What To Do In Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

The dazzling capital city of Malaysia – modern skyscrapers blend with colonial architecture. superb food and markets just add to the charm and appeal.

Credit Amat Syazwan Rosman on Unsplash

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves

This majestic limestone formation lies in the state of Selangor, on the outskirts of the city.

There are three big caves, including the main cave which is home to an ancient Hindu temple.

This famous destination draws people from all parts of the world during the annual Thaipusam festival.

Scale the magnificent 272-step staircase leading up to the cave.

Other attractions include the Ramayana Cave, which features wall paintings depicting scenes from Hindu epics.

Photo credit Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Petronas Twin Towers

The iconic 451.9 metre tall Petronas Twin Towers is probably the most recognisable site in Kuala Lumpur.

This gleaming structure of steel and glass is the centre piece of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre or KLCC, which consists of a shopping mall, star-rated hotels, a landscaped park and a convention centre.

The highlight of a visit to the Twin Towers is the exhilaration of standing at the Skybridge on the 41st Floor and Viewing Deck on the 86th Floor.  

Photo credit Izzuddin Helmi Adnan on Unsplash

Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)

Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square is a good starting point to explore the city’s heritage sites.

The Union Jack was lowered here on 31st August 1957 marking Malaysia’s independence from colonial rule. Hence the name Merdeka, which means “Independence” in Malay.

A 100-metre-high flagpole, said to be one of the tallest in the world, proudly flies the Malaysian flag.

The Square used to be the focal point of Kuala Lumpur and the field here was the venue for police parades and cricket matches.

Today, it is a beautifully landscaped area with gardens, terraces and fountains. Merdeka Square is still an important venue for national events such as National Day celebrations and street parades.

Dataran Merdeka credit Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendi on flickr

Royal Selangor Club

Next to Dataran Merdeka is the Royal Selangor Club, a charming mock-Tudor structure.  

It was founded in 1884 as a small plank building with thatched roof, serving as a social and cricket club for the growing expatriate community.

In the colonial days, the club was dubbed ‘The Spotted Dog’, a nickname purportedly originating from the Police Commissioner’s black and white dalmations which accompanied his wife to the club.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building credit Bernard Spragg. NZ on flickr

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Built in 1897 and named after the State Ruler, it served as the government administration building during the British era.

It was the largest building of its day and was said to be the finest in the Malay states. The stately structure consists of an imposing porch, graceful horseshoe-shaped arches, shiny copper domes and a 41.2-metre-high clock tower. The building makes an impressive sight when illuminated at night.

National Museum

Malaysia’s premier museum serves as a repository for the nation’s rich history and heritage.

Built in 1963, its façade features a Minangkabau-styled roof and two impressive front murals.

The museum has four main galleries. Among the highlights here are the collection of keris or the Malay dagger, ceramics from the Ming Dynasty and traditional musical instruments from various parts of Asia.

Thematic exhibitions are held from time to time.

Credit Thomas Quine on Unsplash

KL Tower

KL Tower is one of the most prominent and distinctive landmarks in the country.

This telecommunications tower, situated atop Bukit Nanas, is the world’s seventh tallest.

Enjoy a magnificent view of KL from a dizzying height of 421 metres.

Attractions include Sky Deck, Sky Box, Atmosphere 360°, Banquet Hall, XD Theater, Mini Zoo, KL Upside Down House and more

Photo credit Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Green Kuala Lumpur

Perdana Botanical Gardens (KL Lake Gardens) is the city’s premier park, sprawling over 200 acres. This tropical garden features exotic blooms, luxuriant foliage, impressive sculptures and majestic raintrees. 

Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens features an assortment of rare and exotic orchids at the Orchid Garden. The adjacent Hibiscus garden features a variety of the pretty blossoms, including Bunga Raya, which is Malaysia’s national flower.

Titiwangsa Lake Gardens is a pleasant oasis in the city that consists of a man-made lake, a paddock, jogging trails, exercise stations and a children’s playground. Go boating in the lake or take a walk to enjoy the fresh, crisp air and lush green surroundings.

