In just one hundred years, Kuala Lumpur, or “muddy confluence” in Malay, has transformed itself from a small mining town into a cosmopolitan metropolis. It can be thought of as halfway between the developing and chaotic Bangkok to the north and the high-tech and orderly Singapore to the south.
Culturally, KL, as the city is called by its adherents, is truly a pastiche. The plurality is Muslim Malays, but they coexist seamlessly with the large East Asian and Indian populations. Old Chinese houses and colonial mansions stand next to gleaming steal towers. Executives, traditional fortune-tellers, and tourists all sit elbow to elbow on the city’s public transportation system. It is this confluence of people that has made the city so ethnically diverse and accepting.