Travellers would usually stop by Kuala Lumpur (KL) before they visit any other parts of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital city — and is also home to the country’s iconic building, the Petronas Twin Towers.
If you’ve never been to Kuala Lumpur, check out 10 of these hot KL destinations. Jot them down on your notebook, so you won’t miss any of them. P.S. These attractions are all very close to each other. Therefore, you can visit all of them within a day!
1. Petronas Twin Towers
Did you know that the Petronas Twin Towers used to be the tallest building in the world? The architecture of the building is so fascinating that thousands of visitors from around the world come to Malaysia mainly to see it.
If you don’t mind spending RM85 to learn more about the Petronas Twin Towers, take a tour to level 86, where the towers’ observation deck is located. There are digital displays that will take you into the towers’ history. Then, check out the double-decked Skybridge where you can take better view of the city.
You’ll need to queue up in order to get the tickets. Otherwise, you can buy them online. The attraction is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday (9.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m.) only. It’s closed on Monday, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and on Hari Raya Aidiladha. Note: It’s closed from 1.00 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. on Fridays.
2. KL Tower
The Petronas Twin Towers aren’t the only tall structures in Kuala Lumpur. The KL Tower is also well-known for its impressive height. If you can see the Twin Towers, you can definitely see the KL Tower too!
Constructed in 1994, the 421-metre high building offers a more stunning view of the city than the Petronas Twin Towers. That’s because you can view the whole city from the tower’s viewing deck which is 276 metres high. At night, the view of the city is just bright and magical.
3. Batu Caves
A majority of travellers I’ve met have told me that they wanted to go to Batu Caves. It’s rare to find a traveller (who’s never been to Kuala Lumpur) who doesn’t go to Batu Caves when visiting Kuala Lumpur. It’s a must-visit location for many. At least it’s one of the best ways to let everyone know that you’re definitely in Kuala Lumpur.
Batu Caves is a religious landmark for the Hindu community in Malaysia. It is a 100-year-old temple that features statues of the Hindu idols. You’ll notice a big statue before the stairs. That’s Lord Murugan. You’ll be amazed by how big it really is! Inside the cave you’ll see limestone formations that are about 400 million years old.
Batu Cave’s most popular cavern is the Cathedral cave. If you go to the foot of the cave, you’ll also see two other cave temples: the Art Gallery Cave and the Museum Cave. Every year in the month of January, thousands of Hindu devotees visit Batu Caves for Thaipusam, one of the biggest celebrations in Malaysia.
For just RM35 you can also visit ‘The Dark Cave’, which is just a few stairs below the cave’s main entrance. I went there with my American friend named Corina and we really enjoyed the short cave tour. Why don’t you try it too?
Go to Chinatown in the afternoon or in the evening. Most of the shops are open around these times. There are many shops and small stalls that sell souvenirs, cheap items, imitation goods, local food, and many more.
Chinatown is also known as the place where all things are extremely cheap. That’s not true. Although things are relatively cheap there, you’ll still need to bargain in order to get the best prices. As Chinatown is a tourist spot (or some would call it a tourist trap), things tend to get overpriced. I guess the sellers themselves know that customers will attempt to bargain after all.
Around Chinatown there are plenty of budget guesthouses especially for backpackers. Higher range hotels are also available for those who don’t mind spending a little more for comfort. The meals offered at the Chinese restuarants are not halal. But you can still find halal food there as Indian restaurants are also flourishing in that area.
From Chinatown, you can take a 15-20 minutes walk to another popular attraction in Kuala Lumpur — Bukit Bintang.
5. Central Market
Built in 1928, Central Market is another of KL’s most popular travel attraction. It is also known as Pasar Seni. It was once a wet market that was then turned into a handicraft marketplace during the early 1980s.
Apart from handicrafts, you can also buy and try local foods from this 120 year-old building. If you’re an antique collector, there are nice antiques for you to choose from. If you need a massage, there’s also a massage centre there. In case you need a parcel to be sent out quickly, there’s a courier service on the ground level — and it’s just by the building’s main entrance.
Did you know that the landmark has been classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department? Be sure to visit it when you’re in Kuala Lumpur. Central Market is also a great place to experience the local cultures. Stage shows are sometimes showing there. Do check out their schedule to discover their upcoming shows.
