Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia. As such, it receives the most attention from tourists from the US and around the world. For us, it is pretty easy to see why people would want to explore the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur with what it has to offer. So, if you have plans of visiting Malaysia soon, you should set aside considerable time to explore KL.
Kuala Lumpur is known for its diverse culture and attractions, representing an incredible fusion of traditional customs and modern offerings. One can expect to find religious temples mixed with towering skyscrapers, brimming markets, and local festivities.
Are you ready to explore the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur? Wander with us.
Why Is Kuala Lumpur Famous?
Kuala Lumpur is among the most visited cities in the world for its indescribable charm. It is filled with many different attractions that visitors of all ages would appreciate and enjoy. Kuala Lumpur is also easy to explore if you approach it with its districts. For example, you can start by exploring the central hub, the Golden Triangle that includes KLCC, Bukit Bintang, and Chinatown.
Those pressed for time can also concentrate their trip to exploring the must-visit in the area, such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the Batu Caves. Each destination is always coupled with gastronomic offerings that you wouldn’t have elsewhere, whether it is air-conditioned restaurants.
Another great thing about exploring Kuala Lumpur is the myriad of accommodations that you can choose from. You can book a hotel, rent an Airbnb, stay the night at a hostel, or a backpacker’s inn. Whatever budget you have, Kuala Lumpur has accommodations that suit your budget and preference.
Melting Pot of Culture
Since the Industrial Revolution, Kuala Lumpur has evolved significantly to become a major area for different people to explore. The country is filled with people from different backgrounds and cultures that call Malaysia their home. It is the main area where people in Asia meet, greet, exchange ideas, and share values.
All of them live peacefully in a community despite differences in their race and religion. And this is what makes Malaysia a city like no other. From quaint coffee shops to bustling streets, you will feel the tenacity of the city.
While Malaysia is a melting pot of culture, they have successfully kept their identity. Malaysia’s preservation of its culture and heritage is evident in every aspect of life you will see when visiting its museums and historical galleries.
They are also quite obvious when you explore the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur because almost everything you will experience gives you a deeper understanding of its history.
Museums still have curated collections in galleries that tell the story of their past and what made them what they are today. Heritage streets are brimming with curious explorers that are curious about the beautiful mix of Malaysia’s history. Doing a history walk along Jalan Pudu and Brickfields’ alleys will bring you to appreciate gorgeous architecture.
Extensive Transportation System
One of the significant draws of Kuala Lumpur is its network of transportation. Anyone can quickly go to any point in Kuala Lumpur because they have train lines and bus routes that they can access.
If you ever feel lost, you simply have to go to KL Sentral, the city’s central station, and you can easily explore the rest of the attractions. You can head to Aquaria KLCC to the botanical gardens within minutes. The ease of commuting, however, can become problematic when you do so during rush hours. Nevertheless, you can still try out other transportation options in Kuala Lumpur. This way, you won’t have any trouble exploring the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur serves as the home to several notable landmarks, including the Petronas Twin Towers that used to hold the record as the tallest towers in the world. Aside from this human-made wonder, Kuala Lumpur also has natural giants, including the Klang Quartz Ridge and the Batu Caves. Note that many of the mountains in Malaysia consist of limestone and cultivate a unique ecosystem.
Kuala Lumpur remains a go-to destination because of its cheap offerings. It is easy to splurge when you are here. It may be the only place in Asia where you can enter flagship luxury stores and eat in fancy restaurants without having to worry about not being able to buy anything. More than that, they have small roadside stalls that offer cheap bargains that you can’t find elsewhere in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is a hub for affordable shopping like no other, particularly when you explore its central market.
When it comes to nightlife, you can expect to have a good time in Kuala Lumpur. Most tourists head to Changkat as it is one place in Kuala Lumpur that is oozing with booze and exotic street food stalls for locals and tourists who aren’t keen on calling it a night yet.
Don’t forget to check out the Indian Mamaks, known for being open 24 hours. This place is where you can enjoy a good meal of roti chanai and drink a glass of teh tarik after hours of partying. During football season, most of the mamaks will bring out a giant projector screen where guests can catch up on a live football match.
Besides nightlife and bargain shopping, Kuala Lumpur also has some fascinating wildlife. If you want to explore exotic creatures that roam the Earth, you can see them in the National Zoo and the Aquaria KLCC. However, Aquaria KLCC does not have impressive animals as you would find in the East Malaysian reserves, but you can still find a fair number of native fauna in Aquaria KLCC. Wildlife lovers can explore the KL Butterfly Park and KL Bird Park when they are in the city.
Whatever reason you may have when you decide to explore the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you will find that it will change once you set foot in the city. There are just so many things to explore, from street food to temples and their people.
