Is your desire to travel often curtailed by issues to do with time, money, or other factors? Then it’s time you tried something new, less time-consuming, and highly-affordable – playing tourist in your own city! Trust us when we say this: although you may have been living in KL for years, we bet you still haven’t fully immersed yourself in what this city has to offer. Most of the time, you’re busy working and driving around without a break, making it impossible to truly admire your city and all it has to offer.
From temples and mosques to old and futuristic buildings, local markets and enticing street food – there’s just so much to do and see in Kuala Lumpur. So, pack up (very lightly) and join us as we take you to some famous spots in KL where you get to play tourist.
If you particularly enjoy going out at night, you should definitely give the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus a try. Get onboard an open top double-decker bus after dark and see the city’s famous landmarks illuminated and at your own pace. It’s a fun and hassle-free way to tour the city without having to drive. There’s also a daytime ride, but we suggest going at night, as there’s less traffic and you can enjoy the cooler weather.
You can also check out the River of Life. This area of the Kuala Lumpur river, which is in the centre of the city’s CBD (Central Business District), has been renovated to serve as a lovely river site to visit at night, with its alluringly lovely colours that will transport you to a fantastic place. Also, this location has developed a reputation as one of the Top 10 Waterfronts in the World! The River of Life also encompasses the historic and iconic Sultan Abdul Samad building and the Masjid Jamek mosque, KL’s oldest mosque. This area is accessible all day, but nighttime is the best time to hang out here.
Tourist or not, another popular spot to visit is KL’s Golden Triangle, which is the main spot for nightlife. This renowned area of Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of nightlife venues, including bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels. Although there are multiple streets in the region, Jalan P. Ramlee serves as the area’s centre, where guests can choose from a wide range of venues to drink and dance till dawn. For those searching for some retail therapy or just to pick up some trinkets before going out for a night on the town, the region also has a number of mammoth shopping malls.
KL has a sizable Chinese population in addition to Malay and Indian residents, therefore China Town has grown into a primarily Chinese-populated district of the city that is also well worth a visit. A market, Chinese dining establishments, and Chinese cultural landmarks including temples are all present in and near Petaling Street.
You’ll quickly realize that you are in Little India, a prominent region of Kuala Lumpur, when you drive just 10 minutes Southwest of Chinatown. Other than falling in love with the vibrant local sights, warm people, and all the delectable sweetmeats, go shopping for a variety of items imported from India, Sri Lanka, or made locally by Indian communities. Stock up on colourful saris, traditional Ayurvedic medicines, herbs, and spices, as well as trinkets and artwork depicting gods and goddesses.
Check Out Architecture
Kuala Lumpur’s architecture is a fusion of historic colonial elements, Asian customs, Malay Islamic inspirations, and modern and postmodern styles. Which is why, lots of tourists love visiting the buildings here. A famous work of architecture would be the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The British colonial government’s offices were housed in the Sultan Abdul Samad Building when it was constructed in the late 19th century. It is entirely made of local brick and majestically faces the Dataran Merdeka. The structure was altered to reflect the current Neo-Mughal (Indian) design aesthetic. With its colourful copper dome and 41-meter-tall (134-foot-tall) clock tower, which is home to a one-tone bell that tolls every 30 minutes, the magnificent building is clearly identifiable.
Then we have the all-famous Batu Caves. Visitors can marvel at these limestone cliffs that are strewn with caves, sculpted temples and Hindu shrines that are still revered by Malaysia’s numerous Tamil residents as significant sites of pilgrimage. Visitors can explore the caves as well as the area’s flora and fauna, which include the well-known cave bats and wild monkeys that live there. This place is also a great spot for Instagram pictures because of its colourful and artistic features.
Ever wondered how the palace in our country looks like? If you haven’t got the slightest idea, then visit the Royal Museum a.k.a the old Istana Negara. Inside this old palace is where you can see 22 internal palace areas, including the Balairung Seri (a room where the King meets with his subjects), the King’s sleeping quarters, the Royal Office, the King’s eating hall, and the King’s resting lounge. However, a lot of it is fenced off, so you don’t quite get the whole effect and view, and it’s forbidden to take photos inside. At the entryway, they do offer to take your picture. It’s still worthwhile to visit because the admission isn’t pricey.
