15 things you should experience in Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur is not only the capital of Malaysia or a nice city for a stopover. It’s so much more than that! A melting pot of many nations and a varied mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Tamil, Thai and many more people living in this amazing city.

Kuala Lumpur – sights and attractions

In our guide I’d like to show you 15 things and sights which you should visit if you stay a couple of days in the city. Take your time and explore KL, it’s definitely worth it!


Merdeka Square & Kuala Lumpur City Gallery

Kuala Lumpur’s independence square. Here you can see the former highest flagpole of the world, where the Malaysian national flag was hoisted for the first time on 31.08.1957. Right next to the square you can find the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, where the Malaysian legal authorities are located.

Furthermore, the KL City Gallery is also situated at the Merdeka Square. A museum of the past and the future of the city. If you have some time you should definitely visit the museum as there is only an admission of RM 5.

The Merdeka Square with the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The KLCC Park

Behind the famous Petronas Twin Towers and the Suria KLCC shopping complex is a beautiful and green park among all the skyscrapers, the KLCC Park. Everything is well-kept and there is even a public swimming pool for the kids.

Fountain in the KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

Many tourists and locals are coming to the park to relax under the shadow of the trees and enjoy the view of the surrounding buildings, as well as the Twin Towers. If you want to escape from the big city for a while, I can only recommend a visit to the KLCC Park.

KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Twin Towers

The Petronas Towers are THE famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur. Almost everyone knows them and everyone who is visiting KL wants to see them!

It was just 2004 when the towers were replaced as the highest building of the world, but they are still the second highest twin towers of the world.

I’ve never been on top, because I think they would be missing in the skyline of the city, but it’s possible to go up there. If you like, you can walk on the skybridge which connects the two towers or visit the observation deck on the 86th floor.

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur
THE landmark of KL – the Petronas Twin Towers

The price for a ticket is RM 85 (about € 18,50 in October 2016) and if you want to have a ticket you got to queue up at the entrance in the early morning, starting at 8.30 A.M. The tickets are limited to a number of pieces per day. Otherwise you can buy them online. I would recommend to go up the Menara Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL Tower, instead.

Menara Kuala Lumpur aka KL Tower

The TV tower of Kuala Lumpur is currently the 7th highest of the world and offers an amazing 360-degrees view over the city. From the entrance you can catch a free shuttle bus to the tower, so you don’t have to walk up the last part of the way.

You will now have 2 choices to visit the tower:

  • 1. Observation Deck: The price is RM 52 and you will get a 360-degrees view of KL at a height of 276 meters, but unfortunately behind windows.
  • 2. Open Deck: The price is RM 105, but here you will get an open-air 360-degrees view of the city at a height of 350 meters.
View at the Petronas Towers from the observation deck of the Menara KL
View at the Petronas Towers from the Menara KL observation deck
View from the KL Tower towards KL Sentral
The view from the KL Tower towards KL Sentral

You can find some more information in our article “Above the roofs of Kuala Lumpur – the KL Tower at night“.

Bukit Bintang

One of the most popular entertainment and shopping districts of Kuala Lumpur. Here you can find from Hawker Centers, shopping malls to night markets and bars almost everything you can wish for. Especially popular is this district amongst the younger generation.

Not only tourists, but rather many local people are bustling here through the nightlife. Also there is a so-called Arabic district with many delicious dishes that are ideal for a nice dinner.

You can get there best with the KL Monorail. The name of the station is “Bukit Bintang” as well.

Masjid Negara – the national mosque

The Masjid Negara, which actually means state mosque when you translate it, offers room for almost 13,000 worshipers. The 73 meters high minaret and the star-shaped roof are the main features of the modernly designed national mosque.

Masjid Negara - the national mosque of Malaysia
Masjid Negara – the national mosque of Malaysia

You can visit the mosque daily, but you should pay attention that your knees and shoulders are covered. Head and body cover is also provided for the women (called “Jubah”). Everything is free of charge and you get a great insight into the national mosque of Malaysia.

Orchid Garden

If you follow the street “Jalan Perdana” (right next to the national mosque) up the hill, you’ll arrive at the Orchid Garden which is a part of the Perdana Botanical Garden. In addition to the beautiful orchids and the quite nice atmosphere – far away from the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur – the gardens offer two more highlights.

