In comparison to many major cities in Asia, the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is seemingly more developed, efficient, and convenient to navigate. Getting around the city is incredibly easy, and being able to explore without getting lost makes it possible for travellers to fill their itineraries with an abundance of activities. Here, 15 things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Take photos of the Petronas Twin Towers
Every tourist with a social media account and a camera needs to make their way to the Petronas Twin Towers. These architectural structures gleam in the sunlight in the afternoon and shine at night as they are lit up for the entire city to spectacle at after 8 p.m. The towers officially opened on August 31, 1999 and consist of 88 storeys and stand 452 meters into the air. The towers are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Entrance into the towers is 85 RM (approximately $US20) for adults and 35 RM (approximately $US8.20) for children.
Visit the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are about a 30-minute train ride outside of the city. It is here you will find a cluster of Hindu temples and shrines, surrounded by high-rising limestone cliffs in an otherwise urban city. The main feature of these caves is the Hindu God shrine that greets visitors at the entrance to the main cave, of which there are three. The largest cave is free to enter, while other smaller, neighbouring ones have entrance fees. The caves are crawling with monkeys all eager to get their hands on tourists' belongings, so be sure to leave any and all snacks behind.
Indulge in Little India Bricksfields
Little India Brickfields is a pulsing area of Kuala Lumpur equipped with massive speakers lining its wide street blaring Bollywood tunes. Meander down the road, and you will find what it is that keeps tourists flocking to this area: the food. Fresh naan is cooked right before hungry patrons’ eyes, and menus are chock-full of mouthwatering lassis and spicy curry dishes. Visitors can get a drink, naan, and a main course for under $6. There are also loads of shops selling Indian goods and souvenirs.
Learn more about Islam at the National Mosque
In a country where the majority of people practice Islam, it is essential to learn more about the religion when visiting Malaysia. At the National Mosque, visitors can learn more about this religion, including eating in Islam, the five pillars of Islam, the Qur’an, why Muslims pray, who Allah is, and much more. Visitors are given headscarves, hijabs, and robes should they need them and are free of charge. The people who work at the mosque are incredibly friendly, and they even offer visitors free water.
Get a free tour of the Masjid Wilayah mosque
The Masjid Wilayah mosque is one of the most stunning of all religious structures in Malaysia. The turquoise blue dome is one of the mosque’s most noteworthy features, as is the magnificent prayer hall. Islamic designs are featured throughout, including the stunning mehrab. It is here visitors will find semi-precious stones embedded into the carved marble and was actually done so by descendants of the same artisans who built the famous Taj Mahal in India. The mosque is some 47,000 square meters in size and takes about an hour to explore in its entirety. There are also volunteers there that offer free tours of the mosque and make a trip here much more memorable.
Go to the top of the Menara Kuala Lumpur
Overlook the city of Kuala Lumpur from incredible heights at the Menara Kuala Lumpur. The tower opened to the public on July 23, 1996, and it sits at a staggering 421 meters tall. It is the highest point in the city and is also home to an observation deck, mega view banquet deck, and a revolving restaurant. There is a 52 RM (approximately $US12) entrance fee to go to the observation deck, which is the cheapest available option.
Eat at Arab Shawarma in Chinatown
The falafel and shawarma at this street side, yellow stall is one of the best meals you will find in the city. The falafel is made fresh daily, and you might have to wait a few hours for the chef to cook some up. According to the shop’s owner, his food has people driving hours into the city for one of his delicious meals, as well as bursting into tears when they leave Kuala Lumpur, knowing they might not ever again devour his shawarma or falafels. Quite frankly, we believe him.
**Note: Arab Shawarma is currently closed as it is moving from its current location.
Explore by bus
The GO-KL is a free bus service that runs throughout Kuala Lumpur’s streets, and it is completely free. You cannot miss the abundance of purple buses that run often and consistently. The bus will take you to a majority of Kuala Lumpur’s major attractions and top sights, including the National Mosque, the ‘I Love KL’ sign, Chinatown, and more.
Shop on Kasturi Walk and Central Market
The small stretch of road on the Kasturi Walk is a cluster of food and clothing stalls. Like many markets, you will find a variety of Malaysian handicrafts and souvenirs, selling everything from magnets to key chains and more. Central Market is also located on this stretch of road, and it is home to a wide selection of souvenir shops, all housing colourful items from around the world.
Shop in Chinatown
Red paper lanterns line the alleyways and streets that make up Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. The main road is partially covered by a panelled glass ceiling, also known as Petaling Street. We make no promises that the items lining these narrow roads are authentic, but if you want a pair of realistic looking RayBands or Nikes for an unreal price, this is the neighbourhood to visit.
Browse a museum or gallery
Kuala Lumpur is teeming with museums and art galleries. One of the best museums in the city is the Islamic Arts Museum. This museum a great choice for those wanting to learn more about the people and the country. Once inside, visitors of the museum will find uncanny replicas of some of the most famous mosques in the world, including Jama Masjid in Delhi, India. Some of the other top educational attractions in the city include the National Art Gallery, Galeri Petronas (located on the third floor of KLCC), National Museum, and the Textile Museum. Many of these museums have small entrance fees, and they are usually less expensive if you have a student identification card.
Visit the Butterfly Park
The Butterfly Park is Kuala Lumpur is the largest butterfly garden in the world and spans over 80,000 square feet of landscaped garden with over 5,000 butterflies, plants, ferns and more occupying the green space. The park is also home to a museum. There is a 25 RM (approximately $US5.90) entrance into the park.
Take photos of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Created in 1873, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest temple in Kuala Lumpur and the oldest Hindu temple in the entire country. It only became open to the public in 1920, and the South Indian-inspired temple stands tall in the center of the city’s Chinatown, including the large tower (22.9 meters tall), otherwise known as the gopuram. It is made up of five impressive tiers and is worth a photograph or two.
Lose yourself in a cool speakeasy
Kuala Lumpur is home to a number of speakeasy bars nestled down indiscreet roads. One of the most noteworthy of them all is PS150. Its unassuming exterior and covert entrance may be at first hard to find, but a visit to this pre-war shop turned cocktail bar on Petaling Street in Chinatown is definitely worth the hunt. The seating arrangements, which snake around to the back of the shop, are broken up into three sections marking three distinct eras in both Indochina and cocktails, and each one is decorated with captivating Far East accents. Cocktails start at RM 35 (approximately $US8.30).
Sky bars are must-see attractions in most major cities, as they provide a unique view of the skyline, especially in the evening. SkyBar in Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Acting as the centrepiece of this luxurious bar and restaurant is a pool filled with lighted, colourful balls. Visitors walk along the edge of this pool and can relax in one of the booths. These lounging areas are situated in a square, making it easy for guests to interact and enjoy the stunning view of the Petronas Twin Towers from behind the floor to ceiling windows. SkyBar is giving out free drinks every Wednesday night for women, as well.