16 Best Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur | Travel Guide

If you are debating whether you should add Kuala Lumpur to your travel itinerary then keep reading to find out why Kuala Lumpur is worth visiting.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, often referred to as the city of lights with its gleaming skyscrapers in its iconic skyline. The city is a fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous influences which can be seen in its vibrant neighbourhoods, architecture and of course in its cuisine.

I went to Kuala Lumpur not knowing what to expect, I was charmed by the warmth of the people, fell in love with the food, and learned so much about Malaysian culture.

16 of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur

1. Petrona Towers

The Petronas Twin Towers are a must-see in Kuala Lumpur, they are the world’s tallest twin towers, and they are truly a sight to behold. Photos simply do not do them justice. These towers twinkle in the Kuala Lumpur skyline during the day and night, and they are an iconic symbol of the city.

The towers are primarily office buildings, but they also house an observation deck on the 86th floor. From this deck, you can enjoy stunning views of the city and beyond. You will also have access to the sky bridge on the 41st and 42nd floors, which connects the two towers.

Tickets to the Petronas Twin Towers cost RM 98 for tourists and RM 35 for Malaysian passport holders. There are also discounts for children and seniors. Tickets tend to sell out quickly, so it is best to book your tickets in advance.

Book tickets to the Petronas Towers here.

2. Jalan Petaling

Jalan Petaling is a street market in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown that sells anything and everything, from designer dupes to delicious street food. The market is covered, so you can escape the heat of Kuala Lumpur, and most of it is pedestrianized, but watch out for motorbikes that sometimes pass by.

While you can certainly find bargains at Jalan Petaling, you should also try the food, because eating is truly one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Here are a few recommendations:

Madam Tang Muah Chee Queen – The owner of this stall has been selling Muah Chee for over 50 years and is a permanent fixture on Jalan Petaling. Selling 6 different flavours – original, ribena, mango, black sesame, lychee and pandan, they are then covered in crushed peanuts.

Location: Madam Tang Machi Popo

Apam Balik – A huge peanut pancake, seriously delicious! The pancake is so soft and the peanuts on top add a nice crunch.

Location: Petaling Street Apek’s Apam

Chee Cheong Fun – Made to order rice noodles that are covered in a sweet red peanut sauce with a side of some spicy sambal that you can mix in to increase the heat of your dish.

Location: Yooi Kee Chee Cheong Fun

Sze Ngan Chye – This has to be the crispiest and most tender roast duck I have ever had, it is literally perfect! Get yourself down here early, it is a very popular stall which often sells out by midday. You can order with a full duck of half duck.

Location: Sze Ngan Chye

3. The Background Market Place

The Background is an indoor marketplace in Kuala Lumpur that’s home to a wide variety of food stalls, as well as a cool bookstore on the top floors. The food stalls offer a wide variety of cuisines, from Malaysian to Thai to Japanese and Western food.

The market is not all about food, head up to the top floors to explore the bookstore. The bookstore is housed in a maze of bookshelves, and it’s a great place to get lost in a good book.

4. Batu Caves

No trip to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a visit to Batu Caves. The Batu Caves are 400 years old, and dedicated to Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of war due to the mouth of the cave resembling a spear. The 140-foot statue at the entrance of the cave is of Lord Murugan!

The site has three main caves: the Cathedral Cave, the Cave of the Dancing Bear, and the Dark Cave. The Cathedral Cave is the largest and most impressive cave. Please note that the Dark Cave is a bat cave that can only be explored with a guide.

The adventure starts the moment you arrive, confronted with 272 colourful steps that are filled with a lot of cheeky macaques who have their eyes on your belongings! The walk up the steps is steep but manageable, the monkeys are a great distraction but do be mindful of what you bring up the steps as they will grab anything that they want.

This is a religious site so you will need to dress modestly, females need to cover their shoulders while men will be fine with shorts and a t-shirt.

Cost: Entrance to the Batu caves are free

Getting there: KLM Komuter train from Sentral station is the best way to get to the Batu caves. The caves are the last stop and should take about 35 minutes.
Another way to get to the Batu Caves is by using the taxi app grab, it will cost approximately 45 MYR.

If you would prefer to have someone else organise getting there then consider booking a tour. Either way it is one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.


5. Bird Park

Kuala Lumpur’s Bird Park is so much fun! I only visited because it kept showing up in search results but I thought it would be just like an aviary in a regular zoo. This was not the case and it earned it’s place as one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur. KL bird park has over 3,000 birds from 200 different species. What makes KL bird park so cool is they emphasise free-flight with 3 zones of the park have free roaming birds. For birds this allows them to breed naturally and visitors can experience a tropical rainforest.

The type pf birds you can see here include Brahminy Kites, Flamingos, Yellow-billed Storks, peacocks , parrots owls and ostriches.

