02 Jan Kuala Lumpur guide: What to see and what to do in the capital of malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly a dream city, with a mixture of cultures and contrasts that will leave you impressed for sure. I had read many blogs that said that one day to visit KL was enough, but I finally stayed 4 days and I didn’t have a minute to rest. With this Kuala Lumpur Guide you will discover everything you can do in the Malaysian capital, which, as you will see, is not small!
This city, bustling and always full of people, is the great example of multiculturalism, and it is that in this city Indians, Chinese and Malays live together, besides other nationalities and ethnicities. And all of them with their corresponding religions, the Hindu, the Chinese and the Muslim. You will find yourself in front of a temple or a mosque with few meters of difference. It seems weird right? Well, it’s impressive and everyone lives in perfect harmony.
And I was also talking about contrasts. This will surely attract your attention. On one hand, you have a Kuala Lumpur full of skyscrapers such as the Petronas and luxury shopping centers and, on the other hand, poorer neighborhoods with traditional markets and street food stalls. Both sides of the city have their charm, but if I have to choose, I would always stay with the authentic Kuala Lumpur. The one in which you will try an authentic meal in the street or in which you can buy imitations thrown of price.
And now, let’s go with the Kuala Lumpur guide! In it I will talk about 10 essential places to visit, where to eat and what to eat, what plans to do … All based on what I did and what I liked the most 😉
- 1 Kuala Lumpur Guide: 10 essential places
- 2 Kuala Lumpur guide: useful information
- 3 Other articles of my 3 week trip to Malaysia and Singapore
Kuala Lumpur Guide: 10 essential places
1. Petronas Towers and KL City Park
I start my Kuala Lumpur Guide with one of the biggest attractions and that everyone has surely heard about, the Petronas Towers.
They were the tallest buildings for 5 years until 2003, when they were removed by Taiwan’s Taipei 101. But they are still the tallest twin towers in the world, and with their 88 floors high, they can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
The truth is that I thought they were not going to impress me so much, but I already tell you that you will be speechless.
You can visit the Towers and go to the top paying 80 ringgit (less than € 18 at the end of 2019) or you can observe the towers from its base. I personally did not go up because my vertigo is abysmal;)
On the other hand, do not forget to walk around the KL City Park or the Suria KLCC shopping center at its base, you will be amazed by its extension!
To climb the Towers buy tickets always online and in advance on the official website of the Petronas Towers.
2. Merdeka Square
It is undoubtedly the most beautiful square in Kuala Lumpur and is located very close to the Central Market and Chinatown, so you can visit the three places the same day;)
In it you will find the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, one of the most beautiful buildings in Malaysia. It currently houses the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia. Other buildings of interest in the square are the National Textile Museum, the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery or the Royal Selangor Club.
In addition, an important historical detail! Is in this square where the flag of Malaysia was raised for the first time after the independence of the country.
And as a curiosity, do not forget to visit the Tourist Center, you can seal your passport or whatever you want with some super original stamps of Merdeka Square.
3. Central Market
The Central Market of Kuala Lumpur dates from 1883 but has been restored several times, the last in 1986.
It is a very very tourist market, as it has 228 handicraft and souvenir shops for tourists! You also have several cafes, restaurants and the food court where you will find small stalls with many gastronomic varieties. I still remember the spring rolls and the Pad Thai that I ate, great!
4. Chinatown and Petaling Street
Without a doubt one of the areas that I liked most in Kuala Lumpur. I had already been told that it was one of the liveliest Chinese neighborhoods in all of Southeast Asia and certainly did not fall short. It is full of food stalls where you can taste authentic Malaysian food and, here you will find the famous Petaling Street. Really distributed in 4 streets, it is an area full of clothes stalls, bags, watches, wallets, shirts … anything you can imagine and everything imitation. Get ready to haggle!
You will be surprised but the oldest and most famous Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur is in Chinatown, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Its facade is decorated with sculptures of Hindu gods that were sculpted by ancient artisans from southern India. Inside, where you have to access barefoot, you can see the image of the goddess Maha Mariamman.