Best of Kuala Lumpur 10 Best Places to Go
Once you’ve booked your flight to KL, these destinations should be part of your itinerary. Note that most of the places in this list include Kuala Lumpur’s most notable landmarks that you shouldn’t miss. Take note that Kuala Lumpur’s capital city comprises a multicultural community where you can find a healthy Malay, Chinese, and Indian locals population. That’s why it isn’t surprising that your trip would fall on a day where they would be celebrating one of their many lively events and festivals. You would also find that Malaysia has religious sites that give you a glimpse of their customs, traditions, culture, and lifestyle. Plus, a great collection of wildlife in the bird park and butterfly park.
If you have limited time to explore Kuala Lumpur, we suggest you focus on these places. Let us dive in.
1. Petronas Twin Towers
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Kuala Lumpur is the Petronas Towers. For us, it’s understandable, mainly because the buildings used to be the tallest in the world. They currently hold the Guinness World Record of being the tallest twin structure, with its 88-story buildings. Cesar Pelli & Associates designed the tower with a 58-metre, double-decker Sky Bridge on the building’s 41st and 42nd floors.
Towering over the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), the Petronas Towers features Islamic-inspired architecture. It houses the corporate headquarters of the Petronas Company and various offices.
The Petronas Twin Towers is a definite must-see for the whole family. The whole gang will enjoy the beautifully landscaped and well-maintained KLCC Park, where visitors can jog or take a leisurely walk. It even has a water fountain and a children’s wading pool.
After a few hours exploring the KLCC park, you can also enjoy many other attractions, including the Petronas Art Gallery. Inside the Suria KLCC, tourists can also participate in an interactive science discovery at the Petrosains Science Centre, which showcases petroleum-related exhibits, including its origin and its many products.
Of course, one of the highlights of your visit to the Petronas is its observation deck, where you can get a closer look at the tower’s spire and digital displays. If you plan to experience the double-decker Sky Bridge, you have to secure a pass. Head out early to get your access because lines can be quite long during peak hours.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 to 19:00, closed every Friday from 13:00 to 14:30.
- Address: Near Concorde Hotel Monorail stop, in between Jalan Ampang and Jalan Raja Chulan
2. Menara KL Tower
Another notable landmark that you should explore while you are in Kuala Lumpur is the Menara KL Tower. The building was built in 1994, showcasing a spectacular view of the city center. It features a spindle-like apex that you can spot wherever you may be in KL.
Note that the Menara KL Tower viewing deck is at least 100 metres higher than Petronas Towers’ Sky Bridge. That’s why you can have a better view of the busy capital during the day. For us, it is even more marvellous to view at night.
It serves as a perfect example of preserving nature while embracing technology. As the fifth-tallest telecommunications tower worldwide, Menara was built while protecting the natural surroundings the best way possible. In fact, you may even see a century-old Jelutong tree with a retaining wall surrounding it.
Like the Petronas Towers, Menara KL features Islamic architecture with florals and abstract patterns. The main structure even has a ‘Muqarnas,’ a corbel that pays homage to the Islamic architectural heritage. The tower’s apex took inspiration from the Malaysian spinning top. When you head to the lobby, take note of the beautiful glass=clad domes that somehow depict giant diamonds.
Once you are done exploring the whole complex, you can also enjoy a sumptuous meal at Atmosphere 360, where you can have a magnificent view of the city centre while dining. Atmosphere 360 also has cascading pools, amphitheatre, souvenir shops, and a great menu.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 to 22:00 daily.
- Address: Jalan Puncak, Off Jalan P. Ramlee, KLCC
3. Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Another unmissable spot in Kuala Lumpur is its Chinatown. The place will give you a different glimpse of what it is to live in Malaysia with its colourful and vibrant offerings. Nestled at Petaling Street, KL’s Chinatown is also known as the ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ (Starch Factory Street) for its tapioca production history.
Like all Chinatowns all over the world, Chinatown Kuala Lumpur features strong Oriental culture, history, and heritage as evidenced by its wide range of restaurants and shops. If you are looking for a bargain paradise, you can find a massive selection of goods in the main market area. Its night market has hundreds of stalls where you can find an assortment of products sold at a low price. You can find all sorts of merchandise from tasty street food to counterfeit branded goods.
Beyond these offerings, you can find more attractions that will amuse you for sure, including the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu Temple in Malaysia. You can also explore the different temples that showcase fine Oriental architecture, such as the Kuan Ti and Chan See Shu Yuen temples, which can perfectly symmetrical pavilions, open courtyards, and intricately designed roofs. Besides being the oldest Hindu temple, it is also elaborately designed and regarded as one of the best in and around the city.
For shopping, we suggest combing through the entire stretch of Petaling Street. You cannot miss this spot as it is marked by an expansive awning covering shoppers and merchants from the scorching daytime heat. Take this advice from us: While prices can be dirt-cheap, it won’t hurt if you haggle some more for things you want to buy. Just be reasonable with the price. If ever you are not successful, try their extensive menu instead.
If you don’t like the crowded street, you can also try the number of shopping centres at Chinatown, including the three shopping malls and the Central Market (Pasar Seni) bazaar, which also has good bargains.
