Kuala Lumpur is the vibrant capital of Malaysia and a city that blogger Aaron Chin knows well. Growing up in Malaysia, his KL trip was when he was nine. While in high school, Aaron was chosen to be the first violinist of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and had to travel to KL regularly to practise and perform. So, he has had years to discover all the fantastic things to do in Kuala Lumpur and explore the best places to visit in KL.
Now living in Melbourne, Aaron misses Malaysian food and Mamak supper culture so much he visits KL twice a year. Below are his favourite things to do in Kuala Lumpur, an inside peek on how to discover the best Kuala Lumpur tourist spots like a local and where to find authentic Malaysian food.
- 1 Kuala Lumpur
- 1.1 Facts About Kuala Lumpur
- 1.2 Getting to Kuala Lumpur
- 1.3 Kuala Lumpur Weather
- 1.4 10 Things To Do In KL With Kids
- 1.4.1 1- Visit Petronas Twin Tower
- 1.4.2 2- Hang around in a Kuala Lumpur Shopping Mall
- 1.4.3 3- Expend some energy at ENERz extreme park
- 1.4.4 4- Cool off at Sunway Lagoon
- 1.4.5 5- See The Lights In i-City
- 1.4.6 6- Learn Something New At Petrosains
- 1.4.7 7- Visit the Museum of Illusions
- 1.4.8 8- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
- 1.4.9 9- Spend The Day At Kidzania
- 1.4.10 10- SkyTropolis Indoor Theme Park
- 1.5 20 More Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur
- 1.5.1 11- Explore history at KL city gallery
- 1.5.2 12- Escape to KL Forest Eco Park
- 1.5.3 13- Wander around Pasar Malam Setia Alam
- 1.5.4 14- Visit Kampung Baru
- 1.5.5 15- Eat Delicious Food at Publika
- 1.5.6 16- See a ceremony at Sri Mahamariamman temple
- 1.5.7 17- Visit Tian Hou Gong 天后宫 Temple
- 1.5.8 18- Explore Batu Caves
- 1.5.9 19- Enjoy the sunset at Heli Lounge Bar KL
- 1.5.10 20- Explore Petaling Street
- 1.5.11 21- Eat Mamak Food in Bangsar
- 1.5.12 22- See Colonial Architecture at Merdeka Square
- 1.5.13 23- Visit Putrajaya
- 1.5.14 24- Go Shopping At Mitsui Outlet Park
- 1.5.15 25- Eat Dinner In The Sky
- 1.5.16 26- Dining In The Dark
- 1.5.17 27- KL Bird Park
- 1.5.18 28- Swim With Sharks
- 1.5.19 29- Visit Genting Highlands
- 1.5.20 30- Take A Day Tour To Melaka
- 1.6 Where to stay in KL
Facts About Kuala Lumpur
- Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, which consists of 11 states of Peninsular Malaysia, and two states (Sabah and Sarawak) on Borneo island.
- The national language is Bahasa Malaysia but being an ethnically diverse country, Chinese and Indian dialects are spoken and English is widely used.
- The official religion of Malaysia is Islam but other religions, including Buddhism and Christianity, are freely practised.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is a large modern hub 50km from the city, with 45 international airlines flying into the airport, including national carrier Malaysia Airlines.
Low-cost airlines, such as AirAsia, Firefly, Malindo, usually fly in and out of Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah in Subang
From KLIA, the KLIA Ekspress is a high-speed rail that takes 28 minutes to KL city and car rental, bus, coach, taxi and limousine transfers are also available.
A Malaysian tourist visa is not required if you hold a passport from most Commonwealth countries but do a Malaysia visa check online before you go.
Kuala Lumpur Weather
KL weather is tropical all year-round, with temperatures ranging from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF).
The humidity is high and the average Kuala Lumpur temperature can feel rather steamy for visitors who are not used to living in the tropics.
If you don’t live in the tropics, you’ll feel the humidity as soon as you arrive.
10 Things To Do In KL With Kids
As cities go, Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant Asian metropolis and one of the top places to visit in Malaysia.
There are a lot of things to do in KL whether you’re passing through, visiting for the weekend or staying longer. But first, here’s a short list of things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids.
1- Visit Petronas Twin Tower
The most popular thing to do when visiting Kuala Lumpur is to check out the Petronas Twin Tower.
If you only have time to see one thing, this should be on the top of your list of places to visit in KL.
Although it has lost its throne for being the tallest building in the world (it was the tallest in 1998), it remains the world’s tallest twin building.
This impressive megastructure is home to a science museum, a shopping mall, a huge cinema, countless shops and even a concert hall!
