Malaysia

Top 10 Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Tips from a Local

Kuala Lumpur, the metropolis city and capital of Malaysia, is known for its iconic skyscraper Petronas Twin Tower, the rainbow-colored steps leading up to Batu Caves and its rich amalgamation of a melting pot of cultures, evident in its delightful range of mouthwatering cuisines that are hard to resist. The name “Kuala Lumpur” translates to “Muddy Convergence”, established near the place where the two rivers intersected. Blessed with all-year-round sunny weather with intermittent rain, and a certain degree of humidity that gives you every reason to dress casually, Kuala Lumpur is brimming with latest attractions and places of interest that will delight the family tourist, adventure seeker, lone traveler, cultural buff, medical tourist, budget traveler, and any other tourist profile under the sun.

If you are planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia any time soon, here is an ultimate guide on the Top 10 Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur.

#1: Petronas Twin Tower

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Photo by Thana Gu on Unsplash

No trip to Kuala Lumpur will be complete without a visit to the world’s tallest twin tower. Standing majestically tall with 88 floors and providing viewers a bird’s eye view of the city skyline, the Petronas Twin Tower was formerly the world’s tallest building until 2004. The Petronas Twin Tower contains a remarkable steel and glass façade inspired by Islamic art motifs, making it the pride of the nation as it reflects Malaysia’s Muslim religion. Here, you can ascend up in a high-speed elevator to dizzying heights and soak in the panoramic view of the city skyline at the Observation Deck. Challenge your fear of heights or simply admire its intricate architecture as you walk along the Sky Bridge that links both the Twin Towers. At night, admire the twin peaks illuminate in the dark and seize every opportunity to create Instagram-worthy photos.

Bear in mind that admission tickets to the Twin Towers are sold out very fast, so it is advisable to book the tickets in advance online.

How To Get There

By Taxi

  • The popular ride-sharing app Grab is the best means of transport. You may also book via your hotel concierge for a door-to-door, hotel to location transfer.
  • If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur International airport, the car ride will take approximately one hour to reach the Petronas Twin Tower located in the heart of town.

By Rail

  • Feeling a bit more adventurous and wanting to take public transport? Then hop on to the KLIA Express train from the airport and disembark at the KL Sentral station.
  • From KL Sentral station, switch tracks to the LRT line and ride all the KLCC Shopping Mall.
  • From the shopping mall, take a 5-minute walk to reach to your destination.

Booking Rates

Entrance fee to the Petronas Twin Tower starts at RM119.98 and differs based on-peak and off-peak hours. Tickets can be booked in advance at a lower rate at the Petronas Twin Towers official website. Petronas Twin Tower is open every day except Monday and is closed on major local celebrations such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri (5 and 6 April 2019) and Aidiladha (11 August 2019).

#2: Aquaria KLCC

From the Petronas Twin Tower, continue your kl-sightseeing tour and head on to Aquaria KLCC. Located just a stone’s throw away and within 5 minutes walking distance from the Twin Towers, immerse yourself in the enchanting world of marine life with over 5,000 different aquatic and land-bound creatures. Home to underwater creatures found in Malaysia and select locations around the world, you can lose track of time at Aquaria KLCC. Ride on the underwater tunnel and admire the glory of the stingray as they swim above you. Well-maintained, amazingly arranged clear description of each species, comfortably air-conditioned, clean and spacious describes the place. TripAdvisor ranks Aquaria KLCC as the 4th best aquarium in Southeast Asia.

How To Get There

By Taxi

  • We cannot emphasize the convenience of a ride-sharing car, like Grab.

By Rail

  • KLCC is well connected via the various rail lines such as the LRT and MRT.

By Go-KL City Bus

  • You can also hop on the Go-KL City Bus, a free bus service that covers all the major tourist attractions in the city center, giving you a cheap alternative to touring the city at no additional cost.
  • Traverse through the town in an air-conditioned bus with free Wi-Fi and do not forget to stop at other places to see in and around Kuala Lumpur such as Matic (Malaysian Tourism Centre), Pavilion Shopping Mall, Central Market, KL Tower, National Museum, KL Bird Park, KL City Gallery at Dataran Merdaka, and KL Forest Eco Park at Bukit Nanas)

#3: Menara Kuala Lumpur (or Kuala Lumpur Tower)

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Photo by KL Menara Tower

If scaling up towers tickles your fancy, or if you missed the opportunity to visit the Petronas Twin Tower, then the Kuala Lumpur Tower (or commonly referred to as KL Tower) is a good alternative. Located 300 meters above ground level, the KL Tower offers a 360” view of the Kuala Lumpur City skyline. If you are not scared of heights, then step into the Sky Box. Hoisted 300 meters up in the air, the translucent Sky Box is not for the faint-hearted as it extends out from the Sky Deck ledge, lending that feeling of walking in the air!