- Opening Hours: Open daily
- Address: KL City Center, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
4. Batu Caves
Batu Caves is an attraction in Kuala Lumpur where you can find a limestone hill with three significant caves and a number of smaller ones. It also has a century-old temple with statues and idols. Once you explore the caves, you will see the 400-million-year-old limestone formations inside and why it is the most important Hindu landmark in Malaysia.
Cathedral Cave is the largest and the most famous of all the caves in Batu Caves. It has some Hindu shrines underneath its 100-metre arched ceiling. At the Batu Hill foot, you can also explore other cave temples, the Museum Cave and Art Gallery Cave, where you can find several Hindu paintings and statues.
If there is one event you should time your visit to the caves, it is during the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam, often held towards the end of January. It has a procession that starts on the eve of the Thaipusam Festival and commences at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple at the KL City Centre.
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 21:00 daily
- Address: Sri Subramaniam Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
For a family-friendly getaway, the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park should be part of your itinerary when exploring Kuala Lumpur—located in Petaling Jaya, about 15 km southwest of Aquaria KLCC. Children and kids at heart will surely enjoy the water parks and rides and dry-land activities that the theme parks have to offer, including the manmade river ride, wave pool, surf beach, and a 360-degree revolving pirate ship. The 80-acre park expanded to include five different zones, the Extreme Park, Amusement park, Wildlife Park, Scream Park, and the water park.
Of all the zones in the theme park, the most popular among visitors is the Waters of Africa playground, where guests can explore the FlowRider. In this surf simulator, surfers can show off their surfing skills during surfing competitions.
The Congo Challenge is another attraction that sees a lot of action with its six-lane water slide where thrill-seekers can enjoy a 40 kph speed as they spin around the African Pythons’ loops before exiting the huge tubes. The Cameroon Climb, on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart, as riders will swoop down in double tubes and shoot up and down at the height of 15-metres.
The Sunway Lagoon’s Amusement Park will welcome you into a different kind of adventure. When you head to the World of Adventure, you will find many types of offerings, including the majestic Bengal tigers. But, you should head out to the Pirate’s Revenge section, where you and your children can enjoy a 360-degree rotating pirate ship that can swivel you off at least 24-metres off of the ground, so get ready to hear tons of screams from riders. You can also try other rides, including the Buffalo Bill Coaster, Colorado Splash, Butch Cassidy’s Trail, and the Tomahawk.
Don’t forget to check out the 428-metre suspension bridge, where you can take in all the views of the entire Sunway Lagoon Theme Park.
The Scream Park is the latest addition to Sunway Lagoon’s attraction. It is extremely popular for visitors for its scare zones and horror theatres, and ghost houses. Suppose you want to see several notable movie monsters, including Jason, Billy, and Freddy. They also have a Night at the Museum attraction where it features a replica of the museum gallery as depicted in the film.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 18:00 Monday & Wednesday – Friday; 10:00 18:00 Saturday & Sunday
- Address: Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, 46150
6. Jalan Alor
Jalan Alor is where you should go if you want to sample some of the famous Malaysian delicacies. This strip is easy to find as it is located behind the Jalan Bukit Bintang and only a quick walk from the Changkat Bukit Bintang. While it is okay to explore the dine-in restaurants in the area, the hawker stalls and street food are a must-try. When you head out, try out the barbecued meats and noodles.
Its hidden location gives it a traditional charm with its brightly lit roads and endless rows of hawker stalls with tables and chairs that spill onto the street.
While street food is the main draw, the experience and atmosphere are the main reason people flock to the area. Don’t worry about ordering because most stalls also have picture menus where you can choose what delicacies you want to try.
You can head to Jalan Alor via the monorail. Alight at the Bukit Bintang stop, proceed north to Jalan Bukit Bintang, where you can reach Jalan Alor via walking.
- Opening Hours: Open daily
- Address: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
7. Perdana Botanical Gardens
The Perdana Botanical Gardens is located in Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park. You can find the most extensive flower gardens and animal parks in Kuala Lumpur City Center. If you want to witness the unparalleled beauty of Perdana, also known as Lake Gardens, it is best to visit it during the weekends, where you and your loved ones can enjoy tons of things held on the garden’s main square and landscaped hills.
One feature you shouldn’t miss is the Orchid Garden, which is only a short walk from the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Bird Park. It boasts of a 10,000 square-metre space that houses numerous walking paths and fountains. If you need to catch your breath, you can stay at a beautiful pergola and rock garden while taking in all the beauty of more than 800 species of orchids.
Of course, you should also take your time to explore the Hibiscus Garden. Here, you will get to see Malaysia’s national flower blooming radiantly. You can also visit the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park with a landscaped garden with a colonial-era building if you have time. Do check out the quaint tearoom and gallery where you can learn more about the true meaning of hibiscus for the Malaysian people.
