Kuala Lumpur

As a mining outpost 100 years ago, Kuala Lumpur is now the capital city of Malaysia, with a population of 1.5 million people. Despite all the recent development, Kuala Lumpur retains plenty of character – a fascinating mixture of old and new, with sky scrapers and temples, and a colourful scene of multi-racial activity, with Malay mosques, Chinese temples, Hindu temples, not to mention the impressive municipal buildings and shipshape British order.

In the middle of the 17th century, the miners and traders who first came in search of tin poled up the river where the Klang and Gombak rivers converge. The Gombak estuary was the highest point upstream that the miners could land their supplies for prospecting the tin of Ampang, which is a few kilometres further in land. The first arrivals of 87 to do so, unfortunately, fared badly, and within a month, 70 had died from malaria and other tropical diseases.

But the tin they discovered in Ampang attracted More miners. Soon, the place boomed to become a brawling, noisy, violent town in the 1860’s. It was imaginatively named Kuala Lumpur which means “Muddy Confluence” in Malay, for it’s located at the meeting point of the Kelang and Gombak rivers.

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