The capital of Malaysia has the modern flair of the western world mixed with hidden gems that make this Asian city unique. As a melting pot of different cultures, Kuala Lumpur truly has something for everyone. It’s just up to you to find it! When visiting Kuala Lumpur we fell in love with the different neighborhoods and diverse food. Let us break down everything from what to see in Kuala Lumpur to the Petronas Towers, and all the best attractions. It’s time to Get Familiar with the city in our Kuala Lumpur travel guide!
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Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide General Information
Location: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Official Language: Malay
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
How Long to Visit: 3+ Days
Airport: KUL – Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Best Time to Visit: May to July For Less Rain and Cooler Weather
Honest First Impression: It’s HUGE and far from the airport. It took us a day to start to get a feel for the city and what to see in Kuala Lumpur. Everything is so spread out and situated in different neighborhoods compared to other cities we’ve been to in Asia. Nevertheless, we were ready to get out and explore all the different Kuala Lumpur attractions!
Arrive By… Flight or Bus
Good news! If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur there’s endless ways to get there. Being an international hub, you can book a flight from almost any major city in the world. It’s especially cheap to get to Kuala Lumpur if you’re already in Southeast Asia, with flights as low as $30 USD from countries like Singapore.
Just be aware a taxi is over a 45 minutes ride from the city. However, cheaper options exist such as the KLIA Ekspress. Another popular route is taking the bus from other Malaysian towns such as Penang, Port Dixon, and Malacca.
Stay… Near Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is the shopping and entertainment district, and the center of the city. Even if you’re not into shopping or mega-malls, it’s proximity to all the Kuala Lumpur attractions makes it a great place to stay.
The famous Jalan Alor food street is here as well as many other great places to eat. If you’re looking for what to see in Kuala Lumpur there’s no better jump off point than Bukit Bintang!
Eat… Food From Every Culture
The food in Kuala Lumpur is so diverse and delicious! Each neighborhood has a mix of cultures and mouth watering dishes to enjoy. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite areas and restaurants to try when visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Chinese: Head to Chinatown for some of the best food in Kuala Lumpur. Petaling street is small, but has some of the best street food in the city. Just look at that bowl of laska in the picture below… Yum!
Arabic: Are you a Shawarma fan? If so, then you’ll love visiting Kuala Lumpur. We had no idea that so much good Arabic food could be found in the capital of Malaysia.
Indian: If you’re craving Indian, Little India Brickfields is the spot to grab a great local meal. Indian buffets are both a delicious and budget friendly way to go if you’re looking to try different specialties.
Food Truck Park: Tapak Urban Street Dining is a fun new way to eat food in Kuala Lumpur. Dozens of food trucks are lined up with both western and local asian food available.
→ Check out a Food Lovers Day in Kuala Lumpur for all our favorite places to eat!
Drink… Fresh Juice
Like many other asian cities, the juices in Kuala Lumpur are fresh and amazing. The hot weather makes it so you have to drink plenty of water, but nothings more refreshing than an ice cold juice. They can be found on almost every street corner, or in the malls and food centers near most Kuala Lumpur attractions.
One thing that you might notice is instead of a cup, your juice will come in a plastic bag. This was weird at first but we grew to love it. Our favorite is watermelon if you need a juice recommendation in our Kuala Lumpur travel guide!
Get Around The City… By Grab Taxi
Grab taxi is the new craze in Southeast Asia, and the cheapest option to get around. Much like Uber in other parts of the world, Grab is a car service done easily through an app on your phone. Grab lets you fly around to all the Kuala Lumpur attractions, and we really never paid more than $3 USD to get anywhere within the city!
Explore… The Colorful Street Art
Just recently Kuala Lumpur set out to make the streets a little more colorful. The artistic project has blanketed some of the less desirable alleyways around Bukit Bintang, and turned them into something beautiful. Take a stroll around the corner from Jalan Alor and check out this unique artwork. It’s also a great place to snap a picture!
Spend Money On… A Hotel with A Pool
If you’re going to splurge on one thing when visiting Kuala Lumpur it should be a place with a pool! While the Mega Malls are the spot to be during the day, there is nothing quite like cooling off in a gorgeous swimming pool with a view of the skyline. Staying at places like Regalia Suites or the Face Suites you can enjoy an epic swim from the rooftops!
Grab Lunch… In Little India
Little India was one of our favorite areas we saw when visiting Kuala Lumpur. Honestly, walking into the Little India Brickfields is like being transported to a different world.
Once you hear the Bollywood music and the spices hit your nose, you’ll be ready to eat! There are many great restaurants in this area, but we recommend stopping in at one of the buffet style places. This way you can try more than one Indian dish at a time.
Be Careful Of… The Heat When Visiting Kuala Lumpur
If you haven’t gathered this by now Kuala Lumpur is very hot. So hot that if you try to walk around in the middle of the day you will quickly be dripping in sweat in search of some shade! It’s not just about being uncomfortable though. Make sure to hydrate heavily, and when searching for what to see in Kuala Lumpur keep the heat in mind.
Shop… In the Mega Malls
Some might be shocked to see a shopping mall in our Kuala Lumpur travel guide. Yet, once you see what they have going on you might make more than one visit!
The mega malls in the city are not only a great place to escape the heat, but they’re an awesome spot to grab food in Kuala Lumpur. Pavilion KL has a MASSIVE food court on it’s ground floor where you can try local and international dishes. Give it a shot!
Find Nature… In KL Forest Eco Park
Among the many Kuala Lumpur attractions sits a plot of 22 acres of jungle in the center of the city. The protected rainforest area has shrunken in size over the years, but it’s still a nice getaway from the humid streets.