View at the KL skyline from the Orchid Garden
Amazing view from the Orchid Garden at KL’s skyline!

From here you will have an absolutely wonderful view at the skyline of KL and when you explore the garden a little bit further, then you will likely spot some wild monkeys to make some trouble. 😉

Monkey at the Orchid Garden, Kuala Lumpur
One of the many monkeys in the Orchid Garden

The opening times are daily from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and there is no entrance fee.

Chinatown – Petaling Street

During the day there is not much going on at the Petaling Street, but as soon as the late afternoon begins, everything comes to life here and there will be stalls with almost everything you can imagine. You can buy all sorts of items – from T-shirts, shorts, souvenirs, handbags, watches up to shoes, football jerseys and of course much delicious Chinese food.

The road is paved with stalls and food courts. Just take a walk in the evening through the alleys between all the stalls and go with the flow.

The Petaling Street - Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown
The Petaling Street – Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

You want to buy something? Get yourself ready to haggle. Often the first price is set very high from the vendors and you can start bargaining by setting your price to about half of theirs.

If you need some help with bargaining, then you should take a look at our How to make the perfect deal: tips for bargaining in Asia guide.

Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown at night, Petaling Street, Malaysia

Kasturi Walk

Not far from the Petaling Street is another market, the Kasturi Walk. Also popular with locals and tourists and you can walk through the alleys as well and buy some souvenirs for your home.

But not only will you find souvenirs over here, but rather the so called Hawker Centers, where you can try a variety of the Malaysian cuisine.

On the contrary to Chinatown with its Petaling Street, everything in the Kasturi Walk looks a bit more classy and modern. Nevertheless, you should pay the market a visit since it’s only a 3-minute walk away from Chinatown. The openings hours are from 10.30 A.M. to 10.30 P.M.

Brickfields – Little India

A couple minutes south of the KL Sentral main railway station is the district Brickfields located – also known as Little India!

Brickfields - the little India of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Brickfields – the Little India of Kuala Lumpur

In addition to several stores with Indian goods and food, the street arouses in the nighttime. The pavement will be full of chairs and tables and everywhere you can smell the scent of Indian dishes.

If you love the Indian cuisine or would like to try it, then that’s the place to be. You shouldn’t miss a little bit India right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur during your visit!

Little India/Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

KL Sentral

There is almost no way around the main railway station of Kuala Lumpur. The building is not only a train station, it is also a really big shopping mall called “Nu Sentral”.

If you take the shuttle bus from the KLIA/KLIA2 or the KLIA Ekspres train, you will arrive at KL Sentral. From here you can take all the regional trains (e.g. to the Batu Caves) and every subway or suburban train. It is the main hub of KL.

In the area around the KL Sentral is currently some construction work going on, so that you will see some more skyscrapers here in the future and the whole neighborhood will become quite modern.

Also you won’t be starving over here, because you have lots of restaurants outside the train station. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Malay – almost everything you could wish for. A visit to KL Sentral and its surroundings is definitely worth it.

Batu Caves

The Batu Caves are located only a short ride of 20-30 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur with the KTM Komuter. The caves are inside of limestone cliffs and filled up with Hindu shrines and temples.

The huge, golden statue at the entrance probably comes to most people’s mind when they think about the Batu Caves. When you walk up the stairs you will see loads of wild monkeys and you should take care a little bit of your belongings.

The Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The area around the Batu Caves has been properly cleaned since my first visit in February 2013 until my last visit in September 2014 and it also provides some new attractions. A great tip for a half-day excursion.

Menara KH – Helipad Lounge

After the half-day excursion to the Batu Caves you still have some time in the evening to explore Kuala Lumpur a little bit more. I can recommend the Helipad Lounge of the Menara KH. A still active Heliport above the roofs of KL, which is converted to a bar in the nighttime.

The entrance is free, but if you want to go to the landing spot, you have to buy a drink at the bar. Its definitely worth it for this amazing view. The bar opens at 6 p.m. and if you want to enjoy a nice sunset, then you should come on time and safe yourself a spot at the helipad!

