Top 10 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur [Ultimate Travel Guide]

Located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the capital city of Kuala Lumpur is the sparkling jewel in Malaysia's crown.

A heady mix of cultures and nationalities from Malaysia's rich past blending into a futuristic metropolis. 

This dynamic city has the fastest-growing economy in Malaysia, and with an ultra-modern skyline and frantic pace of life, Kuala Lumpur offers the visitors the chance to experience everything that 21st-century Malaysia has to offer.

So wait no more, pack your bags, and let me take you on a tour to the one and only, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia: How to get there?

Airports and Airlines

Main gateway to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International Airport is located in Sepang, 75 km south of Kuala Lumpur, or KL as most referred to.

The impressive airport is surrounded by green land, has won numerous awards from international organizations such as Skytrax and International Air Transport Association.

KLIA airport is served by these two main airlines:

  • · Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier.

  • · Air Asia, Malaysia’s Low Cost Company that serves both Malaysia and South East Asia from Kuala Lumpur. Air Asia is booming in the region and regularly makes very interesting promotions, even at the last minute. You can purchase tickets online from the website.

Here are some other airlines flying from other parts of Asia to Malaysia:

Traveling to Malaysia from Europe

You can find many direct flights from Europe to Kuala Lumpur. Air France and Malaysia Airlines offers daily direct flights from Paris to Kuala Lumpur for 700€ up to 1200€, depending on the high/low season.

British Airways also has many direct flights to Kuala Lumpur at some really great rates, starting from £330 in low season. You can check here for cheap flight from the UK to KL.

Traveling to Malaysia from North America

The only airline offering direct flights from the US to Malaysia is Eva Air, at some very reasonable fares as well. The cheapest ones often take off from the JFK or LAX airport, starting from 300USD.

You can find many other airlines flying to Kuala Lumpur with minimum and quick stops and at some cheap prices too:

Check Skyscanner or Skiplagged for the best deals out there.

Visa procedures

Travelers should present a valid passport for at least six months beyond the date of entry. There’s a possibility you may be asked to provide proof of a return ticket and sufficient funds to cover your stay.

Also, keep in mind that depending on your nationality, you can extend your visa at an immigration office in KL for additional one or two months. Extensions tend to be granted only for genuine emergencies, but generally not required for stays of up to 60 days.

At the airport

Once you land in Kuala Lumpur, you can reach the city in several ways:

  • KLIA Ekspress is a direct train between KLIA and KL Sentral (KL railway station). It offers exactly 28 minutes to connect the 2 stations and costs around 8 USD one way. There is a train every 15 minutes from about 5 am to midnight.
    For people traveling with Malaysia Airlines, check-in counters are available at KL Sentral. This allows you to record a few hours in advance, to make a last walk before jumping into the KLIA Ekspress, then directly into the aircraft.
  •  Taxis costs 17 to 25 USD, but nevertheless, make sure the meter is running before you can roll.
  • Skybus is basically available 24/24, every 15 to 30 minutes between KL Sentral and LCCT (The Low Cost Carrier Terminal). The ticket costs about 2 USD. You can buy the ticket at the entrance of the bus. The journey takes between an hour and an hour and half.

When to go?

Wet season with moderate rainfall in Kuala Lumpur

With relatively acceptable weather conditions, the quiet period from May to September allows visiting the city without having to wear waterproof clothing or umbrellas.

However, vigilance is needed because with the winds that blow from the west coast, the weather in Kuala Lumpur can change from one moment to another.

Wet season with heavy rains in Kuala Lumpur

From November to May, the weather is at the same time dominated by the abundance of rain and persistent heat. Temperatures vary in fact between 24 and 34 degrees. But instead of bringing some freshness, humidity stifles the air.

So before planning travel to Kuala Lumpur, check the bulletin of the local weather, to determine whether the time is right or not.

​So, when to hit the road?

From its location, the capital of Malaysia is experiencing strong heat and high humidity. The rains, present throughout the year, associated with the high heat, weigh down the atmosphere.

To fully enjoy your stay in Kuala Lumpur, avoid as much as possible the wettest months, April and May and then November and December.

How to get around KL?

With a city so dense and with so many sights, it’s no wonder that Kuala Lumpur’s traffic is notorious!

