25 Exciting Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a popular layover hub for flights in and around Asia, and it's likely the first place travelers visiting Malaysia will land. Add to this that cheap flights make it an easy "border-hopping" destination for expats looking to extend their visa in neighboring countries like Thailand.
So whatever the purpose of your visit to this melting pot of a city be it a layover, a stop on your Southeast Asia itinerary, or a "border hop" if youve been asking yourself what to do in KL to make the most of your time, weve got you covered!
We've put together a list of all sorts of things to do in Kuala Lumpur to keep you busy while exploring this truly diverse metropolis.
Kuala Lumpur Article Contents
Jump to the section you are looking for, or just scroll down the page.
Kuala Lumpur at a Glance
Kuala Lumpur literally translated means muddy confluence. Not the most attractive name for a city, is it? This modern metropolis rises from jungly forests and often times humid air hangs heavy. So, "muddy confluence" is actually somewhat fitting.
The defining characteristic of this city to many who visit is the diversity it boasts. It is a city that Malay, Indian and Chinese people proudly call home. You can see this diversity in the architecture, culture and even the local cuisine - which is a delicious blend of all three cultures.
There's no arguing that Kuala Lumpur is an interesting city with plenty to do, but truthfully, it isnt one Id consider a favorite. There was a certain charm - a je ne sais quoi - it was missing for me to list it as one of my faves. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my time there.
We explored, adventured and ate our way through Kuala Lumpur, during our extended layover and now can't wait to explore more of Malaysia.
Tip: If you have time to see more of the country than just the capital (lucky you!), this article walks you through some of the best places to visit in Malaysia so you can create a perfect itinerary!
Best Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Although we were far from able to fit all the activities we wanted to do in our 3-day trip to KL, we packed quite a bit in and were busy the whole time. We're sharing the highlights as well as all the things on our wish list for next time.
From the typical tourist spots to sights well off the beaten path, here's our list of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
1. Explore the Kampung Baru neighborhood
Make your way to the Kampung Baru neighborhood to explore a cultural and historical hub of KL that is unlike any other part of the city. You'll get to see some of the last remaining traditional houses in the city, juxtaposed next to modern skyscrapers, which is quite a cool sight.
Weve been told that within the next few years, most of the traditional Malay houses will be torn down for new developments, so if you're lucky enough to be in the city before this happens, be sure to check them out!
And be sure to stop and try a few foods along the way. This is a great place to experience local flavors without other tourists (and tourist prices!).
2. Laugh the night away at Crackhouse Comedy Club
If you're looking for a laugh, head to the Crackhouse Comedy Club. Shows are If you're looking for a laugh, head to the Crackhouse Comedy Club. Shows are every Friday and Saturday night, as well as Wednesdays. At just 20 MYR on Wednesdays ($4.75 USD) this is a quite affordable night out, and shows are in English.
This was something we were pretty bummed that we missed out on (due to timing), and will definitely be putting it on our list for our next visit to Kuala Lumpur.
3. Take a Food Tour
Since going on our first street food tour in Bangkok (#1 on this list), weve been really into finding food tours around the world. We think Kuala Lumpur would be a fun place to go on this type of tour as well, as it is a city known around the world as having incredible and diverse cuisine.
We found this Off the Eaten Track food tour in Kuala Lumpur that sounds like it would be a great experience. During the 3.5 hour tour, guests are taken through the streets and alleys of KL to find some of the best Malaysian food in the city. It also has great customer reviews!
4. Do a Cooking Class
As you probably have noticed by now, we love taking cooking classes overseas and feel like you can learn a ton about a country through its cuisine.
This Malaysian cooking class has a rotating menu that changes for each day of the week. That means you get to pick the flavors you are most interested in learning how to cook.
5. Firefly Boat Ride on the Selangor River
If you prefer nature to big cities, we have an idea that might excite you. There are few places in the world where you can experience the magic of synchronous fireflies (a.k.a. a ton of these magical insects glowing in unison on one tree or bush). Check out this article from BBC Travel for more info on this phenomenon, plus some sweet pictures!
A couple years ago, we experienced this sight in the Philippines on a night kayaking trip, and it was breathtaking. It was so enchanting in fact, that when we heard these fireflies can be found just outside Kuala Lumpur near the seaside village of Kuala Selangor, we decided to squeeze a trip to see them into our itinerary.