You can end your visit on a high note with dinner at Atmosphere 360, a revolving restaurant located 282 meters up in the sky. Complete with starry fiber optic ceiling lights and the Kuala Lumpur skyline; this is one incredible dining experience and menu that will delight even the fussiest traveler.

 How To Get There

 By Go-KL City Bus

  • Hop on to the Go-KL City Bus and take the Purple Line. Get off the bus stop near KL Tower.

 By Rail

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#4: Batu Caves

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Photo by Omar Elsharawy on Unsplash

Batu Caves is a limestone cave comprising one major cave and several smaller caves within. One of Malaysia’s top tourist hotspots and a sacred landmark for Hindu devotees, Batu Caves is home to the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world. Batu Caves attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists around the world, especially during the annual Hindu festival called Thaipusam. During Thaipusam, male devotees carry kavadis, which are beautifully adorned piercings that can weight up to 30 kg, as a gesture to thank Lord Murugan for his blessings and to receive future blessings. Female devotes often carry silver milk pots, although they can choose to carry kavadis as well. Men and women shave their heads bald as a sacrifice for the good luck from Lord Murugan.

In August 2018, the red and white colored steps were repainted to rainbow-colored hues, transforming it an Instagram-idol’s haven overnight.

A word of caution: Do not carry food or soft drinks, as there are plenty of monkeys on the lookout for “free food”. Do put on your mosquito repellant before entering to prevent mosquito bites as well.

Batu Caves is worth your time simply for its breathtaking view set amidst the backdrop of majestic limestone formations, the imposing golden statue of Lord Murugan and simple pleasures of watching the monkey’s antics. These sights are enough to make the trip a memorable experience.

How To Get There

Located just 13 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur, here’s how you can get to Batu Caves:-

By Rail

  • From KLIA 2 airport, ride on KL Express train and alight at KL Sentral. Look out for the KTM Commuter line and buy your ticket to Batu Caves station.
  • A single ticket to Batu Caves is 2 MYR and a return will be 4 MYR. Once you arrive at Batu Caves, exit right and you can’t miss the caves. Look for the 43 meters (140 ft.) tall statue of a Hindu deity to guide you.

By Taxi

  • Simply download the Grab app on to your mobile for a door-to-door, hassle-free trip throughout the city.

#5: Sunway Lagoon Water Theme Park

If you are traveling with kids (or you’re simply a big kid at heart) then Sunway Lagoon Water Theme Park will thrill you and your family to bits! Located approximately 40 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon boasts more than 90 attractions across six parks. From the Amusement Park, Water Park, Wildlife Park, Extreme Park, Scream Park, and Asia’s First Nickelodeon Themed Land, (Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon), you will find attractions that will appeal to everyone. Be ready to spend the entire day here, as this 88-acre park requires a lot of footwork! If you are traveling with young children, a stroller will come in handy as your child will not be able to walk such long distances.

Should you wish to sleep overnight, then head next door to the 5-star Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa. The Sunway Shopping Mall attaches to the Lagoon and Hotel, making your stay here extremely convenient and splashing fun.

How To Get There

By Taxi

  • Grab offers a seamless door-to-door option of traveling.
  • Simply download the Grab app for effortless travel throughout the city.

By Public Transport

  • You can opt to ride Rapid KL Bus U63 from KL Sentral for a mere fare of less than RM3. The waiting time for the bus to arrive is long, and the bus could be packed during peak hours.
  • You can board the bus from the bus station that is located outside the YMCA building, opposite NU Sentral Shopping Mall.  The bus operates from 6 am in the morning to 11.30 pm at night. Choose this option if you are in a hurry, on a budget or don’t mind the crowds.

 #6: Kuala Lumpur City Gallery

Should you wish to curate your own version of a city tour of Kuala Lumpur, then the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is your go-to place. Located opposite Independence Square, the Gallery showcases KL’s past, present, and future through miniatures. The highlight of the gallery is its Specular City Model Show, where a massive model measuring 40ft X 50 ft. (12m X 15m) shows the city’s history, present, and future through a light and sound presentation. With a total of 9 innovative exhibits, KL City Gallery is a must-stop for anyone who wants to experience 360° of Kuala Lumpur within an hour or 2. Do not forget to pick up a free copy of the KL Walks and Tours map at the Gallery and savor some of the finest local delicacies at the ARCH Café, just before you exit.

