WHAT TO DO IN KUALA LUMPUR?
KL is not the most beautiful city in Southeast Asia, but it has enough interesting sites to keep you busy for two or three days. The melting pot of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cultures is a curious mixture at first sight, but everything seems to work well… the infrastructures are modern, the roads are well maintained, there are many greens, There are great restaurants and you can almost walk everything. KL airport is one of the best I’ve been to and the train from the airport to the city center is super modern. After a long trip to Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is a breath of fresh air to set off again.
My second visit to Kuala Lumpur allowed me to explore the city further and I must admit that I had more love than during my first visit. I must also say that it is a rather relaxed stage after the chaos of Bangkok or Hanoi. KL is also a good base for exploring the region. The list here should take care of you and there is something for everyone (museums, parks, bars …).
Tip: If your time at KL is limited but you still want to visit as many things as possible, there is a hop on-hop bus that stops at each of the sights.
Before you go, do not forget to book your hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Booking.com
Here are 20 things to do in Kuala Lumpur:
1. THE PETRONAS TOWER
Erected in 1996, the Petronas Towers were at the time the highest in the world (451 meters). They mix modern and Islamic architecture. A bridge connects the two towers that can be visited. Just at the foot of the towers is the KLCC, a huge shopping center where you can enjoy air conditioning. There are shops of international brands, many restaurants, a cinema, a supermarket … Do not miss a walk in the park located just in front of the towers. If you stay in the evening, there is a sound and light show with the fountains located in the small lake at the foot of the towers. Finally, to enjoy a great view of the Petronas Towers, you can go to the skybar located on the 33rd floor Traders Hotel (do not forget your swimsuit, there is even a swimming pool!).
2. THE MENARA TOWER (KL TOWER)
Not far from Petronas Towers, this huge 420-meter high tower offers a superb view of the city. If time permits, you can access the upper floor where there is no glass or barrier. At the foot of the Menara Tower is the ‘canopy walk’, a free park where you can move over the forest with walkways that go from tree to tree. To know: there is a free shuttle from the bottom of the hill to the entrance to the Menara Tower.
3. JALAN PETALING
Kuala Lumpur has a large Chinese population and a huge Chinatown has developed around Jalan Petaling. Even if you do not necessarily spend hours, the place is rather lively in the evening and deserves a look, especially if you like Chinese food.
4. HAVE A DRINK AT THE HELI LOUNGE BAR
A rooftop bar for the least original because located on a helicopter airstrip. The track is operational during the day and the bar does not open until early evening. You can admire a 360 ° view of KL, with the Petronas Towers and the Menara Tower. The prices of drinks are relatively high in comparison with other Asian countries … To do for the sunset, provided it does not rain! It is located on the 34th floor of the Menara KH building. See the address on Google Map. Take either the taxi or the monorail to Raja Chulan Station (MR7). The dress code is relaxed for the bar but around 21h to access it will avoid going there in shorts / flip flops. There is a nightclub just below the bar, which is about aviation.
5. CENTRAL MARKET
A covered market located in an old building with Art-Deco architecture dating from 1888, where there are all kinds of souvenir stands and local crafts, especially batiks. Along the building is the Katsuri Walk, a covered pedestrian walkway. If you need to stock up on souvenirs before leaving Kuala Lumpur, this is the place to go. You can also go there to eat (there are some restaurants) and enjoy the air conditioning. Even if the prices are indicated it is always possible to negotiate. A tip: avoid buying camera memory cards, they are all poor quality counterfeits (I have experienced). You will find official electronic equipment at KLCC or Pavilion KL.
6. MERDEKA SQUARE (INDEPENDANCE SQUARE)
Several places of interest are to be seen around Merdeka Square, a vast esplanade not very interesting in itself (it serves as a cricket ground). You can see a huge flag of Malaysia at the top of a mast 100 meters high. The old colonial buildings all around the square are very pretty. You can also see the palace of Sultan Abdul Samad (pictured), the National Textile Museum, the Museum of Music, and the KL City Gallery (next to the sign ‘I LOVE KL’). Watch out for sunburns as there are very few shady places around the square.
7. ISLAMIC ARTS MUSEUM MALAYSIA
A beautiful museum located near the bird park and which exposes very beautiful objects of Islamic art: costumes, ceramics, daggers, calligraphies …. One discovers there also the history of Islam around the world.
8. BUKIT BINTANG AREA
A busy commercial district where you have to come in the evening. There is a huge shopping center, Pavilion KL (thanks again for the air con!) With a great food court where to eat. There are also quite a few bars nearby. If you want to go shopping at KL, this is where you have to go. Bukit Bintang is not far from Jalan Alor (see # 13).
9. THE BATU CAVES
Accessible easily from KL Sentral, the Batu Caves are a collection of caves quite impressive to see, not to mention the huge statue of 40 meters high that keeps the entrance. The place is sacred to the Hindu and there are several temples inside. Beware of monkeys that can be aggressive! The entrance to the cave is free but some areas are not free.
10. PERDANA BOTANICAL GARDEN (LAKE GARDENS)
The green lung of Kuala Lumpur, located on the hill in front of the Bird Park and Museum of Islamic Arts. Do it if you are tired of visiting temples or shopping malls. There are games for children and a free swimming pool where you can soak your feet. The place is clean and very well maintained. Too bad it is not easy to access.
11. BIRD PARK & BUTTERFLY PARK
Two different parks located close to each other. In the first you can walk in the largest aviary in the world and admire many exotic birds. The butterfly park allows you to discover 120 species of butterflies, some of which are truly enormous.
12. THEAN HOU TEMPLE
A beautiful Chinese temple, to visit at sunset to enjoy the view.
13. JALAN ALOR
For me it’s the best thing to do in Kuala Lumpur! It is a big street located near Bukit Bintank, very lively and where there are plenty of local food stalls for cheap. The place is fun to visit in the evening, sitting on a plastic chair and watching people scroll by.
14. AQUARIA KLCC
To do if you have children: The KLCC Aquarium is located in the commercial center of the same name located just below the Petronas Towers. There are of course aquatic species (fish, sharks, rays …) but also snakes and spiders.
15. THE NATIONAL MOSQUE
A gigantic building, with beautiful fountains outside. If you go there do not miss a look at the old train station located not far away.
16. TITIWANGSA LAKE GARDEN
To have a nice picture of Kuala Lumpur with the Petronas Towers in the distance, head to the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens.
17. SRI MAHAMARIAMMAN TEMPLE
Strangely the oldest Hindu temple in KL is in Chinatown (you have to put the shoes on the doorstep). The multicolored architecture is quite curious.
18. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
Located near the lake gardens, the National Museum in the shape of a traditional house and includes decorations that are a mix of traditional and modern design. The museum allows you to discover the Malaysian culture as well as the history of the country from prehistoric times until the colonization by the Portuguese and the invasion of the country by the Japanese during the Second World War.
19. JAMEK MOSQUE
Located near the river in an area that is undergoing renovation, it is the oldest mosque in the city.
20. HAVE A DRINK AT THE ROOFTOP OF THE REGGAE MANSION
A nice bar located on the roof of a hostel backpacker. The drinks are not given as is the case everywhere in Malaysia but the atmosphere is nice and we have a beautiful view Menara Tower. Be careful not to drink too much because the stairs leading upstairs are very steep!