Note: The Perdana Botanical Gardens has no entrance fee, but access to the Orchid and Hibiscus gardens require an entrance fee of RM1 during weekends. Some areas also have entrance fees.
- Opening Hours: 7:00 to 20:00 daily
- Address: Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana, Kuala Lumpur
8. KL Forest Eco Park
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is more than just the street food and Petronas Towers. Part of their Malay roots is the careful preservation of their natural surroundings, and the KL Forest Eco Park is the perfect ecotourism destination. It is considered as Kuala Lumpur’s natural green lung amid the metropolitan area. It is where you don’t have to spend much money to enjoy yourself. You have to commend the government for doing the best possible to carry out the construction without affording too much damage to the environment. KL Forest Park used to be named the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve. It is among the oldest forest reserves in all of Malaysia. It is near the Menara KL Tower and spans 11,000 square metres – an expansive sanctuary at the heart of the KL City Center.
Guests visiting the reserve often rave to us about the wide variety of herbs, trees, and bamboos they encounter in their walking trails. Note that the walking trails in the park are suitable for beginners and children. Besides the marvelous sights, guests can also enjoy the many different facilities and amenities, including the playground, wooden gazebo, and campsites. A popular attraction here is the Canopy Walk. It is an aerial bridge suspended about 200 meters above the forest reserve where you can get the best views of KL city.
- Opening Hours: 7:00 to 180:00 daily
- Address: Bukit Nanas, Jalan Puncak, Off Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur
9. Thean Hou Temple
The Thean Hou Temple is a Chinese temple of the sea goddess built in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Its construction was finished in 1987 and was officially opened two years after. The temple features six-tiers and is under the management of Selangor and Federal Territory Association.
The temple is a dedication to Tian Hou, a sea goddess known to protect fishermen. Aside from this, many head to the shrine to worship Guan Yin, the goddess of Mercy. It is one of the top things to see in Malaysia.
Once you reach the Thean Hou Temple, you will see the modernly designed Buddhist pagoda and a slew of Buddha images inside the octagonal hall. You will also get to see the Tian Hou statue, sitting between the goddesses of Mercy and Waterfront. Make sure that you do not miss the Guan Di (God of War) and Wei Tuo statues that are central to the practice of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Note that you may also find Chinese medicinal herbs and a tortoise farm near their sacred Bodhi tree.
The Thean Hou Temple is not like what you would see in Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia, for that matter. It features an eclectic mix of contemporary architectural and traditional designs with its ornate embellishments and intricate carvings.
The front entrance already features red pillars that bestow good fortune and prosperity. Columns with dragon carvings and pagoda rooftops would be a major feature in the temple, along with the extravagant prayer halls featuring three altars for prayers.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 to 180:00 daily
- Address: 65 Persiaran Endah, Off Jalan Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50460
10. Central Market
To finish off this list is Kuala Lumpur Central Market. Don’t confuse KL Sentral with the Central Market. The Central Market is one place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brimming with action and overflowing with stalls.
Nestled in Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and the Jalan Hang Kasturi, the Central Market came into fruition in 1888 and served as the city wet market. The market is now classified as a heritage site by the Malaysian Heritage Society. It serves as a notable landmark where tourists and locals can learn more about the Malay culture and heritage. Here you will witness a different ambiance with its exquisite collection of souvenirs. Plus, you will get to enjoy a different kind of entertainment from street musicians.
Central Market Kuala Lumpur has a long list of products arranged in a stall concept where travelers can weave through the many sections from different merchants living in the city. Of course, it also has some of the best gastronomic experiences that you can explore at the second-floor food court of the market that resembles kampong-style homes predominant in Kuala Lumpur.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 daily
- Address: No. 10, 1st-3rd floor, Jalan Hang Kasturi
Kuala Lumpur 15 Best Places to Go
If you have limited time to explore Kuala Lumpur and focus your top things to the unmissable places, this list compiles the essential sites you should head out to.
1. Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
If you want to learn more details about Kuala Lumpur’s history, you can visit the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, which features miniatures showing the city’s past, present, and future. You can find the gallery in Independence Square, also known as the Dataran Merdeka. KL City Gallery’s main feature is the Spectacular City Model Show that showcases a large model (40 ft x 50 ft) of the city’s history, with a spectacular presentation of lights and sounds.
The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery also serves as a Tourist Information Centre that provides Kuala Lumpur Walks & Tours Maps, which contains beautiful architectural models, prints, and photos for their visitors.
2. Merdeka Square
The Merdeka Square is Kuala Lumpur’s most famous landmark, located in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which was formerly the State Secretariat. Some locals shared to us that Merdeka Square is also sometimes referred to as the Dataran Merdeka, which is located fronting the Royal Selangor Club. It is also near St. Mary’s Church, among the oldest Anglican churches in Malaysia.
Before, the Merdeka Square used to be a landmark that reminded them of the British empire that previously colonised Malaysia. It used to be nothing but a field with manicured lawns and a flagpole displaying the Malaysian flag (Jalur Gemilang). Today, it is a perfect reminder of Malaysia’s rich history and the city’s bright future ahead.
