Ready to take on the capital of Malaysia? As a melting pot of different cultures, Kuala Lumpur has so many fun things to do and see. It’s just up to you to find them! Let us break down everything from the best food in Kuala Lumpur to the stunning architecture, and even a nature canopy walk. Here’s what to know before your first visit to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia!
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Kuala Lumpur 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
20 Tips & Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
1. How to Get to Kuala Lumpur
Good news! If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur there’s endless ways to get there. As an international hub, you can book a flight here from many major cities around Asia and Europe.
It’s especially cheap to get to Kuala Lumpur if you’re already in Southeast Asia! We’ve found flights as low as $30 USD from countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Just be aware after arriving that a taxi ride is 45 minutes from the city. However, cheaper options exist such as the KLIA Ekspress train. Another popular route is by bus from Malaysian towns such as Penang, Port Dixon, and Malacca.
2. Stay Near Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is the shopping and entertainment district, and the center of the capital of Malaysia. Even if you’re not into shopping at the mega-malls, it’s proximity to all the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur makes it a great place to stay.
The famous Jalan Alor food street is here as well as many other great places to eat. When looking for where to stay in Kuala Lumpur there’s no better jump off point than Bukit Bintang! Below are a few recommendations before starting your hotel search.
Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Luxury – Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur – This 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 – 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 – The Bed KLCC – Upscale pod hostel and great jump off for all your Kuala Lumpur adventures. There is a large modern common area and single, double, or private pods available. Everything is just a quick walk or Grab taxi away!
3. Eat Food in Kuala Lumpur 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 sink your teeth into. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite restaurants for the ultimate food lovers day in Kuala Lumpur! To make life easier, we’ve also included directions in the links at the top of each section.
Where: Madras Lane Hawkers
Order: Curry Laksa
Cost: 8 Ringgit ● $1.79 USD
Deep in the heart of Chinatown is one of the very best noodle soups in the entire city. The hawker stalls here have been serving up the famous Malaysian Laksa bowl for years, and they’re still going strong.
This Kuala Lumpur food consists of two different kinds of noodles, mixed vegetables, and a healthy serving of clams which float softly to the bottom.
We prefer getting ours with tofu, but you can also order it with chicken if you’d like a splash of meat. Either way, you’re in for a seriously tasty and unique treat to start off your Kuala Lumpur food tour!
The side alley where it’s located can be found off of the main street of Petaling. Once you pass through an intense wet market (you’ve been warned), or small hallway with a tattoo parlor you’re almost there!
Where: Restoran Sri Kortumalai Pillayar
Order: Serve Yourself
Cost: 12 Ringgit ● $2.96 USD
With the popularity of Chinatown and Jalan Alor, Little India can sometimes feel like the forgotten part of the Kuala Lumpur food scene.
Still, you’d be crazy to pass up lunch at Sri Kortumalai Pillayar or any of the other great restaurants here! Hot meat and vegetables are served up buffet style with an option to add on biryani rice, roti, or an array of different samosas.
We tend to lean towards the veggie options in Asia, and luckily there are plenty of amazing alternatives to meat in Kuala Lumpur. Some of our favorite veggie treats were the tandoori cauliflower, banana chips, potato curry, and spicy green beans.
Jalan Alor Dinner
Where: Jalan Alor
Order: Pepper Crab, Satay, or Wantan Mee Noodles
Cost: Varies Depending on Dish
For dinner it’s time to head to the most famous food street in the city! Jalan Alor is a long and lively strip full of colorful lights, music, and an endless sea of tables. Finding great Kuala Lumpur food here is easy, but the hard part will be picking which restaurant to go to.
Honestly, most of them are selling the same stuff so you shouldn’t be too picky. However, there are dishes you should seek out on Jalan Alor that are guaranteed to blow your mind.
Some of our favorites are the veggie and meat satay, pepper crab, and wantan mee noodle dish. So grab a seat, get some grub, and watch as hundreds of people take in this Kuala Lumpur food spectacle.
Market Tip: We usually grab fresh fruit on our way out of the market. This is such a nice and healthy snack after your dinner at Jalan Alor!
4. Drink Fresh Juice
Like many other cities in Southeast Asia, 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.
