Ten things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia, is a fascinating city that is constantly on the move. It offers stunning architecture, an amazing array of cuisines, a broad variety of shopping and an exciting and varied nightlife. Anyone planning to spend some time in Southeast Asia should have KL on their itinerary.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

1. Shop till you drop. From swanky high-end malls along Bukit Bintang Street to roadside stalls in Chinatown, KL is a shoppers’ paradise!

2. Explore Petaling Street in Chinatown and the nearby Central Market (a popular place for local handicraft). Petaling Street is an atmospheric outdoor market with hundreds of stalls selling a myriad of merchandise and food. Don’t forget to bargain!

3. Stand at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. You can opt to walk across the Skybridge on the 47th floor (entrance is free and is on a first-come-first-serve basis; get there before 8am for the best chance of getting tickets).

4. Visit the KL Bird Park in the Lake Gardens. It’s one of the largest aviaries in the world. The Rhinoceros Hornbills are pretty impressive birds!

Old railway station

Old railway station

5. Take a walk along some of KL’s historic landmarks. Walk from the Moorish-inspired Old Railway Station, past the electric blue dome of the National Mosque to the Merdeka Square (Independence Square. The huge flag mast is the tallest in the world) and end at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers (the birthplace of KL). Don’t forget to visit one of my favourite mosques, the Masjid Jamek, that sits proudly at the edge of where the two rivers meet, and the nearby little India neighbourhood.

6. Go to the observation deck of the 421 m high KL Tower (Menara KL) for unbeatable views of the city. From here, you’ll have unparalleled views of the spires of the Petronas Twin Towers. Go before sunset and watch as the city lights up and the skyscrapers turn to gold.

7. Visit the historic Hindu temples in Batu Caves. Located 13 km north of KL, the Batu Caves are an intriguing place. A massive limestone outcrop houses a series of caves and cave temples. Get ready to climb the 272 steps to the main cave temple.

KL Monorail

KL Monorail

8. Visit the Aquaria next to the Petronas Twin Towers for a preview of what to expect in the Malaysian seas.

9. Have an exotic meal at the food stalls along Jalan (street) Alor. Located parallel to Bukit Bintang street, Jalan Alor is often regarded as the heart of KL’s local cuisine. The hundreds of food stalls serve a mind-boggling variety of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Indonesian specialities. The atmosphere is electric and the many types of food available will leave the first-time visitor in a daze. Try the satay (lamb or chicken skewers served with a spicy peanut sauce) or the grilled stingray.

10. Take a ride on the KL Monorail for a different view of the city from above the trees.

Search for hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

Note: This blog post won 2nd prize in the International Category of the Blog4FT blog competition.

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32 Responses to “Ten things to do in Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Nitin 14/08/2012 8:52 am

    Thanks Keith.

    This information is useful and handy.

  2. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family 14/05/2012 4:29 am

    HI Keith,

    This will come in handy when we’re in KL next month!


  3. velvet 28/01/2012 2:55 am

    Awesome! Thanks John for the update on the Petronas towers. Enjoy your trip.


  4. John 28/01/2012 2:53 am


    Thanks for this list. We pretty much followed it.

    For #3, the entrance to the Petronas Sky Bridge is no longer free. We paid MYR 50 for adults (>12 years old) and MYR 25 for children.


  5. Lilian 31/05/2010 2:51 pm

    This is a great article on Kuala Lumpur. Definitely agree that the Twin Towers is a must visit =)

  6. sandip 01/05/2010 8:09 pm

    good referances. planing to visit in May.

  7. Migration Mark 28/04/2010 4:28 am

    Great tips about KL. I spent about two months there and mostly enjoyed the food. I hung out around Central Market quite a bit where there are some fantastic eateries and interesting things to do. A restaurant called Hameeds serves the best Tandoori I could ever imagine! I would also recommend the “KL all you can eat Durian Buffet”, that is an adventure!

  8. man 13/11/2009 4:49 am

    Your simple steps to Discover KUALA LUMPUR!

  9. Blog4FT 12/11/2009 8:15 am

    This blogpost meets the requirement of our Blog4FT blogging contest. You should submit this post to us but you have to repost or change the date to 5th October 2009 onwards to be eligible. You can also submit any post dated 5th October 2009 onwards and related to Federal Territories of Malaysia as your submission. Come join and win a Peugeot 308! Visit http://www.blog4ft.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blog4FT/130983666025

  10. Patrick 23/10/2009 9:18 pm

    I visited KL twice in 2006. I loved the place. (except for the traffic and I live in Southern California) Very nice people, GREAT food, beautiful city and country.

