Planning to visit Kuala Lumpur soon and you’re all excited to create an itinerary for your upcoming trip? Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, and probably the first touchdown destination of your Malaysian trip. It’s a traveling hub in South East Asia with so many amazing things to do and places to explore. Sometimes, it can be hard to pick a few things to do since there are so many and we’re all on a limited time.
I’ve been in Kuala Lumpur many times and always had an authentic experience. I’ve never stayed in the same district, but rather stayed around the city as it allowed me to explore this gigantic and multicultural city. For instance, Bukit Bintang is a backpacker area where you can meet other travelers and explore diverse Malaysian food. However, there is much more Kuala Lumpur has to offer than drinking and partying around the backpacker’s area.
Let’s check out some of the favorite and thrilling things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
- 1 #1- Walk around Petronas Towers and KLCC Park
- 2 #2- Explore Batu Caves
- 3 #3- Eat, drink and eat more
- 4 #4- Souvenir shopping at the Central Market
- 5 #5- Wander around Masjid Jamek Mosque
- 6 #6- Shopping in Pavillion Mall
- 7 #7- Wander around Little India
- 8 #8- Enjoy a vibrant Nightlife
- 9 #9- Get drinks at Sky Bar
- 10 #10- Explore the underwater world at Aquaria KLCC
#1- Walk around Petronas Towers and KLCC Park
So let’s start with the basics first. Wandering around iconic Petronas Towers is probably on everyone’s KL itinerary and if you check #KualaLumpur on Instagram, you’ll see a stunning amount of people taking photos in front of this architectural wonder. Petronas towers feature two identical towers that stay 452 m from the ground. In 1998., it was officially the tallest skyscraper in the world.
It’s very funny to see people selling the service of taking a photo of travelers with special lenses that can capture a full twin tower. That tells you how popular it is. I recommend going around KLCC park that offers beautiful views of Petronas towers, greenery, fountains and small lakes. It’s a very nice place to enjoy your mornings or afternoons with people. Also, if you’re looking to really experience Petronas towers, buy a ticket for the 86th floor where you can admire the views over KL and even have dinner. The ticket for adults costs 80 RM ($20).
#2- Explore Batu Caves
Batu Cave is the most visited Hindu temple in KL. It sits a bit out of the city, but getting there with a Grab or public train is pretty straightforward and it takes about 30 minutes. Don’t be shocked to stumble upon tourist crowds, but still, it’s a very unique place and I can only recommend visiting this spot. Since it’s a temple, be sure to cover your knees and shoulders while visiting. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a massive golden statue of Lord Murugan. The stunning fact is that the government spent 2.5 million RM ($600k) on its construction. Also, to get into the caves and temples, be ready to walk across 272 colorful stairs, encounter curious monkey gangs and enjoy stunning views over the city.
Exploring Batu Caves provides you with a nice workout that sets you ready for enjoying a diverse Malaysian food.
#3- Eat, drink and eat more
Did you know that Malaysia struggles with the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia? Well, once you set your foot on KL streets, you will have a hard time resisting pleasant smells of diverse and delicious cuisine. It’s not that surprising that Malay people struggle with weight since it’s very easy to pack a few kilograms on your trip.
Since KL is a very dynamic and multicultural city, the food options are endless. You can enjoy Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay and another traditional cuisine in KL. For me, honestly, the food was by far the best part of my trip. Street food is everywhere and Jalan Alor is the place to check out. It’s foreigner oriented place and you won’t see locals eating there since the prices are higher and quality can’t be compared with authentic restaurants. Anyway, eating and drinking at Jalan Alor is a great way to introduce your smelling and tasting senses to Malay food.
For an authentic food experience, head over to Jalan Raja Muda Musa. You’ll meet friendly locals who enjoy delicious and diverse food from different cultures for far less money than in Jalan Alor.
My favorite food is by far Indian and Pakistani rice buffets where you can eat a crazy amount of diverse and fresh food for under 20 RM ($5).
