There are plenty of things to do in Kuala Lumpur if you plan to explore it for a couple of days. After all, this is Malaysia’s capital and largest city. Kuala Lumpur or KL, as locals fondly call it, looks quite modern with a downtown filled with dazzling skyscrapers. However, Kuala Lumpur also has areas and neighborhoods where the local culture is strong and celebrated. It is a great city to shop, dine and sightsee for at least 3-4 days.
Here is the extensive list of the best things Kuala Lumpur can offer. This will greatly help you plan an amazing trip in this cultural melting pot!
Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur List:
1. View the magnificent Petronas Towers.
Many tourist guides will have the Petronas Towers at the top of their list for things to see in Kuala Lumpur. Most people will tell you not to leave the city without seeing them.
The Petronas Towers are often called the Twin Towers because there are in fact two towers standing side by side. Visiting the towers may be a cliché thing to do, but in my opinion, they are definitely worth seeing. The towers are some of the best looking man-made structures in the world even when compared to newer structures like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I still consider the Petronas Towers to be my favorite even though I have seen the Burj Khalifa, Taipei 101 and a whole range of other towers from around the world.
The architecture of the Petronas Towers is breathtaking. Despite being modern, the design obviously has some strong Asian influence to it, making it truly unique. The Towers are mostly silver and they glisten beautifully under the sun. But at night the Petronas Towers are simply stunning when both buildings are lit up in the heart of KL.
How to get to the Petronas Towers?
The Petronas Towers are right downtown in Kuala Lumpur’s City Center or KLCC for short. The closest train station is the RapidKL Suria KLCC station inside KLCC Suria Mall. The KLCC Suria Mall is located directly below the Petronas Towers.
You can also reach Suria by taking a taxi, UBER or Grab
Where should you stay near the Petronas Towers to get the best views?
The Petronas Towers have quite a few nice hotels within walking distance. Some of them offer fantastic views of the Towers, and the rest of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
Here are the highest rated hotels near the Petronas Towers based on verified Guest Reviews. I would strongly recommend booking at these properties if you are staying in KL. Just make sure that you spend the extra money to get a ‘Tower View’ room, otherwise it won’t be the same experience.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel – rated 9.2/10 and located 100 meters from the Petronas Towers. This is one of the nicest and most positively reviewed hotels in the entire city.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Hotel – rated 8.9/10 and located 300 meters from the Petronas Towers. This is a beautiful, modern hotel that has exception views of the Petronas Towers.
Fun Fact: During all of my years living in Kuala Lumpur, I have never gone up to the viewing platform in the Petronas Towers. My reasoning? The Petronas Towers are better viewed from afar. If you want to see Kuala Lumpur, then you go up to the viewing deck. But KL has so many amazing city viewing spots that you don’t have to go up the towers if you don’t want to.
2. Shop at Suria KLCC.
After watching the Petronas Towers from the outside, consider checking out the Suria KLCC Mall. This mall is located below the towers. Suria Mall is designed to complement the Petronas Towers. It’s a very modern and sleek mall full of well-known shopping chains as well as the world-class designer ones. It has a nice layout and it’s big enough to explore but small enough not to get lost. The only downside about this mall is that it can get really busy especially during weekends and holidays due to its prime position and excellent stores.
How to get to Suria KLCC?
You can reach Suria KLCC by taking the RapidKL Kelana Jaya Line. Get off at the Suria KLCC Station, which is connected to the underground level of Suria.
You can also reach Suria by taking a taxi, UBER or Grab.
3. Watch a concert at the Malaysian Philharmonic Concert Hall (Dewan Filharmonik).
Established by the Petronas Oil Company, this elegant Concert Hall is home to the Kuala Lumpur Philharmonic Orchestra. Its exquisite design alone is enough reason to visit it. The Philharmonic Orchestra plays every weekend for most of the year. They do not only play classical but also jazz, traditional Malay music, and famous movie soundtracks. The organization also regularly invites world-renowned musicians and orchestras to perform.
The best thing about the Concert Hall is that the ticket prices are very reasonable compared to watching other philharmonic concerts in Europe and North American. So if you haven’t experienced watching a world class Philharmonic Orchestra in action, this is probably your most budget-friendly opportunity to do so. Just make sure to dress properly for the occasion and to cheer when everyone else does!
How to get to the Malaysian Philharmonic Concert Hall?
The the Malaysian Philharmonic Concert Hall is attached to Suria KLCC. You can reach Suria KLCC by taking the RapidKL Train Kelana Jaya Line. Get off at the Suria KLCC Station, located at the underground level of Suria.
You can also reach Malaysian Philharmonic Concert Hall by taking a taxi, UBER or Grab
Another compelling reason to stay around the Petronas Towers area is the KLCC Park, which is located just outside the KL Suria Mall. If shopping is not really your thing, you can always head outside the park and get great views and pictures of the towers.
The park has coffee shops, green space, ponds and a running track. You can come and have a picnic (if you can handle the heat). KLCC Park has a fountain next to the mall and every night, they set up a nice fountain show for visitors to enjoy.
How to get KLCC Park?
KLCC Park is located at the back of Suria KLCC Mall. The nearest train station here is the Suria KLCC Station which is on the RapidKL Kelana Jaya Train Line. From this station, which is on the underground level of Suria, you can take the escalator up to the ground floor to walk towards the park.
You can also take a taxi, Grab or Uber and get drop off at Suria KLCC.
5. Learn and enjoy with your kids at Petrosains Discovery Center.
Petrosains is the name for the Science Discovery Center inside Suria KLCC. It offers exhibitions and programs that focus on the science and technology behind the energy industry. Petrosains is carefully designed to be very interactive and exciting. It is a perfect place for kids to learn and have fun at the same time.
How to get to Petrosains?
Petrosains is located inside Suria Mall. The Suria KLCC Station of the LRT RapidKL Kelana Jaya Line is the nearest train station to Petrosains. It is located in the underground level of Suria KLCC Mall. This can be reached by escalator or elevated from the upper floors of the Mall.