KL Butterfly Park is touted to be the world’s largest butterfly garden and spans over 80,000 sq.ft. with more than 5,000 butterflies. Special attractions include the Raja Brooke, Iswara, Malay Lacewing, Five Bar Swordtail, Yellow Tip, Indian Leaf and Lime Butterfly species.    

KL Bird Park sprawls over 20.9 acres and park features more than 3,000 birds from 200 local and foreign species. It is reputed to have the world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary.  The brilliantly landscaped park is home to the Changeable Hawk Eagle, Bird of Paradise, Rhinoceros Hornbill and many more. After a visit, enjoy a meal at the Hornbill Restaurant & Café, built in the style of a traditional Malay house.

Titiwangsa Lake Gardens is a pleasant oasis in the city that consists of a man-made lake, a paddock, jogging trails, exercise stations and a children’s playground. Go boating in the lake or take a walk to enjoy the fresh, crisp air and lush green surroundings.

KLCC Park is a beautifully landscaped park with approximately 1,900 indigenous trees and palms set amidst soothing water features. The park has a children’s playground, a wading pool and a 1.3km rubberised jogging track. A delightful attraction here is the Symphony Lake, where two fountains provide dazzling animations

Credit Andrew H on flickr

Istana Negara

Istana Negara or the National Palace is the official residence of the King of Malaysia.

This majestic building officially became the National Palace in November 2011, replacing the old palace in Jalan Istana.

Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur credit Conny Sandland on flickr

The palace boasts a traditional Malay design with Islamic art works that were created by renowned sculptors from Terengganu and Kelantan.

The palace is graced by 22 domes, with the largest standing at a height of 40 metres. Its two main domes are embellished with betel leaf motives that shine when illuminated at night and change colour according to the occasion.

The Heritage Centre

This centre offers an insight into Malaysia’s built heritage through exhibitions and seminars.

Within its grounds is the Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a fine example of a traditional Malay house. Originally the residence of a local headman, the house was restored and transported from the northern state of Kedah.

It showcases intricate carvings, as well as furniture and artefacts dating back to 1930.

KL Railway Station

This splendid building was the hub for the nation’s rail transportation system before the modern KL Sentral Station was built.

Its Moorish architecture with graceful arches and minarets makes it one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.

Equally impressive is the Malaysian Railway (KTM) Headquarters situated overlooking the railway station.

Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC)

Set in a colonial building, MATIC is a one-stop centre for tourists with a host of facilities such as a 24-hour tourist police counter, Internet access, tour agencies, currency exchange, hotel reservations as well as souvenir outlets and a chocolate boutique.

This building was constructed in 1935 as a family residence by Eu Tong Seng, a wealthy tin miner and rubber estate tycoon. During the war, it served as the military base of the British army and as the headquarters of the Japanese army.

Aquaria KLCC

Covering over 60,000 sq ft, Aquaria KLCC  is a state-of-the-art oceanarium.

It showcases 5,000 aquatic and land-bound creatures from Malaysia and around the world.  

The world-class facility has a 90-metre transparent tunnel for visitors to get a good look at Sand Tiger Sharks, Giant Stingrays and Marine Turtles.

Genting Skyworlds

Not actually in Kuala Lumpur but a destination likely to be a popular day trip or add-on to a Kuala Lumpur stay.

The resort is located around 6,000 feet above sea level in the Genting Highlands and when it opens later in mid-2021, will form part of the existing Resorts World Genting that includes hotels, indoor theme park and attractions, shopping and casino.

Attractions including Ice Age, Night at the Museum and Planet of the Apes will all feature and will be complemented by a range of themed retail, dining, and entertainment experiences.

Shopping

Pasar Seni (Central Market)

Designed by architect and engineer TY Lee, it’s a fine example of Art Deco styles of the 1930s.

Central Market is an award-winning bazaar which offers a wide variety of products created by local artists and craftsmen.