#4- Souvenir shopping at the Central Market
The Central market is a completely tourist-oriented place, but still, there are many interesting things to see, buy and eat. If you’re looking to get some souvenirs, then it’s a place to be. Don’t be surprised when sellers tell you the first price since they expect a bargaining round. You can buy anything there, from fabrics to accessories and delicious food. I really enjoyed Indian food in one of the restaurants next to the Central Market. Roti and Naan combined with spicy curry can’t be beaten.
#5- Wander around Masjid Jamek Mosque
Masjid Jamek mosque is a real architectural wonder that is surrounded by modern buildings and skyscrapers. It’s very amazing to be around there since it’s located in the middle of a financial district. Did you know it’s the oldest mosque in KL?
The entrance is free but it’s expected to leave the tip. Be sure to wear appropriate clothes covering your knees and shoulders. Women will get a special robe to wear. You should be quiet and respectful in the worshiping area. If you’re looking to know more about Islam and the culture, there are a few tours and even a free tour where you can join and learn from Islam practitioners everything you’d like to know.
#6- Shopping in Pavillion Mall
Pavillion Mall is the place to be for people who’re looking for a luxurious shopping experience. Located in the heart of central district Bukit Bintang, Pavillion Mall is often called Mecca for shoppers. The whole complex features more than 500 outlets, retail shops, and restaurants which is more than ideal for shopping addicts. I’m not that much into shopping, but anyway, the place looks magnificent with millions of people rushing to get the latest discount. It’s really nice to just sit back, observe and wander around the stores.
Also, during the big holidays like Christmas or New Year, the whole complex is decorated and it looks stunning. Street performers usually perform their art around the Pavillion Mall and it’s a popular place for events.
#7- Wander around Little India
I can’t help myself when it comes to Indian food. I simply love the diversity, combination of spices and piquant smell from Indian cuisine. To dip down into Indian culture and cuisine, you don’t have to visit India since Little India is located just next to the city center.
Little India features street vendors selling clothes, street food restaurants spreading the attractive scent of curry, tiny shops, and beautiful decoration. It’s one of my favorite parts of KL! Don’t forget to order curry and naan on the side.
#8- Enjoy a vibrant Nightlife
The majority of the Malaysian population are Muslims and from a legal standpoint, alcohol consumption is strictly illegal. You may think that the nightlife in KL is close to zero, but you will be extremely wrong. The nightlife scene is very vibrant and the options are endless. For instance, many sky bars offer 360 views over the city while sipping the finest alcoholic drinks you can imagine for fair prices. If that’s a bit too fancy for you, there are a few dancing clubs where you can get all the calories out.
The most popular dancing clubs are Zouk KL and Under9. People who’re looking for a casual night over a few beers and nice talks should check out the Bukit Batang area just next to popular Jalan Alor. Prices are on a higher-end, but it’s still affordable to get a good buzz.
#9- Get drinks at Sky Bar
Drinking and enjoying life with stunning views is your thing? Well, head over to Heli Lounge Bar and enjoy cocktails and delicious snacks with breathtaking views over KL. Heli Lounge Bar, as the name suggests, sits on a helipad at the top of the building. From there you can enjoy stunning views over the whole city and Petronas Towers. Be sure to check the dress code before heading there as the majority of these bars require a strict dress code.
The imported beer like Heineken costs about 80 RM ($20), but you can catch some discounts during happy hours. For example, Heli Lounge Bar has happy hours every day from 7 – 9 pm when you can get two beers for the price of one.
#10- Explore the underwater world at Aquaria KLCC
Last but not least, Aquaria KLCC is a breathtaking underwater world brought in the middle of the city. The whole complex features more than 4,000 animal species ‘freely’ swimming around, colorful coral reef from around the world and some deadly species such as sea snakes. If you’re looking for an extra adrenaline rush, you can even swim with the animals. It’s such a great getaway from the bustle of the metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.
Have you ever been to Kuala Lumpur? What are your favorite things to do in Kuala Lumpur? Please share your thoughts and recommendations in the comment section.