Tuesday to Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm Last Admission: 4:00 pm Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday: 9:30am – 6:30pm Last Admission: 5:00pm Monday: Closed (except on Public Holidays and School Holidays)
6. Get up close and personal with sea creatures at Aquaria KLCC.
Every big city usually has a decent indoor aquarium, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Aquaria KLCC is the place to go if you want to see fascinating sea creatures without leaving the city center. Aquaria KLCC features two floors with several exhibits like the Piranha Tank, Shark’s Den and the Jellyfish Lab.
If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur with kids that are starting to get bored, Aquaria KLCC makes a delightful visit.
How to get Aquaria KLCC?
Aquaria KLCC is found on the Concourse Level of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. You can access it by entering the main entrance of the Convention Center along Jalan Pinang. If you are coming from Suria KLCC, you just need to walk through the underpass tunnel that connects the lower ground of the shopping center to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. The walk is only around 5 minutes. Alternatively, if you are staying near Pavilion Mall then you can take the tourist walkway that connects Pavilion to the convention center. Aquaria KLCC is about 50 meters from the bottom of the escalator.
7. Go up a sky bar and marvel at KL’s amazing cityscape.
This is one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur especially if you’re just staying at a hotel around the downtown area. Going to a sky bar is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the city, which boasts some spectacular buildings. Fortunately for you, there are many sky bars around the city center to choose from.
But my absolute favorite? No other than the Heli Lounge Bar located in the Menara KH Building. The main lounge is on the 34th floor of the building. But the real stunner is on the 36th floor of the building. Here, you will find a real rooftop with an actual helipad that operates normally during the day. By 6 pm, the lounge staff sets up chairs and tables and transforms the space into a bar area. The result? Customers can get a truly uninterrupted 360-degree view of Kuala Lumpur.
Heli Lounge Bar is absolutely breathtaking (not advisable for those who have a serious fear of heights though). A good place to stay near Heli Lounge Bar is Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Center. It’s only about 300 meters away from Heli Lounge Bar and a few minutes away from Changkat as well.
8. Party on Jalan P Ramlee.
If you are looking for a party scene not too far from the Petronas Towers, then Jalan P Ramlee Street may be your best bet. P Ramlee is known for its lively bars, pubs, and restaurants. A number of expats, business travelers, and backpackers frequent this area. Some of the major bars host live bands or a DJ. The Beach Club Café is the most well-known and established café. Other prominent establishments include Aloha, Healy Mac’s and Retro Club. There is also a handful of restaurants and they also serve alcohol that you can choose from if you want a more relaxed atmosphere.
Jalan P Ramlee is not an ideal spot to bring kids at night as the district is also frequented by high-end foreign prostitutes. This is a scene that is common all around Southeast Asia. If you don’t mind their presence and do your own thing, then you will have an enjoyable time at Ramlee. It is very convenient if you are staying near the Petronas Towers.
If you are looking for the most prominent dance club in Kuala Lumpur, then that would be Zouk, which is only a few minutes’ walk. This massive is a well-known hangout for the teenagers and the young adult population.
How to get Jalan P Ramlee?
Jalan P Ramlee is one of the streets adjacent to the Petronas Towers. To get to the nightlife area where most of the bars and restaurants are, you need head southwest toward Persiaran Petronas (the small street in front of the tower complex). Then walk across to reach Jalan P Ramlee. Just keep walking until you see the bars and restaurants. One huge landmark in the area is the Crown Regency Hotel.
Where should you stay along Jalan P Ramlee?
There are three places to stay along Jalan P Ramlee based on my experience in KL. I highly recommend these properties.
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur – rated 9.2/10 based on verified guest reviews. This is only about 100 meters from Jalan P Ramlee and 100 meters from the Petronas Towers. You can’t get a nicer location than this in the city.
Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur – rated 8.5/10 based on verified guest reviews. This is an excellent and affordable serviced apartment that is less than 100 meters from Jalan P Ramlee and about 600 meters from the Petronas Towers. The apartments are massive for the price and ideal location.
9. Get panoramic views from KL Tower (Menara Tower).
KL Tower’s Observation Deck makes an excellent choice if you want to capture a 360-degree panorama of the city, which will include the magnificent Petronas Towers. Menara KL has some of the best views because it is the fourth tallest telecommunication tower in the world. Plus, it sits on Bukit Nanas – a prominent hill in the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur.
Consider booking yourself a high tea or dinner at KL Tower’s revolving restaurant called Atmosphere360. The cost for the dinner and high tea are quite pricey, but it promises to be an amazing dining experience if you don’t mind spending the cash. We have been there on multiple occasions we have never been disappointed. Other attractions in KL Tower include the XD Theatre, Blue Coral Aquarium, and the F1 Simulator Zone.
Operation Hours for the Observation Deck and the Facilities: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm.
How to get to KL Tower?
The closest train station to KL Tower is the Bukit Nanas Monorail Station of the Monorail Line. From the station, you will need to walk until you reach the Bukit Nanas Hill. At the entrance, there is a guard house, and there you can take the free shuttle service going to the tower.
You can take also take a taxi, UBER or Grab. When you leave, don’t take a taxi from here because they will often try to overcharge you 3x or 4x the actual price. Use UBER or Grab apps if you can. If you don’t have one, it is better to take the shuttle and walk towards the street before getting a taxi.
What are the best accommodation choices near KL Tower?
There are two hotels that I would recommend that I have stayed at within walking distance of KL Tower.
Pacific Regency Hotel Suites: rated 8.1/10 based on verified guest reviews. I have stayed at this property over 5 times. Some of the rooms are massive for the price, but slightly outdated. If you’re not too picky, some of their older rooms are the best deal in town. Their pool is on the rooftop and so too is their sky lounge. You can walk to the Petronas Towers from here in 10-15 minutes.
Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.9/10 based on verified guest reviews. With excellent service, food and an ideal location (within walking distance of KL Tower and the Petronas Towers), this has been one of KL’s most popular hotels for a long, long time. It is definitely more expensive than the Pacific Regency, but it is more polished and more professionally managed.
10. Eat at Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur has a rich hawker food culture, and Jalan Alor is arguably the most famous street to eat Malaysia delicacies. Jalan Alor is a narrow strip lined up with hawker stalls that set up their own plastic tables and chairs. It has a very busy but energetic atmosphere that tourists absolutely love.
Jalan Alor can be compared to Khaosan Road in Bangkok only that people come to Alor more for the food and not for the beer. Locals rarely eat at Jalan Alor because there are less touristy hawkers like it in different places throughout the city, but they are not as concentrated. But since you’re new to KL and Jalan Alor’s location is quite convenient, it will be a good place to start your hawker food experience. It is also a truly superb location for ‘people watching’ and street photography.
The closest train station to Jalan Alor is the Bukit Bintang Monorail Station. From this station, you will need to walk north along Jalan Bukit Bintang. You will reach Jalan Alor in under 5 minutes. If you need any help finding the street, everyone in the area (even tourists) should know where Jalan Alor is.
Jalan Alor is a very busy area so avoid getting a taxi to drop you off there if possible. You will just be stuck in traffic and will have to pay more for the fare. In other words, get dropped off about 400-500 meters from Jalan Alor and you will get there faster by walking.
Should you stay near Jalan Alor?
I wouldn’t recommend staying in the direct vicinity of Jalan Alor because it’s busy, loud and many of the properties aren’t well managed with the high turnover of tourists. Instead, I would suggest staying on a quieter street at a place where you can choose to be in the action when you want. A few properties that I would recommend are listed below:
PARKROAYAL Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.4/10 and located only about 500 meters from Jalan Alor. It’s on a quiet street and it is also very close to Changkat. There are some interesting local restaurants across the street.
Wolo Bukit Bintang: rated 8.2/10 based on verified guest reviews. This is one of the most ideally located hotels in all of Kuala Lumpur. It’s close to Pavilion Mall, but also close to Jalan Alor, Changkat, and a Monorail Station. This will be cheaper than the Parkroyal, but not quite as fancy.
11. Enjoy the night at Changkat Street in Bukit Bintang.
Just a few hundred meters from Jalan Alor is a street very well known among Kuala Lumpur nightlife lovers. Expats and tourists love going to Changkat because this is the liveliest street in the city, packed with bars, restaurants, and pubs. Because of competition, establishments here have the tendency to open and close up fast. But one thing is for sure, on Changkat, you can always find a place to drink, dine and party the night away. Many tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur choose to stay in Bukit Bintang near Changkat or Jalan Alor because it’s very convenient to eat at Jalan Alor and then finish off the night socializing at nearby Changkat.
How to get to Changkat?
Changkat is only a 2-minute walk from Jalan Alor. The nearest train station here is the Bukit Bintang Monorail Station, which is only about a 5 minute walk. Taking a taxi or car right to Changkat during rush hour is a big pain in the ass! It is a very busy street. You are better getting dropped off somewhere around Pavilion Mall or the Bukit Bintang Monorail Station, and walk your way to the street. I have been in some very heavy traffic travelling to and from Changkat over the years, especially if it’s raining!!
If you like shopping but prefer a more low-key vibe with smaller crowds, then Pavilion Mall is a good alternative to Suria KLCC.
Pavilion Mall is my favorite mall in KL. It is classy, not too big and has nice flooring and design. Somehow, the vibe here is more relaxed than other malls in the city center. It definitely is a more ‘fancy’ mall but it is still very welcoming.
Expats love hanging out around Pavilion. The best spot in the entire mall is its outdoor area, lined up with restaurants, shops, and bars. Another interesting spot in Pavilion is its highest floor, which houses some of the best fine dining restaurants in the city. Staying near Pavilion Mall is also a very practical choice since it is within walking distance to Changkat, Jalan Alor and many other attractions in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
How to get to Pavilion Mall?
Pavilion Mall is on Bukit Bintang Street. The closest train station to it is the KL Monorail Bukit Bintang Station. From this station, you need to walk north on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Then turn right on Jalan Bukit Bintang. The walk only takes about 4 minutes.
If you are coming from the Petronas Towers area, you can take the covered walk that runs from Convention Center to Pavilion Mall. The walk will take 10-15 minutes. The covered walk is an enclosed bridge that goes above some of the streets in the downtown area. If you’re not sure where it is, just ask around. It is easy to find once you are in the Convention Center area. The free GoKL Tourist Bus also loops around Pavilion Mall, but it is often very crowded with locals trying to get a free ride.
Where should you stay near Pavilion Mall?
Pavilion Mall has some awesome accommodation choices within a short walk from its doors. This will come down to your budget. Here are some ones that I would recommend:
JW Marriot Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.7/10 based on verified guest reviews. This is perfectly located about 100 meters from Pavilion. An excellent hotel if you can afford it.
The Westin Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.5/10 based on verified guest reviews. This is also a great hotel and it’s only about 150 meters from Pavilion Mall. This is typically slightly cheaper than the Westin Kuala Lumpur.
The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.7/10. This is one of the best properties in KL. Barack Obama stayed here. It’s about 400 meters from Pavilion.
13. Ride the roller coaster at Berjaya Times Square. (Family Activity)
Another huge mall in Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Times Square, is less luxurious than Pavilion and KLCC Suria. If you like to shop for more affordable yet stylish clothing this is the mall to go. People also visit Berjaya for its large indoor theme park Cosmo’s World Theme Park, complete with a roller coaster. This park is a sure hit if you’re traveling with kids. There is also a very conveniently hotel located in Berjaya Times Square if you want to stay in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
How to get to Berjaya Times Square?
The closest train station to Berjaya Times Square is the Imbi Station on the Monorail Line. From this station, you only need to head east on Jalan Imbi and you will reach the mall. It’s hard to miss it!
