With more than 12 million international visitors last year, Kuala Lumpur (KL) has deservedly positioned itself as one of the top tourist destinations in South-East Asia. The city’s increased popularity has resulted in quite the building boom, and there are now more hotels and hostels to choose from than ever. With so many options, deciding where to stay in Kuala Lumpur can feel quite overwhelming.

Market vendor at Chow Kit

KL’s Superman, a happy man 🙂

Kuala Lumpur is a fascinating melting pot of cultures. Walking around you will see beautiful mosques, colorful Chinese temples and Hindu shrines standing side by side with well preserved colonial buildings and modern giant skyscrapers.

Here people with Chinese, Indian, Malay, Arabian, Indonesian and western origin live, work, and eat together and the result is an exciting lively city filled with contrasts.

Every area in the city has its distinct character, from the hyper-modern city center with its towering skyscrapers to the always busy street life of Chinatown. For travelers, each area comes with its own pros and cons.

We have been to Kuala Lumpur a lot over the years, ever since our first visit in 2005. When we decided to put this guide together, we could have relied solely on our past experiences, but we felt that to create a truly excellent resource for anyone planning a trip to KL, we needed to do more. So we booked some plane tickets and ended up spending six weeks in KL exploring the city’s neighborhoods in depth.

The result is this guide. It’s our little love letter to this city, and it’s diverse, fascinating neighbourhoods. Here we reveal what we think are the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur, and why. We tell you all about the most popular areas, but we have also included some personal favorites for those who want to avoid the tourist crowd. For each area, we have listed our favorite hotels at any budget – Top-End, Mid-range, and Budget.

Whether you are looking for that once in a lifetime luxury hotel, a small intimate boutique hotel, a value-for-money mid-range hotel or a budget guesthouse, Kuala Lumpur will surely not disappoint.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

Compared with most modern cities, Kuala Lumpur is an inexpensive city to visit with plenty of places to stay at within any budget. The higher end accommodations tend to offer exceptional value, often available for much less than what you would have to pay for the same hotel standard elsewhere.

The hotels recommended in this article are mostly places we have stayed at ourselves. To make this as complete and helpful a resource as possible, we have included some recommendations from travelers who we know personally and whose opinion we trust.

None of the hotels in this guide are paid placements or have sponsored our stay in any way. We have paid for each of these accommodations ourselves. If you book through any of our links, we earn a small commission, at no extra cost you. This helps keep our site going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

We hope you find this guide helpful in choosing the best place to stay in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur’s 7 Best Areas To Stay In

Here are Kuala Lumpur`s six most popular areas to stay in (see the map above):

1. Bukit Bintang (green)

bukit bintang map

Bukit Bintang is the shopping, dining and entertainment center of Kuala Lumpur and is along with KLCC, the most popular area for visitors to stay. Here you find modern shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, and a lively nightlife. If you want to eat at fancy up-scale restaurants or cheap street food hawkers, Bukit Bintang has it all.

Pavillion Shopping Mall Bukit Bintang

Pavillion Shopping Mall in Bukit Bintang

The area Pudu and Imbi, with big fresh food markets and excellent street food, as well as KL´s financial district, Tun Razak Exchange, is close to Bukit Bintang.

Why stay in Bukit Bintang?

If you like being where the action is then Bukit Bintang is the perfect place to stay! There are some excellent hotels, apartments, and hostels to stay at for most budgets here.

Jalan Alor - KL's famous hawker street

Jalan Alor – KL’s famous hawker street

It is also home to Jalan Alor, the cities most famous hawker food street where dozens of restaurants and food stalls come to life as the sun sets. Japan Alor is equally popular with locals and visitors and is a must visit.

For a pub crawl visit Changkat Bukit Bintang street where bars and restaurants line both sides of the road in pre-war colonial houses.

The closeby Jalan Mesui also has lots of restaurants and bars but is more laid-back than Changkat.