3. Petronas Twin Towers
Of course, it would be a sin to miss the Petronas Towers during your visit to KL. In fact, it is the first thing that most tourists want to see as soon as they land in Malaysia. They are a marvel to look at. Its observation deck on the 86th floor is where you can see the whole of Kuala Lumpur in all its glory.
The Petronas Towers is a headquarters, but it is open to the public. You only have to buy a ticket and line up at the entrance early. Most of those who have gone to enjoy the towers suggested to us that it would be best to buy tickets online as tickets are only limited in number.
4. The KLCC Park
Once you are done with the Petronas Towers and explored the Suria KLCC shopping mall, you should spend a quiet time at the astounding greenery amidst the KLCC Park skyscrapers. Among the top things that tourists enjoy here is the fact that it is well-kept and even offers a swimming pool for children. Even locals love coming here to relax under the many trees while enjoying the architecture of surrounding buildings. It is like having a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
5. Menara Kuala Lumpur
Also known as the KL Tower, this TV tower is an alternative option if you want to have a 360-degree view of the city of Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur Tower offers a free shuttle bus, so you don’t have to waste your energy walking to the tower. Guests have two ways of visiting the buildings. They can either:
- Head to the observation deck. It has an entrance fee of 52 MYR, and it gives you a 360-degree of Kuala Lumpur at the height of 276 metres. You would have to enjoy the view behind the window glass.
- You can also head to the open observation deck. It has an entrance fee of 105 MYR. It is a bit pricier, but you will get to enjoy the panoramic views in an open-air and at the height of 350 metres.
6. Bukit Bintang
For us, one of the unmissable things you should do in Kuala Lumpur is visiting Bukit Bintang. It remains one of the highly visited entertainment and shopping districts in all of KL. Aside from numerous shopping malls and night markets, you can also find hawker centers and lively bars and restaurants that will make visiting Kuala Lumpur genuinely unforgettable. For those who belong to the younger generation, this place, at least for us, is a definite go-to. There are tons of activities and things to do here.
This place is also where tourists can interact with locals as it is where most of them are headed out to enjoy vibrant nightlife. Aside from getting a nice feel of the Malaysian lifestyle, it is bustling with life and offers hundreds of Arabic delicacies. Hence, it is also called Kuala Lumpur’s Arabic District. Take it from us, the best way to get here is via the KL Monorail.
7. Masjid Negara
Serving as the national mosque, Masjid Negara translates to state mosque. It is most notable for its architecture featuring 73-metre high minaret and star-shaped roofing. The mosque receives more than 13,000 worshippers from all over the world.
The national mosque is open every day. And as with any religious sites in KL, a dress code is strictly followed. When you reach the site, you will receive a head and body cover. These coverings are applicable for both men and women. A piece of advice from us: If you plan on visiting Masjid Negara, pay attention to your clothing. While they offer coverups, it can be used up by all the visitors, so it may take you a while to get inside. You don’t have to pay any entrance fee, so it is a worthy stop during your trip.
8. Orchid Garden
After exploring the national mosque, make sure to follow the Jalan Perdana street leading up the hill. You will see the Orchid Garden, which is part of the Perdana Botanical Garden.
It is a nice stop if you want to see beautiful blooming orchids on display. It offers a different atmosphere from the noisy and bustling streets of KL. In addition to the orchids, the Orchid Garden also provides an impressive view of the KL skyline. Make sure to stay alert as you explore the garden further, as you may encounter some cheeky wild monkeys along the way.
It is open from 6:00 to 18:00 daily and has no entrance fee.
9. Kasturi Walk
If you have already explored the chaotic beauty of Chinatown, we suggest you try out the Kasturi Walk, which is another market a few minutes from Petaling Street. Once you reach it, you will realize that it is another place in KL brimming with locals and tourists in search of some cheap finds. Weave yourself through the alleys if you want to look for unique souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
While Chinatown has this chaotic charm, Kasturi Walk can be a breath of fresh air with its modern and classy fair. Besides souvenir items, you can also find busy Hawker Centers that offer the best Malaysian cuisine. The shops here are open from 10:30 to 22:30 daily.
10. Brickfields (Little India)
Remember when we said that Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of culture? Not only does it have its own Arabic District and Chinatown, but Kuala Lumpur also has its Little India. Brickfields is located a few minutes south of the KL Sentral main railway station.
As the city’s Little India, the place has tons of stores selling an assortment of Indian goods and food. Take note that the street will come to life from late afternoon to night time. You will see merchants setting up their tables and chairs on the pavement as the scent of Indian dishes will come wafting through the air, inviting you to sample many of their delicacies. Getting a taste of India at the heart of Kuala Lumpur wouldn’t hurt. It also has the best reviews from tourists in Southeast Asia.