KL is a busy city and crazy traffic is common, but with an extensive public transport including taxis, buses and various rail systems, getting around the city is not so complicated.

It is better to stay clear from taxis and buses in the early morning rush hours (7am – 9am) and the late evening crawl (5pm– 7pm) as you are more than likely to get stuck in traffic for a while.

Instead use KL’s comprehensive urban rail-based network: it has lessened the city’s traffic jams by serving between 130,000 to 150,000 commuters per day.

One awesome thing about KL transport is the MyRapid Cards. The MyRapid Card gives unlimited travel on the Rapid KL buses, Light Rail Transport lines or Monorail and can be loaded for travel for up to 30 days. It can be purchased and money is loaded onto the card which can then be swiped for bus and rail use. The card works on a touch 'n go system, and every time a traveler places the card on the reader, the ticket value is automatically deducted.

Buses

Kuala Lumpur has an extensive bus network. There are a number of bus services available, including Metrobus, Rapid KL and City Liner. Buses are cheap and efficient, provided there are no traffic jams.

Bus fares depend on the operating company; some will use the daily pass system, while on others the price of a journey will depend on how many zones travelled across.

Trains

Kuala Lumpur has a well-developed rail system consisting of two Light Rail Transit lines (the Kelana Jaya line and the Ampang line), a monorail line which runs from Titiwangsa to KL Sentral, two commuter rail systems and an airport rail link.

Trains in Kuala Lumpur are joined to the bus system, which makes it easy to transmission from one to another. It also means that travelers don’t have to pay separate fees when moving from the railway onto a bus route.

The LRT is the most reliable form of public transport in Kuala Lumpur; however, it can get very crowded, especially at rush hour.

Taxis

Taxis in Kuala Lumpur are available 24 hours a day, and can be hailed on the street. There are extra charges if you're booking a taxi over the phone and after midnight.

Taxis generally have a fixed rate depending on the distance traveled, and those from Kuala Lumpur International Airport are prepaid at a counter within the building.

Due to heavy traffic congestion, particularly during rush hour, taxis are not the most convenient means of getting around Kuala Lumpur.

FYI

Petty thieves and pickpockets are known to operate on public transport in Kuala Lumpur, and expats should always keep a close eye on their possessions, especially when getting on and off buses and trains.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur hotels suit all kind budgets, from renowned five-star hotel brands, to fun boutique hotels with cool and quirky designs, and some quite affordable accommodation for budget travelers.

The most popular area to stay when you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur is Bukit Bintang - the shopping heart of Kuala Lumpur offers the visitor an exciting and colorful adventure around every corner, with streets bursting with every imaginable shopping opportunity. From the most extravagant indulgence to affordable roadside bargains, there is more than enough to satisfy every taste.

If you favor staying near the city's iconic landmarks, KLCC and Chinatown KL are your best bets as both districts host a wide range of housing options that are within walking distance to ornate temples, sleek skyscrapers, and historical architecture.

Traveling on a budget

The best things about the affordable hotels in Kuala Lumpur is that they’re low priced, forgoing unnecessary features to keep rates low and pass those savings onto guests. Plus that they are close to some of the city’s top points of interest, making it easy to get out and explore, with public transport links like light rail transit (LRT) and monorail train stations nearby.

Also, the service is delightful and efficient, with management quick to help arrange for in-room services, airport transfers and even tours. Lately, boutique hotels have flourished all over the city’s landscape, ensuing in a diverse range of affordable accommodation options.

V Garden Hotel

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Traveling like a Queen

If you have a taste for refined interiors, exquisite guestrooms, custom-made service and an impressive array of quality services like swimming pools, fitness centers, and internationally renowned restaurants, well, you’re in the right place. The luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur are the perfect accommodation options for the most sophisticated and demanding of guests.

The 5 star hotels in KL hold their own against some of the most popular hotels in the world. At walking distance from popular destination as the Petronas Twin Towers, Menara KL Tower as well as KL’s major shopping malls as Pavilion KL, Starhill Gallery, Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Shopping Mall.

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

What to see in Kuala Lumpur?