Things to see and do in Bukit Bintang

  • Shopping – Visit the large Pavillion mall for some world-class shopping
  • Catch a movie – Try the Pavillion cinema, the city’s best
  • Try some street food on Jalan Alor – the famous hawker food street gets packed every night as locals and tourists come out to some delicious street food
  • Enjoy an evening at Changkat Bukit Bintang – A row of pre-war colonial buildings converted into KL’s most famous pub and restaurant street
  • Watch the sunset from the Heli Lounge Bar – Have a drink on top of a helipad at this laidback rooftop bar
  • Lot10 Hutong – This food court is famous for having managed to gather many of the best street food restaurants in Kuala Lumpur under one roof
  • TREC, east of Bukit Bintang (Jalan Tun Razak) has KLs largest clubs and discos, like Zouk, and also live music venues on Fridays and Saturdays

What’s the catch?

Bukit Bintang is hectic and loud. If you choose the wrong hotel here, you may not get much sleep. Ther is just one monorail line, and the trains become very packed during rush hours and in the evenings. Don’t let that stop you though; you can always grab a cab or call an Uber.

Where to stay in Bukit Bintang

Top End

The Ritz-Carlton
One of Malaysia’s finest hotels, the Ritz-Carlton is a great luxury option for that special occasion, at a price that is much more affordable than similar properties in other parts of the world. Their reputation for excellent personal service is well deserved, and they truly make it feel like a home away from home.

The hotel has kept its old-world elegance with an impressive foyer and spacious rooms with every imaginable comfort including large marble floor bathrooms. There is an outdoor pool, fitness center and a very elegant Spa Village.  It’s in a great location too, right next to the Pavillion Shopping center with all its shops and restaurants.
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Other excellent top-end hotels in this area include the JW Marriott Hotel and The Westin

Mid Range

KL Journal Hotel
A small cozy boutique hotel located in the heart of Bukit Bintang. Despite being a just few minutes walk from the main street, its location on a side street means it surprisingly quiet here and perfect for a good nights sleep.

The rooms are comfortable and designed in a modern style. The staff is super friendly, and there is a lovely restaurant on the 2nd floor. The rooftop swimming pool is lovely but is currently under renovation and closed until June.
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Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences

If you like your hotels small and intimate, then Lanson Place is not the right hotel for you. If however you are traveling with a family or prefer a large apartment then this place is fantastic.

Huge, modern, well-equipped apartments with everything needed for short or long stays. The kitchen is well equipped, and we found the washer/ dryer to be super convenient. The living rooms have a huge flat screen tv and even a surround sound system!

The main pool is Olympic sized, and there are several children pools and even a playroom.

The gym is also excellent. Located in Bukit Ceylon, you can easily walk to Jalon Alor or Changkat in less than 5 minutes, and to Bukit Bintang center in about 10 minutes.
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Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade
A reasonably new mid-range hotel, it opened in 216, that offers excellent value for the money. Rooms are well designed, modern and comfortable with air-con, large flat screen tv with international channels, free wifi, and minibar.

There is a small rooftop pool with a great view and a well-equipped gym. You can walk to Pavilion mall in 15 minutes.
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Budget

Paper Planes Hostel

Paper Plane Hostel KL

Paper Plane Hostel KL

Paper Planes is arguably the best hostel in Kuala Lumpur! Originally an old shophouse, it has been converted into a hostel. It has a quirky, cozy interior design with super clean, air-conditioned rooms, comfortable beds, and spotless bathrooms.

Both dormitory style and private rooms are available.

The atmosphere is relaxed with hosts that go out of their way to help travelers. There are free mineral water and complimentary coffee and tea in the morning.

Paper Plane Hostel is located in a quiet residential area, yet the Bukit Bintang craziness is just a 10-minute walk away, or you can use the nearby Hang Tuah Monorail station.

There are some cool cafes on the neighboring street. Try the VCR Coffee & Cakes for granola, coffee or a cake. We love them!
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KL Backpacker
Another excellent option for budget travelers is the KL Backpacker. Clean, comfortable dorm room beds with friendly service and sociable, good vibes within walking distance of Bukit Bintang.
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2. Kuala Lumpur City Center – KLCC (orange)

KLCC map

Kuala Lumpur City Center or KLCC for short is one of the most popular areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur. And for a good reason, this is where you find the Petronas Towers, the worlds tallest twin towers.

Petronas Towers!

The first time you gaze up at the evening illuminated Petronas Towers is an experience not soon forgotten.

Staying in this area will put you right in the middle of everything, where there is a lot of restaurants, shopping, and hotels.