How To Get There

By Taxi

  • Hail a taxi or GRAB from anywhere around town to KL City Gallery 

By Rail

  • Rapid KL LRT: Stop at the Masjid Jamek Station (ST5 – Ampang Line) or Pasar Seni Station (KJ14 – Kelana Jaya Line). A 5-7 minutes’ walk toward Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka) and you are there.
  • KTMB Komuter: Stop at Kuala Lumpur Station (KA02), then walk towards the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

By Bus

  • Hop On Hop Off Bus: Stop at No. 17 Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka).

# 7: Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery

Bestowed by TripAdvisor with the Travellers Choice Award, the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, is a hidden gem that every academic or history buff should not miss. Established by the Central Bank of Malaysia, the Gallery is an informal venue to learn about the importance of economics, Islamic banking and financial planning, and the Central Bank’s role plays in nation-building through economics transformational policies.

The Art Gallery flaunts an impressive assortment of Malaysian and Southeast Asian art acquired since 1962. The displays are extremely interactive, with interesting games peppered throughout the museum that will awe and intrigue you. The unique ‘River of Coins’ game, an impressive display of world banknotes is encapsulated in see-through displays that can be pulled out from shelves, makes this visit intensely enriching.

At the Children’s Gallery, kids remain thrilled in this money playground, with numerous hands-on games and activities based on the concept of ‘Save, Spend and Share. Walking through the RM1 Million Tunnel filled with a variety of Malaysian banknote denominations and series over the years is a good way to start your fulfilling half-day tour.

The space is extremely calm, with ample parking space and there is no entrance fee too. You can end your visit at a cozy cafe and fuel up for your next stop.

 How To Get There

 By Taxi

  • Hail a taxi or GRAB from anywhere around town.

By Rail

  • From KLIA, board the Express Rail Link (ERL) and disembark at KL Sentral station.
  • If starting from KL Sentral, switch to the KTM Kommuter line or STAR LRT line and ride to the Bank Negara station.
  • Walk for another 10 minutes (or 570 meters) to reach your destination.

#8: Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor

Host to the best hawker food in Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Alor is a place in KL is a must-see. Located just behind Bukit Bintang walk, this is a favorite dining spot in the Golden Triangle area. While you can enjoy seafood in air-conditioned restaurants located along Jalan Alor, we would strongly recommend that you savor the food along the road, amidst the hawker stalls as that is where the best street food is! There are plenty of gastronomical delights ranging from barbecued meat, noodles, fusion, desserts and more.

After feasting on street food, do not miss out on the vibrant nightlife along Jalan Bukit Bintang, a busy thoroughfare with upscale malls and lux fashion boutiques. Alternatively, head over to Chang Bukit Bintang, the city’s go-to hotspot for after-hours entertainment and one of the trendiest places in town for pub crawling.

#9: Royal Selangor Visitor Centre

Known for its finest quality of pewter, Royal Selangor is a great place to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Constantly pushing the limits of creativity of pewter design, Royal Selangor is the pride of the nation. Entrusted to craft bespoke trophies for signature sporting events such as Formula 1 in Malaysia, Singapore, and China, the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre showcases a beautiful craft piece. Wander through the intriguing exhibits, witness real-time pewter crafting, and end your tour with hands-on pewter-smithing workshop. Here, you will be blown away by the hospitality of the host guide with their rich anecdotes and true to life stories of the brand and founders. Recognized as one of the top tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur and winner of the Traveller’s Choice Award by TripAdvisor in 2015, most tourists cannot help but ravel about the school of hard knocks experience!

How To Get There

By Taxi

There is no better way to get to Royal Selangor via taxi or GRAB car.

 #10: KL Bird Park

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Photo courtesy of KL Bird Park

Acclaimed as the world’s largest free-flight, walk-in aviary, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is home to more than 3,000 birds. The park is located in a sprawling valley, and flocks of new feathered friends will be eager to greet you.  Do not miss the opportunity to feed the birds as you make your journey down the sloping hills. Bring along some coins as the bird food vending machine accepts only coins. Alternatively, you can change your notes for coins at the souvenir stores there. Watch the peacock display their feathers in full glory as you stroll along the stroller-friend paths. Admire the flamingos and storks by the pond, or simply let your little one feed the koi fishes and ducks.

With an ambiance of tropical green forest, the park is massive, with plenty of birds to keep you happy. You should visit the KL Bird Park in the morning when it is not too hot. Do make time to visit, as it is the only place around offering this type of experience.

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