5. Bukit Bintang
The first accommodation I stayed in Kuala Lumpur was in Bukit Bintang and from the two I stayed in, I would repeat this one for sure. As I left my bags in the room at midnight, the atmosphere and the hustle was such that I was forced to go down for a walk around the neighborhood. It is an area full of office buildings, luxury hotels, impressive shopping centers, but also a lot of street environment with many bars, music and people on the street. In short, crazy!
6. Jalan Alor
If you want to try authentic street food in a slightly chaotic but unique area next to Bukit Bintang, this is your place.
Jalan Alor is a street full of restaurants and street stalls with infinite cards in which there is not a single dish that you can imagine they do not have available. You can try any of the local specialties, including Durian (if you dare of course …).
I read many opinions about different street restaurants, but I certainly have my favorite one where I went to dinner 3 times: Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish LaLola. I tried the spring rolls, a plate of veal with vegetables, chicken and veal satai, Pad Thai, Dimsum … And I would have eaten the whole menu, but if you see how many papers it has and how the waitress stalks you, you will be overwhelmed.
7. Little India
Personally and, having visited several Indian neighborhoods in many cities, I was a little disappointed with the Little India of Kuala Lumpur. But that does,’t mean it does not have its charm or there are no things that you have to visit!
Spend an hour or two to walk through its streets with aromas of jasmine and a multitude of spices and visit all the shops you will see of Hindu fabrics. I recommend, as I did, go at noon and take the opportunity to eat some typical Indian food such as chicken tikka masala or a naan (typical Indian bread).
Finally, do not forget to visit the centenary temple of Sri Kandaswamy, one of the most beautiful I’ve seen on my tour of Malaysia.
8. KL Tower
The KL Tower, with its 421 meters high, is one of the tallest communication towers in the world. Located in the center of Kuala Lumpur, in the middle of the ancient rainforest of the Bukit Nanas Reserve, it can be seen almost from the entire city.
I told you earlier that the views from the Petronas were impressive, but as I have heard, the ones you will see on this Tower are unbeatable, since it has a 360º panorama and a glass floor. As you can imagine, between its height and the detail of the glass floor it was impossible for me to climb because it sure gave me a heart attack :P.
The price for non-Malaysian adults is 99 Malaysian ringgits, about € 21.50 as of December 2019.
To buy tickets online, do so in advance on the official website of the KL Tower.
9. National Mosque
One of the most beautiful religious centers in Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly its National Mosque or Masjid Negara.
With capacity for more than 15,000 people, it was built in 1965 after the independence of Malaysia.
The visit is completely free but check before the schedules. I just passed by when they were in full religious act and I could not access the Mosque.
10: Batu Caves
To finalize the Kuala Lumpur Guide I advise (or rather, I force you) to visit Batu Caves. With Petaling Street and Jalan Alor, for me I would complete the podium of the best of Kuala Lumpur.
The Batu Caves, are a set of shrines and Hindu caves dedicated to Murugan, the god of war. Without a doubt, what attracts the most attention is the golden statue of this god, almost 43 meters high.
To reach the main cave, located 100 meters high, you must climb 272 steps. It is a bit hard yes, especially with the humidity in Malaysia. And, be careful with the monkeys, because there are thousands and they will accompany you on your way up and down to see if they can steal anything from you;).
Batu Caves are located 13 kilometers north of the Malaysian city, in the Gombak district and, you can get there by train or in Grab, which is like Uber.
Kuala Lumpur guide: useful information
How to get to Kuala Lumpur
To start the Kuala Lumpur guide, I have to begin with how to get there, right? Well, here we go!
To get to the Malaysian capital, the most common is to do it by plane or by land, either by bus or train, from Thailand or Singapore.
Most western visitors arrive in the city by air, as I did, and land at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Kuala Lumpur.
In addition, this airport has fantastic international connections so you can also take the opportunity to travel to other nearby countries. Internal flights in Malaysia are super cheap. To give you an idea I made a 3-week route through Malaysia and Singapore and, I took 4 internal flights to travel between cities.
How to get from Kuala Lumpur airport to the city center
You have 4 options to go from the airport to the city:
Train: it is the fastest option, but if you go with a lot of weight or several suitcases it becomes somewhat more tired. You have two train lines that you can use: KLIA Transit and KLIA Ekspres. Both take approximately half an hour to reach the central station of KL Sentral. The only difference is that the first one has several stops and the second one goes straight to the city.