And with an elevated, covered walkway that links KLCC with Bukit Bintang (see the area above), you can easily get to even more restaurants, shopping and street food.


Why stay in KLCC?

KLCC is a great area to stay in if you are looking for five-star hotels, high-end restaurants, and a more sophisticated nightlife than Bukit Bintang. There is a whole cluster of upscale shopping malls here, with the Suria KLCC mall at the base of the towers being the crown jewel. You will never get bored in KLCC!

Just in front of the towers is the beautiful KLCC park, a favorite green lung in a city that otherwise has very few parks.

KLCC Park

The beautiful KLCC Park in front of the Petronas Towers and the gigantic Suria shopping mall

Here you can relax and escape the concrete for a little while, or join the crowds for an evening run as the park has a 1,3 km long soft-surface jogging path.

There is a children’s playground and public pool here as well. Every evening the fountains in front of the tower light up with a spectacular light show called Lake Symphony, where the water and colorful lights dance to music.

KLCC is also well served by public transportation, and if you enjoy walking Bukit Bintang can be reached in less than 30 minutes.

What to see and do in KLCC

  • Petronas Towers – the iconic twin towers are one of the worlds most impressive modern buildings
  • KLCC Park – the areas green lung provides a peaceful escape from the otherwise hectic city life
  • Traders Hotel Skybar – The famous Skybar on the 33rd floor at the Traders Hotel is well worth a visit for its spectacular view of Petronas Towers
  • Aquaria KLCC – An impressive aquarium with a 90-meter underwater tunnel you can walk through
  • KLCC Lake Symphony Water show – every evening at  20:00, 21:00 and 22:00 the fountains in the KLCC Park performs a spectacular colorful, choreographed dance to music
  • Suria mall – An enormous shopping mall at the foot of Petronas Towers filled with international brands. The food court is an excellent option for cheaper meals. There is an excellent supermarket in the basement.

What’s the catch?

KLCC is an expensive part of the city to stay in, and there are limited accommodation options beyond the top end luxury hotels. The mid-range hotels and apartment-hotels tend to be further away from the twin towers.

Where to stay in KLCC

Top End

The Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Lobby Kula Lumpur

The grand lobby at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

If you are in need of some pampering, there is no better hotel in KL than the Mandarin Oriental.

With spectacular views of the Petronas Towers and the KLCC Park, the Mandarin Oriental is classic oriental luxury personified.

Enjoy a relaxing massage, a soak in the Jacuzzi or an evening swim in the spectacular infinity pool overlooking the city skyline. The service is world class, and the staff is always friendly and professional.

Mandarin Oriental Kula Lumpur

The lovely swimming pool at Mandarin Oriental Hotel

There is a well-equipped fitness center, an indoor golf course and even a tennis court with a coach. Rooms live up to the high standard and are large, and luxurious with every modern comfort.

There are no less than ten in-house restaurants (!). Our only problem was that we never wanted to leave the hotel.
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Traders Hotel

There is arguably no better place to enjoy the spectacular view of the Petronas Towers from than the Traders Hotel. Located right across from the towers and separated only by the KLCC park in between, the views from the tower facing rooms are genuinely fantastic! Being able to step out of the hotel and go right into KLCC park is also fantastic.

Traders Hotel Room KL

Our room at the Traders Hotel

The vibe here is a little more relaxed than at its neighbor Mandarin Oriental.

The famous Skybar on the 33rd floor is a cool place to enjoy an evening drink or two and take some photos of the Petronas Towers.

While we enjoyed the views, we think that the rooms, although comfortable and big, could do with a little refresher.
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Villa Samadhi
Inside this unique and stunning luxury villa resort, the big and busy city fades away and you could be anywhere in Malaysia.

The gardens and pool that connect all the rooms create a peaceful oasis. Rooms are very spacious and elegantly furnished in a luxurious contemporary Asian style.