Standing at 452 metres above ground, each tower’s floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares creating a shape of eight-pointed stars.
The hollow space between the two towers is linked by the Skybridge at levels 41 and 42, which is open to the public.
As there is usually a queue of visitors waiting to go up, it’s best to register early for a ticket (which is free of charge).
The Suria KLCC shopping mall is located within the complex and is an extremely modern six-level mall with shops galore, food courts, cinemas and landscaped walkways.
Insider’s tip: Only a limited number of paid passes are issued every day. It gets sold out quickly especially during the holiday season. Get there early to avoid disappointment or skip the line and pre-book your pass here! You can also appreciate the building from the front (Bank Negara side) or the back (KLCC park). If you have time, stay back for the fountain show at KLCC park!
2- Hang around in a Kuala Lumpur Shopping Mall
We have many malls in Malaysia, not because we love to shop (maybe that’s true too) but it’s mainly because we want to avoid being out in the heat.
Malaysia is home to some of the biggest malls in the world and, believe it or not, our malls are some of the most interesting places in KL to visit.
If you must choose one, visit 1 Utama! It’s the 7th biggest shopping mall in the world and it will not disappoint you.
Going inside a Kuala Lumpur shopping mall is sort of like a cultural experience too because frequenting the malls is an activity every Malaysian does all the time.
Insider’s tips: There are many interesting things to do in 1 Utama that doesn’t involve shopping.
- Visit the Secret Garden
- Challenge yourself to rock-climb at Camp 5
- Enjoy Karaoke at Neway
- Solve some puzzles at “Break the Code” escape room
Actually, if you’re looking for activities in KL, you’re likely to find them in a shopping mall. In fact, malls are turning into some of the best Kuala Lumpur tourist attractions.
Other shopping malls I recommend are Berjaya Times Square and Sunway Pyramid. You’ll be amazed by the quality of shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur.
3- Expend some energy at ENERz extreme park
If you are travelling with kids, visiting ENERz extreme park is one of the most fun things to do in KL.
It’s the largest trampoline park in Asia.
I love playing captain ball or dodge ball here and it’s more fun where there are many trampolines.
Besides playing on the trampolines, you can also rock-climb, play badminton and this place is easily one of my top 10 things to do in Kuala Lumpur for kids.
Insider’s tips: The park has seasonal discounts so keep an eye out for deals if you are planning a visit.
4- Cool off at Sunway Lagoon
Another fun thing to do in KL is to spend the day at Sunway Lagoon, which is the cheapest quality theme park that I have been to in my life.
As the tagline goes, “Simply the best day ever” – I can totally attest to that.
Every time I do a KL trip, I look forward to checking out the new facilities added to the already huge park.
Insider’s tips: To truly enjoy Sunway Lagoon, stay in Sunway Resort next to the theme park. Also, check out the discounts you can get if you shop at Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Lagoon with the keycard at Sunway Resort.
5- See The Lights In i-City
i-City in Shah Alam, which is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, is a city of lights.
The streets and parks are lit up like a fairyland using digital lights and the latest LED technology.
You’ll be enchanted as you wander through the streets gazing at the lights on the trees, buildings and projected on the sculptures at CityPark
6- Learn Something New At Petrosains
Petrosains Science Discovery Centre is a great place to visit in Kuala Lumpur for families.
Malaysia is a country that produces petroleum and this is an educational attraction that offers fun and interactive displays.
As Petrosains is located within the Petronas Twin Towers building, plan your visit to allow extra time to explore the discovery centre.
7- Visit the Museum of Illusions
A fun way to spend a couple of hours in KL with kids is to visit the Museum of Illusions.
Holograms, optical illusions, games and puzzles will keep those young minds ticking over, especially on a rainy day.
Cool attractions to test the perception of the mind include the Vortex Tunnel, Bottomless Pit and Anti Gravity Room, and the mind-blowing Vortex Tunnel.
The Museum of Illusions is at Level 1, Ansa Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Opening hours are from 10 am to 10 pm. Reserve your tickets here.
8- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
See life-sized dinosaurs at the Jurassic Research Center and have a fun time checking out the Zombie Outbreak haunted house.
Visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Adventureland in Genting Highland is one of the fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids.
9- Spend The Day At Kidzania
Kidzania is a place where kids can have fun participating in creative and educational activities.
The approach is along the lines of the Japanese daycare concept, with innovative games that help kids to learn social skills and stretch their mental abilities.
What’s great is that parents can join in the fun too.
Kidzania is in a number of locations. Take a look at where to find them here. Opening hours are from 10 am to 10 pm daily.
