Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and a major stopover hub for most airlines within Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur has it all: world’s tallest twin towers, delicious street food, eclectic neighborhoods, affordable shopping and tropical rainforest lying in the middle of skyscrapers! Having visited this city three times, I’ve compiled a list of the top things to see and do in Kuala Lumpur!
THINGS TO DO IN KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA
The number one thing to do in Kuala Lumpur is visiting the Petronas Towers! You can’t say you’ve been to Kuala Lumpur without seeing the iconic twin towers! They are the tallest twin towers in the world, standing at a height of 452 meters.
The towers are connected by a sky bridge which you can visit between 9 am and 9 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays (except on Fridays when it’s closed from 1 pm to 2.30 pm). Tickets on the official website cost US$ 20 (RM 80) for adults and US$ 8 (RM 33) for children.
You can also book through klook.com for US$ 24.20 (RM 100) for adults and US$ 11.60 (RM 48) for children, including a one-way transfer. Come early or book in advance as they sell out fast.
KL Travel Tip: You can easily reach the Petronas Towers on foot by using the air-conditioned walkway from the Pavilion Shopping Mall in Bukit Bintang.
KLCC Park is a huge garden that comprises of a kid’s playground and pool and several walking trails. The main reason tourists visit this park is to watch the lake symphony light and water show every day at 8 pm, 9 pm and 10 pm.
Located within walking distance from the Petronas Towers, Aquaria KLCC is among the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. The aquarium has a collection of 5,000 land and sea creatures and even features an underwater tunnel where you can get up close and personal with sharks, manta rays and much more!
Aquaria KLCC is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. Tickets cost only US$ 11.45 (RM 47) for adults and US$ 9 (RM 37) for children if you book on klook.com.
KL TOWER (MENARA TOWER)
Standing tall at a height of 421 meters, KL Tower actually offers better views than the Petronas Tower. There are two observation decks; one indoor at 276 meters and another one much higher where you can get a 360-view of KL’s skyline. Test your limits by going inside the skybox made of glass which extends out of the building. It’s clearly not for the faint of heart!
The best time to visit is during sunset when you’ll be able to see the whole city light up. Operating hours are between 9 am and 10 pm. Tickets cost US$ 20.65 (RM 85) for adults and US$ 11.90 (RM 49) for children on klook.com.
The KL Tower is located right next to the KL Forest Eco Park, so you can combine a visit between these two.
KL FOREST ECO PARK (BUKIT NANAS)
One of the most popular KL attractions for those who want to escape the city’s hustle is trekking along the walking trails and canopy bridge of KL Forest Eco Park.
It’s hard to believe that this small chunk of tropical forest is located right in the heart of the city. You won’t hear any noise here except the occasional chirping of birds.
The park is free to explore and is open every day from 7 am to 6 pm but it’s better to go in the morning to avoid the heat. Also, be careful on the canopy bridge as some parts are not well-maintained.
THEAN HOU TEMPLE
Thean Hou Temple was built in 1987 in honor of Mazu, Goddess of the Sea. There is no entrance fee to visit the large complex which comprises of statues of dragons and deities within perfectly manicured gardens.
Inside, you’ll find three alters each holding the statues of Guan Yin, Goddess of mercy, Shui Wei Sheng Niang, Goddess of the waterfront and Mazu. The intricate carvings and tiles adorning the walls will definitely leave you speechless!
The top deck offers panoramic views over Kuala Lumpur and the temple looks absolutely spectacular during Chinese New Year with hundreds of Chinese lanterns hanging all over the temple grounds.
Due to its central location, Bukit Bintang is the best place to base yourself during your stay in Kuala Lumpur. Although there are mainly luxury hotels, mid-range and budget options are also available.
Bukit Bintang is Kuala Lumpur’s shopping district and has a wide range of high-end shopping malls such as Pavilion and Fahrenheit 88 with a mix of more affordable ones like Lot 10, Low Yat, Sungei Wang and Berjaya Times Square.
KL Travel Tip: Berjaya Time Square even has an indoor theme park!
JALAN ALOR NIGHT MARKET
Eating at Jalan Alor is an experience in itself! Located in Bukit Bintang, this is where you’ll find the best and cheapest street food in KL from sundown till dawn. Don’t forget to sample the Lok Lok, satays, noodles and kuih sweets!
MERDEKA SQUARE (DATARAN MERDEKA)
Merdeka Square is a large green space where Malaysia proclaimed its independence in 1957. The colonial building in the backdrop serves as offices for the Ministry of Communications, Tourism and Culture.
Right next to the Merdeka Square you’ll find Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest Islamic Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. It’s free to visit from Saturdays to Thursdays outside of prayer time.