There is a complimentary cocktail hour every evening, and the service is everything you would expect from a five-star hotel. The price of this hotel is steep, but if you are looking for something truly unique for a special occasion, like perhaps a romantic getaway or a honeymoon, Villa Samadhi is Click hard to top.
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Mid Range

G Tower Hotel
G Tower Hotel offers a bit of elegance at an affordable price. Situated on top of an office building, the rooms at G Tower are spacious and modern with some artful design touches and well equipped with modern comforts such as air-con, flat screen tv, minibar and even a walk-in closet, which Maria loved. 🙂

The rooftop infinity pool has a great view and is a lovely way to end a day exploring KL. There is also a gym and a restaurant. Petronas Towers are 15 minutes walk away.
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Budget

Le Apple Boutique Hotel
Decently sized, clean, comfortable rooms with lovely views in a central location above the KLCC LRT Station and a 5-minutes walk from Petronas Towers/ Suria Mall. One of the few good budget options in this part of town; rooms have air-con, minibar, free wi-fi and flat screen TV. Sadly there is no pool or gym.
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3. KL Sentral and Lake Gardens (blue)

kl sentral & lake gardens map

This area is home to KL Sentral station, Kuala Lumpur’s main transportation hub, from where you can quickly get to any part of the city. All the city’s many forms of transportation interlink here including the MRT lines, LRT trains, monorail and the airport Klia Express train.

There are a lot of high-end international hotels in this area, as well as restaurants serving both local and international food.

The big NU Sentral shopping mall is connected to the station and has a huge selection of shops, restaurants, cafes, a convenience store and a cinema.

Why stay in the KL Sentral area?

It’s nice to be so well connected. The LRT line takes you right to KLCC with the Petronas Towers and Chinatown. The monorail is convenient for getting to Bukit Bintang, and the KTM Komuter train is great for a visit to the Mid Valley Mega Mall.

This location also makes it easy to take day trips to for instance Batu Caves.

Lake Garden, the city’s only real park, with its Botanical Gardens, the KL Bird Park, museums and the national mosque is also within walking distance.

The beautiful park Lake Gardens. In the distance St. Regis and Hilton Hotels.

Brickfield / Little India is a short 10-minute walk away from KL Sentral station and is a fun area to explore and a great place to eat authentic Indian food.

What to see and do in the KL Sentral area

  • Perdana Botanical Garden – The cities largest park Lake Gardens is home to a deer park, a lake, orchid garden, and herbarium
  • KL Bird Park – the worlds largest free-flight bird park
  • KL Butterfly Park – experience more than 100 species of colorful butterflies up close
  • Islamic Arts Museum – admire fantastic work collected from around the Islamic world
  • National Museum – learn about Kuala Lumpur history
  • Rent a bike and explore the park. Bikes can be found all over the city at designated oBike stops.
  • NU Sentral Mall – this large mall has cinemas, shops, and dining
  • Explore the colorful and vibrant Little India and try some delicious Indian food from the hawkers around the fountain

What’s the catch?

It’s not the most accessible area to get around on foot, which means that you frequently have to traverse busy streets or take detours to look for places to cross the roads.

To remedy this many of the high-end hotels in this area offer free shuttle service to and from the station.

Where to stay in the KL Sentral area

Top End
The beautiful old colonial style Majestic Hotel

The beautiful old colonial style Majestic Hotel

The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel is a truly spectacular hotel that impressed us in every way. It is one of the last true classic luxury hotels of KL, having been around since 1932.

The recent complete restoration has modernized the hotel while still keeping its old world colonial style charm.

Seldom have we been met with such genuine smiles and service from everyone from the doorman dressed in his colonial-style uniform to the reception staff. The service is amazing!

The rooms are tastefully decorated rooms with super comfortable four-poster beds, a cozy sitting area, and a massive bathroom with a bathtub and even a built-in TV!

We loved the afternoon tea service in the salon and the beautiful orchid room. There are a lovely outdoor pool and a well-equipped gym, and a super cool old vintage bar.

If there are any drawbacks to this hotel, it has to be that it’s location almost inside the Lake Gardens makes it a little difficult to walk to KL Sentral Station, and the surrounding shops and restaurants.

To remedy this, no less than three frequently running free shuttles are available to take you to different parts of the city – the KL station, Mid-Valley Mega Mall and Bukit Bintang (Starhill shopping mall).

The hotel is surprisingly affordable for the level of service and comfort it offers. It’s a unique opportunity to step back into another era. The Majestic is a real five-star hotel.
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St. Regis
St. Regis is Kuala Lumpur’s newest ultra-luxury hotel, but it is still very much built in the style of old-world elegance. The theme here is old-Hollywood with its glitz and glamour. The rooms are large with walk-in closets, butler service and decorated with classic dark wood and grey furnishings. No expense is spared in making this the ultimate KL luxury hotel.
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Another great top-end hotel in this area is The Hilton.

