Kuala Lumpur might not be a destination that rolls off your tongue when compiling a list of must visit cities on your round the world trip, but, it has a lot of positives. For a start, the locals are friendly, the food is delicious, malls are a shopper’s paradise, and the vast sprawling skyscrapers are to be admired, especially the awe-inspiring Petronas Twin Towers.
Here are my recommendations on things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Not the cheapest tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur (from £8 at the time of writing) but you can expect to see amazing city views. The KL Tower observation deck gives you a view of the city from 276 meters. Highly recommended is the open deck (extra fee), which allows you to walk around the tower outside. Within the complex you will also find the KL Tower Zoo, Blue Coral Aquarium and XD Theatre, which all have additional entrance fees.
Take the train from Kuala Lumpur Sentral station to Batu Caves, the journey takes approximately 1 hour. The station is only 5 minutes walk from the main gates. Entrance to the caves is free and attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists every week. Batu Caves has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance. Monkeys hang around as you climb up the 272 steps to view the stunning skyline of the city centre.
When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect spot to visit. Walk around the park; admire the views of the Petronas Twin Tower and neighbouring skyscrapers. The 50-acre tropical landscape provides an urban sanctuary. KLCC park features a two-acre children’s playground, symphony fountain, paddling pool, jogging track, shelters and benches, patterned footpaths and sculptures. Lake Symphony comprises of two water fountains and is programmed to provide 150 magical dramatic animations.
Aquaria is am aquarium that showcases animals and marine life from Malaysia and around the world, showcasing over 5,000 different exhibits of aquatic and land-bound creatures over a sprawling 60,000 square foot space right next to KLCC Park and Suria KLCC mall. You can watch the feeding of the piranhas, otters and sharks at regular intervals during the day. If you are feeling really adventurous then you could dive with sharks in the 2.5 million-litre tank, where you’ll encounter 5 different species of sharks and many more creatures.
Petronas Twin Towers
One of the more popular tourist attractions in SE Asia, and you cannot miss the iconic structure of the Petronas Twin Towers. Once the tallest building in the world, it is a must visit while in Kuala Lumpur. Like the KL Tower it isn’t the cheapest tourist attraction (£13 at the time of writing this), but the views are magnificent and hard to beat. There are two areas that you must visit: Skybridge: the world’s highest double-decked bridge and provides a stunning vantage point of Kuala Lumpur. Next stop, the observation desk with incredible views, 360 metres from ground level. Admire the views and also learn more about how the Twin Towers were built.
Like most large cities, traffic is a problem, but Kuala Lumpur has a number of transport options to get you around the city easily. The LRT network is incredibly reliable and cheap to travel on, as is the Monorail system, which will give you an interesting view of the city. The free GoKL bus service (purple buses) runs on a route for tourists, and is handy for shorter journeys to attractions.
Where to stay
The Reeds Boutique Hotel comes highly recommended and is my favourite place to stay when visiting Kuala Lumpur. The hotel was a nicely decorated, modern, wooden floor, and even the single rooms are spacious with flat screen TV, and excellent connectivity with the free WiFi. The bathroom has a power shower, with continuous hot water, although due to the heat, a cold shower was much needed after a day exploring the city.
For breakfast you had good choice from traditional Malaysian breakfast dishes, to an American option, which included eggs, sausages and baked beans. The coffee was good, and it was great to see free drinking water made readily available – not seen in my hotels previously in SE Asia. While staying at the hotel they very kindly upgraded to the Family Suite, which had a comfortable sofa in the living area, with flat screen TV, and upstairs was an extremely comfortable double bed, with desk and wardrobe.
The hotel could not have been better located – in the Golden Triangle area of the city and a 5-minute walk to the nearest LRT station (Dang Wangi), which took you all over the city. Within a couple of minutes on the train I was sat admiring the Petronas Twin Towers, and ten or so minutes away was the Sentral station which connects you nicely to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This boutique hotel is excellent value for money.
Hopefully, this guide will give you some ideas on things to do in Kuala Lumpur.