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The many faces of Malaysia: William and Kate touch down in one of East Asia's most exciting capitals

13 SEPTEMBER 2012

Traces of the tin-mining town's humble beginnings are now hard to find beneath the formidable skyscrapers that mimic the mountains of Malaysia's landscape.

Kuala Lumpur's bustling streets, its shining, modern office towers, and its cosmopolitan air symbolise the spirit of New Malaysia.

As the capital rolls out the red carpet for their royal arrival on Thursday, we explore what the 'land of the mountains' has to offer.

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You won't be able to miss the world's tallest twin buildings, the Petronas towers, perfect for a birds-eye view of the glistening city at night.

Despite its glimmering modernity, Malaysia's colonial history is still ingrained in city culture.

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Kuala Lumpur is home to over 70 living languages and a melting pot of ethnicities where mosques, temples and churches sit side by side in harmony.

Climb 271 steep steps to one the country's most breath-taking geological features, the Batu Caves. A labyrinth of limestone caverns under impressive vaulting ceilings, this temple contains the most important Hindu artefacts in Malaysia.

While most tourists only come to visit the caves, the limestone hills and crags offer some of the best rock climbing in Southeast Asia. From the seasoned rock climber to the less experienced of visitors there is something to occupy all skill levels.

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To get more out of the diversity of Malaysian wildlife lose yourself in the sculpted parks and dense tropics of Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.

The world's largest aviary is host to over 200 species of birds who fly freely amongst visitors within the parks' 20.9 acres.

Don't forget to buy some bird food for an up-close and personal experience with exotic birds in a relaxed, natural surrounding.

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Banana leaf dining is a must-do in this city. Banana leaves add a unique flavour and the technique is traditional in authentic Malaysian-Indian restaurants. Plates are replaced by leaves heaped with mouth-watering rice, curried meats, fish and vegetables. To show satisfaction at the end of a meal, fold the tip of the leaf inwards to give compliments to the chef.

Wash this down with one of the dozens of fresh coconuts for sale on Petaling Street, the city's Chinatown

A well-known bargain hunter’s paradise, the haggling never stops as the streets evolve with the day's chaos into a lively and vibrant night market.

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