Mid Range

Aloft
The Aloft Hotel is a trendy hotel conveniently located right next to the KL Sentral Station and connected to the Nu Mall with all its shops and restaurants. The rooms are decorated in a trendy colorful style, well equipped, and spacious with large comfortable beds and fast wi-fi.

We particularly enjoyed the rooftop pool and bar with its spectacular view of the city. Service was friendly and professional. All in all, excellent value for money.
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4. KL Tower (purple)

KL tower map

The KL Tower, or Menara Tower, as it is formally named, is one of the iconic landmarks of Kula Lumpur. Built in 1995, and rising 421 meters towards the sky,  this communication tower is visible from much of KL. The open-air deck at 300 meters has a spectacular view of the city.

KL TowerSurrounding the towers is Eco Park, consisting of the last remains of the original rainforest in Kuala Lumpur. There is a canopy walk through the treetops 30m meters above ground.

The area itself is called Bukit Nanas and consists of a mix of residential apartments, hotels and some small shopping malls.

Why stay around the KL Tower?

It’s a very centrally located area, roughly halfway in-between Bukit Bintang and KLCC, which means that you can walk to most places.

There are some excellent high-end and mid-range accommodation options here.

Canopy Walk Eco Park KL

We had fun doing the canopy walk

What to see and do around the KL Tower

  • KL Tower – the tower itself is well worth visit. Especially the open air deck at 300m, access to which is weather dependent.
  • ECO Park – take a canopy walk among the treetops in KL’s last remaining rainforest, 30 meters above ground.

What’s the catch?

Apart from the KL Tower and Eco-park, there are not a lot of sights in this area.

This is more of a residential and business area with limited options for shopping and late dining. Most visitors head for either KLCC or Bukit Bintang to eat and enjoy KL’s nightlife.

Where to stay around the KL Tower

Top End

Shangri La Kuala Lumpur
The Shangri La is one of KL’s most popular hotels that has for more than thirty years taken excellent care of its guests. The legendary service is still intact and worthy of its five-star status, and every effort is made to make you feel special.

The rooms are well-maintained, spacious and comfortable with large bathrooms. An upgrade to a Horizon Club room comes with airport limousine pickup, in-room check-in and use of a private lounge.

The swimming pool is a quiet oasis in the big city but can get a little crowded on the weekends. Breakfast is almost like a lunch buffet with just about every thinkable option available. There is a free shuttle service to several shopping malls, and conveniently the hop-on-hop-off bus stops right outside the hotel 🙂
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THE FACE Suites

The FACE Suites Kuala Lumpur

The fantastic rooftop infinity pool at the FACE Suites

If you are looking for an apartment, then THE FACE Suites located in the Platinum building is an excellent choice.

The apartments are large, starting from 900 Sq.Ft. (83sqm) for the one bedroom and up, elegantly furnished in a modern style, and come fully equipped with everything needed for a comfortable stay.

As lovely as the apartments are, the star attraction here is the spectacular rooftop swimming pool, possibly the most impressive rooftop pool in the city! It is simply amazing!

With the spectacular swimming pool, big fully-equipped apartments, and a location within walking distance of the Petronas Towers, and it’s easy to understand why the Face Suites is so popular.
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Mid Range

Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur
Fraser Place is an older apartment residence building with everything from studio to three-bedroom apartments. The apartments are well laid out with a workspace, a walk-in closet, washer/dryer and a relaxing bathtub.

There is an outdoor infinity pool, fitness center, game room and sauna. With a central location close to Petronas Towers (a 5-minute walk) and Bukit Bintang (a 15-min walk), this is an excellent choice for families or larger groups looking for a  value-for-money-option.
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5. Chinatown & Merdeka Square (yellow)

chinatown & medeka square_map

Kuala Lumpur began in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants settled where the two rivers Gombak and Klang ran together and started the trade that would grow to become the KL city we know today.

Trade is still very much the order of business today, with small shophouses lining the streets. The main tourist strip is Jalan Petaling, where vendors sell all the usual tourist souvenirs and t-shirts, but also delicious street food, snacks, and drinks.