ROYAL MALAYSIAN POLICE MUSEUM
Located within the same area as the KL Bird Park, the Royal Malaysian Police museum is free to visit between 10 am and 6 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays (except on Fridays when it’s closed from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm).
The museum has several exhibits that give an insight into the history of the Malaysian Police force. There’s even a Cessna aircraft on display at the entrance!
KL BIRD PARK
To witness more than 3,000 local and foreign birds roaming about the lush vegetation, head over to KL Bird Park. The entrance costs US$ 15 (RM 63) for adults and US$ 10 (RM 4) for children.
Operating hours: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm.
KL Travel Tip: If you want to stop for lunch, Hornbill restaurant serves the best Nasi Lemak!
KL BUTTERFLY PARK
KL Butterfly Park houses over 5,000 butterflies and is located just a 10 minutes’ walk from KL bird park. Tickets cost US$ 5.8 (RM 24) for adults and US$ 3 (RM 13) for children.
Petaling Street is packed with rows of stalls selling everything from souvenirs to knock-off handbags and accessories but most importantly, the foodie’s scene here is omnipresent. The area is always buzzing with activity and every vendor will be fighting for your attention. Test your haggling skills to see if you can score the cheapest price!
Kasturi Walk is a covered walkway and a less hectic version of Petaling Street where you’ll also find fake designer goods.
Central Market (Pasar Seni)
From its early beginnings as a wet market, the Central Market has now been converted into an art and craft center where you can get your hands on local handicrafts such as batik prints, sculptures and souvenirs. The market is open every day from 10 am to 9.30 pm.
KL LITTLE INDIA (BRICKFIELDS)
Head over to Little India (Brickfields) and it’ll immediately feel like you have set foot in India! Wander in between the arch decorations and explore the rows of shops blaring Bollywood music while selling colorful saris, flower garlands and Indian sweets and snacks.
Unfortunately, I didn’t venture this far in Kuala Lumpur, unlike Tara from SillyLittleKiwi, but photos of the Batu Caves are all over Instagram due to its recently painted stairs. The climb over the 272 steps leads to a Hindu temple inside of a limestone cave!
BEST TIME TO VISIT KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid year-round. I visited during the months of January, March and November and experienced rain showers mostly during the evening but they generally subsided after one hour. The monsoon season happens between April and October while November to February is usually the driest.
WHERE TO STAY IN KUALA LUMPUR?
Gold 3 Boutique Hotel features modern, clean and comfy rooms and is conveniently located in the heard of Bukit Bintang, just a stone’s throw from Kuala Lumpur’s main attractions. Prices start from US$ 32 for a private dorm room for two adults and US$ 37 for a queen room without windows and an extra US$ 2 for rooms with windows. Check for prices and availability for Gold 3 Boutique Hotel here.
Ansa Hotel is slightly more expensive but has a great view of the KL skyline. Make sure you request a room with a view of the KL Tower! Also located in Bukit Bintang, just a few meters from Pavilion shopping mall and more budget malls like Lot 10 and Sungei Wang Plaza. Prices start from US$ 64 for a superior queen room. BONUS – There’s a Starbucks on the ground floor, perfect for your morning caffeine fix! Check for prices and availability for Ansa Hotel Kuala Lumpur here.
From reading reviews on booking.com and Tripadvisor I’ve found Mingle @Chinatown which has cheap dorm and private rooms in the middle of Chinatown starting from US$ 10 and they even offer free cancelation and you can pay at the property. Other hotels include City Central Hotel (from US$ 29) and Easyhotel (from US$ 26) which are both located right next to the KL Sentral in Little India.
HOW TO GET AROUND KUALA LUMPUR?
The price of train tickets starts from US$ 0.30 (RM 1.20) one-way and can easily be purchased from vending machines at the train stations.
You can hop on the Go KL City Bus which is a free bus service that goes around the main attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
Grab is a much cheaper option than taxis and usually costs about US$ 1 to US$ 2.40 (RM 4 to RM 10) per trip within the city. Grab from the airport to the city center will set you back about US$ 15.70 (RM 65), excluding toll fee which usually cost less than US$ 2.40 (RM 10).
HOW TO STAY CONNECTED IN KUALA LUMPUR?
Most hotels will have free WiFi but if you need to use the GPS to navigate around KL, you can buy a Maxis Hotlink Red sim card. They cost only RM 10 and you can easily top up from any 7-eleven or buy an “internet pass” directly from the Hotlink app. 1.5 GB data costs US$ 2.40 (RM 10) and will be valid for 7 days. Other operators include Digi and Celcom.
Read more about Malaysia:
- Best Things to do in Melaka
- Penang Itinerary for 3 days
- Fun things to do in Ipoh
- Malaysia itinerary for two weeks on a budget
So, are you ready to explore Kuala Lumpur? Let me know in the comments below!
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