Kuala Lumpur city tours are a great way for the ecotourist to find their way about this friendly city and explore the lush greenery which continues beyond the city limits.
Many of the Kuala Lumpur city tours actually go beyond the centre and can be reached via public transport. Kuala Lumpur has a government funded public transport system, Rapid KL, for which tickets can be purchased to travel via bus, train or monorail. Flexible tickets can be bought which allow users to travel on any of the services for 1, 3, 7, 15 or 30 days. The RapidPass Flexi can also be topped up at various locations around the city.
Kuala Lumpur city tours
Kuala Lumpur is well known as a modern city, which has the aesthetic and natural advantage of vegetation within the city limits and stretching for miles beyond. Kuala Lumpur itself is home to beautiful Lake Gardens, a 100 hectare expanse of green with gardens set amongst rolling hills.
The city's most popular park, Lake Gardens was built in the 1880s around an artificial lake and boasts wonderful botanical gardens, as well as much more that will charm the green traveller. The orchid garden houses over 800 species of the flower and they can be purchased at weekends.
For nature-loving ecotourists, the Butterfly Park is well worth a visit as it's home to more than 6000 butterflies which number over 120 species. This part of the park was built with the Malaysian rainforest in mind and has more than 15,000 plants.
Outside of the Kuala Lumpur city centre, enjoy a trek to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and lose yourself in the 1500 hectare jungle that features a host of educational material including galleries and laboratories.
Further outside of the city and for a truly special experience, try the Kuala Selangor Nature and Firefly tour. Explore the natural habitat of one of the area's best known attractions, the fireflies, which light up the skies over Firefly Park. The trip also stops in at rural villages which are dotted around the mangroves and you can observe how important fishing and farming still is to the locals who live in the surrounding area of Kuala Lumpur city.
Food and shopping on a Kuala Lumpur city tour
A number of options are presented to the ecotourist as far as food in the Malaysian capital goes. The colourful city has a host of exotic and fusion delicacies, as well as local foods which can be purchased at one of the many markets. It's important as a green traveller to bear in mind the locals, who you will remember if you took the firefly tour mentioned above, and think about the produce you eat, where it has been produced and the impact on the rural villages that surround the city.
Woods Macrobiotics is well worth a visit for food which is produced with a holistic approach, ensuring neither the body or natural environment is harmed by their cuisine. They also have healing centres dotted around the city and even a cooking academy intended to spread the word and knowledge on sustainable and healthy eating.
The colourful markets of Kuala Lumpur are worth taking time out to explore daily whilst staying in the city. A wide array of cultural products can be found as well as traditional Malay foods, meats, fish, fruit and vegetables.
To really immerse yourself in the local Malaysian experience, try mixing with the locals at a 'Pasar Malam', or Night Market. These are covered streets which one a day a week come alive as a night time marketplace. Night Markets are extremely popular with locals as they allow them to shop without the need to leave the area in which they live.
Central Market is well worth a visit too, this is a craft market so you will be able to shop for souvenirs made by local artisans such as carvings, jewellery, clothes and you can even have a caricature painted by a local artist.
Another popular market is Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, affectionately known to locals as "Chee Chong Kai" which means Starch Factory Street and is so called due to its history as a mill for Chinese labourers. Chinatown is open from early afternoon until late at night, when it comes alive with noise and colour.
There are also a number of Chinese restaurants where you can enjoy authentic food in the open air or alternatively, why not just grab something from one of the many street vendors who sell everything from cakes to meats.
Green places to stay in Kuala Lupur
Surprisingly for a city which is not only super-modern, but has become the focus for ecotourism in Malaysia in recent years, there are plenty of luxury and boutique hotels to choose from in the city but not so many truly green hotels.
Whilst large hotel chains around the world have woken up to environmental issues and waste, there don't appear to be many immediately discoverable options other than this type of accommodation.
GTower is billed as the first certified green hotel in Malaysia and it incorporates offices as well as a boutique hotel. This is based in the city centre, making it a great base from which to embark on your Kuala Lumpur city tour.
Of course there are a plethora of hostels and backpacker lodges to stay in, both in the city and the surrounding areas. How green and kind to the surrounding environment they are is best left to your better judgement, but it's worth carrying out some research before you go.
Hostels are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and owners are often an ocean of information about the area and how best to get around etc, whilst city centre hotels are often a great base for getting around, as they tend to be located in the heart of districts such as Chinatown.
All-in-all, Kuala Lumpur has a lot to offer the ecotourist but it's worth carrying out research before you go on accommodation. The city has extensive green parks and plenty of nature reserves and conservation areas to explore and any Kuala Lumpur city tour has to take in some of the surrounding areas in order to get a real taste of the rural life and villages that surround the city.