanied by a glass of frothy milk. Complement your caffeine fix with a slice of cake (try the summer orange poppy seed cake), homemade waffles, or one of the sandwiches (we recommend the Philly steak focaccia, with its thin juicy slices of beef and caramelised onions). DR.Inc Good luck finding this intriguing café on the quiet streets of Jalan Kemuja. Located on the same row as Fierce Curry House and walking distance from Menara UOA in Bangsar, DR.Inc is an inspiration space co-habited by L.Inc design, archit
Kuala Lumpur's top attractions for families Latest kids' events Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! Travel back in time to the Mesozoic era 250 million years ago to walk alongside over 17 life-size, stomping animatronic dinosaurs. Besides being able to learn about prehistoric climate conditions and the evolution of these extinct beasts, dino fans can also challenge a Gallimimus to a 10m race, scale a 5m wall to steal into a Pteranodon’s nest, and hunt for relics like the Triceratops’s footprint and insect fossils in the Dino Quest. Stretched over 13,000 square feet, this edutainment exhibition will be held throughout the year. Plenty of time to return for a second visit. SpongeBob SquarePants Happy Carnival SpongeBob SquarePants and his best friend Patrick Star will be delighting children at Klang Parade this school holiday season! From 28 May to 8 June, Klang Parade’s main concourse area will play host to a Happy Carnival filled with games and activities.Simply spend a minimum RM30 in a single receipt in the mall to play any one (1) game of your choice and you could win unique SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise. Games will include the Basketball Challenge, Fish-Bowl Toss, and the Strike and Win.Remember to visit at 3:30pm, 5:30pm or 7:30pm to catch SpongeBob and Patrick Star themselves live on stage. Citta Mall Beach in the City Water walkers, inflatable slides, and taking to the skies on the Airborne Adventure unit aren't your usual mall activities but kids big and small can enjo
The best public libraries in the city for the bookishly curious, and kids Libraries for the kids Playcentre Library Set in a humble bungalow house, this well-maintained library is manned by a group of volunteers and expatriates in KL. Playcentre currently stocks more than 26,000 titles – both fiction and non-fiction – in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Their playgroups, targeted at toddlers and pre-schoolers below the age of four, every Thursday will inspire little ones to learn through sensory play, craft work and storytelling. PJ Community Library It’s not the most good-looking library in the city but the children’s section on the ground floor features a variety of educational magazines (remember Kuntum?) and local fairy tale books. KL’s Children Library Apart from a hefty selection of children’s books, this extension of the Kuala Lumpur library offers storytelling sessions, computer classes, school holiday programmes and puppet shows to help your kids develop a penchant for languages. Latest features Best public libraries in KL The best public libraries in the city for the bookishly curious, and kids Libraries for the kids Playcentre Library Set in a humble bungalow house, this well-maintained library is manned by a group of volunteers and expatriates in KL. Playcentre currently stocks more than 26,000 titles – both fiction and non-fiction – in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Their playgroups, targeted at toddlers and pre-schoolers below the age of four, every Thursday will i
KL photo essays
Rivers of KL: Portrait of a silent river
A river always takes the path of least resistance, often resulting in a crooked path. From the very first cup to ultra-modern hydroelectric dams, the mastery over flowing water is an instinctive, universal symbol of progress and innovation, a celebration of human achievement in exerting control over nature.