The area is rich in historic buildings and old cafes that have been there for decades, if not longer, but also some hip and trendy new cafes are starting to appear.

When the British settled, they established their base around Merdeka Square and constructed several substantial colonial styled buildings. The buildings have been beautifully restored, and Merdeka Square is a fascinating area to walk around.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Merdeka Square

Medeka Square is one of the most visited and photographed parts of Kuala Lumpur.

Why Stay in Chinatown & Merdeka Square area?

There are a lot of budget and backpacker style accommodation options in Chinatown making it a great place to meet and mingle with other travelers.

Chinatown also has some of the city’s best street food restaurants, often open both day and night.

The atmospheric narrow alleyways, old Chinese buildings, beautiful temples and the hustle and bustle makes Chinatown a fascinating area to stay.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple in Chinatown

Merdeka square itself does not have a lot of hotels although there are a few around the nearby Masjid Jamek MRT station.

What to see and do in Chinatown & Merdeka Square

  • Explore the street life and narrow alleyways and observe the day to day life of this vibrant area
  • Petaling Street – The famous Petaling Street is a hectic yet fun vendor street which among all the usual tourist wares hides some real street food gems. Try the apam balik (small pancakes made of coconut milk) sold by the old man in front of Koon Kee Wantan Mee restaurant.
  • Central Market – Slightly more upscale than Petaling Street with arts-and-crafts for sale
  • Visit one of the new trendy cafes, like the almost hidden Merchant´s Lane Cafe
  • Explore the colorful temples like the Chinese Sin Sze Si Ya temple near the Central Market or the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu shrine
  • Do the KL Heritage Trail walk among the beautiful old colonial buildings
  • Sultan Abdul Samad Building
  • Masjid Jamek Mosque – KLs oldest and biggest mosque
  • KL City Gallery
  • National Textiles Museum
  • St Mary´s Cathedral

What’s the catch?

There are some genuinely terrible hostels aimed at backpackers here. Be careful and steer away from the rock-bottom priced options!

If you are looking for higher-end accommodation, you won’t find it in Chinatown. The closest is probably The Majestic Hotel, which is within comfortable walking distance of Chinatown & Merdeka Square.

It’s a bustling area and the sellers along Petaling street can be quite pushy at times.

Where to stay in Chinatown

Budget

Hostel BackHome

BackHome Hostel KL

BackHome Hostel

BackHome calls itself a boutique hostel and the modern architecture with old influences does make for a nicely designed home away from home.

Both private rooms (with shared bathrooms) and dorm style rooms are clean and comfortable.

The staff are always helpful and organize some cool tours like hiking trips to some of the mountains areas outside of KL.

The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and the beds comfortable with nice touches such as reading light and bedside charging point.

There is a western style cafe next door, and Hong Ngek at the end of the street serves some tasty Chinese food.
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Big M Hotel

The Big M Hotel - Kuala Lumpur

The Big M Hotel

Big M Hotel is spectacular value for the money with simple but clean and comfortable rooms complete with air-con, flat screen tv, free wi-fi and a private bathroom with hot water. There is also a rooftop terrace.

Location is excellent within easy walking distance to both Merdeka Square and Chinatown with Masjid Jamek MRT station right next door and plenty of places to eat and drink. And yes, it sits right on top of McDonald’s 🙂
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Hotel 1000 miles
Basic but clean and comfortable rooms with private bathroom at this affordable hotel located close to Masjid Jamek MRT station.

The staff are the real gems of this place and take excellent care of their guests. There are also dorm rooms available at a low price.
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Reggae Mansion

Reggae Mansion KL

Reggae Mansion KL

This gorgeous old colonial building is now a hip and trendy party hostel complete with an all-night rooftop bar.

Stay here for the party or make sure to ask for a bed on the ground floor if you want to have a chance at a decent night sleep, and even then bring your earplugs.
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Some other excellent budget accommodation options in Chinatown include the friendly and cool Mingle Hostel, and the space-themed capsule style rooms at the Space Hotel.

6. Chow Kit, Kampung Baru & Masjid India (black)

chow kit, campung baru & majid india

These areas are the least visited by tourists of all the areas we recommend here. These are excellent places to explore to see and experience everyday life in Kuala Lumpur away from the shopping malls and the high-rise buildings and catch a glimpse of the history of Kuala Lumpur.

