Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is an autonomous city that combines a modern present with Asian tradition. It stands out for its street markets, food establishments and roadside stalls, as well as its lush streams.
Kuala Lumpur is best visited on foot or by bicycle. Everywhere you look you will smell the authentic delights of Malaysia, Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Chinatown is home to traditional Malaysian kopitiams, while the main attraction, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, is a shopping paradise with global appeal.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Kuala Lumpur
- What to do in Kuala Lumpur
- When to visit Kuala Lumpur
- How to get to Kuala Lumpur
- Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- Getting around Kuala Lumpur
- Cost of living in Kuala Lumpur
- Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur
Top 5 reasons to visit Kuala Lumpur
Sightseeing in the city
Embark on a Kuala Lumpur tour, such as the half-day tour of the Batu Caves, which lasts three hours and takes you to this 400 million year old site. You can also sign up for the Private Night Heritage Trails, visiting pre-war temples and historic streets.
Kuala Lumpur is a shopper’s paradise. It has shopping malls and brand name stores. The Pavilion hosts over 450 shops in the heart of Bukit Bintang district. When you walk the streets of Kuala Lumpur, you will find street vendors with bargain prices.
Do you want to try the heterogeneous gastronomic fusion of Southeast Asia? Kuala Lumpur is your city. Taste a delicious congee rice for 9,90 RM or enjoy a classic madras thali at the same price.
Kuala Lumpur City Center
At the base of the famous Petronas Towers is Suria KLCC, also known as Kuala Lumpur City Center. Considered a city within a city, it is divided into three sections: Ampang Mall, KLCC Park Mall and Ramlee Mall. It has many luxury brands, such as Dior, and many more mid-range stores, such as Pierre Cardin.
Street food at Jalan Alor
Jalan Alor is a maze of food stalls and vendors. Here, vagrants, night owls, migrant workers and tourists gather to eat cheaply amidst bright lights and lively surroundings.
What to do in Kuala Lumpur
Visit the Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers are icons of Southeast Asia, great constructive feats of international prestige. Futuristic design takes over the horizon with these two identical giants rising to the sky. Both are connected by a thin and attractive air bridge. Want to get the best view? Go up to the 86th floor! But you don’t need to get up to have a great time. The Suria KLCC mall is one of the most luxurious in the world and the outdoor park offers entertainment for all ages.
Explore Batu Caves
Located near the centre of Kuala Lumpur, these natural limestone caves are impressive. Inside this mystical labyrinth is a Hindu temple so well integrated that it is not easy to differentiate the structures created by man from the natural ones. The giant golden statue of Murugan greets visitors, inviting them to climb the 272 steps leading up to the city. Meanwhile, the monkeys have fun all over the mountain, making the experience even more entertaining.
Entering National History at Merdeka Square
In 1957, the Malaysian flag was first raised in this square and is still flying at over 90 metres. Around it is the colonial centre of Kuala Lumpur, where the annual National Merdeka Parade Day is celebrated. Explore Sultan Abdul Samad’s building for a political insight into Malaysian history.
Disconnect in Perdana
These botanical gardens were designed during the colonial era to provide a respite from the urban hustle and bustle. They offer disconnection, serene walkways, abundant water and lots of vegetation. The Orchid Garden and Butterfly Park are must-sees.
Getting lost in Chinatown
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is full of colour and culture. Petaling Street is full of restaurants and markets. It is, therefore, a paradise for finding bargains of all kinds. The temple of Sri Mahamariamman is an excellent cultural stop.
When to visit Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s maritime climate remains constant virtually all year round. Heat and humidity are moderate, and temperatures range from 20 to 32°C. The wet season, from March to April and from September to November, is usually preferred by tourists.
How to get to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) is in the Sepang district of Selangor, about 31 kilometres to the south-west, and handles both domestic and international flights. After landing, you can use the KLIA Ekspres trains to travel to KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur. These direct trains cost 55 RM and take almost an hour to reach the centre. Buses are operated by Airport Coach and Star Shuttle; they cost 11 RM and 12 RM respectively.