You can’t miss visiting a Chinese temple in KL because they’re simply beautiful and magnificent. One temple we recommend visiting is the Thean Hou Temple. Due to its distinctive six tier style that makes it easily recognizable, Thean Hou Temple has become somewhat of an iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur. The temple’s interior is decorated with Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist artefacts and includes customary crimson pillars to greet guests and foster wealth. One of Kuala Lumpur’s most ornate temples, it features elaborate carvings and high ceiling decorations with red and gold paint.
Reconnect With Nature
Besides being a busy city full of cars and skyscrapers, KL also has a few gems that allow you to unwind with nature – starting with one of Malaysia’s oldest national parks, KL Eco Forest Park. Start your experience with a 200-meter canopy walk to give yourself a brief break from the concrete jungle. This rainforest features a stunning boardwalk through the forest canopy as well as various rainforest paths. Expect to be surrounded by lush greenery while enjoying a spectacular view of the city skyline.
Not far from KL Eco Forest Park is KL Bird Park – an area covering 20 acres which is home to almost 3000 birds. Although some imported birds are housed at the park, the emphasis is on promoting indigenous species to tourists. One of the biggest public aviaries in the world, KL Bird Park allows visitors to enjoy bird watching while learning about the local flora and fauna. There are breeding programmes, scientific studies of the birds in their natural habitat, and the park is also a well-known scientific location with a focus on conservation and education. Just stroll along this amazing park and you’ll make winged-friends in no time.
Visit KL Butterfly Park to experience something whimsical and be awed by the countless varieties of vibrant butterflies that live there. The park itself is designed to resemble a tropical forest and has walks, footpaths, lakes, ponds, and gazebos. In addition to the butterflies themselves, there is a wealth of local flora and fauna to be discovered. Visitors to the park can slow down and enjoy the quieter and calmer pace while they take in the local wildlife because there are informative signs available, providing information on breeding programmes, life cycles and more.
You can never have enough of shopping when you’re in KL. In fact, one day isn’t enough to shop! KL has many shopping malls and shopping spots that will give you the best shopping experience. Start off with the perfect shopping spot, Suria KLCC. Suria KLCC is a six-story shopping centre located within the massive KLCC complex, which also houses the impressive PETRONAS Towers, and offers a range of dining options, including food courts. It’s also home to shops, rides, a movie theatre, a supermarket, and other amenities. You can also browse the rows of carts selling arts, crafts and souvenirs throughout the mall.
For artistic affairs, check out Central Market and Petaling Street. Central Market, also known as Pasar Seni, is a well-known tourist destination that was formerly a wet market that sold fruit, vegetables, and meat. The area has been updated and now has distinct sections that reflect the various influences and ethnic backgrounds that are present in Malaysia, including Malay, Indian, and Chinese areas that sell local goods like genuine handicrafts, fabulous boutiques, traditional Malaysian batik items, and a variety of souvenirs that can be found among the thousands of stalls that line the streets. The area in front of the market is notable for street performers and musical performances, and there are food stalls selling regional specialties on the upper level and along the sidewalks.
The pre-war Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur’s Petaling Street still retains a lot of its historical character, especially at night when street merchants line the street with their wares. The real appeal of this night market is in roaming around and taking in its sights, sounds, and excitement, even if you may shop for anything from diamonds and incense to toys and t-shirts. The Kotaraya Shopping Center is across the street from Petaling Street, which is just a short stroll from Central Market.
The best thing about KL is obviously the food. Being such a multicultural city, you can readily find local flavours like Malay, Chinese, and Indian food, but a lot of other international cuisines also take centre stage on the local food scene. From Western to Mediterranean and even Japanese, there’s so much food to choose from.
Hutong, which is located inside Lot 10 mall, is regarded as one of the greatest in the industry. The food court is made up of neighbourhood street vendors who were chosen and invited to sell their wares at Hutong. As a result, the food is real and tasty. What’s more, everything is located under one roof, saving you the trouble of scouring the streets for a feast. The food court is an excellent spot for people who are unfamiliar with Malaysian food to go, because it offers all of the most well-known and delicious regional foods, like oyster omelettes, fried noodles and soups, dumplings, meatballs, and roasted meats.
Another food haven is Jalan Alor. Alor Street used to be renowned for being a red light district and a location of questionable reputation, but it has since cleaned up its act and is now best known for being a paradise for foodies. Going there after sundown is the perfect time because in the day, you can’t find much, as street sellers don’t really set up until the sun starts to set. That’s when the street really transforms and becomes a swarm of gastronomic activity. The merchants here typically concentrate on offering a single dish that has become famous throughout the years. Expect good but modest meals and an eating experience on plastic chairs and tables on the sidewalk.