9 Great Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Are you planning to visit Kuala Lumpur soon and looking for creative ideas about things to do in the majestic capital? Kuala Lumpur is a fast-paced metropolitan capital of Malaysia that is known as a cultural hub of Southeast Asia.
Once you walk around the busy streets, you’ll soon realize the number of different cultures, traditions, and even architecture around the city. No matter if you’re looking to indulge yourself in tasty food, or you want to drink a beer on a helipad, or you simply want to explore cultural attractions, Kuala Lumpur has it all.
Since there is an abundance of activities in Kuala Lumpur, it can be tough to pick just a few that fit your schedule. Here we have listed out a few easy and iconic things to do in Kuala Lumpur to get you started.
Top Things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1. Explore the Delicious Food Scene
Our list of things to do in Kuala Lumpur has to start with the food. If you’ve ever met a traveler who has been to Malaysia, you will definitely hear stories about the delicious and diverse food scene. Kuala Lumpur is foodie heaven, and believe us, you’ll fall in love with it quickly!
Did you know that Malay people experience the highest obesity rate in the Southeast Asia region? Prepare yourself to pack a few kilograms while exploring the bustling food markets and trying a variety of different dishes and spices.
The first place when it comes to food is a famous night market Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang. It’s a tiny street filled with food vendors and restaurants serving all kinds of food. You can taste traditional food from every country in Southeast Asia which makes Jalan Alor a magical place. Although the prices are slightly higher since the whole market is tailored for tourists and you’ll hardly see any locals, Jalan Alor is still a place to go.
For a more authentic Malaysian experience, we highly recommend Jalan Raja Muda Musa. This is a little Malay village right in the middle of the city where you can get some of the best Nasi Lemak around!
2. Drink Up at a Sky Bar
Malaysia isn’t exactly known as a country that attracts huge partygoers. One of the main reasons is highly-priced alcohol since the majority of the population are Muslims. However, if you’re wandering around Kuala Lumpur and lacking the creative ideas, head over to one of the dozens of sky bars serving rather expensive drinks along with breathtaking views of the city.
The most popular sky bar in Kuala Lumpur is the Heli Lounge Bar which offers a stunning view of the Petronas Twin Towers and the rest of the city. Just don’t get shocked by the prices as the bottle of imported beer costs around 80RM ($20). We’ve warned you in advance!
3. Visit Batu Caves
Located a bit outside Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are the most visited Hindu temple in Malaysia. The best way to get to this stunning temple is by booking a Grab or taking a comfortable public train. Since it’s the most visited temple in the country, don’t be surprised to stumble upon huge crowds of tourists and unfortunately the trash.
Lord Murugan, a golden statue standing in front of the caves, will greet you once you arrive. The government spent about $600k just for construction of the statue. A few colorful Hindu temples are hiding in the caves, but to reach there, you need to pass 272 colorful stairs, flocks of tourists and hungry monkeys.
Also, remember that this is a temple. As with visiting temples in Bangkok, you should dress properly covering your knees and shoulders.
4. Explore KLCC Park and Petronas Towers
One of the most iconic things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the Petronas Tower. Every postcard and almost every Instagram shot of Kuala Lumpur comes with towers in the background. Just check #KualaLumpur to get some ideas on how these twin towers look.
The official height of these two identical towers is 452m and you can see them from almost everywhere in the city. Did you know the Petronas Towers were once the tallest towers in the world?
The best place to view the towers is from KLCC Park which is located on the southern side. I’d suggest visiting at night while the towers are lit up.
You can also buy a ticket to go up to the 86th floor of the towers where you can get a decent view of the city and some and expensive Malaysian food. However, be warned that lines can be super long, and there is arguably a better place to enjoy skyline views of Kuala Lumpur from.
5. Go Up Kuala Lumpur TV Tower
This is tower is actually taller than the Petronas Twin Towers and arguably has a better view of the city. I mean, you can’t actually see the Petronas Twin Towers if you are inside them right?
Tickets for Kuala Lumpur TV Tower are RM 33 (USD 8) and you won’t have to endure those terrible lines either!
6. Get Some Souvenirs at Central Market
Central Market is the place where you can get traditional Malaysian souvenirs including; colorful clothes, creative handcrafts, bracelets, necklaces, strong tea, coffee and much more.