14. Get amazing views at Lake Titiwangsa Gardens.
Locally called Taman Tasik Titiwangsa. This park is a good place to just get some fresh air. Because of its location, which is north of downtown Kuala Lumpur, it offers a nice vista of the city skyline, most notably the Twin Towers themselves. Istana Budaya (the Arts and Culture Center) is also located near Titiwangsa Gardens. Unfortunately, the Center is closed for renovation until November 2017.
If you enjoy photography, then be sure to bring your camera to Lake Titiwangsa Park. I have visited before and captured excellent water reflections with the KL Skyline in clear view. I highly recommend visiting around sunset for beautiful reflections and ideal lighting.
You can take the Monorail or LRT to Titiwangsa Station. From the station, you need to take Bus #120. It is possible to walk from the train station but it will take you 20 to 30 minutes and you will need to cross a few busy roads.
Alternatively, you can take the KL Hop-on Hop-off Bus, Uber or Grab services.
Chow Kit Market is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people find it dirty and dodgy. A section of the market is often referred to as the unofficial Red Light District, but the other half is a vibrant local wet market. If you like something more local and a quintessential Southeast Asian experience, then head to Chow Kit. The centerpiece of the Chow Kit Market is the Bazaar Baru Chow Kit, which is divided into a wet and dry section.
There are companies that offer food tours through Chow Kit Market. Although insights offered by guides may be valuable, you can easily walk around the market by yourself if you don’t have the budget for a tour. Local vendors can speak English well enough that you won’t have a problem buying items from them. The market can be very busy and crowded. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Don’t bring a lot of cash and valuables with you just to be on the safe side, but don’t afraid to get right into the action.
How to get to Chow Kit Market?
Chow Kit Market can be accessed via Jalan Haji Hussein. The closest train station to Chow Kit market is the Chow Kit Monorail Station of the KL Monorail Line. From this station, you only need to walk a couple of minutes to get to the heart of the market.
16. Go for a local street food adventure in Kampung Baru.
In the middle of downtown Kuala Lumpur sits a Malay village, which has been in existence long before the major skyscrapers overshadowed it. This is the charm of Kampung Baru. A local village in a peculiar position and whose fate is still unknown amidst the unstoppable growth of the metropolis.
Kampung Baru, which literally means new village was established in the 1880’s, covering more than a 100-hectare area and consisting of seven original villages. It is a very historical place that somewhere managed not to be bulldozed by urban planners and corporations.
Walk around Kampung Baru and discover its simple and quiet charm. You will find wooden houses with small gardens decorated with trees. Visitors come here to try out the various food stalls and cafes in the area.
How to Get to Kampung Baru?
Take the Putra LRT train line and get off at Kampung Baru Station. You can also take the monorail and stop at Medan Tuanku Station. If you are already in KLCC, you may also walk to Kampung Baru by first heading northwest on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Make your way to Jalan Rajah by crossing the bridge and by Rajah Abdullah, turn right.
17. Visit splendid Merdeka Square.
If you like visiting historical places, then Merdeka Square is highly recommended. This is Malaysia’s symbolic and historical square. The place where the Malayan flag was raised for the very first time, replacing the Union flag, marking the independence of the Malayan peninsula. The historical raising of the flag happened on the 31st of August in 1957.
Merdeka Square is the venue for the annual Merdeka Parade. But it is still a nice place to visit even outside of the celebration time. Walk around the square and marvel at some of the beautiful historical buildings. Take a photo of the highest flagpole in the world that stands at the height of 100 meters. You can also get some pretty good quality photos of KL’s skyline from Merdeka Square, so don’t forget to bring along your camera.
How to get to Merdeka Square?
The Square is on Dataran Merdeka. It is across from the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and beside Royal Selangor Club. To get there, take a train to Masjid Jamek Station. From the station, walk a few minutes towards Jamek Mosque.
Walk along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin within the vicinity of Merdeka Square and your attention will surely be caught by a massive Mughal-Islamic style building. It’s not a palace or a government building but a museum. Although you may not notice it right away because the sign is a bit small for its size, this heritage landmark is the National Textile Museum.
The National Textile Museum is extremely photogenic and makes an amazing backdrop for a selfie. But if you have the time, there’s no reason not to go inside as admission is free. The building has two floors with galleries showcasing impressive collections of traditional textiles and apparel made in Malaysia. You can also learn more about the processes and the type of technology used to make these textiles.
This museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is free.
How to get to the National Textile Museum?
The closest train station to this museum is Masjid Jamek Station served by the LRT Line. Once you get off at Masjid Jamek Station, you only need to walk a few minutes to reach the museum.
19. See Intriguing Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque).
Masjid Jamek’s popularity is mainly due to its age and history. Built in 1909, it is the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur. It is claimed that this mosque is built in the same spot as the first burial grounds for the Malay in the city.
Jamek is quite striking from afar with a design that is heavily influenced by Moorish and North Indian Islamic architecture. During Friday’s, Masjid Jamek is especially busy because of the many worshippers who choose to pray there. This is the reason why Jamek is widely known among locals as “Friday Mosque”. Aside from taking photos of the exterior of the mosque, tourists are allowed to visit outside prayer times. If you would like to come in, you need to dress conservatively according to Islamic standards.
Over the last few years, the area around Masjid Jamek has been cleaned up which makes it a nice place to walk around. I would suggest walking from Masjid Jamek to Merdeka Square.
How to get to Masjid Jamek?
This mosque can be accessed via Jalan Tun Perak. The closest train station to this mosque is the Masjid Jamek station of the RapidKL LRT line. The station is literally 50 meters from Masjid Jamek, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding it.
20. Buy all the souvenirs you want at Central Market.
Close to Merdeka Square is the lovely Central Market. The market is mainly made up of a building with a couple of floors. But it also has an outdoor area called Kasturi Walk, which is occupied by many stalls, selling mainly food. Inside the building, you will find more than a hundred shops that mostly sell locally made products and Malaysian souvenirs. Prices on similar products can vary.