The experience in Kuala Selangor was quite different than the Philippines. Instead of kayaking and with an English-speaking guide who gave us tons of information, we hopped in a wooden row boat with two others and a young man rowed us up the river in silence.
The whole experience took about 20 minutes, but it was still very cool to see the fireflies lighting up the mangroves in unison. If you want to get out of the bustling city and see a small fishing village and Mother Nature at her finest, this could be a cool addition to your time in Kuala Lumpur.
How to do it yourself:
We honestly didn't find a ton of information about this online other than some threads in TripAdvisor forums and tour packages on Get Your Guide. We considered taking public transportation, but the last bus of the day to KL leaves Selangor around 6 p.m., which makes it impossible to see the fireflies.
We ended up finding the name of a driver that was recommended on TripAdvisor, and he kind of gave us our own private tour. Typically, this excursion includes a stop at Monkey Hill (described below in #2) as well as a seafood dinner in the fishing village of Kuala Selangor.
At 380 MYR (Malaysian Ringgit, which is about $89.80)for both of us (plus money for dinner 60 MYR ($14 USD) and the boat ride 53 MYR ($12.50 USD) per boat), this wasn't a cheap experience, but it was about the same price as the tour packages. The drive the Kuala Selangor takes just over an hour, and if you also stop at Monkey Hill and have a seafood dinner, expect the whole trip to last a total of around 5 hours.
A cheaper alternative:If you want to see the fireflies, but don't care so much about the seafood dinner or monkey hill, consider taking an Uber or Grab (SE Asia's version of the car sharing app). We met two young backpackers that hired an Uber to drive them to the fireflies and they paid 80 MYR ($18.90 USD) each way for both of them.
The only tricky part would be ensuring you have service to order a ride back to the city, or perhaps you could talk your driver into waiting for you. Just be aware that the entire firefly boat ride takes just about 20 minutes, so it is a long drive for a very short experience. It is a matter of personal opinion if that is worth the hour-long drive.
Types of boats:There are two options of boats you can take. The government runs wooden paddle boats while a private business has motorized vessels.
Wooden paddle boat: 53 MYR ($12.50 USD) per boat; each boat holds 4 people, so if you split it with others, it will cost you 13.25 MYR ($3 USD) per person.
Electric boat: holds 15-22 people and costs 20 MYR ($4.70) per person.
How much does it cost? This depends on how you arrange your visit:
Tour company: Get Your Guide packages (including a stop at Batu Cave) for $55-60 USD per person, including transportation, dinner, and boat ride.
Hire private driver: About 380 MYR ($89.84 USD) for the transportation, plus dinner (we paid 60 MYR), and boat ticket (13.25 per person) = around 466.5 MYR ($110 USD) total for TWO PEOPLE.
Uber only to fireflies: 160 MYR ($37.80 USD) for transportation both ways and boat ride.
6. Melawati Hill (Monkey Hill)
Im torn about how I feel about this. Most tour groups make a stop here on their way to see the fireflies. We actually didnt plan on going to this attraction, but our driver told us halfway through the ride that we would stop at Melawati Hill to see monkeys.
Responsible travel note: We dont believe in feeding wild animals, and so places like this actually really turn me off, but since we were already there, we made the most of it and observed the silver leaf monkeys (black fur)who roam around this lighthouse viewpoint.
Unlike the long-tailed macaques (gray fur) that can be quite aggressive and mischievous, the silver leaf monkeys were actually really sweet and the babies, covered in orange fur, were adorable! I teased Ben that he must be related since he's a ginger :)
Honestly, I enjoyed seeing the monkeys, but didn't feel right about all the people feeding them. I wouldn't advise making a special trip here, but if you intend to see the fireflies in Kuala Selangor, it is on the way.
7. Bukit Tabur (East) Hike
After checking out the stunning photos of this hike (Google image it!), we were convinced this was a must for our time in Kuala Lumpur. However, after a couple packed days we just decided that waking up at 6 a.m. to hike in the heat didn't sound appealing, so we skipped it for this time. We will most certainly do this hike during our next trip to Kuala Lumpur. Mark my words.
How to do it yourself:
We did a ton of research. A TON. And it was actually quite difficult to find solid information about this hike. Some people warned how dangerous it was and claimed it took 5-6 hours to complete, while others say it was a moderate hour-long hike.