Bus: the bus is the cheapest option. If you are in a hurry it is not the best option because it takes about an hour to reach the center. You will find the stop on the first floor of the airport.
Taxi: Without a doubt the most comfortable option but also the most expensive. It is the option that I chose because I was going to be 3 weeks on the road through Malaysia and carried quite heavy luggage. Always ask for a fixed rate so there are no surprises. With a fixed fare the journey from the airport to the center of KL will cost you about 80 ringgits (less than € 18).
Grab: If like me, you are going to do a tour of the country and stay more than a week, I recommend you buy a SIM card at the same airport (cost about € 10) and download the Grab app, which is like Uber. It comes out much better in price than the taxi and is super comfortable and clean. In the post of 3 weeks route through Malaysia that I will upload soon, I explain everything better!
How to get around Kuala Lumpur
Walking, walking and walking! What I like to do when I travel is to walk and know every corner of the city I visit, although then everything hurts;). To give you an idea, I wear an activity bracelet, and in the 3 and a half days I spent in Kuala Lumpur, I walked a total of 55 kilometers.
But, if you don’t like walking as much as I do, you have the option of the free GO KL bus. Go KL City Bus are buses that run free in the city and connect different points. They are easily identifiable because they are pink and have 4 different lines:
Where to sleep in Kuala Lumpur
In Kuala Lumpur, the offer of accommodation is huge and also very cheap. Even in the most luxurious and requested areas the prices are very affordable to any pocket. A little below I talk about the two AirBnB in which I stayed, super luxury and super cheap.
Do you also want to stay with AirBnB? The first thing you have to do is register. If you do it If you do it with my invitation, you will have up to € 34 to spend on your first reservation.
The best places to sleep in Kuala Lumpur are KLCC and Bukit Bintang.
KLCC is the center of Kuala Lumpur and where the Petronas are. It is a business area, modern, with avenues, shopping centers, clean and tidy. Bukit Bintang is my favorite. Also very central and commercial, it is an area with a lot of nightlife and an incredible gastronomic offer.
Yo a la ida a Malasia me alojé en la zona de Bukit Bintang y a la vuelta en la zona de KLCC. Aquí os dejo los detalles y por qué elegiría un alojamiento u otro:
On my arrival to Malaysia I stayed in the Bukit Bintang area and to leave Malaysia I stayed in the the KLCC area. Here you have the details and why I would choose an accommodation or another:
Apartament One Bukit Ceylon de Homes Asian – Deluxe.i164
Located in Bukit Bintang, a few minutes from the bustle of the city and the street food of Jalan Alor, you will find this apartment.
You can arrive 24 hours a day because the registration is automatic, that is, there are some mailboxes on the reception floor and the owner of the apartment gives you the code to get the keys whenever you want. The same happens when you leave the apartment, you leave the keys in the mailbox As you can see, it is tremendously easy!
Do not forget to visit the infinity pool on the 9th floor, it has beautiful views of the KL Tower. And those who want to get even more tired after the walks, you also have a gym;)
I would definitely stay in this apartment because of its location, next to everything. No noise, very quiet, fantastic infinity pool and very clean.
Apartament Suite de lujo KLCC | Bañera + Netflix | caminar a KLCC
This was the apartment I chose for my last two days before leaving Malaysia.
The apartment, located next to the Petronas Towers, in the KLCC area, is pure luxury. First of all, you have to give all your personal information in the entrance, passport, date of entry and exit … incredible security. And when you go up to the apartment you already hallucinate … A super clean and spacious lounge, a kitchen with all the comforts, a room with a huge bed and a beautiful design bathroom.
And about the common areas, these are really impressive. On the 6th floor you have a huge pool, a whirlpool with salt water, a biological fish pond, gym … and much more.
I highly recommend this accommodation and would stay in it again without thinking twice. I would only choose the previous one because of the location.
And here finishes the post of this week! Soon I will continue uploading posts from my tour of Malaysia and Singapore, so don’t miss the guides of the cities of Melaka, Singapore, Georgetown and the Redang Islands!
If you have any questions or contributions do not hesitate to leave a comment! I will be happy to help you or add anything you tell me to the Kuala Lumpur Guide!
And remember that if you need help to organize any trip, you have our travel consultancy service available. We will help you organize your entire trip!