Even though Central Market is a popular tourist destination, you can still find cheap items like T – shirts and key chains. Haggling is quite common so don’t hesitate! There is also a very popular tourist attraction located within the Market itself, but it is not a shop selling goods. It’s actually a foot spa business that uses hundreds of fish to do the dirty work!
How to get to Central Market?
The closest train station to Central Market is the RapidKL (LRT) Pasar Seni Station. From this station, you only need to head north on Jalan Sultan Mohamed, slight right on Jalan Sultan and turn left onto Jalan Hang Kasturi. You will eventually reach the Kasturi Walk wooden gate. The walk from the LRT station to Central Market is only about 500 meters. Alternatively, you could check out Masjid Jamek, Merdeka Square and then walk to Central Market. In this case get off at Masjid Jamek Station.
21. Walk down busy Petaling Street Market (Chinatown).
Petaling Street is the center of the Chinatown district in Kuala Lumpur. This street is a popular shopping spot, featuring imitation products of famous designer brands. If you’re not into ‘bootlegged’ stuff, you can still visit Petaling Street for its energetic atmosphere and outdoor Chinese restaurants. Some tourists just enjoy sitting at a table by the roadside and do ‘people watching’. It’s also a great place to try out exotic Chinese dishes like fried fresh frog. Due to the various budget friendly hotels in Chinatown this is a popular area to stay for backpackers visiting the city.
Petaling Street goes through Jalan Sultan and Jalan Pudu and is in a neighborhood often called Puduraya. This street is close to one of the main bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur, Pudu Central. There are three train stations that are all within walking distance to Petaling Street. These are the LRT line (RapidKL) Pasar Seni, the KTM Komuter line Kuala Lumpur Station, and the Monorail line Maharajalela Station.
22. Admire Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
This is the most prominent and heavily decorated Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur. It is peculiarly situated between two Buddhist temples just at the edge of Chinatown. Sri Mahamariamman was built by the early Tamil (South Indian) immigrants to the country. These immigrants were brought in to become laborers for railway and road construction work. The temple was their place of respite, solace, and prayers. Thus, the temple is a very iconic and symbolic structure for their descendants who continue to practice Hinduism in a very culturally diverse setting. Since it is so close to Petaling Street, try to see Sri Mahamariamman Temple during your visit to Chinatown.
How to get to Sri Mahamariamman Temple?
The temple is located in Jalan Tun HS Lee, South of Jalan Hang Lekir. The closest train station to here is Pasar Seni Station of the LRT Purple Line. From the Pasar Seni LRT Station, you only need to walk for 350 meters to reach Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
23. Check out Sze Ya Temple.
Built in 1864, Sze Ya Temple is the oldest Taoist temple in existence in Kuala Lumpur. This is where you will learn more about rich culture and heritage of the Chinese people in the city. Sze Ya Temple is especially festive during Chinese New Year. This is also a common place for students to pray for a positive final exam outcome. Oftentimes, you will see devotees rattling a container of fortune telling sticks called kao chim to find answers to their questions about their future.
How to get Sze Ya Temple?
Take the LRT train and get off either Masjid Jamek Station or Pasar Seni station. From either of these stations, you will need to walk around 6 minutes to reach Sze Ya Temple.
Where should you stay in Chinatown?
Central Market, Petaling Street, Sri Mahamariamman Temple and Sze Ya Temple are technically located in the Chinatown area of KL. Therefore you can easily find a budget place to stay that is within walking distance of all these attractions. It’s hard to find 3-5 star properties here. Mainly budget choices instead. Here are two quick suggestions:
24. Snap a picture of the Famous Kuala Lumpur Train Station.
This is one of Kuala Lumpur’s historic gems. It served as a railway hub until KL Sentral opened in 2001. Aside from its historical importance, another reason to visit KL’s old Train Station is its distinct architecture, which infuses both Eastern and Western styles. You can see some Islamic influences in the design, but it is mostly made of glass and iron, typical of an English railway building during the Victorian Era. If you love photographing buildings, this is a must while visiting Kuala Lumpur.
How to get to the KL Train Station?
Kuala Lumpur Old Train Station is located in Bangunan Stesen Keretapi, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin. It is also within walking distance of KL Sentral.
What is the best place to stay near the KL Train Station?
The Majestic Kuala Lumpur (rated 8.9/10) is the obvious choice here. It’s only about 200 meters from the Station and it is a beautiful colonial hotel. This is one of the most positively reviewed properties in the entire city.
25. Enjoy the gorgeous parks and gardens of Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens.
The Perdana Botanical Garden (Taman Botani Perdana in Malay) may the official name of this 227-acre park, but everyone I meet in Kuala Lumpur calls it Lake Gardens. This gorgeous green space is located right in the smack of Kuala Lumpur. Originally, it was a recreational park, but through the years, it has been transformed into full-fledged Botanical Garden.
The Lake Gardens have several sections, which include the Sunken Garden, Orchid Garden, and the Hibiscus Park, which houses Malaysia’s national flower Bunga Raya (Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis). It is also home to the Butterfly and Deer Parks.
Just exploring Lake Gardens can take up an entire day. On some Kuala Lumpur travel websites, it is claimed that you can rent Segway and bicycles to explore the park. But during our visits, we never saw any kiosks that offered such rentals. Perhaps these services are seasonal so don’t expect them to be readily available during your visit.
The KL Lake Gardens is one of my favorite spots in Kuala Lumpur. It is close to the city center but it is amazingly green, very spacious and absolutely serene. It is a delightful space to jog, walk and to have a picnic. The only thing that could discourage you to spend more time here is the infamous KL heat and humidity. Come here during the early morning, late afternoon or on cloudy days to enjoy a more comfortable temperature.
How to get to the Lake Gardens?
The Lake Gardens can be accessed via Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana. The KTM Komuter Line goes to the KL Station, which is the closest station to the park. However, from this station, you will still need to walk a great deal to get inside the Lake Gardens area. Thus, most tourists opt for taxis, Grab or Uber to take them to an exact location within Lake Gardens.