There are a few different routes, but we kept finding conflicting information about which one to take. Plus, we had even read reports of needing a permit and sections of the trails being closed. But at the core of everything we read, people absolutely raved about this hike as being one of the coolest places in KL. We decided that since it was so difficult to find solid information on, we'd go with a guide.
Open Sky Adventures has rave reviews on Trip Advisor and leads several outdoor trips that look amazing.
Our hostel ran tours, and it sounded like a grand time. (We stayed at BackHome Hostel.)
Price: Considering this is a hike, the fee is quite steep. At 150 MYR ($35.46 USD), you are paying for transportation, a guide and a meal, but most reviews we've read seem to claim it's worth the price.
How long: The guided groups tend to leave early in the morning, between 6 and 6:30 a.m.,so you see sunrise and avoid the midday heat, and the return time is typically between 11 a.m. and noon.
8. Walk the hanging bridges of KL Forest Eco Park
Hanging Bridges of KL Forest Eco Park - Credit: Nichole Stockman
Travel Tip from our friend Nichole Stockman from The Daily Pursuit:
Located in Bukit Nanas Forest, the ecopark was created to preserve the natural surroundings and forest in the center of Kuala Lumpur. Think of an actual jungle located in a concrete jungle.Its a total of 200m walking distance, and quite the adventure.
Visiting the canopy walk is a great way to get away from the city, while never really leaving.
Apparently there are free roaming animals, such as monkeys, in the reserve. However, when we visited we did not spot any (unfortunately!)
All you do have to walk up and down elevated stairs to get to the top of the canopy walks. Overall it took about 30-45 minutes for us to complete the canopy walk, including breaks for photos!
How to get there: The KL Forest Eco Park is located in the same area as the Menara Tower - one of the tallest 360 views of KL and a major tourist attraction. If you have a ride there, you will be driven all the way up to the top of the hill it sits on and can be dropped off at either the top or bottom entrance.
If you walk there, like we did, youll have to climb the very large hill on foot, but there are some stairs you can take as a shortcut from the road. There is also a shuttle bus that runs from the bottom of the hill to the top.
Once you get to the top of the hill, youll see the Menara tower on one side, and walk directly opposite to the other side of the parking lot areas. There youll find the top entrance to the Eco Park.
If you start at the top entrance, youll climb down stairs most of the way until you exit at the lower entrance (or do what we did and turn around and make your way back through to come out at the same entrance you started).
If you choose to start at the bottom entrance, youll climb stairs in between each of the bridges until you get to the end of the walk at the top entrance.
What to wear: Wear comfortable walking shoes, and something breathable as you may work up a sweat climbing to the tops of the canopies. Dont forget to bring bug spray - you are surrounded by lush green forest so there are mosquitoes!
Visiting hours: 7:00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. daily including weekends and public holidays.
9. Take in the Different Types of of Architecture Around the City
The country of Malaysia was conquered by the British, Dutch and Portugese in various time periods, each have which left their mark on the city of Kuala Lumpur.
The architecture of the city has a mix of colonial, religious and traditional and modern influences. Walk around KL and you'll see modern skyscrapers next to mosques in the traditional Islamic design.
How to do it yourself: You can take a guided Heritage Walk or make up your own walking tour through the city. If you decide to have a go of it on your own, be sure to stop in the Central Market and Chinatown, as well as checking out some of the popular temples such as Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, Thean Hou Temple, and Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
10. Get Fancy at High Tea
Being that Malaysia was colonized by Great Britain, it comes as no surprise that tea time is a tradition that caught on with the Malay people and is still practiced today.
There are several places around town that you can experience high teacomplete with your favorite brew and a variety of delectable treats and finger foods! This article describes some of the best spots in KL to get high tea.
11. Eat Your Weight in Street Food
Malaysia is known for food, and lets just say that this was one of the things we were most looking forward to during our time in KL. With Chinese, Indian and Malay options all around town, its hard to stop eating in this country.
Interesting fact: Malaysia has the highest rate of obesity in Southeast Asia, and I can understand why! Theres so much yummy-looking food everywhere! (And Im not one to judge, as I hail from the US where we are ranked number 19 for obesity in the world. Yikes!)
