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Ampang, the land of little Korea
Ampang is a suburb in the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur. Known as the Little Korea of Malaysia thanks to its various expat offices, various Korean dining houses and shopping centers, there’s a lot of history behind this little district that lies in the shadow of Kuala Lumpur.
The word “Ampang” means “dam” in Malaya. Ampang was once a mining town but was shut down due to a bout of malaria and then re-opened by then king Raja Abdullah after he sent another 150 miners to replace the ones that had died. Eventually the town grew into Kuala Lumpur, became the capital of what was then Selangor and eventually broke off as Kuala Lumpur, which became the capital of true Malaysia and in time became the biggest Asian city in the 20th century.
Kuala Lumpur has many influences in the form of the Chinese and British occupations. This influence is highly visible in the city’s architecture as well as its culture today.
Getting to Ampang
The nearest airport is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, located around 60km from the main city. Being an international airport and a tourist destination, getting flights should not be a problem.
Ampang is connected via the Ampang LRT railway station. The station is in proximity to various international embassies like the U.S, Canadian and British embassies. Since Ampang is a suburb in Kuala Lumpur, you may find that traveling by road would be a simpler option. The Jalan Ampang route is an example of this.
There are a lot of private operators that have routes throughout most of Malaysia. Ampang is certainly one stop on most routes.
Getting around Ampang
Being a part of the main city of Kuala Lumpur, you should not be too hard-pressed to find reasonable means of commuting.
Monorail: A monorail system run by a private company, RapidKL(that also maintains other transport facilities) can be used to get to Kuala Lumpur and also within the city. You can also buy a RapidKL card pass that is valid for all RapidKL transport options, even buses and LRT stations.
Train: The same company also provides LRT train routes to and from Ampang, by means of the Ampang LRT station. You can also switch between the LRT line and the monorail lines in case you cannot find a stop on either platform. In case of extended stay, you can buy a rail pass called the Touch-n-Go card, that can be used on all city lines except the airport express line.
Bus: RapidKL operates buses but the routes are limited and frequency is low. You have a much better option of using the HOHO(Hop-on, Hop-off) services that are basically a guided tour of the city, wherein the bus stops at major tourist attractions. There is even a free service known as GoKL that operates between the business and shopping districts of the city. The service is free as a means to reduce traffic and pollution within the city, and also has free WiFi on board.
What to see in/around Ampang
The Petronas Towers: Notably the most famous attraction in Malaysia, these towers belong to the Petronas Oil and Gas company and were designed by Cesar Pelli, an Argentine architect.
The national zoo: located in Ampang, the zoo is home to approximately 5700 animals, with 470-odd species in mammals alone. There are also special volunteer programs that allow for hands-on approach with some of the animals.
The KL tower: A little known but still-great tower very close to the more famous Petronas towers.
Ampang shopping center for when you’re returning home and want something to take back with you.
The best way to get the most of Ampang is to simply walk around the city, checking out the various Korean and Indian centers. Ampang also has an area called Little India!
Staying in Ampang
We recommend you stay in Kuala Lumpur as it offers the best connectivity options and you hit two birds with one stone as you can visit both KL and Ampang whenever you like. If,however, you are hopping between cities, staying near the Ampang LRT stations is a decent option. Both cities have a wide range of options of homestays, service apartments & villas. These options are quite popular in Malaysia as they are economical and fuss-free. For affordable and convenient housing options, you’re invited to check out homeaway for a comprehensive list with all types of budgets in mind.
What to eat in Ampang
Malaysia in general is food-lover paradise. There’s a plethora of options based on Indian and Malay cuisine, even Korean and Chinese in some places. Kuala Lumpur is packed with street food and so is Ampang. Some notable dishes on the bigger streets are:
Assam laska: A fish-and-tamarind based soup served with ginger flowers in a few places. The sweet-sour-spicy combination is out of this world!
Rojak: A salad dish comprising of fruits and vegetables sprinkled over with sweet sauce. Usually also contains shrimp paste so vegetarians please take note.
Batu Muang Satay: Various types of meat(usually chicken,beef or pork) that are skewered, placed on a satay and grilled. Served in a peanut sauce with vegetables.
Indian cuisine: Various restaurants also serve a wide variety of Indian dishes such as dosas, chicken biryani, and so on. Many breakfast houses are known only for Indian breakfast items as they are light on the wallet and are very filling.