Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s bustling capital. When traveling to this country, you can’t really skip Kuala Lumpur. The city consists of a population of more than 7.2 million people, breathes history and is at the same time very modern. Its multicultural society makes it one of the most versatile cities in Asia.
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur: the best tips and sights
An impressive skyline with distinctive towers, colorful streets, nice people and good food. Our encounter with the capital of Malaysia was a pleasant surprise. We have listed the 12 best tips and sights for you.
1. Visit the Petronas Twin Towers
If you say Kuala Lumpur, you say Petronas Twin Towers. These towers have truly become figureheads in Malaysia. The Petronas Twin Towers were once the tallest building in the world together. The building has since lost this title, but they are still impressive. Various Islamic influences have been incorporated into the 452 meter high towers. The 41ste floor you will find the sky bridge that connects both towers. But for the best view, continue to 86e floor. You can buy tickets in advance online or at the entrance for around 17 euros.
You can also see the view of the city from the opposite tower. This is possible from one of the tallest communication towers in the world: Menara KL Tower. From there you have a beautiful view of the Petronas Twin Towers and the rest of Kuala Lumpur.
Skip the line tickets to the Petronas Twin Towers can be booked cheaply online.
▸ Tip: Directly by the Petronas Towers you will find the city park KLCC park. An ideal place for a cooling break. Absolutely perfect for a break when you travel with children, because you will find a swimming pool and a playground.
2. Take a bike ride with a local guide
On a bicycle you always see a city in a different way than on foot or by public transport. In addition, the bicycle is the perfect means of transport to really experience the city in a short time. You also visit places where others would not come so quickly. In Kuala Lumpur, you can certainly fill a day with a bike ride along the important sights of the city. You can choose from different tours through the city center with a local guide who will tell you about the history and introduce you to the street food culture.
A bike tour with a local guide through Kuala Lumpur is best booked through Baja Bikes.
3. Take a walk through China Town
The most famous market for tourists in Kuala Lumpur is Petaling Street. It is a vibrant shopping area in KL’s China Town. Here you can shop for various items at low prices in one of the hundreds of stalls. You have also come to the right place for street food from different cuisines. Chinatown is centrally located, making it easy to reach.
4. Visit the colorful Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is a large Chinese temple complex from 1894 in Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the oldest and largest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia and is still used today by many people for prayer. The temple is located on top of a hill, so you also have a nice view of the city from here.
▸ Tip: You can visit the temple from 8 am to 10 pm. Visit the temple in the morning to beat the crowds or in the evening when it’s dark and the countless lanterns are lit up.
5. Walk through KL Eco Forest Park
Kuala Lumpur is the only city in the world with a tropical rainforest in the middle of the city. This piece of jungle, also called Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), has been protected since 1906, making it one of the oldest nature reserves in Malaysia. Take a walk in the park over one of the wooden suspension bridges on the canopy walk at a height of tens of meters or enjoy the tranquility that this part of the city has to offer.
▸ Tip: You really are in a piece of jungle here, so take DEET with you when you go here.
6. Climb the 272 steps of the Batu Caves
13 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur you will find the Batu Caves. Upon arrival, the first thing that catches the eye is the more than forty meter tall golden statue of Murugan (god of war). The complex consists of three adjacent caves, with a beautiful Hindu temple in the last cave. Climb the 272 rainbow steps to the caves while enjoying views of the city.
To avoid (tourist) crowds, it is best to visit Batu Caves on a weekday. Also, make sure you don’t take food and loose objects with you. There are many cheeky monkeys who are only too happy to run off with your stuff.
▸ Tip: Many locals come daily to pray at this holy place. Therefore, dress appropriately and cover your shoulders and knees.
7. Shopping in one of the mega shopping centres
If you love to shop, you’ve come to the right place in Kuala Lumpur. You will find a lot of mega shopping centers where you can shop for hours. The shopping centers in KL are much more luxurious and larger than we are used to in the Netherlands. The shopping centers are open from early morning until late and 7 days a week. The Bukit Bintang district is seen as the center of Kuala Lumpur. The most popular malls in the city are Suria KLCC (under the Petronas Twin Towers) and Pavilion KL (on Jalan Bukit Bintang).
8. Visit Masjid Jamek Mosque
Malaysia is mostly Muslim. The most beautiful and famous mosque in Kuala Lumpur is Masjid Jamek Mosque. This mosque is located at the place where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet. The mosque also has historical significance because the mosque was built on the site where Kuala Lumpur once arose. It is also highly recommended to go for a walk on the Klang Promenade. Note: The mosque can be visited from Saturday to Thursday, outside prayer times. At the entrance to the mosque, you can borrow clothes and scarves.
9. Enjoy the best street food @ Jalon Alor
One of the most famous streets in Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly Jalan Alor. This is the place where you can enjoy the delicious street food that the city is so famous for. Take a seat at a plastic table in one of the eateries and choose what you like. Especially in the evening, this place comes alive and looks very cozy with colorful lighting and the long row of stalls.
A desert? In Malaysia, this mainly consists of fresh fruit. Do you choose fresh mango or do you dare to taste a piece of the ‘stinking fruit’ Durian. The latter is even tastier than it smells!
▸ Tip: If you’re traveling alone, this is a great place to get to know other travelers.
10. Malaysian food from the local chef
In the restaurant Rebung by the local chef Ismael you can have lunch or dinner among the locals. The famous local chef’s restaurant serves a variety of traditional Malaysian dishes in a buffet style. Don’t forget to reserve a seat when you’re in town, as his restaurant is busy.
▸ Tip: The restaurant is located on the edge of the Perdana Botanical Garden. With 92 hectares of greenery, this park is the largest park in the city. The park has several attractions that are also fun to do with children.
11. Spend the night at a hotel with a rooftop bar
In Kuala Lumpur you have a lot of options for staying the night. You can make it as expensive as you want, because there are plenty of options from Ho(s)tels to luxury hotels. But there are also places where you can admire this amazing metropolis while swimming from a rooftop pool! What could be better than taking a refreshing dip in the swimming pool of your hotel with a beautiful view of the city after a day of strolling through the city? The prices of hotels are generally lower than in the Netherlands. So this is your chance to unpack for your stay!
▸ Tip: The newly renovated Hotel Parkroyal Collection is a five-minute walk from the Jalon Alor street food market and ten minutes from the Petronas Towers. From the swimming pool on the 6th floor, you can enjoy a refreshing dip with a view of the city.
12. Use public transport to and from the city
Public transport in Kuala Lumpur is well organised. From the airport in Kuala Lumpur, you can travel quickly to the city center with the KLIA Express. An alternative is to travel by taxi, which you can easily and cheaply arrange with the Grap app (the Asian version of Uber). Do you want further into the city? Then Gojek, metro, train, taxis and local buses are also available.
▸ Tip: If you want to use the Grab app to move around the city, you need internet. Wifi is not always and everywhere available, so it is useful to buy a local SIM card or eSIM with some data.
Want to discover Malaysia further afield? It is also very possible from Kuala Lumpur. Many buses run every day to different places in the country. You can go to Malacca, Langkawi, Penang, Perhentians, Cameron Highlands and Taman Negara. Singapore is also one of the options.
Leonie is an online marketer, bon vivant and loves to travel! She also enjoys good food, photography, volleyball and cycling. Her favorite…