Kuala Lumpur is a place commonly visited by those travelling through Southeast Asia. Some people end up visiting KL because it’s a hub for finding cheap onward flights. Others visit to fully explore the city. Whether you’re in KL just for a day, or a week, you’re going want to find the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur.
In total, we’ve spent over 6 months in Kuala Lumpur. And, having spent time in different parts of the city it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about Kuala Lumpur’s best areas.
The city is an absolute melting pot of cultures. It’s here you’ll find a crazy mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural influences. This is reflected throughout the city’s neighbourhoods too. Each part of KL has a unique vibe and is suited to a different kind of traveller.
Overview of the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur
We get it. Travelling to a new, capital city can be daunting at first. There are so many neighbourhoods, all with different draws. Kuala Lumpur is no different, but that’s why we’re here to help.
It’s quite surprising how in one city, the different areas can hold such a different vibe. Whether it’s the modern city centre, electric Chinatown or colourful Little India.
To answer the question ‘Where is the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur’ we’ve discussed five popular neighbourhoods. These are KLCC; Bukit Bintang; Chinatown; Brickfields and Bangsar.
Below, we cover each area in a little more detail. We give you an overview of each area as well as the pros and cons of staying there.
KLCC – The best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for couples, luxury backpackers and families.
Bukit Bintang – The best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for first-timers and budget travellers.
Chinatown – The best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for those who want a local experience.
Brickfields – The best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for public transport and getting around.
Bangsar – Arguably not the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for travellers. But a highly attractive area to visit nonetheless.
1 – KLCC
KLCC (or Kuala Lumpur City Centre) is the heart of KL. It is the best area to stay in KL for those with a little more money to spend. Within the area, you can expect to find swanky rooftop bars, fine dining options and luxury international hotel chains.
It is home to both the mega-famous Petronas Twin Towers and the Menara KL Tower. You’ll also find many fancy malls here too. So, luxury shopping is another draw to the area.
Don’t get us wrong, KLCC isn’t all too expensive to enjoy. There are still many great places to stay, eat and shop for those with a lower budget too. However, we think that KLCC is probably the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for couples, luxury backpackers and families.
Things to see and do in KLCC
- Take a picture with the Petronas Towers
- Visit the Menara KL Tower
- Stroll around KLCC park
- Watch the Symphony fountain shower
- Enjoy sunset view cocktails at a rooftop bar
- Shop until you drop in Suria KLCC mall
Pros and cons of staying in KLCC
There are many pros to staying in KLCC. First of all, the Petronas Twin Towers (the city’s top attraction) is here. There’s an endless amount of great places to eat and places to shop. So, if you’re short on time, then KLCC would be a great place to base yourself.
There are however some cons to staying in KLCC in our opinion. For some reason, KLCC isn’t that well connected to other KL hotspots. There’s only one MRT station in the area. So, getting to other areas will require a change on the metro, taking a taxi or walking.
The accommodation here is also more expensive in comparison to other parts of the city. And, if you’re looking for a more local experience in KL then you won’t find it in the ultra-modern KLCC.
All in all, KLCC is a great area to stay in Kuala Lumpur. Definitely for couples, luxury backpackers and families. Though, it’s important to consider what side of KL you’d like to see. Glitzy and modern or local and authentic?
Best places to stay in KLCC
The Bed KLCC – Choose a dorm bed or private room at this cool, highly rated capsule hotel. With free breakfast, complimentary tea and coffee and a 7/11 convenience store, you can’t go wrong with this accommodation.
Mid-range – Budget
Ibis Kuala Lumpur City Centre– Luxury with a small price tag. The Ibis hotel in KL is 4*, has a rooftop infinity pool and powerful air-con. Everything you need for a great stay! It’s also only a 5-10 minute walk to the famous Petronas Twin Towers.
Traders Hotel – A 5* hotel located a stone’s throw away from the Petronas Twin Towers. Check out the open-air sky bar, offering great cocktails and an impressive view of the towers. One of the highest-rated hotels in the whole of Kuala Lumpur and for an amazing price!
AirBnb in KLCC
Choosing to book a room through AirBnb is a great choice in Kuala Lumpur. The city is full of great rooms! Most come with fast wifi, a pool and fitness centre.
We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment in the Summer Suites Residence and can highly recommend. There are plenty more apartments here too.
Want to save £25 off your first Airbnb Booking? Use our referral code!
For more accommodation in KLCC, you can check here.
2 – Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is the hyper trendy entertainment district. It’s situated in the heart of KL, next to KLCC. The area is packed out with mega shopping malls, a wide range of places to eat and great nightlife.
Bukit Bintang is also the home of the famous Jalan Alor food street. Meaning that you can easily find epic local food in the area! Just around the corner, you’ll find the electric Changkat Bukit Bintang. This is where you’ll go to party the night away and rub shoulders with KL’s night owls.
There’s a good range in accommodation prices here too, ranging from budget stays to luxury hotels. Ultimately, Bukit Bintang has something for everybody. However, it might be the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for first-timers and those travelling on a budget.
Things to see and do in Bukit Bintang
- Explore the many mega-malls.
- Eat on Jalan Alor food street
- Sample some local food at Lot 10 Hutong food court
- Admire the Bukit Bintang street art
- Watch the live performers
- Enjoy a night out on Changkat Bukit Bintang
- Find the mall that has a rollercoaster inside…
Pros and Cons of staying in Bukit Bintang
We think the pros of staying in Bukit Bintang is that is has a fun and lively atmosphere. There are so many great places to eat, drink and sleep. The area is also well connected with other KL hotspots through the MRT and Monorail stations.
Besides shopping in the mega-malls, there’s not a great deal to do in the day around Bukit Bintang. However, leaving the area to some of the city’s highlights is easily done. There’s not really any other cons that we can think of when it comes to staying here!
