If you prefer to catch a cab from the airport, don't bother negotiating a fare with a random cabbie outside: buy a fixed-price taxi ticket to ensure that you arrive at your hotel without a case of haggle-induced stress.
International flights touch down in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Emirates (www.emirates.com/uk) is a good option as it operates flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Belfast, and KLM (www.klm.com) fills the gaps.
The non-stop, high-speed KLIA Ekspres service (www.kliaekspres.com) whooshes from KLIA to KL Sentral Station. It's zippy (faster than a taxi at any time, let alone rush hour), air-conditioned and reliable. And when you leave, do it in style: check-in alongside savvy jet-setters at the Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal (KL CAT) inside KL Sentral Station before you get onto the KLIA Ekspres.
Country code for Malaysia: 60; Kuala Lumpur: 3.
The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw; In Liberal Doses by Marina Mahathir; and The Asian Renaissance by Anwar Ibrahim.
Do go / Don't Go
Kuala Lumpur's equatorial climate keeps the city warm, sunny and humid all year round, but the occasional evening storms get more intense between September and April. In summer, 'the haze'- a dense dusty fug created by Sumatran forest fires - often comes to town and stays for one or two weeks.
Malaysian cuisine is flavoured by the country's history and geography; Indonesia, India, Thailand, and China have all sprinkled their spices in the broth. The result is a mélange of feisty flavours, usually centred on fragrant rice or noodle dishes.For fabulous Chinese-hawker fare, head to Jalan Alor in the morning for nasi lemak, a KL breakfast favourite made from eggs, anchovies and coconut rice, or try the crisp barbecued chicken wings finished with a hint of calamansi lime juice. Also keep an eye/nose out for durian, a large spiky fruit with an odour generously described as 'piquant'.
To get around town, taxis are a cheaper option than in many capitals. Insist on paying for a metered fare, or negotiate a price before getting in. Although you should be able to hail a taxi easily, keep an eye out for taxi ranks, usually in front of shopping malls.
Tipping is not common, so only tip if you've received outstanding service. Many hotels and large restaurants will automatically add a 10 per cent service charge (in addition to the five per cent government tax) to your bill.
Malaysian ringgit (RM) - the exchange rate is roughly RM7 to £1; RM3 to $1.
Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid all year round, so pack light linens and summer clothes, sunscreen and something to keep the mozzies at bay. Although KL-ites are generally a liberal lot, do bear in mind that most Malaysians are Muslim - bikini tops and shorts might offend so, wardrobe-wise, modesty is the best policy.
The National Art Gallery (+60 (0)3 4025 4990; www.artgallery.gov.my) offers a spectacular introduction to Malaysia's arts scene with over 2,500 pieces in its permanent collection. But if you're looking to add to your personal collection, leading local art curator Valentine Willie's gallery, Valentine Willie Fine Art (+60 (0)32284 2348; www.vwfa.net) offers a stellar collection of works by some of Southeast Asia's finest artists. The Malaysian Philharmonic (www.malaysianphilharmonic.com) happens to be one of the region's best symphony orchestras and its concerts are well worth dressing up for.
Retail is the lifeblood of the city and the pulse beats even harder during the thrice-yearly Mega Sales (March, August, December), when prices drop by up to 70 per cent and the sprawling malls of KLCC and Bukit Bintang in the Golden Triangle swarm with bargain-hunters on the lookout for cut-price couture. If you prefer a more down-to-earth shopping experience, the vigorous haggling of the street traders goes on all year round in Chinatown and the Central Market. For upscale boutique treats, head to the suburb of Bangsar, which is rapidly becoming fashionista-central, or to the eye-catching Lee Rubber Building, where fans have dubbed Peter Hoe Evolution & Beyond (+60 (0)3 2026 9788) the Shanghai Tang of Malaysia.
Hotel Maya's exclusive wine and cigar lounge (+60 (0)3 2711 8866, ext 258) offers a dramatic view of the city's skyline. Equally breathtaking is the Traders Hotel's Sky Bar (+60 (0)3 2332 9888), an open-air pavilion on the rooftop.
Soak up some stunning Islamic architecture at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (+60 (0)3 5159 9988), one of the largest mosques in Southeast Asia. Often referred to as the Blue Mosque, it has a vast, navy blue central dome (Malaysia's largest), flanked by four of the world's tallest minarets.
January-February Over a million pilgrims form an eight-hour procession from the city to the Batu Caves to celebrate the Hindu festival of Thaipusam.
April The Malaysian Grand Prix brings the world's racing fans to town (www.malaysiangp.com.my). May-June Colours of Malaysia is a nationwide, month-long celebration of Malaysian culture, cuisine and craft (www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my). October Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week is a showcase for the country's most accomplished designers as well as up-and-coming talent (www.kualalumpurfashionweek.com). November The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival places the country's best chefs under the spotlight as with exclusive menus and special promotions (www.migf.com).