Port of Kelang (Kuala Lumpur)
Find a Cruise to Asia
A bit of the credit for the city's burgeoning reputation as an Asian destination can be given to the 1999 movie "Entrapment." The sexy thriller starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery was partly filmed at the city's 1,482-foot-high Petronas Twin Towers (which briefly, on completion in 1998, held the title of "world's tallest building"). Although the towers no longer top the list, they are still among the most recognizable skyscrapers in Asia.
KL (as it's known) emerged in the 1850's as a trading town for the tin industry, which was dominated by the Chinese; later, rubber also became an important part of the local economy. The city's exotic-sounding name is a remnant from those early days -- it actually means "muddy estuary" in Malay. In the 1870's, the British (who held interests in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore) took notice of the area's resources and appointed a "resident" administrator. A great deal of the city's fanciful colonial architecture reflects this era, exhibiting Victorian and Indian Moghul influences. Malaysian territory was occupied during World War II by the Japanese and became fully independent from the British in 1957.
The modern country of Malaysia was formed in 1963, with a federation that originally also included Singapore. The kingship rotates among sultans from each of the nine different states, changing every five years.
Malaysia is an ethnically, racially and culturally diverse nation. The majority of KL's 1.6 million inhabitants is almost equally split between Malays and Chinese, with an Indian minority (originally brought as laborers by the British) of about 10 percent. Islam is the most widely practiced religion, but Buddhism is a close second.
The area around KL gets a soggy 99 inches of rain per year, averaging 158 days with precipitation. Downpours can be torrential, even causing modern roads to flood and block traffic. The months with the lowest rainfall during cruising season are January and February. Your chances are greatest for getting drenched in October, November, December and April.
Top Kelang (Kuala Lumpur) Itineraries
Nautica30 Night Africa CruiseCape Town, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Richards Bay, Colombo, Phuket, Langkawi, Kelang , Singapore, SingaporeNow
Seven Seas Mariner36 Night South Pacific CruiseSydney , Brisbane, Cairns, Port Moresby, Thursday Island, Darwin, Darwin, Komodo Island, Bali, Bali, Singapore, Singapore, Penang, Yangon , Yangon , Yangon , Phuket, Langkawi, Kelang , Sihanoukville, Bangkok , BangkokNow
Seven Seas Mariner52 Night World CruiseSydney , Brisbane, Cairns, Port Moresby, Thursday Island, Darwin, Darwin, Komodo Island, Bali, Bali, Singapore, Singapore, Penang, Yangon , Yangon , Yangon , Phuket, Langkawi, Kelang , Sihanoukville, Bangkok , Bangkok , Koh Samui, Sihanoukville, Ho Chi Minh City , Ho Chi Minh City , Da Nang, Hanoi, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Hong KongNow
Voyager of the Seas4 Night Port Klang & Phuket CruiseSingapore, Kelang , Phuket, SingaporeNow
Costa Fortuna14 Night Far East CruiseSingapore, Koh Samui, Bangkok , Bangkok , Sihanoukville, Singapore, Langkawi, Phuket, Phuket, Penang, Kelang , SingaporeNow
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at Port Klang (also written Kelang), which is 40 miles (40 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic) southwest of Kuala Lumpur. Port Klang is, first and foremost, a major cargo port, but it also houses a modern cruise terminal and cruise ship pier.
Good to Know
The credit card fraud risk might make you think twice about using plastic. It seems like a fraud ring is busted in KL every year, and another pops up. Travelers have reported fraud even when cards have been used at major hotel chains.
While Kuala Lumpur has numerous gardens and lush greenery, the air can be quite hazy and occasionally almost dangerously so for people with breathing problems.
Some visitors complain about the practice -- not uncommon in other countries, either -- of charging foreigners more than locals for admission to attractions. The price difference can be considerable in Kuala Lumpur.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Currency in KL is the Malaysian ringgit. For updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com . At the cruise terminal, there is an ATM outside after you exit the building; money-changers are available inside the terminal. ATM's can also be found at major establishments like shopping centers and the Central Market. There are surcharges for using ATM's. Banks are normally open from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
Most major credit cards -- American Express, MasterCard and Visa -- are accepted, as are traveler's checks. However, you might want to curtail your use of plastic due to reports of credit card fraud.
Although English is widely spoken in Malaysia, Malay is the official language. However, several local newspapers, such as The New Straits Times, are available in English.
Some useful Malay phrases to impress the locals:
Apa khabar? ("How are you?" The traditional Malay greeting literally means "What news?")
Khabar baik, terima kasih. ("Fine, thank you.")
Terima kasih. ("Thank you.")
Malaysian handicrafts are your best bet. Batik, carved wood and pewter items can be found at the Central Market and at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur. An artists' village sits behind the complex.