26. Say hello to the birds at KL Bird Park. (Excellent Family Activity)
Inside the Lake Gardens’ compound lies the KL Bird Park (locally called Taman Burung Kuala Lumpur). This attraction is considered to be the largest covered bird park in the world, covering a land area of 20.9 hectares. Here, you will find about 3000 birds belonging to 200 types of species. Now isn’t that impressive! The park has many sections with individual names like the Hornbill Park, World of Parrots, Flamingo Pond, and Brahminy Land. In each aviary section, you can just walk in and most birds are free to fly within a given spacious area.
The KL Bird Park is an amazing spot to take kids. I’ve seen kids take delight in looking at the different colorful birds. They can learn a lot from visiting this park and gain more appreciation of animals and the beauty of Mother Nature. But even I, as an adult, thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. The only thing that I can criticize about this attraction is that its entrance fee is for 54 RM for adults who are not Malaysians, which is quite pricey based on Southeast Asian standards. But if you are only going to go once, it’s probably worth the price of admission.
Opening Times: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm everyday
How to get to KL Bird Park?
KL Bird Park is within the vicinity of the Lake Gardens and can be accessed via Jalan Cenderawasih. The closest train station to the bird park is the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station served by the KTM Komuter Line. But this train station is still considerably far from the Bird Park (about 2.4 kilometers). So, you may need to take a taxi or book an UBER/Grab drive so you can reach the Bird Park’s entrance. Also keep in mind that the walk from the Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is mainly uphill to reach the KL Bird Park.
Located within the compounds of the Lake Gardens, the Malaysia Cartoon and Comic House is one of the newest attractions in the city. It is a perfect place to visit if you’re looking for something fresh, fun, and a little bit on the quirky side.
This gallery, opened in April 2017, highlights the history and development of cartoon and comics in Malaysia. You will be treated to original artworks made by Malaysian artists, some dating back to as early as the 1930’s. The displays are visually captivating but they also reflect social norms and the way of life in Malaysia from the past to the present. This is a gallery that will captivate and educate, great for children and adults.
Adults – 10 Ringgit
Children – 5 Ringgit
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
Closed on public holidays.
How to get to the Malaysia Cartoon and Comic House?
The gallery is located on Jalan Cenderawasih inside the Lake Gardens (Taman Botan Perdana). Just next to it is a carpark building. The closest train station to the Malaysia Cartoon and Comic House is the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station served by the KTM Komuter Line. However, this station is about 3 kilometers away from Lake Gardens. You can choose to walk or take a taxi/Uber to reach the gallery. It’s uphill from the Station, so if it’s hot outside avoid walking, unless you are well hydrated.
28. Learn more about the majestic Islamic Arts Museum.
Located just beside the Lake Gardens, this popular museum showcases amazing exhibits that highlight Islamic art, known for its intricate details. The pieces you will see in the museum do not only originate in Malaysia but from countries like China, India, Iran and other regions in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The exhibits are found within an imposing 30000-square meter white building. Temporary exhibits are changed from time to time. Some of the highlights include the miniature structures of the Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque in Medina and the Al Haram Mosque in Mecca.
How to get to Islamic Arts Museum?
The museum is on Jalan Lembah Perdana. Take the KTM Komuter Line and get off at Kuala Lumpur Station. From here, you can walk to the museum in about 7 minutes (it is 550 meters away from the station).
Office Number: +603 2274 2020
Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (daily) except during the Ramadan month
29. Be captivated by the National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara).
The National Mosque is one of Malaysia’s most important religious buildings. With a capacity of 15,000 people, it is one big structure. It’s high minarets and umbrella-like concrete roof are some of its highlight features. There are also pools and fountains outside the main building. The National Mosque is about a kilometer away from Lake Gardens, so if you’re already exploring the area, you might as well stop by and take photos of this outstanding mosque.
How to get to the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur?
The closest train station to the National Mosque is the Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, which is served by the KTM Komuter line. From this station, you can just walk to the mosque. It only takes a few minutes.
What are the best places to stay near the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur?
There are really only two quality accommodation choices near the National Mosque:
1) The Majestic Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.9/10 and only about 600 meters from the National Mosque. A superb hotel. This is the closest and most practical option.
2) The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur: rated 9/10 and located about 900 meters from the National Mosque. This is a beautiful property, but it’s quite a bit more expensive than the “The Majestic”. The rooms here are massive.
30. Revisit Malaysian History at the National Museum.
If you are a fan of museums, then one of the first places you need to check out should be the National Museum (Muzium Negara). This is the best place to learn about Malaysian history. The museum is divided into galleries, which feature different time periods. Gallery B highlights the history of Malay Kingdoms in the archipelago. Gallery C is all about the Colonial times, while Gallery D features the history of the early national movement. The museum also has interesting outdoor exhibits.
Visiting Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Free guided tours are offered at 10 am. More information here
Phone: +603-2282 6255
How to get to the National Museum of Malaysia?
The museum can be accessed via Jalan Damansara. Take the KTM Commuter Line or the Rapid Kelana Jaya Line and get off KL Sentral Station. From here, you can walk through the pedestrian path for 500 meters to get to the National Museum (Muzium Negara). There are signboards on the streets to help you.
31. Appreciate the impressive collections of National Visual Arts Gallery.
Located along Jalan Temerloh, the National Art Gallery is hard to miss because of its outstanding design, inspired by traditional Malay architecture. But inside, the National Art Gallery is very much modern. It features a great collection of Asian as well international art pieces. It aims to highlight, develop and preserve the many art forms in the country. Just beside this gallery is the National Theatre (locally known as Istana Budaya), where regular musical shows, opera, and live performances are held.
How to get to the National Visual Arts Gallery?
The closest station to the National Art Gallery is Titiwangsa Station, served by the STAR LRT line service. From Titiwangsa Station, you only need to walk a few minutes to reach the National Art Gallery. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, GRAB or UBER from the city center.