10- SkyTropolis Indoor Theme Park
An hour by road from Kuala Lumpur, visiting Skytropolis Indoor Theme Park in Genting Highlands is one of the fun things to do in KL with kids.
Younger kids will love the carousels, gentle rides and the Copper Express steam engine train around the garden.
Get your adrenalin rush on the Spin Crazy spinning pendulum, rotating Power Surge ride or plummeting down the Sky Tower.
SkyTropolis Indoor Theme Park is at Level 1, SkyAvenue Genting Highlands.
- 20 Famous Landmarks in Malaysia
- 30 Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur
- 35 Things To Do In Penang
- Living in Penang As An Expat
- 20 Things To Do In Melaka
- 15 Things To Do In Sabah
- 15 Things To Do In Cameron Highlands
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class Review
20 More Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur
11- Explore history at KL city gallery
You can get to know Kuala Lumpur with just RM 10 (or 3.50 AUD).
KL City Gallery is a “one-stop-shop” to learn about the past, current and future of this metropolitan.
It is also home for the red, eye-catching “I ♥ KL” that many visitors like to tick off their Kuala Lumpur sightseeing list.
Insider’s tip: KL city gallery is very close to the historical centre of the city.
Visit these Kuala Lumpur attractions – Perpustakaan Kuala Lumpur (KL Library), Plaza Merdeka (Independence Plaza) and Sultan Abdul Samad building – in one go so you don’t have to come back for them for another day!
12- Escape to KL Forest Eco Park
I found out about this park by chance when I visited KL tower. KL Forest Eco Park is now my favourite park to hang out.
Once you’re in the park, it feels as if you’re in a deep forest even though you are still close to a busy city.
If you’re looking for a place to go in KL to escape from the noise and chaotic KL traffic, this is it!
Insider’s tips: As much as I love KL Forest Eco Park, I hate the mosquitoes so bring insect repellent or you might find yourself dancing around frantically to get rid of the mosquitoes.
13- Wander around Pasar Malam Setia Alam
If you’re looking for places to visit in Kuala Lumpur at night, the city’s many night markets should be on your list.
There are so many night markets in Kuala Lumpur it can be difficult to choose just one.
Most visitors head to Jalan Alor but as a Malaysian, I prefer not to go to Jalan Alor because the food is not authentic and everything is way too overpriced.
If you want to know where to go in KL to eat like a local, head to my favourite night market the world.
Setia Alam Night Market is the longest night market in Malaysia (officially recorded by the Malaysia Book of Records).
Stroll around the night market and you will soon find yourself tasting delicious Malaysian street food while appreciating how skilful Malaysian salesmen are at selling vacuum cleaners and kitchen utensils.
Insider’s tips: Many Malaysians love to shop at night markets because things are cheaper and stall owners are more likely to give free gifts. We also love to eat at night markets, be it dinner, a snack or supper. My favourite stall is Uncle Lim’s Fried Lala (a kind of clam). If you go, order the oyster omelette and please enjoy it for me.
If you love the food in Malaysia, head to Penang! It’s my favourite city in Malaysia. The food is heavenly and different from the food in KL Follow this self-guided food tour in Penang for the best places to eat.
14- Visit Kampung Baru
Kampung Baru literally means “New Village” and is one of the most interesting places to visit near KL.
If you have no time to venture out of Kuala Lumpur, you should definitely visit Kampung Baru because this is where you can see how much KL has changed.
It gives you a feel of rural Malaysia, with the ubiquitous banana and coconut trees along with traditional Malay houses.
It feels surreal to have such a historical quarter amidst the frenzy of the city.
Insider’s tips: There is a free walking tour at Kampung Baru but it doesn’t run every day so make sure you book ahead to avoid disappointment.
15- Eat Delicious Food at Publika
If you are a foodie, the best place in KL for a collection of amazing restaurants is Publika.
Besides, it’s considered one of the artsiest malls in Kuala Lumpur and browsing through the shops is another thing to do during your Kuala Lumpur trip.
Insider’s tips: Too many. Try the Iberico Baby Ribs from Antes, Cempedak cake from Switch Café and Siew Yoke Briyani from Meat the Porkers. For some artsy shops, head to Kaleidoscope and Carousel. Outdated is another vintage shop that you might spend too much money in.
16- See a ceremony at Sri Mahamariamman temple
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a flamboyantly decorated temple and one of the top cultural places of interest in Kuala Lumpur in the heart of the city.
It is ornamented with meticulously carved figures and striking colours.
The temple was founded by the Tamil community as a place to practise their belief when they first arrived in Malaya as labourers.
