We recently found ourselves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 10. Full. Days. Full-time travel normally has us moving around quite a bit. So we almost never have that much time to explore a new place!
After 10 days of exploring, we grew to love Kuala Lumpur quite a bit. It definitely isn’t a city that wows you right away. It’s more of a slow burn.
Luckily there is no shortage of great things to do in Kuala Lumpur. The sprawling city center might seem intimidating at first, but there once you settle into it, you’ll see just how fun it can be.
21 Amazing Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1. Visit Petaling Street
Perhaps the best place in all of Kuala Lumpur to barter for counterfeit goods, Petaling Street is part of Chinatown that you won’t want to miss.
There are seemingly hundreds of vendors hawking (admittedly quite good) counterfeit items and lots of great Chinese food spots to dine at too.
2. Visit Central Market
Just down the road from Petaling Street is the Kuala Lumpur Central Market. Originally built in 1888, it’s now classified as a Malaysian Heritage Site.
There are vendors of all sorts in Central Market that are worth checking out, making it a great place to stroll through and soak in the atmosphere.
3. Visit Kasturi Walk
Right next to Central Market is the covered Kasturi Walk. This is a great area to pick up some street-food-style snacks and listen to street musicians.
4. Visit the KL Forest Eco Park
Since Kuala Lumpur is quite the concrete jungle, it’s easy to forget that it used to be an actual jungle. That’s where the KL Forest Eco Park comes in.
Situated right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this park has several trails and a really cool canopy walkway. It was free to get in for us, but we did see signs saying that starting January 1, 2020, they will start charging 10 RM to Malaysian citizens or those holding a special card, and 40 RM for everyone else.
5. Get lost in Nu Sentral Mall
Nu Sentral is a massive shopping centre iattached to the KL Sentral station. This makes it one of the easiest shopping centers to get to in the entire city. You don’t even have to leave the train station to enter the mall!
There are several floors selling everything from groceries to luxury items. Given how hot the weather can be in Kuala Lumpur, this is a great place to cool off in the air-conditioning before continuing your adventures.
6. Take the LRT or MRT around the city
It can be intimidating taking public transportation in an unfamiliar city, but thankfully, you don’t need to be afraid of getting around by train in Kuala Lumpur. The Rapid Rail system stretches all over the city and is incredibly easy to use. Click here to see a map.
There are touchscreen ticket vending machines at each station that spits out a little plastic RFID coin. Simply use the coin to scan your way through the entrance gates. When you’re leaving the station, deposit the same coin into the exit gates.
Fares start at about 1.30 RM ($0.31 USD) and go up to about 12 RM ($2.90 USD) depending on how far you’re traveling.
7. Eat at Jalon Alor Night Food Court
The Jalon Alor Night Food Court is one of the most energetic parts of Kuala Lumpur. The entire street is lined with hawker stalls and restaurants, and each one has a salesperson waiting to make their pitch.
The food from the hawker stalls will be cheaper than from the restaurants, though you can’t go wrong with either option. It’s the perfect place to head out with a group to have a fun dining experience.
8. Explore the Botanical Gardens
Perdana Botanical Garden is a 226 acre park in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a beautiful place to take a break for the chaotic city life. Entry is free and the park has trams and bike rentals available during daylight hours for just a few ringgit.
9. Visit the National Mosque of Malaysia
Able to hold 15,000 people, the National Mosque of Malaysia is truly a sight to behold. Entry is free and if your dress code isn’t conservative enough, robes will be provided for you while you tour the mosque.
10. Wander through Brickfields/Little India
About 10% of the population in Kuala Lumpur has Indian heritage and historically many people of Indian heritage have lived in Brickfields.
As you wander through the beautifully decorated streets, you’ll see so many beautiful colors from the local vendors and smell delicious aromas from the various spice stores and restaurants.
Make sure to arrive hungry, as you can get a delicious lunch spread out on a banana leaf for just 7 RM ($1.69 USD) per person.
11. Marvel at the Petronas Towers
From 1998 to 2004, the Petronas Towers stood as the tallest buildings the world. Today, they remain the tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur.
For those wanting to go into the towers and up to the observation deck, tickets cost 30 RM ($19.32 USD) per adult.
12. Go to Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are one of the most picture perfect places in all of KL! Plus, it’s super easy to get there. Jump in a Grab for less than $5 USD, or take the train up.
There are several caves, statues, and Hindu shrines that can be reached after climbing 272 colorful steps. At the base of the stairs is the tallest statue of Lord Murugan in the world, clocking in at 140 feet.
13. Visit a free museum or gallery
There are several free museums in Kuala Lumpur that you can enjoy! Here are a few:
- Royal Selangor Visitor Center
- National Art Gallery
- Petronas Art Gallery
- Kuala Lumpur Cultural Craft Complex
- Royal Malaysian Police Museum(1 RM on weekends)
- Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery
14. Eat Char Kway Teow
No trip to Malaysia is complete without trying Char Kway Teow. It’s one of the nation’s favorite dishes so all over town there are countless places serving it.
Try it from a few different places and see how they compare. Spoiler: they’ll all be incredible.
15. Go to a Chinese temple
There are several temples to choose from, but Thean Hou Temple is one of the most beautiful in the city.
Built in 1989, the colorful ornate design has several tiers and multiple altars. It’s about a 25 minute walk from the Bangsar LRT Station, so it may be best to take a Grab to get there.
16. Swing by Dataran Merdeka
Merdeka Square was the site where the Malaysian flag was first hoisted after independence in 1957. It’s the starting point for many National Day festivities and parades. It’s also a great place to learn a bit more about the history of Malaysia.
17. Stroll through KLCC Park
KLCC Park is a 50 acre green space at the base of the Petronas Towers. There is a man-made lake with a majestic fountain which is lit up beautifully at night. There is also a jogging track and a bridge which gives spectacular views of the neighboring Petronas Towers.
18. Get a bird’s-eye view from KL Tower
There are plenty of skyscrapers and towers in the city to visit, so you have options to choose from. One of the most popular options is Menara Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower). It’s the 7th tallest telecommunications tower in the world, so it offers some pretty incredible views of the city.
Be warned though, it’s an expensive outing. Tickets for adults start at $26 and go up to $33.
19. Do some people watching
There are so many great places to people watch in Kuala Lumpur, but the best way to do it is by visiting one of the many malls in the city.
Suria KLCC has 1.5 million square feet of space and Pavilion KL has 1.37 million square feet of space. Between the two, it’s easy to spend hours wandering through the air-conditioning and marveling at the stores and their patrons.
20. Visit a Hindu Temple
Right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. Dating back to the 1800’s, it’s Kuala Lumpur’s oldest Hindu temple. It has a gorgeous design and it only costs 0.20 RM ($0.05 USD) to get in, effectively making it free.
21. Visit during Christmas to admire the incredible decorations
We were lucky for our trip to KL to fall during Christmas! Since Malaysia is a muslim country, we weren’t exactly sure if people would be celebrating.
The decorations for Christmas ended up being absolutely incredible. Head to almost any major mall and the lobby will be decked out with lights, trees, and colorful baubles. Plus, almost everything stays open on Christmas day (unlike in the U.S.).
With so many amazing things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you can easily spend a week in the city and never get bored. But we would probably recommend spending 3-4 days in the city.
We stayed in a hotel in the heart of China Town and absolutely loved it. The location was great because it was walking distance to Petaling Street, Central Market, and so much more.
We hope you have an amazing time in Kuala Lumpur. Happy Travels!