I highly recommend the Hornbill restaurant for some food during your visit. Although it is a bit more expensive then the regular price of food in KL it really is delicious.

Cost: RM 85 for adults and RM 60 for children. Holders of a Mykad (Malaysian ID) get significant reductions.

Getting there: KTM Commuter Train, the stop is KTM Old Railway Kuala Lumpur Station.

Book KL Bird Park tickets

6. Guan Di Temple Chinatown

In the heart of Chinatown lies one of the oldest temples in Malaysia: Guan Di Temple. It was built in 1888 by the Chinese community in Kuala Lumpur and is dedicated to Guan Di, a general who fought for the warlord Liu Bei, the first Emperor of one of the Three Kingdoms that later united to become China.

Inside the temple, you will find a small yet vibrant space adorned with colourful statues. The temple even features a 60kg sword, alleged to possess the power to grant good luck to anyone who can lift it three times. However, it’s important to note that touching this sword is not allowed.

There is no entrance fee, but if you wish, you can make a donation while inside.

7. Sri Mahamariamman Temple

A few meters from Guan Di Temple stands the richest temple in Kuala Lumpur, Sri Maha Mariamman. Built in 1879, it is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur and is dedicated to the Goddess Mariamman, believed to possess the power to cure epidemic illnesses and diseases.

The entrance is adorned with a colourful sculpture featuring 228 deities and assorted characters from Hindu mythology. Once inside, the temple exudes a tranquil ambiance. Currently, renovation works are underway, so it’s advisable to anticipate the presence of scaffolding. However, I didn’t feel that this detracted from the temple’s beauty, as there are still plenty of colourful murals and statues to appreciate inside. Explore this temple and experience one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

Outside the entrance, you’ll find a small kiosk that offers the option to securely store your shoes for a nominal fee.

8. Heritage Park 

If you’re seeking a respite from the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur city, consider heading to this 170-acre park. This lush, green urban sanctuary encompasses several themed gardens. Among my favourites are the butterfly park, orchid garden, and Perdana Botanical Gardens.

However, I must advise against visiting the deer park. The deer are kept in run-down, dirty enclosures, and they appear to be quite miserable.

9. Changkat Bukit Bintang

Located in the Bukit Bintang area, Changkat Bukit Bintang is a popular street that is well known for its various bars, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues. I recommend you check out the following places:

Gravy Baby – western style gastropub.
Dining in the Dark – fine dining restaurant in the dark.
The Whisky Bar – Whiskey bar (as name implies) that also sellS cocktails, beer and food.
Old Shanghai – Malaysian / Chinese fusion restaurant.

10. Fung Won Biscuit

Fung Won Biscuit is a 113-year-old café that has been selling traditional Chinese pastries and biscuits for over six decades. Despite its long history, the interior is remarkably modern and could easily compete with any new trendy coffee shop in a major city.

This was my first time tasting traditional Chinese pastries, which are quite distinct from the pastries I typically consume. We sampled the husband pastry (made with Fermented Red Bean Curd, Peanuts, Sesame, Five Star Anise, Butter, and Salt), egg tart, and century egg pastry.

The experience was intriguing; I enjoy trying new things, though I do find that I still prefer the super-sweet pastries I’m accustomed to.

11. Visit a Mosque

Masjid Jamek Mosque in kuala lumpur

As of 2020, 63.5% of Malaysians identified as Muslim. To gain a deeper understanding of the country, I believe it’s important to visit one of their many mosques. Peaceful and architecturally beautiful, these mosques offer a brilliant way to connect with the essence of the nation. One of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to immerse yourself in the cultural and spiritual significance of these stunning places of worship.

There are numerous breathtaking mosques to choose from. Some of my favourites include:

  • Masjid Jamek Mosque – one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. The architecture is a blend of Moorish, Indian, and Islamic styles.
  • The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque – referred to as blue mosque due to its distinctive striking blue dome. Located within the Shah Alam Lake Gardens.
  • Tuanku MizanZainalAbidin Mosque (ie the Iron Mosque) – contemporary and distinctive architectural design, characterised by its iron framework and sleek lines, contrasts with traditional mosque architecture.
  • Putra Mosque – distinctive pink granite architecture and stand out pink dome. Pink dome is said to be symbolic of the rose tinted lenses worn by Prophet Muhammad

12. Menara / KL Tower

Menara or KL Tower is the tallest tower in Southeast Asia and the 7th tallest in the world. The tower comprises 22 levels, with 4 elevators and a total of 2,058 steps. One of the best experiences is enjoying a meal at the revolving restaurant, offering unobstructed 360-degree views. Additionally, you can explore the open-air Sky Deck and the thrilling Sky Box, where only a glass floor separates you from the 300 meters below.