Hunt for Malay, Chinese or Indian-inspired souvenirs or find great buys that reflect the customs and traditions of the various ethnic groups in Malaysian Borneo.

 Just outside, the Kasturi Walk offers street-shopping in a safe and covered environment.

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

One of the oldest shopping zones in the city, Jalan TAR is still a favourite among shoppers for its value-for-money buys and wide choice of outlets.

Make your way through the labyrinth of alleys to hunt for unique buys and extraordinary souvenirs. Popular items include fabrics and textiles, luggage, carpets and sports equipment.

Mid Valley Megamall

Featuring an exciting and vibrant mix of retailers, Mid Valley Megamall is a major attraction among urbanites and tourists.

Alongside the vast range of shops is a ciniplex, gym and a mega bookstore.

The Gardens

Boasting a sophisticated and exclusive collection, The Gardens is the home of luxury labels and an enviable designer collection.

NU Sentral

Located adjacent to KL Sentral station, Nu Sentral is the newest shopping mall in town. It is Malaysia’s first “integrated green lifestyle and transit mall”.

Starhill Gallery

Hailed as the crème de la crème of the city’s shopping malls, Starhill Gallery is the place for brand conscious shoppers.

It has seven themed floors, each featuring a distinct experience.

Pavillion Kuala Lumpur


Winner of numerous local and international awards, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is a favourite among the well-heeled.

It has six precincts and a whole row of boutiques from around the world.

Expect nothing but the finest in fashion, home furnishing and culinary delights and is also known for its Liuli Crystal Fountain.

Kuala Lumpur Craft Centre

Styled like a Malay village, this complex is an artists’ colony housing handicraft shops, an art workshop, craft museum and food court.

Interesting activities here range from batik-painting to weaving, jewellery-making and pottery.

Jalan Hang Kasturi Shophouses

Just a short walk from the Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi used to be the spot for provisions such as dried fish and preserved vegetables.

Many of the dried goods stores here can still be found today.

Bangsar Shopping Centre

Housing an impressive range of international gourmet restaurants, stylish bistros and alfresco dining outlets.

Nearby, Bangsar Village I & II offer a wide range of imported foodstuff and other merchandise.

Sungei Wang Plaza

Sungei Wang Plaza is brimming with delights for everyone. It is filled with independent stores that bring you the newest and coolest in apparels, accessories, electronics and many more.  Suitable for the trend-setter, budget-conscious shopper or souvenir-hunter.

Suria KLCC

Situated within the prestigious Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), this popular mall houses six floors of retail outlets. Its impressive tenant mix includes Isetan, Parkson Grand and Marks & Spencer. Aseana and Pucuk Rebung are exclusive outlets offering a remarkable range of unique ethnic-inspired items. Sample the wide variety of cuisine at the Asian Flavours Food Court.

Petaling Street or Chinatown

The ideal spot for the more adventurous shopper who enjoys the excitement of looking for novelty items or bargaining for the best prices.

Find everything from textiles to herbal products, fresh flowers, fruits, ornaments, figurines and and timepieces. There is no end to the range of goods found here!


Medan Pasar (Market Square)

Situated between Lebuh Pasar Besar and Lebuh Ampang, Market Square refers to the spot once owned by Yap Ah Loy, headman of the Chinese community.

Jalan Masjid India

Teeming with a profusion of Indian items such as traditional costumes, ornaments and accessories.

This is also the place to try great-tasting Indian food.

Eating In Kuala Lumpur

KL is a paradise for food. There is an excellent range of food with everything from authentic local favourites to international and gourmet cuisine. Must-try items include Malay, Chinese and Indian food, available in elegant restaurants or casual open-air food courts.

Traditional Malay food is characterised by searingly spicy and aromatic flavours. Rich coconut milk is used to give a creamy texture.  Popular Malay favourites include nasi lemaksatay and rendangSambal, a hot paste of pounded chillies, prawn paste and lime juice adds zest to any Malay-style meal. A wide range of sweet and savoury cakes, including the tasty banana fritters are staple tea-time favourites

Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur credit Sham Hardy on flickr

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