Best street food in Kuala Lumpur:
Street food geared toward foreigners:The two places I kept seeing online to get street food were Hutong 10 and Jalan Alor. I will say that both of these seemed much more geared toward tourists than locals, and the prices reflected this.
Its a fun place to check out, grab a beer (tall Guinness for 23 MYR/$4 USD yes, please!) and do a bit of people watching. And the food is surely worth a try, but most of the restaurants seem to have the exact same menu, so to us it didnt seem all that special.
Where the locals go: There are many other street food hubs around the city that are frequented by locals, but one area in particular that we found to have a great selection was Jalan Raja Muda Musa street in Kampung Baru. And unlike Jalan Alor street, we were the only foreigners in sight.
But dont limit yourself to eating here. One wise piece of advice we got about KL was this: Dont go too far for a specific restaurant, because there are 10 places just as good on the way. Its true. There is no shortage of great places to eat in this city. Just pop into a hole-in-the-wall restaurant thats busy with locals and youll probably get some tasty food!
What foods to try in Kuala Lumpur:
There are seriously so many foods to try in Malaysia, and specifically in Kuala Lumpur. Here are just two that we enjoyed.
Nasi Lemak: Known as Malaysia's national dish, this one is worth a try (if you eat meat!). Fluffy coconut rice is served with traditional chili paste, fried chicken, boiled egg (or fried), and crispy anchovies (I didn't care for this part, so I picked them out). It is usually eaten for breakfast, but you can find it just about any time of day. (pictured above left)
Putu Bambu: We probably would have passed this by had we not tasted it on our free walking tour (see #1). These tasty little treats are made of rice flour, cane sugar, a pinch of salt and served with grated coconut. The green color is from the pandan leaf. They are steamed inside a hollowed out piece of bamboo and they're freakin' delicious! (pictured above right)
12. Try Durian (...or just smell it!)
Durian is a common fruit grown in Southeast Asia. The outside looks a bit like something you might find under the sea - a spiny, prickly little oval that will fit into the palm of your hand. Whats inside is even more interesting!
Get close enough youll quickly learn the real reason durian fruit is so interesting er, shall we say smelly? Even with the husk intact, the fruit carries a potent aroma that one food writer described as turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock, in Smithsonian Magazine. And it can be smelled from a distance.
If you can stomach the smell, break one open and give it a try. The pods inside are something of a scientific marvel. Just be careful not to ingest while drinking alcohol Asian folklore says that getting intoxicated while eating durian will lead to death!
13. Check out the Petronas Towers
These iconic towers are the symbol of Kuala Lumpur and are fun to see in person. The best views are in the KLCC park and at the base of the towers. In our opinions, they are far more picturesque at night when lit up. But if you have the time,go during the day too so you can compare for yourself.
The Petronas Towers are one of the most Instagramable spots in Kuala Lumpur, so be sure to bring you camera.
14. Take a Stroll Through KLCC Park
Just behind the iconic Petronas Towers is a beautifully landscaped park creating a little oasis in the middle of the city. Youll find dog-walkers, joggers, and families enjoying the park on a sunny day. The park features a jogging loop, walking trails, fountain and a wading pool for children.
With restaurants lining the park attached to the mall at the base of the towers, you can spend the afternoon there relaxing and getting some fresh air.
15. Visit Batu Caves & Dark Cave
You will surely make a visit here during your time in KL, and you should. Batu Cave is a pilgrimage site for Hindus as well as a popular tourist attraction.
Heres what to expect at Batu Caves:
Entrance fee: Free! (Dark Cave, which is next to Batu, requires you take a guided tour to enter and costs 35 MYR/$8.27 USD)
What to wear to Batu Caves
Ladies: Be sure your shoulders and knees are covered. It was so hot when we were there that I wore shorts and a tank top for the day, but packed a sarong to wrap around my waist and a t-shirt to cover up once we reached Batu.
Guys: We found there were't any restrictions on mens clothing. Though I don't remember seeing many guys in tank tops, so you might want to wear a t-shirt.
As you reach the entrance to the stairs, you may be asked to carry a brick (or two!) to the top, as it is volunteers who help transport building materials. You will climb up 272 stairs, which will take between 5 - 15 minutes, depending on how many breaks you take.