  11. bryan 26/09/2009 10:52 pm

    i totally agree with keith about the good food. I live in Singapore but travel to KL and Perak frequently. So, I must say that the food in Malaysia is super nice ….

  12. velvet 24/09/2009 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the comment Andy. I just returned from KL last Tuesday. Great to hear you’re enjoying your trip. Enjoy Australia too! 🙂


  13. andygeog 24/09/2009 12:48 pm

    You’re right about KL tower. The Petronas are amazing and it’s great that they let you up for free but the view from KL is better: it’s higher AND you get to see the Petronas!

    Batu Caves was excellent to. Six weeks into our trip now, KL was the second destination and still my favourite!


  14. Costa Rica Towns 23/09/2009 9:07 pm

    I am sure my favorite activity there would be shopping, lots of bargains must be awaiting the smart buyer !

  15. velvet 23/09/2009 8:51 am

    Hi there,
    Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I agree with you that the prices at the stalls in Petaling Street can be a rip-off. However, the experience of walking down the street and observing the vendors and the locals is absolutely rewarding. Petaling Street is absolutely the place to test your bargaining skills. 🙂
    The food in Chinatown is excellent. I would also suggest exploring the neighbourhood such as the side streets of Petaling Street and Jalan (street) Sultan. The hawker stalls along Jalan Sultan offer some amazing Chinese food too. My favourite is the stall near the Five Elements Hotel and directly opposite a shop called Despotic. It serves awesome fried noodles in black sauce with roast pork. It’s the stall’s signature dish so you can’t go wrong. Actually, the name of the dish is the direct translation of ‘signature dish’ in Cantonese, I believe!

    Best regards,

  16. Shelz 23/09/2009 8:33 am

    Hi, I’m Malaysian and I agree with most of the places that you recommend, except that Batu Caves could be quite boring http://www.travel-living-bliss.com/morning-work-out-in-batu-caves/

    Central Market is a good place to shop for local handicraft, but we don’t usually shop in Petaling Street in Chinatown as the prices there are a complete rip-off. Even Malaysians don’t trust the vendors in Petaling Street, unless you’re a very good bargainer.

    But the food in Petaling Street is excellent, provided you know which stalls are the good one. But if you’re a tourist who does not look like local, be prepared to be slaughtered. Don’t look for fancy restaurants/stalls in Petaling Street, look for those that look old but authentic, the price could be more reasonable and the food tastes better.

  17. Brian 23/09/2009 6:52 am

    Thanks for this wonderful yet simple post on how to spend time in KL. Its is truely a wonderful city and i had a wonderful time during my visit in ’03.

    We would like to share your blog post on our travel blog for South India. You can see some of our post at this link http://www.blog.greatescapes.co.in


    Team GreatEscapes

  18. velvet 22/09/2009 8:49 pm

    Thank for the comments Carla & Mindy!

    Mindy, the monorail station entrance from the street is still the same. However, if you’re crossing over from the Central (rail) Station, yes, there is a different path now as some construction work is going on between the Central Station & the monorail station. It’s a bit of a long detour but there are signs. I’m not sure if the Putra & Star LRTs are connected now. To be honest, I haven’t been on the LRT in years!


  19. Carla Young 22/09/2009 6:58 pm

    I keep looking for cheap flights…. when I find one, I’ll know where to go!

  20. Mindy McAdams 22/09/2009 7:26 pm

    I lived near KL in 2004-2005 — been back to visit once, in 2008. I wrote a printable guide (free) for folks who want to see the sights. It has some of the same things you mentioned, velvet, but it also includes some transportation tips!


    I heard that the monorail station at Stesen Sentral has a different entrance now — true or not?

    Also, I think I read that Putra and Star LRT are now connected — true or not?

  21. velvet 22/09/2009 5:15 pm

    Thank you Amy. I’m sure you’ll love Malaysia. The awesome food itself is a major reason to visit! 🙂

    Cheers, Keith

  22. Amy @ The Q Family 22/09/2009 4:00 pm

    I have yet to explore Malaysia other than cross the border. This is great for my future reference. 🙂 Definitely have to plan a trip there.


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