Getting there is easy as the site is located close to the train stations — KTM and LRT stations.
6. Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square is a site not to be missed upon your visit to Kuala Lumpur. It’s a historical site located right in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The St. Mary’s Church which is one of the oldest churches in the country is also nearby.
You’ll see many tourists at Merdeka Square. They are likely to either taking photos or just lazing on the perfect-green open field. There’s nothing much to do at the 200-metre green field apart from the two activities mentioned. But lying down or just chillin’ on the field are simply wonderful especially in the evening. You’ll notice a very tall flagpole with a Malaysian flag attached to it there. In fact, it’s the tallest flagpole in the world, standing at 95 metres. The Merdeka Square was also where the Federation of Malaya’s Independence from the British Empire was declared on the 31st of August 1957.
7. Kampung Baru
There’s a place in the middle of Kuala Lumpur called Kampung Baru which was known by the British as a Malay Agricultural Settlement in the 1900. Today it is a popular spot for foodies. You’ll see many local, expats and tourists there.
Malay cuisine is mainly served there, but you can also find Thai cuisine at the local restaurants. Go to Suraya Seafood Restaurant if you want to try some of the most savoury seafood dishes cooked in Malay style. I tried some of their dishes and I loved every one of them. When I was there the last time, I noticed that most of the diners were having grilled cockles. Maybe grilled cockles are a popular dish there.
One of my friends said that a visit to Kampung Baru is not complete until one has tried Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. What makes it different than the typical Nasi Lemak? Well, it’s not like any other Nasi Lemak you’ll find on the streets of KL. This version features innards, lungs and other unusual ingredients.
Not very far from Chinatown is Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur’s’ “Little India”. It is located along Jalan Tun Sambanthan where you can find a wide variety of Indian clothing, food, beauty centres and jewellery. You’ll find many tall office buildings there too.
Brickfields is one of the best places to find vegetarian food. I recommend Annalakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant and Chat Masala for those looking for pure vegetarian restaurants. Otherwise, you can also find vegetarian meals at the other Indian restaurants available there. Seetharam has good choices of vegetarian food too.
KL Sentral is about 5-10 minutes away from Brickfields. From Brickfields, you can also visit a beautiful hill-top temple, called Thean Hou temple.
9. Alor Street
Let me tell you this: Alor Street is NOT the best place to buy cheap local food in Kuala Lumpur. Despite its overpriced food, many locals (like me) go there once in a while to enjoy the fun vibes that it offers. I usually go there before I go to the clubs. It is situated next to Changkat, KL’s famous pub street (where many massage parlours are too) after all.
There are many delicious dishes served at Alor Street. In my opinion, they’re good; but they’re just not the best. There you’ll find Chinese and Thai cuisines. And in one of the Thai restaurants, you’ll find a small stall serving Kebabs and Shisha. There are ice-cream stalls along the street; one that sells Turkish ice-cream and another one that sells coconut ice-cream.
Alor Street is where you can find many seafood restaurants selling many varieties of fish, crab and lobster dishes. Due to Alor Street’s strategic location, both locals and tourists like to go there to meet people and enjoy their dinner.
As there are many hotels around the area, those staying at hotels like Casanova Hotel, Capitol Hotel, Swiss Garden, and the Royale Bintang can easily walk to Alor Street. But if you’re staying outside of the city centre, you can get there by the local train service.
10. Bukit Bintang
Your visit to Kuala Lumpur will also not be complete if you don’t explore Bukit Bintang. Alor Street is in Bukit Bintang, so after you’ve explored the popular food street, walk around Bukit Bintang (Bintang Walk), Kuala Lumpur’s most popular district for entertainment and shopping.
There you can find almost everything you need such as shopping centres, hotels of all budget ranges, nightclubs, restaurants, supermarkets and many more. Getting there is easy too as it is accessible by public transports. When you’re there, check out some of its popular malls like the Pavillion Mall, Times Square Mall, Lot 10 and Sungei Wang. Next to the Pavilion Mall is Sephora, an established French cosmetic retailer.
If you’re craving for sushi and seafood buffet, visit the Jogoya Sushi Buffet which is right in the Starhill Gallery.
Are you excited to visit all these 10 places in Kuala Lumpur? Check out my upcoming post where I’ll be sharing more hot destinations! Here’s a video of me and Christoph exploring Kuala Lumpur together.