This market is completely tourist-oriented, so you’ll hardly see any locals strolling around. Be prepared for slightly higher prices, but don’t forget you’re at the market where bargaining is a must.
Once you’re done with the shopping, there are a few restaurants just in front of the market offering a variety of Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. We had a blast at one of the Indian restaurants that serve mouth-watering curry and different types of Roti and Naan. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, you can’t avoid delicious Malay food.
7. Explore Masjid Jamek Mosque
Masjid Jamek Mosque is a place you definitely want to visit during your stay. It’s a real architectural wonder that sits between modern skyscrapers. The interesting fact is that the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur sits in the center of the financial district. You’ll see many devoted practitioners praying and taking their nap around the mosque.
Be sure to wear long sleeves since there is small security at the gates and they are extremely strict about the dress code. The entrance is free of cost, but you can leave a tip that goes into the maintenance of the mosque.
Many free tour guides can teach you more about the history of the mosque and the Muslim religion in Malaysia.
8. Shop at Pavillion Mall
For shopaholics, Pavillion Mall is a massive complex where you can buy anything luxurious. The whole complex consists of more than 500 shops accompanied by loads of restaurants. You can spend half a day just wandering around.
Even if you’re not in the shopping, the mall is located in Bukit Bintang, and it’s exciting just to walk around and feel the energy of shoppers. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for huge discounts, you’ll be disappointed as the prices are quite high. You will typically find the same prices in Europe or the USA.
The best time to explore Pavillion Mall is around the Christmas or New Year since the whole interior is thematically decorated.
9. Visit Kampung Baru Neighborhood
I wouldn’t let you visit Kuala Lumpur without introducing you to an authentic local experience. Enter, the Kampung Baru Neighborhood.
This enclave contains some of the last remaining traditional Malaysian wooden stilt houses bang in the center of Kuala Lumpur. You will notice a strong contrast between the old lifestyle and new skyscrapers all around.
However, it is said this neighborhood will be totally redeveloped soon! So be quick to visit before Kampung Baru is gone forever.
My Favourite Places to Eat in KL
Jalan Alor Bukit Bintag – a street filled with food vendors and restaurants serving all kinds of food and cold beer. You can taste traditional food from every country in Southeast Asia. This street is tailored for tourists, a popular place to go out for a few drinks too.
Tapak Street – an outdoor food truck park geared towards the locals with a wide range of Malaysian dishes. It is a short walking distance from the Petronas Twin Towers which you can see in the background. Opens from 6pm to Midnight.
RA Nasi Lemak – Nasi Lemak is my favorite Malaysian dish and this super local restaurant is probably the best place to get it. They have buffet style Nasi Lemak where you can grab a plate of fragrant coconut rice and top it with curry, chili sambal sauce, peanuts, and boiled egg. The cost is based on how much you take but expect to pay around RM 5 (USD 1.50).
Merchant’s Lane – for good coffee and sweet foods you can visit this beautiful café hidden out of sight in the middle of Jalan Petaling (KL’s Chinatown). The interior is super photogenic and a good place to escape the tropical heat with its strong air conditioning.
Little India – loads of great local restaurants to explore with amazing Indian food
How to Get Around Kuala Lumpur
Traffic in Kuala Lumpur can be crazy, so I don’t recommend a motorbike and taxis will be slow.
The best way to get around the city is by train. There are two systems, LRT and Monorail. You can view the official route maps here.
Tickets are cheap, so you can just pay per trip. There is also a good option for a MyCity Pass which offers unlimited public transport for 3 days for RM 35 (USD 8). These tickets can be purchased at train stations.
Where to After Kuala Lumpur?
I suggest visiting Kuala Lumpur as part of this Southeast Asia itinerary which takes you from Singapore up the west coast of Malaysia to Langkawi. You will experience a diverse range of cultures in smaller cities, beautiful islands, and of course the bustling capital city of Malaysia.
Or check out one of Malaysia’s quickest growing destinations, Johor Bahru, located just across the bridge from Singapore.
As you can see, Kuala Lumpur is an extremely diverse modern city that offers many things for everyone’s taste. No matter if you’re into food, nightlife, shopping, culture or religion, you’ll find it all.
Don’t worry if you pack a kilogram or two during your stay in Kuala Lumpur, it’s normal with such an amazing food scene to explore!
What are your favorite things to do in Kuala Lumpur? Share your thoughts below.