The helipad of the Menara KH in the evening. Superb bar with an amazing view
The helipad of the Menara KH in the evening. Superb bar with an amazing view!
The Petronas Towers. Seen from the Menara KH at the blue hour
The Petronas Towers. Seen from the Menara KH during the blue hour

Masjid Jamek

The Jamek Mosque is one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur and was built in 1909. Until the opening of the national mosque it was for a long time the biggest mosque and a venue for the Muslim population of the city.

You can also visit this mosque, but it’s closed during prayer times. You should pay attention to cover your knees and shoulders as well.

The mosque is not located far away from the Merdeka Square, more precisely where the rivers Gombak and Klang converge. The surrounding area is currently being constructed and many things will change here in the future, so that the rivers and the surroundings will become really beautiful. The mosque itself is already an attractive sight now.

Masjid Jamek mosque in Kuala Lumpur
Masjid Jamek – one of the oldest mosques of Kuala Lumpur

Kampung Baru

The district Kampung Baru is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and was already supposed to be developed many times. However, the residents resist against it because they want to preserve the original Malaysian lifestyle over here.

In the nighttime in Kampung Baru you will find many restaurants or rather Hawker Centers/cookshops where you can get delicious food. But it’s a little bit difficult to get along here with English since there are almost no tourists in this neighborhood. Definitely a small food adventure and with hands, feet and pointing on menu cards you can arrange almost everything.

One of the many foods talls at Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur
One of the many food stalls at Kampung Baru

Furthermore, you will have a nice view from here at the Petronas Twin Towers, which is not to be sneezed at and absolutely beautiful at night.

Nighttime view from Kampung Baru at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur
Nighttime view from Kampung Baru at the Twin Towers

Looking for more inspiration? Here is another guide on Top 25 Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur from The Crazy Tourist.


Accommodations in Kuala Lumpur – our hotel recommendations

You’re still looking for an accommodation in Kuala Lumpur? No problem. Here we give you some recommendations for hotels for different budgets.

Prescott Hotel Kuala Lumpur Sentral

Prescott Hotel Kuala Lumpur Sentral

The Prescott is located in the district around the main railway station KL Sentral. You can easily walk to the train station within 5 minutes from where you can conveniently and cheaply explore Kuala Lumpur. The hotel offers 126 rooms, all with air conditioning, water kettle, TV, free wifi, as well as a nicely equipped bathroom. The reception is occupied 24 hours to answer all your questions. Also you can find some nice restaurants and shopping opportunities right next to KL Sentral. A perfect start for exploring Kuala Lumpur. Book Book

Tune Hotel Downtown Kuala Lumpur

Tune Hotel Downtown Kuala Lumpur

The Tune Hotel Downtown belongs – as all the Tune Hotels – to the airline AirAsia. It is located in the heart of the city and you can walk easily within 20 minutes to the Petronas Twin Towers. A Monorail station is also within a 5 minutes walking distance. The rooms offer air conditioning, a desk, TV and free wifi. Should there be any problems, the reception will be there for you – 24 hours. Also, the hotel is well-known by the most taxi drivers in KL and you shouldn’t have any problems to find the hotel. Book Book

Swiss Garden Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Swiss Garden Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Swiss Garden Hotel is located in the district Bukit Bintang, where you can find lots of restaurants nearby. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, minibar, desk and free wifi. Furthermore, the hotel offers a swimming pool, a sauna and a gym. The friendly staff and the central location are making this hotel a really good starting point for a Kuala Lumpur visit. Book Book

Hotel Summer View

Hotel Summer View

The Hotel Summer View has a convenient location in the vicinity of KL Sentral, from where you can perfectly explore Kuala Lumpur. Not far away from the hotel you will also find many restaurants and cafes. The clean rooms offer free wifi, TV, water kettle for coffee and tea, as well as a desk. You will have a good start in the morning with the comprehensive breakfast buffet, before you go to explore the capital of Malaysia. Book Book

How did you like our highlights of Kuala Lumpur? Is there something missing that we should definitely explore next time? We appreciate every comment – so leave us your opinion!

About Tobias

Hi, ich bin Tobi (31), Freelancer im Bereich Übersetzungen und Texten, aber vor allem leidenschaftlicher Reiseblogger. Am liebsten bin ich in Südostasien unterwegs und arbeite von den verschiedensten Orten online. Wenn du wissen willst, was ich gerade mache oder wo ich bin, dann folge mir am besten auf Twitter, Instagram oder schaue bei Facebook vorbei.

