Our first meeting with Kuala Lumpur (KL) in Malaysia was back in the ´stone age´of 2005, and I must admit we did not like the city back then! The whole city felt like a giant building site. It was noisy, dusty and the traffic was crazy with no room for pedestrians like us. So it was with mixed feelings we decided to spend some days in Kuala Lumpur on our way from Bangkok to Tokyo.
Arriving at the KL International Airport at 01 a.m. in the night, we only got a glimpse of the brand new and flashy airport. But the airport was impressive, looking like a combination of a cool spaceship and a giant shopping mall. We hurried outside and grabbed a taxi.
The taxis in KL are a chapter to them themselves, most of them are so worn down, it is a miracle they even work. The one-hour taxi ride into town was longer than we remembered, but then the new airport is located pretty far from the city compared to the old one.
Oh boy, had we chosen the right hotel!! Capri Hotel turned out to be awesome!!! Check out this cool infinity pool:
Needless to say, we had to spend some time in our lovely huge apartment and the rooftop swimming pool, but we did check out the city and got some sightseeing done. So if you are looking for things to do in Kuala Lumpur, here are our favourites!
Eight Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur
1. Petronas Twin Towers
For us, the Petronas Twin Towers is the most impressive and coolest must-see thing in KL! It is awesome!! It is especially stunning at night when the towers are lit with hundred of lights and the water fountain in front of the towers lights up in different colours. Of course, we had to take the classic and cliche Petronas photo:
It is a spectacular sight both in daylight and after dark! It is also possible to go up in the towers, both to observation deck at the 86th level (360 metres high) and to the bridge at 170 meters above ground. We didn’t go up because the queue of people waiting in line to buy tickets that day was way too long.
If you want to save yourself from waiting in line, you can preorder the Petronas Tower tickets. The tickets will be delivered to your hotel/concierge the day before and be waiting for you. When you arrive at the Petronas Towers, you can just skip the ticket queue altogether.
- How to get there: Take the pink no. 5 Kelana Jaya Line to KLCC and the towers are right next to it.
- Ticket price: 80 rm/ 25 us$ for adult, and 30 rm/ 9 us$ for children
- Opening hours: 9 am – 9 pm every Tuesday to Sunday (closed every Monday). Closed 1 pm – 2:30 pm every Friday.
- Petronas Twin Towers Webpage
2. Batu Caves
Just outside of KL is the spectacular Batu Caves. It is a massive cathedral like cave temple with walls that stretch almost to the sky, with birds flying high above, and wild monkeys running up its rock faced walls.
You can read more about our trip to Batu Caves HERE. We loved it! But be prepared to walk 272 steps to get to the cave.
- Where is it: 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- How to get there: It is easily reached by Komuter train using the red Batu Caves-Port Klang Line. It cost RM 2 (1 US$) for a one-way journey from KL Sentral.
- How much does it cost: It is free to enter the temple
- What to wear: You have to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. Wear comfortable shoes as you must climb 272 steps! Remember to bring water (or buy some at the ground before you start climbing).
Since our last visit in 2005, the city has had a development boom! It is now packed with flashy modern shopping malls with all kinds of brands.
The Bukit Bintang area of KL is the place to go on a shopping bonanza! The area is packed with shopping malls. The area around Petronas Twin Towers is also perfect for shopping, with malls and shops like H&M and Zara.
- How to get to Bukit Bintang: Take the Green no. 8 Monorail Line from KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang.
- How to get to Petronas Twin Towers shopping mall: Take the pink no. 5 Kelana Jaya Line from KL Sentral to KLCC (next to Petronas Twin Towers).
- Opening hours: Most shopping malls are open from 9 am – 10 pm.
4. China Town/ Petaling Street
The Petaling Street in the middle of China Town is packed with stalls selling everything you need and did not know that you needed! Here you can find football t-shirts, fake handbags, sunglasses in all colours and shapes, flip-flops, caps, plastic toys, watches, and all kinds of useful and not so useful stuff.
It is not the best China Town we have been to, as it is a bit too touristy and lacks some charm. It is just a busy shopping street/ market packed with stalls selling touristy souvenirs, and sellers shouting at you to try and convince you to buy from their stall.
But if you are in a shopping mood, and cheap souvenirs and gifts to bring home is your goal, then China Town and Petaling Street might be worth your time.
- How to get there: Take the pink no. 5 Kelana Jaya Line from KL Sentral to Pasar Seni and walk from there. The Petaling Street is very close.
5. Hawker Food Row/ Jalan Alor
In the Bukit Bintang Area is the Hawker Food Row, a lively night market packet with street “restaurants” selling food from all over Asia. Most restaurants serve Thai and Chinese food.
We went there one night and had Chinese food, coconut, and Asian ice-cream. The food is very cheap, but not that impressively tasty. It is very touristy, and we did not see many locals eat there.
We tried to find Malay food there, but it was impossible. 🙂 It is great fun wandering around the different street restaurants and food stalls and soak in the atmosphere and all the delicious smells.
- How to get there: Take the Green no. 8 Monorail Line from KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang. From there it is just a short walk.