Chow Kit is a large residential area with predominantly Malay inhabitants and is home to Malaysia´s largest fresh market, known as Bazaar Baru Chow Kit.

Bazaar Baru Chow Kit

Exploring the Chow Kit fresh market

Kampung Baru, meaning “New Village,” is the closest you can come to a village inside Kuala Lumpur. It is surprisingly unchanged by time and an excellent place to see what Kuala Lumpur once was. The area oozes of the laid-back everyday village atmosphere with its low wooden houses.

Masjid India used to be KLs Little India until 2010 when Brickfields was officially declared to be the city´s Little India. Masjid India is however still Indian influenced with lots of delicious Indian restaurants. This area comes to life on Saturday evenings when the vast street market Masjid India Pasar Malam sets up in the streets of Lg Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan TAR, and in front of the Masjid India Mosque.

Masjid India Pasar Malam market

Saturday night at Masjid India Pasar Malam

These areas aren’t tourist destinations, but there are some sights to see and walking around the smaller neighborhoods like Kampung Baru. You can see some of the traditional Malay tree houses and get a feel for everyday life here.

Why stay in Chow Kit, Kampung Baru & Masjid India

We love exploring the neighborhoods of Little India and Kampung Baru, but we prefer to stay slightly south of Kampung Baru, close to the Chang Wangi station and Masjid India. Here are some excellent top-end hotels at a reasonable price and some of the best restaurants in KL are lined up in a little street called merely The Row.

The new Quill mall is also located in this area, with plenty of shops, a supermarket, and a cinema.

With both the Chang Wangi LRT Station and the monorail stations Medan Tuanku and Bukit Nanas nearby, this is a very well connected base from which to explore the city. You can also easily walk to the KL Tower or the KLCC area in about 20 minutes, and to Bukit Bintang.

What to see and do in Chow Kit, Kampung Baru & Masjid India

  • Bazaar Baru Chow Kit – It’s fun walking around this enormous colorful fresh market with a staggering selection of fruits, vegetables, spices, meat and fish on offer
  • Walk among the traditional wooden houses of Kampung Baru
  • Visit Tatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara – South East Asia’s largest Sikh temple
  • Explore the main Kampung Baru restaurant strip along Jalan Raja Muda Musa
  • Stop off for a Mango Susa – A delicious fresh mango smoothie served by many street vendors along Jalan Raja Alang
  • Visit our favorite KL restaurant Limapulo, for the best Malay curries and Laksa! Read our guide to Kuala Lumpur’s best food for more about Limapula and other must-try restaurants and dishes!
  • Titiwangsa Lake Gardens – Just north of Chow Kit is the leafy and green Titiwansa park, perfect for a stroll and taking photos of KLs skyline. You can even hire a motorboat, play tennis, hire a bike and go cycling, or join a helicopter trip over KL.
  • Saturday street market Masjid India Pasar Malam

What’s the catch?

The streets opposite the Bazaar Baru Chow Kit market becomes a red light district at night and is best avoided.

If you choose one of our recommended hotels then you’ll be far away from that area and close to the Chang Wangi LRT station which is an excellent base from which to explore the city.

Top End

Hotel Stripes

Hotel Stripes is a new hotel that offers excellent value for money. We love the stylish and ultra comfortable rooms and the small touches like free soft drinks and water in the mini bar refilled every day, and the Nespresso machine in every room.

The rooftop swimming pool has a fantastic view of KL Tower and Eco Park!

Rooftop bar at Hotel stripes

Maria loved Ladies Night at Hotel Stripes with free wine

In the evenings the swimming pool area turns into a cool, relaxed rooftop bar.

Maria especially enjoyed Ladies Night (every Thursday) at the pool with free wine 🙂

They also have an excellent restaurant on the ground floor serving a fusion of Asian and Western food.

We appreciated the five-star like service and friendly staff. We ended up extending our stay here for an extra few days.
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Sheraton Imperial 

Sheraton Hotel KL

The grand Sheraton Hotel lobby

The Sheraton Hotel is getting a little old but is still a grand hotel that offers a lot for the money.

It is a classic, elegant hotel with spacious rooms, ultra comfortable beds with quality linen and marble floor bathrooms.