Here you can enjoy hiking trails, Malaysian wildlife, and even a canopy walk with views of the KL skyline. I bet you didn’t think nature would be on the list of what to see in Kuala Lumpur!
Take in History… At the National Museum of Malaysia
While there are several incredible places to see history in Kuala Lumpur, the best is by far is the National Museum. Malaysia has a deep past that includes British colonization, followed by the Malay independence in 1957. The National Museum takes you all the way back to pre-historic days, and does a great job of tying it all together with the present day.
Among the many historical artifacts you’ll find 4 galleries to explore. The entrance fee is only around $1 USD so you really can’t beat it! Be sure to check out more history at the Islamic Arts Museum and the National Planetarium as well.
Spend the Night… Walking Around Kuala Lumpur
With the heat bearing down on you throughout the day you’re better off exploring Kuala Lumpur at night. That works out great because when the sun goes down, the city lights up in glorious fashion!
Take a stroll around the Petronas Towers and through the different neighborhoods to see how they look at night. Chinatown (Petaling Street) and Jalan Alor are super fun places to walk around as the city comes alive.
Appreciate Architecture… At the Petronas Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers stand tall above the city and have become one Kuala Lumpur’s most recognizable landmarks. Without even trying you’re bound to find yourself passing them a few times when looking for what to see in Kuala Lumpur. The park in front of the towers is the best view to admire them, and see how they truly stand out in this massive city.
Don’t Miss Out On… The KLCC Lake Symphony Light and Sound Water Fountain
We randomly came across the KLCC Lake Symphony Light and Sound Water Fountain in the courtyard below the Petronas Towers. We really didn’t expect to see this incredible display! People fill the area in bunches to watch as the light and water shoot from the manmade lake high into the night sky.
As far as free light shows go, this is probably one of the best we’ve ever seen! The water show plays nightly at 8, 9, & 10pm, and lasts for 20 to 30 minutes. This was a random experience, but ended up being one of our favorite Kuala Lumpur attractions!
Wake Up Early… To See Thean Hou Temple
In a city filled with a range of customs and cultures, the temples found throughout Kuala Lumper are just as diverse. Honestly, these places of worship are so beautiful they are truly works of art in themselves. One of the most beautiful that we visited was Thean Hou Temple. Just make sure to go right when they open to avoid other tourists.
Watch the Sunset… From the Heli Lounge Bar
For the best view in town you have to travel to the top of the skyline. The Heli Lounge Bar has actually been converted from a helicopter landing pad to a full bar that comes alive at night. This is one of the most unique places we’ve ever watched a sunset from, and the drinks were tasty, too!
Don’t Miss… The Batu Caves
The Batu Caves was our favorite thing we did in Kuala Lumpur, and an absolute MUST visit! Although it is a quick ride outside of the center city it’s totally worth to witness this incredible place.
As soon as you arrive you’ll be welcomed by the enormous Lord Murugan statue. Then it’s short climb up the rainbow steps to the inside of the humongous cave and Hindu temple. In our post below we break down everything from how to beat the crowds to watching out for monkeys on your way up!
Avoid… The Hop on Hop Off Bus
We have been a fan on hop on hop off buses in some cities as a way to take in all the sites, but not here! The main issue is the unreal amount of traffic. What might take a few minutes walking can easily cost you double or triple the time sitting on a bus.
For that reason, we can’t recommend this tour on our Kuala Lumpur travel guide. The best part of it was when we finally hopped off in the Indian section, and got the best food in Kuala Lumpur that we ate on our whole visit!
Watch Out For… Pick Pockets
Like almost any other major city in the world there are some things to look out for and be aware of. Overall, we found Kuala Lumpur to be an extremely safe and welcoming city. However… When your hotel and taxi drivers are telling you to watch your bags and pockets it’s something to take seriously. Just take extra precautions at night when visiting Kuala Lumpur, and leave as many valuables as possible locked up in your room safe.
Continue On… To Penang or The Cameroon Highlands
Three hours away by bus are the famous tea plantations of the Cameroon Highlands. Many travelers from Kuala Lumpur make the journey for a night or two before returning to the capital city.
We also highly recommend taking a long bus or quick flight to Penang. This part of Malaysia is known for its amazing food and street art. From there you can catch a boat to the island of Langkawi, and even continue on by ferry to Koh Lipe Thailand. Enjoy!
Have any questions about our Kuala Lumpur travel guide, or your want to share your own favorite Kuala Lumpur attractions? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Kuala Lumpur
Ultra Luxury – Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur – This ultra luxurious hotel sits right in KL park, and offers sweeping views of the Petronas Towers. From the beautiful breakfast to massive indoor swimming pool, you’ll have all the amenities you need to enjoy your stay.
Fun Vacation – The Face Suites – The suites apartments are making a huge splash in social media for their famous swimming pool that overlooks the Petronas Towers. Spend your day splashing around, and night in the comfort of your modern apartment.
Hostel Life – The Bed KLCC – This upscale pod hostel is a great jump off for all your Kuala Lumpur travel. There is a large modern common area and single, double, or private pods available. Everything is just a quick walk or Grab taxi away!
For more places to stay in Kuala Lumpur you can explore the latest prices here!
Malaysia Travel Planning
Transportation: 12Go is what we use to book ferries, trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Southeast Asia.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Malaysia. You can book everything from a Cameron Highlands day tour to a Kuala Lumpur local street food night tour, and even a trip to the Batu Caves Temple!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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