11. KL Sentral
KL Sentral is one place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where you can catch a train and do your shopping simultaneously. It is not only a railway station, but it is also an expansive shopping mall known as Nu Sentral. It serves as the hub for going around the city.
If you are coming in via shuttle bus from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA/KLIA2) or the KLIA Ekspres train, your drop off point will be at the KL Sentral. Once you reach KL Sentral, you can have many different options when roaming around the tourist attractions. One thing that makes KL Sentral the one place you shouldn’t miss is its huge variety of food offerings. Some of the top things to do here is to sample restaurants that offer almost any food items that you are craving for, whether it is Korean, Thai, Malay, Indian, and Chinese, before going around the city.
12. Menara KH – Helipad Lounge
Imagine sipping your cocktails while enjoying the grand view of KL’s majestic skyline during sunset. That is what you can expect once you head to the fantastic Helipad Lounge at Menara KH. It is a perfect way to end your night after a hectic day exploring some of Malaysia’s natural wonders, including the KL Butterfly Park, KL Bird Park, Aquaria KLCC, Lake Gardens, and forest reserves.
The Heli Lounge is still an active helipad, but at night, it becomes one of KL's most happening places that offers delightful cocktails. The actual bar is open for all. However, if you want to access the actual landing spot, you must purchase a drink at the bar, which is pretty reasonable if you’re going to take advantage of the impressive views at night. The bar is open from 17:00 onwards. It is one of the rooftop bars that can get busy late at night, so make sure to save yourself a spot by coming in early.
13. Masjid Jamek
Built in 1909, the Jamek Mosque serves as one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. Before the national mosque was opened, the Masjid Jamek was the most expansive and preferred venue for its Muslim population. The mosque is open for visitors, even for non-Muslims, but it will be closed during prayer times. You should also follow the imposed dress codes, so ensure that your shoulders and knees have appropriate coverings when you visit. Since it is pretty near Merdeka Square, you can schedule your visit here accordingly.
14. Kampung Baru
If you want to explore the innate beauty of Kuala Lumpur to its core, the Kampung Baru is a must-visit. The district lies at the heart of KL and has been planned to undergo development over the years. Thankfully, many of the residents resisted it and worked on preserving the traditional Malaysian lifestyle. As with many streets and alleys in KL, Kampung Baru undergoes a beautiful transformation at night. You will find many hawker centers where you can sample some of the best traditional meals of Malaysia.
Since the traditional Malaysian lifestyle is deeply preserved here, it can be quite difficult to communicate with the locals as most of them would not have any knowledge of English since you will find a scarcity of tourists. The best way to order food is to point on menu cards displayed on the stalls.
For us, it has the perfect spot to view the Petronas Towers. Simply grab a chair and a table, and you are good to go.
15. Bukit Kiara Trail
For hiking enthusiasts, one place in Kuala Lumpur you shouldn’t miss is the Bukit Kiara Trail. It is a famous neighbourhood hiking sanctuary that offers some of the most rugged trails that you and your family will enjoy. Some may not take KL as a hiking destination, but it does offer a number of trails that will douse you with contentment. This jungle trail in Mont Kiara provides a taste of natural therapy. Note that you will encounter a good number of macaque monkeys along the way. Make sure you know how to behave around them so you can leave the trail unharmed.
The Bukit Kiara Trail has two route options. The shorter route is the one where you will end up in TTDI park. It is the best option if you want to witness some of Malaysia’s exciting fauna. You will meet monkeys, tortoises, and even monitor lizards. The longer route will bring you to the TTDI car park, where you can see the Bandar Utama and Mutiara Damansara. Make sure to eat ahead as you won’t find any food court here.
Guide to Exploring Batu Caves
One of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is exploring the Batu Caves. Unknown to many, however, is that these caves consist of five main caves. It is pretty understandable because when you make a Google search, you would see that the pictures would only show one prominent image. And that is one featuring a colossal golden Hindu God adjacent to a massive set of stairs leading to the Temple Cave, which is only one of the main caves in the area.
It has five caves, namely:
- Ramayana Cave
- Cave Villa Cave 1
- Cave Villa Cave 2
- Temple Cave
- Dark Cave
Located in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia, the cave is a limestone hill composed of caves and cave temples that serve as an important religious site in Malaysia. The name ‘batu’ came from the Malay word that means rock. Initially, the hill was named Kapal Tanggang based on the Malaysian legend about Si Tanggang. The town near it was known as the Batu Caves for the limestone formation. Outside of India, it is among the most famous Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan.
The limestone rock formation features a massive 2-kilometre wide and 329-metre high limestone hill north of Kuala Lumpur. Its main cave entrance was notable for having a perfect shape for building a shrine. And that is what an Indian trader in 1890 did. He built a shrine dedicated to the Hindu God of War, Lord Murugan. During its early days, the caves served as a central place in Malaysia for harvesting guano and limestone. It was only after several decades before its care and administration were assigned to Kuala Lumpur’s Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
The Cave Management Group has managed the Dark Cave since 2011. They are mainly responsible for exploring the exotic flora and fauna of the cave while allowing public access.