While the decor is a little old fashioned the rooms have been well kept and modernized with large screen TVs and every comfort.

There is a beautiful poolside area with a lovely pool and a great gym. Breakfast is excellent with plenty of options. Location is excellent, right next to the Medan Tuanku monorail station and opposite the road from the Quill mall with lots of shops, restaurants, a supermarket, and a cinema.

The hotel is also right opposite our favorite restaurant street, The Row, packed with some of the cities best restaurants like Limapulo.
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7. Bangsar South (brown)

bangsar south map

If you are looking to stay a little bit out of the hectic and busy downtown of KL, but yet find hip and modern restaurants and shops, then South Bangsar is the place! It is the perfect area to stay in for families.

The South Bangsar is a quiet upscale residential area with tall skyscrapers containing new top end suites and apartments on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur that has become a trendy area to stay in lately. It is a new and modern area with plenty of top-notch restaurants, malls, and big and posh supermarkets.

Why stay in Bangsar South

We first stayed here four years ago when we took a chance on a brand new hotel that looked fabulous but had very few reviews (luckily it turned out great!). Back then there was really only the one hotel there, and Taxi drivers never seemed to know it, but that has all changed. Now everyone knows of Bangsar South as it has become a hip and trendy area with restaurants and cafes.

Bangsar South Nexus MallBangsar South Nexus Mall

The restaurant and cafe strip in Bangsar South

On our most recent visit in 2018, we found that new malls and hotels have been popping up all over the area and there are now plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries to choose from within easy walking distance. Our favorite is the new Village Grocer supermarket, a great place to stock up on some food and drinks.

While there are some full-service hotels here, most of the hotels are fully-equipped apartment hotels, perfect for more extended stays or if you prefer plenty of space.

The two LRT rail stations, Universiti Station and Kerinchi Station make this area a good place from which to explore the city. The trip to KL Sentral takes only about 10 minutes. It is also easy to grab a taxi, and taxis are cheap so you can easily get to whatever area you want from here.

Because of the distance from the city center, accommodation here tends to be less expensive than similar apartments and hotels in for instance the Bukit Bintang / Bukit Ceylon or Bukit Nanas area.

What to see and do in Bangsar South

What’s the catch?

There are no real sights in this area, and you need to use the train or take a taxi to get into the city center.

Top End

Capri by Fraser

This is our favorite hotel in this area, and we have stayed here many times. The apartments are big and modern, and there are both studio and one/ two/three-bedroom apartments available. The apartments have a fully-equipped kitchen, a huge bathroom, and every modern comfort including a large flat screen tv, comfortable beds, and air con. There are washing machines and dryers in some of the floors that all guests can use. All rooms have fantastic views of the city and a balcony where you can enjoy the sunset.

Capri is a full-service hotel with room service (great food, reasonably priced!), a pool-bar and there is even a pillow menu 🙂  The rooftop infinity pool is truly spectacular, and there is a large well-equipped gym and Yoga room. Breakfast is also excellent. Highly recommended! Capri is our number one favorite hotel in KL!
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Mid Range

VE Hotel & Residence

VE Hotel & Residence

The pool at VE Hotel

VE Hotel is a relatively new hotel with a mix of standard hotel rooms and apartments (with several bedrooms) available. The rooms are well equipped with comfortable beds, air con, and flat screen tv. The apartments come with a full kitchen and a washer/ dryer.

There are a great rooftop swimming pool and a gym. The staff seems a little unaccustomed to running a hotel and service could be improved, but the facilities are still good value for money.
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The End

Friendly vendors at Bazar Chow Kit BaruThere you go, our seven favorite areas of Kuala Lumpur to stay in along with our recommended hotels.

Hopefully, you now know a little bit more about the city’s different areas and deciding where to stay in Kuala Lumpur has become a little easier.

We plan on expanding and improving this guide continuously so, please let us know if you have any suggestions and tips in the comment area below.

If you’re looking for some inspiration about what to do in Kuala Lumpur, make sure also to read our updated and expanded guide on the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

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Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? If so, which area and hotel did you stay in? If you have any recommendations on where to stay in KL, please leave a comment in the comment area below. And if you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please share it on social media. Thank you so much! 🙂

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and we will earn a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at absolutely no extra cost to you! Thank you! ♥

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