Due to its huge Indian population, this residential neighborhood is widely known in Kuala Lumpur as ‘Little India’. You can’t miss this area as it is marked by colorful Indian-style street arches. Brickfields is a big enough neighborhood but if you don’t have a lot of time, walk down its main road – Jalan Tun Sambanthan and explore the rows of shops selling Indian products. This is a great place to shop for sarees and to try out Northern and Southern Indian cuisines. Some dishes are Indian inspired but are unique to the Indian Malaysian culture. Many tourists choose to stay near KL Sentral because Little India is a very short walk from the hotels around KL Sentral Station.
Take any train line (KTM Komuter, KLIA Express, and Transit, Kelana Jaya LRT) that goes to KL Sentral. From KL Sentral, you only need to walk across the street to reach Brickfields. Alternatively, you can take UBER/GRAB to get here if there are no train stations near your hotel.
Where is the best place to stay near Little India in Kuala Lumpur?
The most practical decision to make regarding where you stay in Little India, is to choose a property that is also close to KL Sentral. This will reduce your transport costs and make your trip more efficient. I recommend these two properties:
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel – rated 8.7/10 based on verified guest reviews. I have stayed at this property a few different times. It’s new, with stylishly designed rooms. I really enjoyed my stays here. Pretty good value considering that it is literally 50 meters from KL Sentral, 50 meters from Nu Sentral Mall and a few hundred meters from Little India. It’s also an excellent choice if you are taking the KLIA Express train from the airport, as you won’t even have to rent a taxi to get your luggage to the hotel. Super convenient.
Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur: rated 8.5/10 based on verified reviews. This is also very close to KL Sentral (roughly 300 meters). It’s a new serviced apartment with large rooms. Also convenient to reach Little India from here (only a minute or two).
33. Go for a food adventure in Kepong.
If you really want to try out authentic Malaysian-Chinese cuisine in a non-touristy environment, then we suggest that you head out to Kepong.
Kepong is the unofficial Steamboat capital of Kuala Lumpur. In Steamboat dining (also known as hot pot), a pot of soup is placed in the middle of the table. The pot is kept at a constant hot temperature by putting it on top of a portable stove. Diners are then given a big plate of raw ingredients, usually vegetables, slices of meat and tofu products, and are expected to cook the food themselves by putting them in the pot of soup. Diners can dictate when they will take the food out of the soup to eat it. Steamboat is considered a healthy way of dining because it involves fresh ingredients that are only boiled and not fried.
Kepong has some of the best steamboat restaurants in the city. Some of the popular steamboat restaurants include:
PoPo Steamboat Café
Tai Tao Steamboat
Happy City Steamboat Restaurant
Hao Jie Steamboat Restaurant.
Ho Ho Steamboat
Choose one, maybe two or perhaps go for steamboat crawl? All you need to do is to drive around Kepong really. Bring friends and family as Steamboat is meant to be a group-oriented dining experience unless you are willing to finish everything by yourself. Steamboat restaurants are usually open in the evening. If you can only make it during the day, you can opt for ‘dim sum’ dining instead. If you’re not familiar with the word dim sum, you might know the other name for it, which is a dumpling. Again, Kepong has some of the best dim sum eateries in Kuala Lumpur. Some of the good ones are located along the street next to Tesco Mall. Dim sum restaurants are not fancy and they are usually the outdoor types furnished with light metal chairs and tables.
Ordering dim sum is a cultural experience in itself.
Servers usually go around with a big tray of many dim sum varieties on small plates. Dim sum can consist of pork, chicken, fish, and vegetables. All you have to do is point out the plates you want and the server will place it on your table. After you eat, just call the server and they will calculate the cost of your meal by the number of plates you have on your table.
Kepong isn’t visited by most international tourists sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur. This makes it much more authentic than other tourist draws around the city.
How to get to Kepong?
The closest train station to Kepong is Kepong Sentral KTM Komuter Station. However, most of the restaurants mentioned are not close to this train station. So the best way to reach these eateries is to take a taxi or Uber/Grab. Uber rates are relatively affordable around Kuala Lumpur. Another option is to rent a car and drive to Kepong. With a car, you can even do restaurant-hopping.
34. Check out the Federal Territory Mosque and the National Palace (the new one) in Sri Hartamas.
Sri Hartamas and its adjoining neighborhood Mont Kiara are home to some of the richest people in the city. It is a green and quiet area that is only about 5 kilometers from the city center. Two reasons to visit this neighborhood include the Federal Territory Mosque (Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan) and the majestic National Palace, the currently residence of the King of Malaysia. You can get a good view of the Mosque from one of the upper bars located in Publika Mall. Unfortunately, mere ordinary mortals cannot enter the King’s Palace. But you can admire it from one of the restaurants on the upper floor of Hartamas Shopping Mall.
How to get to Sri Hartamas?
Sri Hartamas is not too far from the city center of Kuala Lumpur. You can easily take a taxi or Uber/Grab to this neighborhood. Although there are buses that go to some spots in this area like Publika, bus services around KL are generally unreliable and not on time. Since this is a wealthy neighbourhood, there hasn’t been too much pressure for public train stations or lines to be developed in Sri Hartamas. Pretty much everyone owns a vehicle.
35. Have a splashing family time at Sunway Lagoon Theme Park.
This is the most accessible outdoor theme park around Kuala Lumpur. Technically, it is located in the city of Selangor, but it is only a 20-minute drive away from KLCC. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is a sure hit with the kids.
How to get to Sunway Lagoon Theme Park?
Take the KTM Komuter Train Line and get off at Subang Jaya Station. From this station, get on the feeder bus that goes to Sunday Pyramid Mall complex. From here, you can walk to the theme park.
Another option is to take the Putra LRT train line and stop at Kelana Jaya Station. From this station, you can take the feeder bus that stops at Sunway Pyramid.
Where should you stay near the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park?