Categories: Countries & places Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Southeast Asia

17 comments on "15 things you should experience in Kuala Lumpur"

  1. Full detailed guide about the Kuala Lumpur. Beautiful pictures skyscrapers are breathtaking. Except for Malaysian capital did you guys visit any famous tourist attraction in there like Borneo, highland? etc. Anyway this article will help you first timer to find their way through the capital. Appreciate the effort. Cheers.

  2. Hey,
    thanks for the awesome insights about Kuala Lumpur’s attractions. My family and me went to the Central Market and to the KL Towers, which both was a rich experience. The Central Market is a little bit crowded on the weekend, better visit it on the weekdays.
    We skipped the line with a special ticket at the KL towers. Maybe useful for other readers? There is a good comparison site for the tickets: http://tower-tickets.com/petronas-towers-tickets/
    But if you travel on a small budget, better buy the tickets directly at the towers, however its a wait there.

    Greets, Lara

  3. Great article and beautiful photography, thanks for the tips! On a trip to Malaysia, you can visit beautiful beaches, enjoy some of the best diving in the world, explore a vibrant metropolis such as Kuala Lumpur, enjoy with nature or explore the amazing street food. While counting some of the best places in Kuala Lumpur, One cannot miss the chance to be totally mesmerized by one of the nice architecture of PETRONAS Twin Tower. Thanks for giving information such a nice places of Malaysia.

  4. Great article, thanks for the tips! On a trip to Malaysia you can visit beautiful beaches, enjoy some of the best diving in the world, explore a vibrant metropolis such as Kuala Lumpur, commune with nature or explore the amazing street food scene. However, there are a number of crimes and scams to be wary of.

    Do be wary of snatch thefts, pickpocketing, child flower sellers, fake monks, spiked drinks, fake goods, smash and grab car robbery, rogue taxis, fake tickets, unsolicited tours, gambling invitations, fake police and many more!

  5. Great guide! But I would also recommend staying in a really swanky city centre Airbnb to live high like a local yuppie!

  6. Wow great post i must say.Those who don’t go Malaysia yet and don’t know which places is best to place to explore for them this post really helps them. Tobi i must say you are a really true traveler not just your post,you photos are really amazing.It’s like a poster card view.Thanks for giving information such nice places.

  7. KL is awesome but if you want to check out something authentic, head over to Penang. The pearl of the Orient where food is number 1 in the world. I think we have two of our variety on the top 10 food list. Penang is also the 2nd best place to live and retire 🙂

  8. Although having grown into a bustling metropolis, Kuala Lumpur has managed to maintain its local character and culture, offering visitors a blend of superior amenities and Malay heritage.

  9. Really Nice Post, Very well done. Would love to visit Malaysia soon; I know there are lots of nice places to visit in Malaysia but this post surely give readers a heads-up.

  10. Hi Tobi, first of all, thanks for introducing my home country to your reader, in your next visit, you may want to experience our islands, islands like perhentian, redang, tioman or even Mabul at the Borneo are definitely worth to visit.

    I hope to see you again back in Malaysia.

    Cheers,
    Simon

    1. Hi Simon,

      it’s a pleasure introducing your country and sure we will come back to explore more of Malaysia. The Perhentians, Redang, Tioman and some more are already on our bucket list, so it’s just a matter of time. 😉

      Cheers
      Tobi

  11. Great post guys,
    I’m in KL at the moment with my Kids and it’s been a lot of fun, although very smoggy (outdoors, it’s the pollution, indoors, I’m blaming the Kids). Totally agree about the KLCC Park, really beautiful and we visited the orchid and hibiscus gardens, my favourite place in KL so far. Would’ve loved to check out the helipad place too but the Kids went to the cinema instead. Blood typical. Next stop Langkawi.. cannot wait!
    Kluk

    1. Hey Kluk,
      thanks and happy to hear that you had an awesome time! You can visit the Helipad the next time.
      Enjoy Langkawi!

      Best regards from Chiang Mai
      Tobi

  12. Go to the Titiwanga lake. There you have an amazing view towards the city center, specially by night. Oh and don’t forget the Museum of Islamic Arts. It’s one of the best Museums I’ve ever been to!

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