One thing that you might notice is instead of a cup, your juice will come in a plastic bag. Our favorite is watermelon if you need a juice recommendation!
5. Get Around By Grab Taxi
Grab taxi is all the craze in Asia, and the cheapest option to get around Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. 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 best attractions and we really never paid more than $3 USD to get anywhere! While walking is our preferred method when in any city, this one is just too massive to get everywhere on foot.
This means you will need to take a car to some of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re feeling lazy one night you can also utilize the Grab app to order food.
→ 11 Useful Tips for Grab Food Delivery & Taxi in Southeast Asia
6. Find the Colorful Street Art
In recent years, 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!
→ Bukit Bintang Street Art Location
7. Spend Extra For 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. Check out our view below!
8. Explore Little India
Little India was one of our favorite areas we saw when visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Walking into the Little India Brickfields is like being transported to a different world. Once 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 before exploring more of this fun neighborhood.
9. Be Ready for the Kuala Lumpur Heat
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 and in search of some shade!
Make sure to hydrate heavily, and keep the heat in mind before heading out to all amazing things to do in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
10. Shop In the Mega Malls
Some readers might be shocked to see a shopping mall in this 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 the ground floor where you can try local and international dishes. Give it a shot!
11. Find Nature in KL Forest Eco Park
Don’t worry… After the mall we have a way for you to get out in nature! Did you know there’s a jungle in the center of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia??
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.
→ KL Forest Eco Park: How to do the Canopy Walk & Fun Hike
12. Visit the National Museum of Malaysia
There are several incredible places to see history in Kuala Lumpur, but the best 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.
13. Stroll Around Kuala Lumpur Malaysia at Night
With the heat bearing down on you throughout the day you’re better off exploring the capital of Malaysia 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 Kuala Lumpur comes alive.
14. Tour 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 getting to all the best things to do 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 giant city. You can even skip the line and book Petronas Tower tickets in advance!
15. Watch the KLCC Lake Symphony Light Show
One night we randomly came across the KLCC Lake Symphony Light and Sound Water Fountain. We really didn’t expect to see this incredible display in the courtyard below the Petronas Towers! 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 almost half an hour. This was a random experience, but ended up being one of our favorite things to do in Kuala Lumpur!
16. Wake Up Early for the Thean Hou Temple
In a city filled with a range of customs and cultures, the temples found throughout Kuala Lumper are just as spectacular. In fact, these places of worship are so beautiful they are truly works of art in themselves.
One of the most interesting ones we visited was Thean Hou Temple. The best part is if you go right when it opens at 7am you can have it all to yourself!
17. Watch Sunset at the Heli Lounge Bar
Ever had drinks on the 36th floor of a helicopter landing pad? We didn’t think so! The Heli Lounge 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!
→ Heli Lounge Bar: Why It’s the Best Sunset Spot in Kuala Lumpur!
18. Don’t Miss the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are an absolute must-visit, and the pictures alone draw many travelers to Kuala Lumpur. 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 is just a 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!
→ 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Batu Caves
19. Stop Into the Kuala Lumpur Food Truck Park
Still hungry after our Kuala Lumpur food tour?? At Tapak Urban Street Dining dozens of trucks are lined up with both western and local cuisine available.
The food truck park is a fun way to taste different food in Kuala Lumpur. You can visit here from 5pm-10pm every night!
20. Avoid the Hop on Hop Off Bus
In the past, we have been a fan on hop on hop off buses as it’s a great way to take in all the sites of a city. However, that isn’t the case in the capital of Malaysia!
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 as one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Continue On to Penang or The Cameroon Highlands
After you’re done exploring Kuala Lumpur there are so many more great destinations to visit around the country. Three hours away by bus are the famous tea plantations of the Cameroon Highlands. Many travelers from Kuala Lumpur make the journey here for a night or two before returning to the capital of Malaysia.
We also highly recommend taking a 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 this article or want to share your favorite things to do in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Malaysia Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur for $40 USD, and Kuala Lumpur to Bali for less than $65!
Transportation: 12Go is what we use to book ferries, trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Southeast Asia.
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities in the capital of 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.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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