At the top, you'll enter the cave, and climb up a shorter flight of stairs, which will bring you to a series of Hindu statues and shrines in the cave. There are lights inside as well as a large opening that lets in natural light, so you don't need to bring a flashlight or anything.
In total, we spent about 45 minutes at Batu Caves, and that was plenty for us. Besides walking up all the stairs and taking some photos, there really isn't all that much to do.
That said, we have heard good things about Dark Cave, which you will pass by on your left while you climb the stairs to Batu. We passed because we were pressed for time, but you can check out reviews on the Trip Advisor page. Tours leave about every 15 minutes and last 45 minutes. The fee is 35 MYR ($8.27 USD).
How to get here: We would strongly urge you to either take an Uber (or Grab) or take the train system. Avoid taking a taxi, as they are known for taking you the long way to Batu Caves. This happened to us, and our fare was more than triple what it should have been.
16. Cheers with a View at a Rooftop Bar
Kuala Lumpur has no shortage of nightlife, and two popular places to enjoy a drink with a view are the Heli Lounge Bar and the Sky Bar at Traders Hotel. Visiting a sky bar is a popular thing to do in Bangkok, and it has become a hot attraction in KL as well.
Take in the view for the cost of a drink rather than paying the 80 MYR ($18.90 USD) fee at the Petronas Towers. Don't forget to research the dress code before heading out for the night!
Budget Tip: If you're on a tight budget, try going to these bars during happy hour for the best drink prices. We've listed the times below:
Sky Bar at Traders Hotel: Daily Specials from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., plus Wednesday is Ladies Night and women can enjoy pre-selected cocktails for free from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Heli Lounge Bar: Happy Hour daily from 7 - 9 p.m. *Standing room only unless you make a reservation ahead of time!
No Black Tie: The bar on top of Reggae Mansion, No Black Tie, which is just behind the pub street (Changkat). Tickets for the live music is about RM50-RM100 which includes 1 drink of your choice.
17. Hit up a Rooftop Pool
Speaking of rooftops One of the best ways to beat the heat of Kuala Lumpur in the summertime is by enjoying the view while taking a dip in a rooftop pool. Some of the cities best pools are located in hotels that are only open to hotel guests, but why not splurge for the chance to view the city from a different perspective? (With cocktail in hand of course!) Especially when hotel rates for luxury properties in this city are considerably more affordable than you would find in the US or Europe.
Here are some of the citys best rooftop pools and how much they will set you back:
This 5-star hotel has it all - modern serviced apartments, a prime location, onsite restaurants and 2 outdoor pools. Watch as the city goes about its daily business, and enjoy the sparkling Petronas Towers in the skyline after the sunsets from the rooftop infinity pool on the 51st floor.
Avg. Nightly Rate: $109
Connected to the Sentral Station via walking bridge, you are never far away from the action at this 4-star hotel. The neon-lit rooftop infinity pool (guests only) and bar (open to non-guests!) overlooks the KL skyline. Check out their Facebook page because they regularly host events as well.
Avg. Nightly Rate: $64
The hotel known for its class and style is made even more luxurious in Kuala Lumpur with its palm tree dotted rooftop pool deck and infinity pool. The hotel also offers a full spa and in-room child care for those who need a break while traveling with little ones.
Avg. Nightly Rate: $185
18. Dine in the Dark
For a super unique experience, Dining in the Dark is just what the name implies.
Experiencing your meal without your sight is said to let your other senses take over, allowing your to get to a whole new level with your food!
19. Shop at Central Market
If you like markets, this one is big and located in the center of town. It is more of a tourist market than anything, but still fun to check out.
20. Take a Batik-Making Workshop
Batik is a technique of dying cloth that originated in Southeast Asia (think Asian-style tie die). You can take a Batik-making workshop in Kuala Lumpur where you can explore the Batik process while leaning to make your own patterns. A great way to learn something new, and come away with a unique souvenir.
21. Soak up the Energy at Night
True Malaysian culture is best soaked up in the streets. Youll find street markets all over the city of KL and some of the best ones happen after dark. Locals and international tourists alike flock to the night markets outdoor bazaars despite the heat and humidity - which is really saying something!
Best night markets to check out in Kuala Lumpur
Kampung Baru Sunday Market: Run by the local Malay community, this is a great place to find traditional Malaysian apparel such as sarongs, baju kurung, and songkok, as well as handicrafts and jewelry. Dont let the name fool you - the market actually runs on Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning.