If you are looking for the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur, these caves are one of the places you shouldn’t miss. Of course, after the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Here’s what you should know when exploring the caves, including the best time to visit and the entrance fees you should pay. Read on.
Exploring Ramayana Cave
Entrance Fee: 5 MYR
Ideally, the best way to reach the caves is by train. When you choose this mode of transport, the first thing you will spot on your left would be a huge green monkey-faced sculpture, also known as the Hindi God Hanuman. Known to be a Lord Rama devotee, to which the first Batu Cave is dedicated.
Upon payment, you can make your way to the cave’s entrance. Once inside, one of the first things you will learn is the history of the Ramayana Cave, Lord Rama, and Hanuman as depicted in a colourful display of sculptures. Most of the information is explained in a foreign language (probably Sanskrit), so it can be quite difficult to fully grasp what is happening. At the end of the cave, you will see an LED fairy lights display that tells the story of Hanuman’s monkey tail as it burns.
Aside from the story about Lord Rama, the Ramayana Cave also has two linga or phalluses notable in Hinduism. If you want to witness this natural linga, you have to muster the courage in climbing the steep cave chamber.
Visiting Cave Villa
Entrance Fee: 15 MYR
If you see tons of macaques monkeys, you are on your way to see Cave Villa. You will also get to witness the Alemulu Temple and the Sri Venkatachalapathi and the many devotees who receive blessings from Hindu priests or Brahmins. Cave Villa has two entrances and exits, and one of which is near the shrines. Inside, you will see that the cave is filled with different fauna, including bunnies, birds, iguanas, and giant fish.
Note that one of the main attractions of Cave Villa is the animals. If you love animals and you have kids, this cave should be on your list of top things to do. More than that, Cave Villa is also where you can learn about the Hindu religion in general with its cultural centre.
The first of the two Cave Villas has painted walls that come with pastel colours. These sculptures, murals, information is where you can deeply learn about Hinduism as Tamil Nadu has practised. If you are serious about the Hindu religion, you should learn more about the Hindu Gods, and epic stories passed down from generation to generation. In this cave, you will also learn about the different festivals and traditions that celebrate Hinduism. Note that presentations would usually last for an hour.
Once you are done at the first cave, you can proceed to the second Cave Villa, where you can explore infotainment that will surely be a feast on your eyes. Your children will enjoy the reptile exhibition located in the last part of the cave. The second cave has an expansive koi pond with an artificial waterfall and bridges where you can head to the other entryway and exit. The Cave Villa is a worthy visit if you are deeply interested in Hinduism.
Knowing the Temple Cave
Entrance Fee: Free
At the left of the Cave Villa is the main attraction, the Temple Cave, which features the golden Lord Murugan statue that stands at the front of the steep staircase. As mentioned, it will be the first that you will see as soon as you reach the caves. For female visitors, visiting the Temple Cave means you have to wear proper clothing. As much as possible, you should cover your bust, shoulders, and knees. If you are unprepared, you can rent a sarong/scarf or trousers for 5 MYR. Don’t be lax on this, as they do rigorous checking.
When you need to go up the stairs, don’t worry about your comfort. They are easy to scale, but it is best if you still hold on to the railings and take quick rests before enjoying the skylines of Kuala Lumpur.
Pro-Tip: The stairs can be filled with monkeys. Make sure to hide any biscuits or any food you may have. They are fast, so don’t take the chance of eating while climbing up the stairs. For those who want to take a picture, the stairs face the Southwest direction so that you can take good pictures throughout the day.
For most tourists, the Dark Cave is the highlight of their visit to the caves. However, the cave is no longer open to the public until further notice. The Dark Cave is located at the left of the Temple Cave. Before, the cave used to have a 20-minute guided tour for only 35 MYR for adults, and it is only available for 15 people for each tour. The cave’s waiting area is where you can get a marvelous view of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Since the cave is not accessible to the public, you won’t be able to explore it. In case it opens again, it is in the Dark Cave where you can find trapdoor spider, one of the rarest in the world. Besides the spider, you can also encounter snakes, bats, and many different insects you can only see in the caves.
One of the top things about the Dark Cave is the guide. They are scientists that have extensive knowledge about the cave. They can be a geologist, a biologist, or an entomologist, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure to participate in the tour with a full tummy because the tour can last for at least an hour.
Getting to Batu Caves from Central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
With the extensive transportation network, getting to the caves is pretty straightforward. Here are some ways:
By Metro Train
You can take the metro train heading to the Batu Caves, which is the end of the line. The trip from the city will take less than an hour, and you have to pay a fare of 3.5 MYR. Take note of the schedule of train trips, which usually leaves every 30 minutes to an hour.