This remains to be one of the most must-see places in Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves are natural caves crafted from massive limestone cliffs by Mother Nature and Time. They have become a sacred place for Hinduism. Inside the main cave sit shrines and temples. And if that’s not impressive enough there is a huge golden statue of the god Shiva outside. And oh did I mention, you have to walk up 272 steps to reach the main cave. Go on, take your time, the climb is worth it to see the view and the cave. Batu Caves is the main venue for the enigmatic Hindu Thaipusam Festival. If you don’t know anything about it, look it up! It’s one of the most fascinating festivals in Malaysia in my opinion.
Make your way to KL Sentral Train Station. Then take the KTM train to Batu Caves. Once you reach the station at Batu Caves, walk for a few minutes and you will reach the complex.
Should you stay near Batu Caves?
Most visitors to KL do not stay near Batu Caves, and I wouldn’t recommend it either unless you want to stay near it. It’s more practical to check it out as part of a day excursion. It’s a bit out of the way.
Instead, I would suggest staying near KL Sentral where it is much more convenient. Staying near KL also will allow you to get the train to Batu Caves at a time that’s convenient for you. As mentioned before, two good places to stay within a few hundred meters of KL Sentral are: Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel and Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur. Another suggestion is to stay in the Sentul area where the Batu Caves is located if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Check out available sentul apartments.
Short Day Trips from Kuala Lumpur
If you are spending more than a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur, the following attractions are ideal day-trip destinations.
37. Eat yummy seafood in Klang.
There are many seafood restaurants in Kuala Lumpur but the best one I’ve had (not to mention the most value for the money) was in Klang. If you want a little adventure, head out to Klang City. It is a small city that has become infamous due to its gangs. Don’t get scared though, the town is not really that dodgy by Southeast Asia standards. The real gem of an experience is eating those oh so delicious seafood dishes. However, the best seafood restaurants are not in town; they are located near the port, closer to the water, where public transport doesn’t go. You will need to rent a car for this venture, but it is a good stop for a road trip.
I strongly recommend the Coconut Flower Restaurant along Jalan Udang Galah but there are also other restaurants along this road to choose from.
How to get to Klang?
The KTM train line stops at Klang Station within the town. However, the seafood restaurants are out of town. You will need to take a taxi, UBER or GRAB to reach these restaurants. You can also rent a car in Kuala Lumpur and drive straight to Klang. This is the most convenient option if you have the cash.
Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia. This is where you will find the main offices of the government. Putrajaya was a vision project by the former prime minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohammad. It is meant to be the city of the future with well-executed urban planning, something that Kuala Lumpur was not able to achieve to the fullest. Indeed, Putrajaya looks more like a 1st world city with wide streets, avenues, modern bridges, well-maintained parks and complete with walking and bike lanes. However, it feels empty aside from major events because the government is having a hard time luring more people to leave Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to live in Putrajaya. But from a visitor’s perspective, Putrajaya is good day trip destination from Kuala Lumpur.
Putrajaya is served by the KLIA Transit Line. You can go to Kuala Lumpur Sentral train station and take the KLIA Transit, which stops at Putrajaya. More information about this route:How to get from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. There are also buses available, but they are not as fast and subject to KL traffic.
39. Have fun in the jungle at the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).
If you are a true nature lover then you would certainly love a visit to FRIM, which is actually one of the best in tropical forestry research institutes in the world. Administered by the Malaysian Forestry Research and Development Board (MFRDB), this beautiful patch of jungle heaven is also not too far away from the city center, making it a perfect day trip. It is also very close to Batu Caves.
Sadly, the Canopy Walk which is their most popular attraction will be indefinitely closed by June 2017. But fret not, FRIM offers plenty of fun activities like nature trail trekking, cycling, jungle camping and wildlife observation activities.
8:00 am to 5:00 pm (except Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)
Opening Hours for Joggers: 5:00 am to 7:30 pm
For more information: Telephone: 603-62797000 Fax: 603 62731314
How to get to FRIM?
FRIM is located along the Selayang-Kepong Highway. There is no train line that goes directly to FRIM. The best way to get here through public transport is to take the KTM Commuter Line bound for Rawang. Get off at Kepong Station. From this station, you can take a taxi, Uber or Grab to FRIM. You may also rent a car and drive to FRIM, which is only a 35-minute drive away from Kuala Lumpur.
The beauty of Kuala Lumpur is its proximity to parks and green spaces. Just a mere 45 – minute drive from the city, you will find Broga Hill, a very famous place for hikers. Hiking-loving city dwellers usually wake before dawn and drive to Broga. They will hike the top of the hill in time for sunrise. Broga Hill is considered an easy hike. We have been there on multiple occasion, and it’s a nice hike for anyone without medical conditions.
There is no public transport that goes all the way to Broga Hill. You can take UBER, GRAB or taxi to take you there. You can also rent a car if you’re a group so you will have the freedom and flexibility to see other attractions.
Genting Highlands makes an easy choice for a nice mountain retreat from Kuala Lumpur. But there is one more reason why Genting Highlands is very popular among locals, and that is because this is the only place in Malaysia where gambling is allowed. Genting Highlands is the home to Malaysia’s one and only casino complex (Resort’s World).
Although Malaysian Chinese and Indians are allowed to gamble, the Malay Muslim population are not. Tourists are most welcomed. But if you’re not really into testing your luck, you can book a hotel at Genting and enjoy other activities like: shopping, dining, and trekking. Resorts World Genting Highland is equipped with two entertainment parks: SnowWorld and the Vision City Video Games Park. The cable car ride up to the Genting Highland Resort Area is quite exciting too and recommended if you have the time.
How to get to Genting Highland?
Make your way to KL Sentral Station. While there, go to the Lower Ground Floor. You will find the Genting Express Bus Service Booth, where you can buy a one-way or return joint ticket for the bus and Skyway (cable car) ride.
The route to Genting Highlands is as follows:
KL Sentral – Genting Skyway Lower Station – cable car ride to Genting Highlands (Resorts World)