Address: Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kuala Lumpur
Hours: Saturdays, 6pm to 1am
Taman Connaught Market: Snack and shop like a local at this night market, with over 100 stalls to satisfy every shoppers needs. From apparel to homegoods and everything in between, youll mingle among locals as you munch on some of Malaysias best street food.
Address: Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: Wednesday, 5:30 pm to midnight
Jalan Alor Street Food Night Market: Once known as the redlight district, Jalan Alor has undergone some changes to turn it into a food haven. If you come hungry, this is a great spot to try all the Malaysian street food your heart desires. Youll find more than just street food at this night market, which is actually open 24 hours a day so its more like an all-the-time market.
Address: Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: 24 hours a day, everyday
22. Run Through Water at Merdeka (Independence) Square
This square is home to one gigantic Malaysian flag and a park, but the highlight for us was the water curtain. This art installation, called "The 2020 Countdown Clock",is one gigantic waterfall "mushroom" of sorts that opens a gap when you stand in front of it. You can then walk inside and there is a large screen that will take your photo to add to a wall of pictures of other visitors.
Note: The curtain only opens at certain times of the day. We got there just before it turned off. The operating hours are:
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
9:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
If your timing allows, try visiting this attraction at night. This fountain is lit up in all different colors at night and looks pretty cool!
23. Dine at a Michelin Restaurant (or two!)
Kuala Lumpur has no shortage of Michelin rated restaurants, and a lot of them are actually very reasonably priced. Prior to visiting KL, I don't think we had ever dined at a Michelin rated restaurant, so we thought it might be a good opportunity to try it out. We perused this list of Michelin star restaurants and chose Din Tai Fung.
We ordered their famous pork xiao-long-bao as well as vegetarian mushroom buns, and we've gotta say they're some of the best we've ever tasted.
Obviously it was a bit more expensive than a lesser-known dim sum shop, but it still wasn't terribly priced. We paid 26 MYR (just over $6 USD)for a pretty filling midday snack for both of us.
Foodie Tip: Check out this list of Michelin restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
24. Explore Little India & Chinatown
Explore the neighborhoods that have helped define Malaysian culture: Little India and Chinatown.
If you are interested in Indian culture or enjoy a good curry, you may want to explore Little India. There were some streets we walked down that had shops and restaurants and smells that literally made us wonder if we had been transported out of Malaysia to the streets of Delhi.
And Chinatown is worth a wander too. You'll find more shops selling goods than restaurants, but you'll get a completely different feeling than in other parts of the city.
How to get there:
To get to Little India, take the metro to the Kuala Sentral station and head south. After 5 minutes of walking, you will see a elephant fountain and a street lined with permanent decorations. Follow that street (and the smells) and you will be in Little India.
To get to Chinatown, find the Central Market (#13) on a map and walk left (heading east on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) out of the main entrance. After about 3 blocks, you will see the big sign signaling the start of the Jalan Petaling street. This is the start of Chinatown, and strangely it has a weird resemblance to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
25. Explore the Shopping Malls
This may sound a bit strange, right? If youre like us, you probably dont visit a new city just to see whats in the giant commercial shopping mall. But in Kuala Lumpur, its a bit different. You see, shopping malls are a part of the culture here. You can find a mega mall just about every few blocks in this city.
Even if you arent in need of any shopping, its fun just to have a look around and see just how giant these malls can get. Oh and if you forgot to pack something in your luggage fear not! There is no doubt you will be able to find whatever it is you need at one of these great malls.
Things to know about Kuala Lumpur
Now that you have some ideas (probably too many ideas!) of things to do in KL, let's discuss some practical details. What should you pack? What's the best way to get around? Where should you stay? What other nearby towns are worth visiting? And lastly, what are our honest thoughts about Kuala Lumpur? We've got everything you need to know!
Transportation in Kuala Lumpur
Try to avoid taxis*. We were warned about the taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur, and though we only took one during our time there, we had a bad experience (read about it under Batu Caves #15).
Better alternatives are:
Grab (ride ordering service): often times your hotel can assist you with these if you don't have a data plan, and you can pay the driver in cash.