Check KL Tower Availability

Book Revolving Restaurant

13. KL Eco Park

Looking for a unique experience? KL Eco Park might be the perfect destination for an exciting day out. This 9-hectare park offers a canopy walk that elevates you to the treetops, where you can spot a variety of wildlife, including macaques and silverleaf monkeys. While the canopy trail might benefit from some renovation, it remains a rewarding experience. Apart from the canopy walk, the park boasts numerous other hiking routes. However, many of them lack clear signposts, which could make navigation a challenge.

Entrance costs RM 45 for tourists.

14. Central Market

This Central Market has 350 shops selling clothings, crafts and local goods. It is a great place to pick up some souvenirs or gifts, I really enjoyed the browsing the ethnic clothing. Do not forget to do a bit. of haggling here, it is expected but be reasonable! The market is also air conditioned which is a big bonus! When you need a break from all the shopping head to the second floor for some food.

15. Jalan Alor

In the heart of Bukit Bintang is Jalan Alor, an incredible nighttime food market, you will not be able to resist the authentic street food here! It is a very popular market and is a great place to get comfortable with the street food scene. The market is buzzing at night, there are plenty of cuisines from Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Korean to desert and fruit stalls.

Some delicious foods to try are:

Char Koay Teow – Smokey flavoured stir-fried rice noodles with a variety of meat, shrimp, fishcakes, & Chinese sausage
Satay skewers
Lok Lok – Variety of meat and vegetables on skewers
Apom Berkuah – sweet pancake drizzled with coconut milk
Fried Bee Hoon – vermicelli rice with soy sauce, rice wine, salt & pepper, often topped with an omelette.

16. Shop

Kuala Lumpur is an amazing place to shop, there are many shopping centres and markets. I found many Western brands are about 10 – 20 % cheaper than in the EU and US, therefore it can be a great place to grab a bargain. Not only are the prices great but the shopping centres are huge, they have incredible restaurants and bars.

Some malls in Kuala Lumpur I recommend you visit:

The Pavillion – Over 700 shops & restaurants, mostly high-end/luxury goods. The food court is amazing!
Berjaya Times Square – Over 1,000 shops & restaurants. Features musical stairs and a theme park with an indoor rollercoaster!!
Suria KLCC – 360 shops & restaurants, located beside the petronas towers

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

How many days in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur is a compact city, I would recommend 3 days. This will allow you to see all the top attractions and experience the culture.

Is Kuala Lumpur Safe?

Kuala Lumpur is generally a safe city, it currently ranks 35th in the EIU Safe Cities index. Petty crime such as pickpocketing is the most common crime in Malaysia but violent crimes are rare.

Here are a few tips that can keep you safe while you are in Kuala Lumpur:

  • Dress conservatively and avoid wearing revealing clothing. I experienced unwanted attention from just wearing gym shorts
  • Do not flash jewellery or cash
  • Don’t walk alone at night, use Grab they are an affordable taxi app
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep your personal space.

You will most likely run into no trouble while in Kuala Lumpur but it is always a good idea to be alert to the dangers of a new city.

Is Kuala Lumpur Expensive?

I found Kuala Lumpur to be one of the most affordable cities I’ve visited in Southeast Asia. You can easily sustain yourself with the delicious street food, with each dish typically costing around RM 12.45. Moreover, restaurants are also remarkably budget-friendly, with main meals averaging around RM 45.

Transportation is reasonably priced, and to be completely honest, most individuals will not need to use it frequently due to Kuala Lumpur’s compact size. A single ride on the monorail ranges from RM 1.10 to RM 6.40.

Additionally, you can secure remarkable accommodation at a fraction of the cost, particularly if you plan to stay for an extended period. Airbnb options with top-notch gyms and infinity pools can be found for less than RM 250 per night.

Visa Requirement for Malaysia

Most countries are granted a 90-day or 30-day visa-free stay in Malaysia. Please check online whether your country is granted visa free entry to Malaysia.

You may be asked for proof of onward travel and sufficient funds for your stay. I use Onward Ticket for situations where I need proof of travel but have no idea where I am heading to next.

Getting to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur International Airport is approximately 60km from the city centre. It is a transport hub with many major airlines operating there, such as KLM, British Airways, Emirates, TAP Portugal, ANA and Singapore Airlines to name a few. I like to use Skyscanner for the best price for flights.

Getting from the airport to the city

The cheapest option is to use public transport, the KLIA Transit operates between the airport and KL Sentral, the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. You can buy tickets online for a hassle-free arrival. A single journey costs RM 49.50.

You can also book an airport transfer, although this is more expensive you will be met at the arrivals hall and taken straight to a car. Payment is made online, I like to use this option when I am arriving late to a new city.