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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Kuala Lumpur Nightlife
Kuala Lumpur Nightlife - TravelPuppy.com
With such an array of cultures mixing together, the nightlife is anything but dull in the capital. Even though it is a Muslim country, alcohol is readily available and the nightlife in the capital is one of the liveliest in Asia. Many bars are close by 1.00 am following the government controls; however, some clubs stay open later. The legal drinking age is 21 years. A bottle of beer can cost about RM10.00 - RM14.00.

Traditional nightlife for local people still involves visiting a pasar malam (night market), where the focus is as much on socializing and people watching as it is on shopping, enjoying the excellent hawker food and ice-cold beer. The Saturday market on Jalan Raja Muda is very popular, even though Jalan Petaling in Chinatown closes itself to traffic at night and is still a local favourite, despite the presence of many tourists.

The major location for bars is in the Golden Triangle, where numerous European-style bars and entertainment spots can be found inside the luxury hotels. The bustling Jalan Sultan Ismail–Jalan P Ramlee strip has taken over from Jalan Bukit Bintang as the place to be. The dress code is the relaxed side of smart-casual, except in some of the classier places frequented by the city’s yuppie groups. Bangsar is serious rival to the city centre, with numerous bars and fast-food outlets packed with a younger crowd.

The free monthly Vision KL Magazine gives tourists the information on the city’s latest hip nightlife venues. The magazine is available at 4 and 5-star hotels and is sometimes available in bars.

Bars

Some of the good bars located in the Golden Triangle include El Nino (21 Jalan Mayang), which is themed around Latin-American music and culture, and Citrus Rouge (19 Jalan Sultan Ismail), offering a bustling dance floor, live jazz, cigar divan, fabulous cocktails and stylish restaurant which make this become one of the hippest places in the city. Close by, Bravo, Crown Regency, Mezzanine Floor, Jalan P Ramlee, is a bar/café with pool tables and a comfortable dance floor. The Beach Club Café with its cheap drinks, located at 97 Jalan P Ramlee, is a place for wild party that attracts ex-pats, local students and bar girls. In the Golden Triangle, many abstaining Muslims gather at the numerous cafés on Jalan Bukit Bintang, a short walk from the JW Marriott Hotel. In Bangsar, The Roof (2 Jalan Telawi 4) and Soleil (7 Jalan Telawi 4) are the more popular bars to look out for. Finnegan’s (6 Jalan Telawi 5) is the bar that most locals recommend to visitors, even though a high number of single males seem to attract an informal bar girl scene. Tourists should keep in mind that Bangsar is different from the rest of the city, it is built on a grid and the addresses come with 2 numbers, indicating how many streets up and in.

Casinos

The Genting Casino in the Genting Resort is the only casino in Malaysia which is 51 kilometres northeast of the city. Visitors can possibly reach there by bus from the Puduraya Bus Station, but taxi is the easiest way. Adults with 21 years of age and over are allowed to enter.

Clubs

Nightclubs are likely to be located far out of the city and are usually geared towards Kuala Lumpur teenagers, even though a collection of dance clubs now make the Golden Triangle more attractive. The best place for dancing in the city is probably at the big hotel bars. The Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Café usually have dancing after their music performances (see below). The Embassy (26 Jalan Ampang) in the city centre is considered hip by a lot of locals and ex-pats. Emporium (97 Jalan Sultan Ismail) is one of newer clubs in the Golden Triangle, with an indoor bar, an outside terrace and dance floor. The KL smart set sip cocktails on the outdoor terrace, before going inside to dance to the music spun by local and international DJs.

Live Music

Live music normally means karaoke in Kuala Lumpur. There are a wide selection of bars in the city but a few places of live music can be found. The Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Café may not be considered the cool centre in many parts of the world, but in Kuala Lumpur they are where the trendiest groups show up for some live music. The Hard Rock Café is at the Concorde Hotel (Jalan Sultan Ismail) while the Planet Hollywood is on the ground floor of the Kuala Lumpur Plaza (179 Jalan Bukit Bintang). Other places include TM2 and the Mutiara Hotel (formerly known as the Hilton Kuala Lumpur) on Jalan Sultan Ismail, with a variety of live music acts as well as DJs.

Culture

In the last few years, traditional arts and culture have become popular again in Kuala Lumpur. City wide, small-scale performances are found everywhere. The more beautiful revues are available at theatres and at the Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi (telephone: (03) 2274 9966). This is the setting of tourist-orientated fortune telling, shadow puppets and batik painting demos. The city is home to the nation's most popular orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestr, which performs frequently. In spite of this re-birth in local culture, western movies and music still influence, particularly amongst the younger crowd.

The free monthly Vision KL Magazine provides listings on events and performances that take place in the city and these can be found in 4 and 5-star hotels or in some bars. For cultural events, no main ticketing agency is available in Kuala Lumpur; however, tickets can be purchased directly from the venue.

Music

For classical concerts, the key venue is Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, in the Petronas Twin Towers complex (telephone: (03) 2051 7007; fax: (03) 2051 7077; email: dfp_boxoffice@petronas.com.my). Malaysia's first concert hall and home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra also features other main classical concerts including cultural performances.

Theatre

The Panggung Negara (National Theatre) move to the large new Istana Budaya theatre, Jalan Tun Razak (telephone: (03) 4025 5932; fax: (03) 4025 5975; e-mail: info@istanabudaya.gov.my), provides revolutionized Kuala Lumpur's theatre scene. With seating for about 1,500 people, the RM210-million state-of-the-art venue is one of the best in the world. The Actor's Studio Theatre at the Bangsar Shopping Centre (telephone: (03) 2094 0400/1400; fax: (03) 2093 8400) holds all sorts of performances and also some comedy. Two of the more innovative theatre groups are Dramalab and Instant Café (telephone: (03) 2148 5192).

Dance

Traditional dances, such as Menora, the all masked men or Mak Yong, the all masked women is sometimes performed. No venue or organization is in charge of this. Some hotels and the Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi (telephone: (03) 2274 9966), stage visiting regional dancers.

Film

Kuala Lumpur features cinemas located throughout the city, many of which are in large shopping centres and provide performances in English. Cinema Online gives a good and comprehensive listing in English for the following cinemas: GSC Mid Valley (telephone: (03) 8312 3456), GSC Capital Selayang (telephone: (03) 6138 6311), GSC Cheras Leisure Mall (telephone: (03) 8312 3456), TGV Suria KLCC and TGV Mines (telephone: (03) 7492 2929), ISWARIA Odeon Theatre (telephone: (03) 2694 4995) and UE3 Complex (telephone: (03) 9285 4970).

Cultural Events

Because of a wide range of ethnic groups, many cultural and religious events are available around the city throughout the year.

In February, Hindus celebrate Thaipusam at the Batu Caves and here you can witness the bizarre spectacle of kavadi bearers who push skewers into their bodies to show their devotion.

Also in February, Chinese New Year is 2 weeks of loud street festivities and the famous lion dances. The epicentre is around Jalan Petaling, where many ethnic Chinese ignore the government efforts to limit festivities to a 2-day holiday and take 4 or 5 days off.

Buddhists have a more sedate celebration of the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha, with Wesak Day in May.

The Jalan Gasing or the International Buddhist Temple is the place for this event. The Muslim major event is Ramadan, in the Muslim month of the same name, the period of fasting that culminates in Hari Raya Aidilfitri, where Muslims open their homes and feast on a collection of Malay dishes.

Dates for all of the religious festivals change according to each religion’s calendar. All come together to celebrate Malaysia's independence on 31 August, with a huge parade that brings the city centre to a stop.