Train & Metro system: cheap and pretty well-connected
*If you do take a taxi, we've been told that the red taxis are better than the blue ones, and we were also told to ALWAYS use the meter. If the driver refuses, take a different taxi.
Best Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Luxury Hotel Option: Traders Hotel by Shangri-La
Centrally located overlooking KLCC Park and the Petronas Towers, this 5-star hotel boasts one of the best views in Kuala Lumpur. The property features multiple restaurants, a Skybar and beautiful indoor pool.
Mid-range/Couples Stay Option:The Kuala Lumpur Journal Hotel
Another great option with a rooftop swimming pool, this 4-star hotel has spacious rooms with multiple configurations for solo travelers, couples and families. It is located in the Bukit Bintang area, right in the hub of the city with plenty of shopping and restaurants within walking distance, including the Petronas Towers and Jalan Alor Market.
Budget Option/Social Atmosphere:Backhome Hostel KL
We stayed here and loved it. The hostel was clean and comfortable. Its in an awesome location, has free simple breakfast, friendly staff, and there is a delicious coffee shop attached (LOKL Coffee Co).
What to wear in Kuala Lumpur
This is for my ladies!
I was a little confused about what clothing to pack for our trip to Kuala Lumpur. Being that Malaysia is a Muslim country and many women dress modestly, I was unsure if tank tops and shorts would be appropriate for me to wear. I did a bit of research, and found that they would be just fine. Since KL is so diverse, you'll see many types of clothing being worn on the streets.
I would say that it felt more conservative than what I've experienced in Thailand, but I did feel comfortable wearing shorts and a tank top (especially when the temperature was hovering around 100F (37C!)). Of course, when you visit religious or holy sites, have appropriate layers with which to cover up your shoulders and knees.
Southeast Asia Packing List
We'll immediately send you ourdetailed packing list for Southeast Asia.It's full of tips on what to pack, sustainable travel tips, handy travel apps and information we wish we knew before heading to Southeast Asia.
We'll also send you bonus tips on all things SE Asia, like how to travel cheaply, where to go and the best places to stay.
Enter your email below and well send the packing guide immediately (for FREE!) to your inbox.
You have successfully submitted your email and the packing list is on it's way to you.
Before you head off to you inbox, where are you headed to first in SE Asia? We have a super detailed guide on uniquethings to do in Bangkok that you should check out!
If you've see it already, maybe you would want to know more about a 2-week backpacking trip in the Philippines!
Our thoughts on Kuala Lumpur
The main purpose of our trip to KL was a standard visa run.We were living in Chiang Mai and needed to get a visa extension;found an inexpensive flight. Boom. Decision made.
I'm going to be totally honest and tell you I was not thrilled about going to Kuala Lumpur.Malaysia has been a country I've wanted to explore for quite some time, but the thought of just getting the visa stapled to our passport and exploring only the capital city left me feeling, well, like I was missing out on an entire country.
Plus, I had heard a rumor that "there isn't much to do in Kuala Lumpur". I took this as a challenge and started researching my a$$ off, and you know what I found? This is far from true. There are actually a ton of things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
While we wouldn't consider Kuala Lumpur a favorite city, we were both surprised by just how much there is to do in this diverse metropolis.
One thing weve learned time and time again is that a country is not defined by its capital city. Kuala Lumpur is just a small piece that makes up Malaysia, and we cant wait to return someday to see a bit more of this country.
More places to visit in Malaysia
Have more time in Malaysia? Lucky you! These nearby towns would make a great addition to your visit to Kuala Lumpur if you have the time.
Malacca: About a two hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, this colorful seaside town has a strong Portugese and Dutch influence and is known for colonial architecture and amazing food.
Cameroon Highlands:Located 3 hours north of Kuala Lumpur, this lush highland is known for cooler temperatures and stunning tea fields, making it a popular spot for locals and travelers alike. This is at the top of our list to visit after Kuala Lumpur the next time we are in Malaysia.
Penang: Known as the food capital of Malaysia, this town is 4 hours from KL, has great beaches and is another hot spot to do a "border run" from Thailand. This is a great Penang travel guide!
Islands: Why not make it a beach vacation by visiting some of Malaysia's best islands!?
You may also like
Pin this for later
We want to hear from you!
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? What did you think? What was a highlight of your time there? Leave your comments in the section below and well do our best to get back to you!