Petronas Twin Towers

Situated in the center of Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Twin Towers rise dramatically above the city's skyline to a dizzying height of over 450 meters, and occupy 100 acres of prime downtown real estate, housing parks, cultural and science centers, and providing countless recreation and leisure activities for all. Built in 1998 by the Argentinian architect Cesar Pelli, the twin towers have been the tallest in the world until 2004.

You can book your tickets online in advance to avoid the long wait.

Islamic Arts Museum

The amazing museum contains some of the most outstanding collections of Islamic artifacts in the world. The building itself stands as a marvelous witness of the treasures it holds inside. The decorated domes and glazed tile work contain amidst them an array of beautiful textiles, carpets, jewelry and calligraphy-inscribed poetry.

The museum is within walking distance west of the Kuala Lumpur railway station. You can book your tickets online from here.

Bird Park KL

Billed as the largest bird park in the world with more than 3000 birds under its giant canopy covering 21 hectares, the place is a paradise for bird lovers. Rich, calm and well organized, the KL Bird Park is a flagrant contrast to the busy and loud traffic of the rest of Kuala Lumpur.

The Bird Park is located in the Lake Gardens, a green space of 150 hectares, where you can also see an artificial lake, visit the Old Parliament House, the Butterfly Park KL and two gardens: a garden dedicated to orchids and a garden dedicated to hibiscus.

It’s while the park’s staff is feeding the animals that you can take the best pictures. In the day, many species remain hidden in their cages or usually live in the treetops. Many shows are also organized throughout the day.

FYI

  • How to get there: The Bird Park is a 10 minutes taxi ride from downtown.
  • Prices: Adults entry, around 13USD. Kids entry’s around 10USD.
  • The park opens from 9am to 6pm, including weekends and on holidays.

Little India

All cultures are represented in Kuala Lumpur; there are about 44% Malays, 43% Chinese and 10% Indians living in Kuala Lumpur, giving the city a cosmopolitan and multicultural vibe.

The Indian quarter is a good representation of these aspects because the area is in contrast to the new districts and futuristic towers located just two steps away. The area is called Little India, it is quite small but beaming with life. You can find some pretty good restaurants and plenty of shops.

Stroll down Little India on a Saturday afternoon, it is market day and the streets are packed with people. Get lost among the stalls and taste the local specialties from stand to stand you.

Chinatown

The main attraction of Chinatown is the Central Market, a veritable flea market outdoors and covered. There are stalls selling almost everything: t-shirts, watches, belts, jeans, trinkets, souvenirs, sunglasses and counterfeits.

You can bargain hard here, so knock yourself out!

Venture into the entrails of the market where there are local food stalls. You’ll eat well and cheaply. Choose a lively stand with many customers; that is usually a good sign. A little away from the market, the ride is nice. In the adjacent streets you can see old colonial Chinese buildings and many temples. The streets here are swarming; one can quickly feel dizzy...

How to get there: LRT Metro, Pasar Seni stop.

Menara Tower

Menara tower, still referred to as the KL Tower, is the 2nd tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur.

The telecommunication tower stand at the imposing height of 421m and was built in 1995 by the architect Kumpulan Senireka Sdn Bhd. This is the second tallest building in Malaysia after the Petronas Towers. The KL Tower weighs 100,000 tons!

A rotating panoramic restaurant sits on the top floor of the tower. You can also just go to the next to last floor of the Menara tower to enjoy a 360 ° view of Kuala Lumpur!

Adrenaline rush guaranteed. The view is just breathtaking!

The KL tower is open every day from 9am to 10pm, you can go there by taxi or LRT metro.

Pack your bags!

More than just a modern city, Kuala Lumpur has a rich and colorful history, which can be seen in the many colonial-era buildings nestled amongst the towering skyscapers, as well as beautiful hillside temples offering a tranquil escape from the chaos of modern city life.

The dazzling colors and sounds of Jalan Pataling Street in Chinatown attract both visitors and locals alike to the infinite variety of goods on display in this bargain hunter's paradise. There is a vast array of food and drinks on offer, with rich flavors and aromas too tempting to resist, and the laid-back and friendly atmosphere of the night markets will help you unwind with a cold beer after a long day of shopping.

Kuala Lumpur is a city of endless variety, offering every modern luxury as well as all the flavors of the people, rich in history and culture.

Reply