Kuala Lumpur enjoys rail connections to cities and countries such as Johor Bahru, Penang, Langkawi, Singapore and Krabi in Thailand. KL Sentral, located in Brickfields, is the arrival and departure point for these trains. There are also day and night trips from Singapore – from RM50, but with journeys of up to 7 hours -, Hat Yai and Kota Bharu.
Many of Malaysia’s main roads lead to or leave Kuala Lumpur. The North-South Highway (E1 and E2), which runs from the Malaysian border to Thailand and connects to Singapore through Johor Bahru, runs through this city. Once there, the main exits to Kuala Lumpur are the Jalan Duta Highway from the north and Sungai Besi from the south.
There are numerous bus terminals. A good number of them come from Ipoh, Butterworth or Thailand, and usually arrive at Pudu Sentral or Bersepadu Selatan terminal. If you are travelling from Hat Yai (Thailand) the price per journey is 55 RM.
Airports near Kuala Lumpur
(KUL) Kuala Lumpur International Airport
(SZB) Kuala Lumpur Abdul Aziz Shah
(MKZ) Malacca Batu Berendum
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
The centrally located Bukit Bintang district offers hotels such as Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon and Sarang Galloway Bed & Breakfast. If you prefer budget, look for accommodation at Chow Kit, such as Sunway Putra Hotel.
Interesting neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Bintang has an intense traffic flow, but allows for a pleasant walk. It is a must visit for its modern streets full of nightlife and interesting shopping. It includes an indoor amusement park located in Berjaya Times Square, pubs like Hemingway’s and discos like Little Havana.
Chinatown combines its central location with the rich history of Kuala Lumpur. It has many attractive accommodations, such as the Winsin Hotel, Pacific Express Hotel or Lantern Hotel. It is a great place to shop for bargains and eat well at street vendors or establishments such as Shin Kee Beef Noodle Specialist.
Jalan Alor is an ideal district for eating with charm. Here you will find competitive prices, entertainment and many restaurants with a modern style and traditional inspiration, such as Sai Woo or Fat Brother.
Getting around Kuala Lumpur
The city has LRT (Light Rail Transit), KTM Komuter for trains, bus companies such as Go KL and Rapid KL and a double-decker tourist bus. You can buy a MyRapid card for 20 RM – valid for Rapid KL buses, monorail and LRT lines – at any monorail and LRT station. Alternatively, you can purchase a Touch ‘n Go card for 10.60 RM – it can be recharged up to 500 RM and is available at KL Sentral station and KLCC LRT.
Kuala Lumpur is served by red and white taxis where the first kilometer costs 5 RM and the following ones 1.6 RM. Executive taxis, which are bright blue, are more expensive: 9.6 RM and 3.2 RM, respectively. In general, it is preferable to hire Uber or GrabCar.
If you are not fluent in the local language and are not used to traveling in the region, this is not the best option. You can rent cars from 150 RM per day at Hertz and Europcar shops.
Cost of living in Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Bintang is the main commercial and entertainment district for tourists, especially Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. With over 500 shops, it’s perfect for buying clothes, fashionable backpacks and glasses, before indulging in Al Halabi Gourmet restaurant. At Suria KLCC you can go to the movies and watch the water creatures at the Aquaria KLCC, before or after you buy luxury items.
Groceries and others
Living in Kuala Lumpur is cheap if you know how to do it. The Intermark Mall is a central location with international supermarkets. Normally, rice costs 6 RM and an imported 33 centilitre beer will cost you 15.10 RM.
Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur
At Jalan Alor you will find many food stalls serving authentic pad thai, mee goreng, congee, ramen and madra thalis at about 10 RM per meal. For haute cuisine, Marini’s On 57 offers tastings for two for 250 or 300 RM. If you like seafood, Meng Kee Grill Fish at Jalan Alor is great. At local cafes, such as Humble Chef, order fried laksa and spaghetti for 5 RM.
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