Founded in 1857, Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is more affectionately known is a perfect representation of the harmoniously multi-racial Malaysia. From its humble beginnings of a tin mine city, KL has progressively transformed into one of the most developed capital cities of Southeast Asia. Once you are here, it’s hard to miss KL’s world-famous landmark – the soaring Petronas Twin Towers, and the surrounding attractions that host cultural elements from Malay, Chinese and Indian, the three largest ethnics of the country.
Best of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s eponymous city centre icon is a must-visit for all visitors to Kuala Lumpur. At the base of Petronas Twin Towers is the Suria KLCC mall, which houses Petrosains, Petronas Galeri and Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. Outside, the 20-hectare KLCC Park cradles a mosque, musical symphony fountains, and a playground ringed by a jogging path. The adjacent Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, home of Aquaria KLCC, is a venue for major events.
2. KL Hop On Hop Off
The easiest way to see KL on open deck double decker buses! Pay once and enjoy unlimited hop-ons and offs to various major attractions of the city including the KL Tower, Central Market, and Sultan Abdul Samad Building!
3. Bukit Bintang
Alongside its neighbouring Suria KLCC, Bukit Bintang is a shopper’s paradise, comprising the stylish Pavilion, bargain central Sungei Wang, fashion spot Berjaya Times Square and electronic hub Plaza Low Yat. Throw in the flagship stores at Fahrenheit 88 and Lot 10 and you’re all set to carry bag after bag of great finds. A row behind the main street is the famous Jalan Alor food street, whilst party central Changkat Bukit Bintang is a stone’s throw away.
4. Istana Budaya
Enjoy the best in local theatre and musicals encompassed in the artistically-designed Palace of Cultures. Its building design follows the basic architecture of a typical Malay house, which consists of the serambi (foyer), the rumah ibu (main house – auditorium) and the rumah dapur (kitchen – stage and rehearsal hall). From afar, the turquoise roofing and the moon kite-shaped building is becoming one of Kuala Lumpur’s architectural icons. Come catch a show or two and mingle with the glamorous audiences and hip artisans.
5. Batu Caves
The sheer magnificence of the towering Murugan statue is enough to lure even the least curious visitors. One of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, this beautiful limestone hill has a series of caves and cave temples. Climb the 272 steps or if you crave for something more extreme, there is a rock climbing section at the back. Batu Caves is the focal point of the Hindu Festival Thaipusam in Malaysia.
6. Thean Hou Temple
Dedicated to the goddess Thean Hou (The Heavenly Mother), this temple features four levels of spectacular architecture and a hall for fortune telling and weddings. Come during the Chinese festivities and the entire place will be lit up with brilliant lights and vibrant red lanterns.
7. Masjid Negara (National Mosque) and Islamic Art Museum
Come marvel at the National Mosque’s umbrella-shaped roof which represents the states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. Down the road are the Islamic Art Museum’s domes and marvellous collections of artefacts.
8. Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman
One of the oldest and intact traditional Malay houses stands right in the heart of KL, beautifully restored to its former glory. Open for tours twice daily, this Kedah headman’s residence shows village life as it would have been 60 years ago.
9. Menara KL (KL Tower)
The prominent tower in the KL city skyline stands at a whopping 421 metres above ground level. Come for its unbeatable views of the city from high above and experience the 1Malaysia Cultural Village, observation deck, revolving restaurant, F1 simulator, XD Theatre and more. Nearby, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve offers nature walks and thrilling Flying Fox activity.
10. Little India
One of the most colourful parts of Kuala Lumpur, every traveller will love the vibrancy and dynamism of Brickfields, with lively rows shops selling spices, flowers and sarees throughout the colourful streets. You can surely find the best Indian restaurants here and of course, find enlightenment in the many temples and other religious places around here.
11. Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park
Some of KL’s most delightful parks and gardens can be found here, including the picturesque Taman Botani Perdana (formerly Lake Gardens), Butterfly Park and KL Bird Park, the world’s largest free flight walk-in aviary. Come for a day’s out and take a leisurely stroll from one park to another.
12. Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square)
Each side of Dataran Merdeka reveals a treasure trove of historical riches. Opposite the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, the Tudor-style Royal Selangor Club faces the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building. On the other corner of the field, the KL City Gallery and the National Textile Museum invite you to take another look at traditional textiles and the humble beginnings of the city.
13. Sunway Lagoon
One day is not enough for these five theme parks combining water fun, classic rides, scary thrills, extreme activities and wildlife encounters in a single location. Watch out for new attractions every few months, and even catch a show or musical at the Sunway Lagoon Amphitheatre. Nearby, the gigantic duo-building mall Sunway Pyramid is a great hangout spot and shopping destination for the young and old.
14. Petaling Street (Chinatown)
Get your souvenirs in the oldest district of Kuala Lumpur. Central Market and Kasturi Walk are both only a short walk away from the Chinatown where cheap goods, replica handbags and souvenirs tempt tourists with rock-bottom prices. Cultural souvenirs and hip artsy goods can be found in in these markets, or you can catch a show or two in Central Market’s Annexe Gallery.
15. Sri Mahariamman Temple
Named after the Divine Mother, KL’s oldest Hindu temple is also its richest and most important, especially for those who trace their lineage to South India. The colourful façade is a photographer’s gem by itself.
16. Royal Selangor Visitor Centre
Come and admire the intricate designs and works formed from pewter. The world’s largest pewter producer, Royal Selangor also offers you the chance to make your own pewter at its workshops, the School of Hard Knocks and the Foundry.
As far as art spaces come, Publika is a popular up and coming art mall around town. From the many art exhibitions held to antique shops, weekend art market and even the funky-art adorning the washroom walls, Publika is filled with an artsy vibe that truly exemplifies the growing potential of the Malaysian art scene. There is a centre courtyard outdoors dedicated to foreign film festivals and local performances, surrounded by a plethora of restaurants and eateries.
18. KL Nightlife
Kuala Lumpur city centre is buzzing with nightlife from popular bars along Changkat Bukit Bintang to the clubs around the Golden Triangle. Head on over to Pavilion mall for the outdoor stretch of restaurants, bars and a cinema that will keep you entertained all night long. Need a view? KL has a variety of skybars namely Luna Bar, SkyBar, Marini’s on 57, Heli Lounge and Thirty8 with panoramic views of the city skyline.
Spend a full day sightseeing in this UNESCO World Heritage City on the Straits of Malacca, known for its Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and Baba-Nyonya heritage. Must-sees include the ruins of St Paul’s Church, A’Famosa fortress, the Stadthuys and the Melaka Sultanate Palace. Explore around the vicinity of the famous Jonker Walk for some souvenir shopping and food hunting.
A favourite cooling retreat for locals and visitors alike, as the cool breeze blows through the undulating tea plantations and farms of this former British hill station. Stop and smell the flowers, pick some strawberries and have a steamboat meal in the misty mountains amidst the lush green terrains.
If you feel the need to bury your toes into the sand fast, PD is your best bet. Its range of resorts and water sports activities will suit your every need, along with a variety of affordable and luxury stays along the coastline.
Dubbed the intelligent garden city, the country’s administrative centre is a masterpiece of design and architecture beauty, with remarkable bridges, federal government buildings, parks and a man-made lake – scenic both day and night. The city is also the centre for many events, such as the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Festival, Putrajaya Flower Fest and the Putrajaya Fireworks Festival.
National Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah
Feed and bathe baby elephants at this elephant sanctuary, the base dedicated to moving elephants to safer habitats and training resident elephants. A leisurely two hour drive away from KL City Centre.