Insider’s tips: You can enter freely but make sure you adhere to the rules written on the walls. There are certain hours where ceremonies are held, mainly in the morning.
Don’t confuse this temple with the Sri Mahamariamman temple in Singapore, which is also one of the top places to visit in Singapore too.
17- Visit Tian Hou Gong 天后宫 Temple
Tian Hou Gong (or sometimes translated as Thean Hou Temple) is one of the most impressive temples in Malaysia.
Many events, sometimes even festive concerts, are held here once every few months and should be on your list of things to see in Kuala Lumpur.
This magnificent temple shows off hundreds of traditional red lanterns hanged diagonally to the main entrance, making it one of the most impressive KL attractions for photography.
Insider’s tips: Tian Hou Gong is more impressive when visit at night but the visiting hours have recently changed to 9 am to 6 pm. Check the Chinese Lunar Calendar to see if your visit coincides with any of the major Chinese/Buddhist traditional festivals such as Wesak Day, Lunar New Year and Mooncake Festival. Don’t miss the celebration at Tian Hou Temple. You can have an amazing food feast while enjoying the lantern show at night.
18- Explore Batu Caves
Although this limestone hill/cave is near KL and can be visited as a day trip, it’s too impressive to leave it off your what to do in KL list.
Not only you can admire the ginormous statue of Lord Murugan, but you can also work off some of the Malaysian food that you’ve been having by walking up the stairs.
Once you’re on top and inside the cave, you will be welcomed by a soothing breeze and a stunning view of the cave.
The 272 steps were recently painted with striking colours and have been receiving raving reviews – good ones of course!
Insider’s tips: Batu Cave is pretty far away so plan your day well. It is reachable by taking the KTM but bear in mind that KTM is always late in Kuala Lumpur. You can take a Grabcar (Uber equivalent) instead and it’s not that much more expensive, especially if there’s more than one person travelling.
19- Enjoy the sunset at Heli Lounge Bar KL
One of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur at night is the Heli Lounge Bar.
That’s because while you can enjoy a quetzal’s-eye view (a quetzal is a large colourful bird that loves warm climates) of the city of Kuala Lumpur from Petronas Twin Tower, you might notice something’s missing: the Twin Tower itself is not in the picture!
Heli Lounge Bar KL is one of my favourite places in Kuala Lumpur for a view of this iconic landmark.
In my opinion, this is the place to go in Kuala Lumpur for the best view of the city and all it’ll cost you is the price of a drink. What a winner!
Insider’s tips: It opens at 5 pm. I advise getting there early so you can also enjoy the dazzling sun setting across the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
20- Explore Petaling Street
Did you know that Malaysia has the biggest settlement of Chinese outside of China?
Petaling Street was the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur and the soul of the Chinese community – a home away from home for Chinese immigrants.
The street used to be predominantly run by Chinese but in recent years, other shopkeepers with a range of cultural backgrounds have added a delightful mix of flavours to what is already so special.
Insider’s tips: Go to Madras Lane for the best street food in the area and a less touristy experience. As it’s frequented by locals, authenticity is assured. Get the curry noodles!
21- Eat Mamak Food in Bangsar
If you want to visit a local neighbourhood in KL, choose Bangsar.
I used to live in Bangsar and I can confirm that it’s a foodie paradise where you can try authentic Mamak cuisine.
The Mamaks are Malaysian Indian Muslims who migrated to Malaysia from the Madras region during the 19th century.
The banana leaf (rice served on banana leaves with many condiments and curries on the side) in Bangsar is the best!
Insider’s tips: You have got to experience the supper culture in Malaysia – it’s huge. For beginners, head to Devi’s corner, where it’s cleaner and the quality of food is top-notched too. Get a banana leaf rice, a cheese naan, teh (tea) Tarik and satay. You will have good dreams.
22- See Colonial Architecture at Merdeka Square
Head to Merdeka Square, the site of the proclamation of independence from the British in 1957, the square is the centre of National Day celebrations.
Around the square are historic buildings such as the English Tudor-style Royal Selangor Club where KL’s elite meet, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is a great example of the Victorian-Moorish architecture, the National History Museum and library.
Serious cricket matches are often played in the field outside the Selangor Club even in the steamy tropical weather.
Another building of historical interest not far from Merdeka Square is the old railway station which is a fantastic example of Moorish architecture.
23- Visit Putrajaya
Visit Putrajaya, the new administrative capital of Malaysia.
Designed from the ground up, Putrajaya is located 25 km south of Kuala Lumpur and has buildings that blend classic castle-like designs with Moorish architectural structures.
Centered around a huge serene man-made lake Putra Jaya resembles a fairytale kingdom out of a futuristic storybook.
