City: Kuala Lumpur
Time zone: BST +7 / CET +6
Population: 1.65 million
Kuala Lumpur is 10,600km (6,587 miles) from the McLaren Technology Centre.
All of the Formula 1 freight has made the 300-mile (483km) trip from Singapore (scene of the last grand prix) to Kuala Lumpur by road. However, the two-week gap between races has meant that all team personnel have flown back to the UK for a week and will begin travelling to Malaysia at the start of race week. More than 50 international airlines fly into Kuala Lumpur, so there are many flight options from London.
Biggest travel headache?
British citizens aren’t required to have a visa for Malaysia, which makes it one of the easier races for the team in terms of paper work.
Malaysia has an incredibly diverse population. Of the country’s 32 million people, 50 per cent are Malay, 23 per cent are Chinese, seven per cent are Indian and the remaining 20 per cent are comprised of indigenous groups.
Malaysia is called the street food capital of Asia, and with good reason. Hawker stalls are found everywhere and offer everything from samosas to spicy noodle curry and cendol, which is a desert made from sweet grass jelly and coconut milk.
When in Rome…
Malaysia is an eclectic mix of old and new. Kuala Lumpur is a bustling and modern city, in keeping with the government’s ‘Vision 2020’ ambitions, yet much of the countryside remains unchanged. Agricultural and fishing are staples for a large proportion of the population, so why not split a visit to the race between bustling KL and one of the resorts along Malaysia’s spectacular coastline?
Late September is still the high season, but the chance of rain increases as the monsoon season approaches. Temperatures will be slightly higher than they were in Singapore two weeks ago because the race takes place in the day, so teams should expect an ambient of 30 degrees Celsius and 80 per cent humidity.
Top tips from our local Hilton Concierge
Your inside information on Malaysia, brought to you by our partner, Hilton.
Where is your favorite place to relax in Malaysia?
Malaysia is a melting pot of culture. We are outstanding when it comes to food and entertainment, but personally, I would go on a short weekend road trip to Malacca. Known as the place ‘where it all started’, Malacca (also spelled ‘Melaka’) is filled with historical sites and comforting food. Take a ride in the late evening on the gondola and enjoy the view of Malacca River. You can visit the local ‘Baba Nyonya’ museum and try the famous chendol in Jonker Street. It’s so addictive you will come back wanting for more.
What is your top tip for people visiting Kuala Lumpur?
We fully encourage people to absorb the best of what the city could offer. However, the infamous peak hour traffic could be a challenge. For city tour, try to get on the KL Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Bus. The city cabs are an affordable alternative but make sure you ask the driver to run the meter before getting in. They start off with a fixed price and the meter runs according to the distance.
Which local dish must be tried when in Malaysia?
Oh, rendang for sure! Rendang is meat cooked a little spicy, aromatic and bursting with flavors of local herbs and spices. It is cooked with either chicken, fish or beef. It’s something not to be missed.
Which location sums up the Malaysian lifestyle best?
We are a fortress of art and culture made up of different ethnicities. ‘Central Market’ in the heart of Kuala Lumpur also known as ‘Pasar Seni’, to me best represents Malaysia. You can find souvenirs, little knick-knacks, art pieces, and traditional costumes.
Describe Kuala Lumpur in 3 words.
Vibrant. Diverse. Warm (literally and figuratively!)