6. Lake Gardens/ Perdana Botanical Gardens
KL gets rain all year around, and we had a fair share of rain while we visited. One day with sunny weather, we hurried out and went to the biggest and grandest park in KL, the Lake Gardens.
The Lake Gardens is both big and charming, containing several lakes, romantic white bridges, lovely flower arrangements, a sculpture garden, an Orchid and Hibiscus Garden and a deer park.
We enjoyed our stroll around the park, watching the deer and the flowers, although it was scorching that day! We did sweat buckets! So do remember to bring water if you want to visit the park (we forgot…..) as there is only one kiosk at one end of the huge park, and typically it was not the end of the park in which we entered….
- How to get there: We took the train to KL Central and walked from there. But it might be better to take a taxi, as it was a bit of walking to get there, and it was really hot!
- Ticket price: It is free to enter the garden, also the deer park.
7. KL Bird Park
The Bird Park is one of the BIG attractions in KL, especially for families with children.
KL Bird Park is the World’s Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary
The park brings together about 200 species of Asian birds flying free beneath an enormous canopy.
Star attractions include ostriches, hornbills, eagles, flamingos and colourful parrots. It’s worth getting to the park for feeding times (hornbills 11.30 am, eagles 2.30 pm) or the bird shows (12.30 pm and 3.30 pm), which feature plenty of parrot tricks to keep youngsters amused. The park also has a restaurant, the Hornbill Restaurant & Cafe, and a big children`s playground.
We visited the Bird Park after we had been walking around in the gigantic Lake Gardens for hours without anything to drink, plus we also walked all the way up to the Bird Park instead of taking a taxi. So that might have had something to do with us not being over-enthusiastic about the birds when we finally got there. It is a beautiful park though if you like birds……
Close to the KL Bird Park is the KL Butterfly Park. We did however not go there.
- How to get there: We took the train ti KL Sentral and walked to the Bird Park. But it might be better to take a taxi as it is a bit of walking to get there.
- Ticket price: 48 RM/ 15 us$ for adult, 38 RM/ 12 us$ for children
- Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm every day
- KL Bird Park Webpage
8. KL Tower
KL Tower, or Menara KL as it is officially called, is also high up on the must-see list when visiting Kuala Lumpur. You can easily spot the tower from almost all over the city.
The tower is impressive 421 m high, with an observation deck at 276 meters above ground as well as an open floor at 421 m. We did however only go to the observation deck. But the view is fantastic! From there you get the impression of how huge KL is.
The tower is like a big entertainment centre with a shopping mall, XD theatre, F1 simulation, aquarium, and restaurants (it is even a restaurant at upper deck too with breathtaking views). Each year there is a running competition at the tower where participants race up the stairs to the top, and there is a base jumping festival as well.
- How to get there: Take the pink train no. 5 Kelena Jaya Line to Masjid Jamek or Dang Wangi, or the green no. 8 Monorail Line to Raja Chulan, and walk the rest. Or take a taxi as we did.
- Ticket price: Observation deck cost 49 rm/ 15 us$ for adult and 29 rm/ 9 us$ for child. Open deck cost 99 rm/ 30 us$.
- Opening hours: 9 am – 10 pm every day
- KL Towers Webpage
By the way, in order to get in the right KL mood, you should watch the movie “Entrapment” which is filmed in KL and Petronas Twin Towers plays a major part. See it, it is a great movie!
Our visit to KL, this time, was better than our first visit back in 2005. The city has really grown and become more modern and easier to visit as a tourist. The train and monorail are excellent and makes it easy to travel around in the city. Taking a taxi is also super cheap. So now we actually quite like Kuala Lumpur, although it does not compare to our love for Bangkok! 🙂
Where To Stay In Kuala Lumpur
Capri by Fraser
We stayed at the apartment hotel Capri by Fraser. It is amazing! The apartments are huge, with a balcony with an impressive view over KL, a fully equipped kitchen and the biggest bathroom we have ever seen.
It's a little outside of the center, but the MRT runs right by so it takes just a few minutes to KL Central.
And the rooftop swimming pool, ah, it is the best!! Highly recommend you to stay here if you are going to Kuala Lumpur! Excellent value for your money.
Click here to see the latest price
Villa Samadhi is an oasis and green lung away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, but still located in the city. It has a great swimming pool in a big green garden, and the hotel is spectacular.
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Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences
This is a brand new apartment hotel, with stunning apartment rooms with fully equipped kitchen. It is located only a 5-minute walk away from the popular Changkat area with its famous eateries and bars. It truly is a home away from home. It is very reasonably priced for this kind of luxury.
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Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
We stayed at this hotel a couple of nights and enjoyed it a lot. It has a beautiful rooftop pool with an excellent view over the city. It is conveniently located right by KL central train station.
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We used the Lonely Planet`s Malaysia travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:
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Have you visited Kuala Lumpur? What are your favourite things to do in Kuala Lumpur, and what did we miss that is a must-see in KL? Please leave a comment in the comment area below. If you liked this post and found it useful, please share on social media! Thanks! 🙂
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