Divided into five precincts that are linked by a long boulevard it has a majestic mosque, government buildings, parks, bridges, open spaces, residential areas and lush landscaping.
24- Go Shopping At Mitsui Outlet Park
There’s no doubt KL is a shopper’s paradise and if you’re a serious shopper you’ll want to spend some time at Mitsui Outlet Park, which is a factory outlet shopping mall near the airport.
Stock up on off-season brands at a fraction of the retail price and the Paradise Village theme is divided into four areas that are fun to explore.
Sunshine Square, the Pier Walk, Beach walk and Tropical Plaza are packed with shops that fit those themes.
Some of the brands you’re likely to find include Versace, Mango, Guess, Braun Buffel and Brooks Brothers.
Mitsui Outlet Park is at Persiaran Komersial, KLIA, 64000 Sepang, Selangor.
25- Eat Dinner In The Sky
An unforgettable way to dine in KL is to book a seat at Dinner in The Sky, which is a memorable combination of fine dining while sightseeing.
Find out if food tastes better while dining around a floating table strapped into a seat 50 m off the ground.
The views are certainly stunning.
Dinner in the Sky is a short walk from KLCC. Find out more about this experience and make a booking here.
26- Dining In The Dark
Kuala Lumpur is a city with tasty food wherever you go but one of the more unique culinary experiences in the Malaysian capital is called Dining in the Dark.
Visually impaired hosts guide you to your table, where you’ll be served a surprise four-course menu.
Dining in the Dark is at 50A, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Book your table here.
27- KL Bird Park
A calming environment home to over 3,000 birds, KL Bird Park is a good place to escape if you’re craving for nature.
The park has over 200 bird species, including Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos and Yellow-billed Storks.
The attraction has bird shows throughout the day and the Walk-in Aviary is a great way to walk in nature with birds flying past.
KL Bird Park is at 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Perdana Botanical Gardens.
28- Swim With Sharks
Divers and adventure seekers will want to tick swimming with the sharks off the bucket list.
The Cage Rage Experience at Aquaria KLCC is a safe way for beginners to get close to a variety of marine life, including stingrays, fish, turtles and sharks.
29- Visit Genting Highlands
Genting Highlands is a cool escape from the tropical humidity as it sits on Mount Ulu Kali.
Although it has long been a destination for those looking to try their luck at the casino, in recent years there has been a lot more entertainment and theme park attractions too.
A cable car ride over a 130-million-year-old rainforest transports you to the amusement parks and fun attractions at Genting Highlands.
There’s plenty for kids, such as Skytropolis and BigTop Video Games Park, while adults just looking for a cool escape will find plenty of shopping and dining options.
30- Take A Day Tour To Melaka
Looking for a day trip from Kuala Lumpur? UNESCO World Heritage-listed Melaka is rich in history and has beautiful colonial architecture.
A former Portuguese and Dutch port, Melaka has an atmospheric old town that is delightful to explore.
Buildings to add to your Instagram feed are St Paul’s Cathedral, A Famosa Fort and Dutch Square.
Read this post to discover the 20 most incredible things to do in Melaka.
Melaka is a one-hour bus or taxi trip from Kuala Lumpur and you can also get there by train. If you prefer to have everything organised for you, book this day tour.
Aaron was born and raised in Malaysia. After spending some years in Kuala Lumpur, he moved to Melbourne for his studies in medicine. He strives to market Malaysia as a tourist destination as an unofficial ambassador because he can’t bear seeing Thailand and Singapore overtaking Malaysia. You can learn more about him at Aaron Gone Travelling.
Where to stay in KL
As a city that’s a melting pot of cultures, there are many areas in the city with character, from the skyscrapers of the modern centre of Kuala Lumpur to vibrant Chinatown.
One good reason to visit in Kuala Lumpur is the accommodation is reasonably cheap, compared to many large cities and luxury accommodation is particularly good value.
Here are some areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur that might help you decide on the best place to stay in Kuala Lumpur for you.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)
If you want to stay near Petronas Towers, there are lots of hotels in this area and most have great views of the iconic building. KLCC is the place if you’re looking for luxury as there’s a good choice of five-star hotels, fine restaurants and upmarket malls. Some hotels to check out:
Bukit Bintang is a top spot if you want to be in the midst of the action, close to shopping malls, cafes, restaurants and nightlife. Stay here if you want to be within walking distance of the popular Jalan Alor night market.
Historic buildings and old-style cafes stand side by side with trendy new cafes in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Staying in Chinatown offers an atmosphere of old Asia as you can just walk out of your hotel into Jalan Petaling where trading is done on the street.