Once you reach Southeast Asia, you will realize that dealing with a Grab or Uber driver is preferred by most. They usually offer the best rates if you plan to take a quick rest during your trip. From the city center, the caves are about a 15-kilometre drive. You can try to negotiate with your driver for a package deal during your stay in Kuala Lumpur if you want to save some money.
Preparing for Your Trip to the Caves
If your trip to Kuala Lumpur mainly involves exploring the Batu Caves, here is the ultimate checklist for you:
- Wear appropriate clothing. Make sure you have cover-ups for your shoulders, knees, and legs. Dress as if you are heading to a national mosque.
- Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes. If you plan to explore the caves and their chambers, put on shoes with an excellent grip to ensure that you don’t slip.
- Eat up before starting your exploration. The trip can be quite long and arduous, so you will need all the energy that you need. Plus, you should also store food away from the cheeky monkeys. Don’t expect to find a food court here.
- Buy tickets ahead of time as ticket lines can be busy.
- Give at least four hours to explore Batu Caves.
Tips in Exploring Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
If you are visiting Malaysia, your top destination would be Kuala Lumpur. The city is relatively huge on the map, but you don’t have to worry about missing a tourist spot because KL has most of the must-see designations. Most shopping centers here are connected with easy accessibility using the LRT/Monorail, purple free MyRapid buses, or the BB-KLCC walkway. The only thing that you should be aware of is the temptation to go shopping and take much of your time with the tour.
Expect a Hot Weather
Malaysia experiences tropical weather the whole year because it sits right on the Equator. The country has heavy rains from March to April and September to November. The weather in Malaysia is hot and humid, with tropical downpours. Kuala Lumpur has an urban atmosphere that adds to the city’s warm weather, but in the recent years of climate change, there has been more rain in the country. It should be best to wear summer clothes for a more comfortable trip to Kuala Lumpur’s beautiful tourist spots.
Experience Their Gardens
Most tourists have so many itineraries when visiting a new place. With many things lined up to do, the only time tourists can rest is when they get back to their hotels. One way of having a break from your busy trip would be visiting Kuala Lumpur’s gardens. It would be a great experience to breathe fresh air and appreciate Asia’s most attractive flora and fauna. You can find the KL Bird Park, KL Lake Gardens, and KL Butterfly Park within the same square and enjoy the beauty of nature while resting. For us, exploring the bird park and butterfly is the highlight of our trip.
Enjoy Affordable Shopping
Kuala Lumpur is full of exciting places to visit, and you will never run out of shopping centers to buy whatever you need. Tourists can enjoy a collection of flagship stores for famous brands in the Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur, but you can also go to Chinatown on Petaling Street to find the Pasar Seni. The area contains many trinkets and antiques, but you should keep in mind to only buy what you need.
Go To Night Markets
Knowing that Kuala Lumpur is full of shopping venues, you should also try their night markets (Pasar Malam) and get to taste local delicacies and other Asian street foods. This is where you can get the best value for your money. Take it from us.
Try Different Food Varieties
Kuala Lumpur has many different cultures living in it and their blend of herbs and spices that make their own distinguished cuisines. Tourists can enjoy the sweet to the savory mix of nasi lemak (Malaysia’s national dish), chicken wings, the Nyonya food, and different kinds of curry flavors everywhere in the city without spending much money.
Engage in Cultural Festivities
As previously mentioned, Kuala Lumpur is a multicultural city with a multitude of religious or cultural festivities. The festivities are scattered all over the city with fabulous decorations that tourists will surely love. One of the most popular events is the Chinese New Year, where most of the establishments in the city would put up their Chinese animal year decoration.
Go Beyond the City
Kuala Lumpur may almost have everything for their guest tourists, but you can also explore other places in the country. Try to include in your trip to go beyond Kuala Lumpur and experience Malaysia's exciting places. While your trip to Kuala Lumpur should include a visit to the bird park and butterfly park, you should try exploring unpopular areas in the city. The Casino de Genting is also a good place to relax and spend some time gambling. But, be careful about dealing with gambling syndicates.
Tour With a Budget
Two of the most famous tourist spots in the city are the KL Tower and KLCC, where you can spend just half a day finishing the tour and memorable photographs. If you want to experience more than the usual tourist routes and have extra money to spend while in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Tower restaurant is a must-try. Also, consider the upper-class shops in Suria KLCC and splurge on precious items.
Appreciate the Local Language
Malaysia is a great place to do business. It is a booming center of tourism in Southeast Asia, which allowed the locals to learn English to communicate with foreigners, despite their deep Malay/Indian/Chinese language roots. As a visitor to Malaysia, it would also be best to learn a few simple phrases and sentences to converse easily with their locals, especially in the provinces. A Malay is more than willing to teach you their dialect and appreciate your efforts in learning it.
There are still plenty of top things you can do in Kuala Lumpur beyond the Batu and exploring the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, you just have to be open to the idea.
Before booking a flight to Malaysia, please check out the latest Malaysia coronavirus update here. Enjoy your stay in Kuala Lumpur!