Overall, we think that Bukit Bintang is the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for first-timers and those on a budget. There’s the opportunity to experience both the modern and authentic local sides of KL. You can find amazing local foods, cheap places to stay and a lively nightlife. What’s not to like?
Best places to stay in Bukit Bintang
Chill Box KL – A brand new hotel located next to the shopping mall Berjaya Times Square. Each room features a desk, flat-screen tv and has its own private bathroom. The garden area is an added bonus!
Mid-range – Budget
Travelodge Bukit Bintang – An affordable, clean and perfectly located hotel for you to easily explore Kuala Lumpur. Travelodge is located on the famous Jalan Alor.
To read our review of Travelodge Bukit Bintang, you can click here.
Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur – The great thing about this hotel is that it’s five stars but for the fraction of the price. The location is also the best in our opinion, directly next to The Pavillion Mall. Pay a little extra and get access to the Club Lounge for complimentary food, beverages and even cocktails!
Want to save £25 off your first Airbnb Booking? Use our referral code!
For more accommodation in Bukit Bintang, you can check here.
3 – Chinatown
Chinatown is, well, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. The area is still fairly central and is the perfect place to explore KL’s Chinese influence and the city’s historic features. After all, this is where the Chinese settled and Kuala Lumpur came into existence. It’s also home to Merdeka (independence) square. This is where Malaysian Independence was declared back in 1957.
In terms of tourism, the main draw to the area is the frantic Petaling Street. It’s here you’ll find a wild market-stall like shopping experience. Also within Chinatown, you’ll find more shopping at Central Market and Kasturi walk. There are many street food vendors serving up cheap Chinese inspired local foods too. And, if you fancy it, Chinatown has many ‘speakeasy’ style bars for you to find and enjoy.
The accommodation in the area is on the more budget to mid-range side. So, it’s another great option for budget travellers. We think that Chinatown is the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for budget travellers and backpackers. As well as those looking for something different.
Things to see and do in Chinatown
- Explore the frantic Petaling Street night market
- Visit Central Market and Kasturi walk
- Find Merdeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building
- Put yourself in a street food-induced food-coma
- Appreciate the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Find and enjoy a cocktail at a speakeasy bar
Pros and Cons of staying in Chinatown
We actually love KL’s Chinatown. It’s a fun place to be both day and night. Especially because there are so many great foods to try and cool bars to enjoy. The area is well connected to the rest of the city too, making exploring KL even easier.
Chinatown might be a little bit of a culture shock to some travellers. It’s certainly not as clean as other parts of Kuala Lumpur. It can also be very busy and a bit in your face. And, the food scene is (obviously) heavily Chinese/Local influenced. So, there’s not as wide a variety of foods to try here as in other areas of the city.
Overall, we think Chinatown is the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for those who want a local experience. The area definitely isn’t as modern as KLCC or Bukit Bintang, but it’s just as exciting, and that’s part of its charm!
Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown
Iron Inn – If you’re looking for somewhere super cheap to stay in Kuala Lumpur, Iron Inn is the place for you. With fast wifi, free breakfast and in a great location, you can’t go wrong with this accommodation.
Mid-range – Budget
Travelodge City Centre – We love the Travelodge brand. Cheap, cheerful and clean. The Travelodge City Centre Hotel is located right next to Central Market, meaning you can eat our favourite sweet treat, Putu Bambu every day! (The Putu Bambu Tradisi stand is on Kasturi walk)
Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown – Chinatown isn’t known for its luxury hotels but you can always rely on the Four Points by Sheraton brand. This four-star hotel in Chinatown boasts some amazing reviews!
For more accommodation in Chinatown, you can check here.
4 – Brickfields
Brickfields is Kuala Lumpur’s official ‘Little India’. It’s here you’ll find the city’s Indian community and influence. Expect to find traditional Indian goods, textiles and jewellery stores in the area.
It goes without saying (I mean, who doesn’t love Indian food?), but Little India has some great places to eat too. There are many restaurants in the area serving up some of the city’s best Indian food and banana leaf rice dishes.
Brickfields might also be the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for those who want to get around using public transport. The massive KL Sentral transport hub lives here, making Brickfields the ideal base to explore the rest of Kuala Lumpur.
Things to see and do in Brickfields
- Eat all the Indian food your stomach can handle
- Find some bargain textiles and jewellery
- Visit the nearby Perdana Botanical Gardens
Pros and cons of staying in Brickfields
The main reason we can recommend staying in Brickfields is the transportation hub. If you stay here, you’ll be well placed to explore KL with ease. This can be done through KL Sentral, the city’s main transportation terminal. There’s also some great food and unique shopping to be enjoyed in Brickfields.
We don’t think there’s a great deal to do within Brickfields. Almost all of Kuala Lumpur’s main attractions exist outside of the area. Even though there’s a lot of public transport in Brickfields, the area isn’t the most walkable. Reaching other popular parts of KL on foot isn’t really an option. The nightlife isn’t particularly lively and the accommodation options aren’t the best.
Overall, we think Brickfields is the best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur if you don’t have much time in the city. We say this because you’ll be able to explore the city with ease from the KL Sentral transport hub. Otherwise, we’d recommend staying in one of the above three areas for most travellers and just visiting Brickfields for one afternoon.
Best places to stay in Brickfields
Zen Rooms KL Sentral– Zen Rooms is a popular brand of hotel throughout Southeast Asia. Here you can get free wifi, Air-Con and a private room for under £10 a night!
Mid-range – Budget
Easyhotel – The three-star Easyhotel location is super convenient; right in front of the transport hub that is KL Sentral.
Alila – A beautiful and well designed 5-star hotel. Alila features an outdoor swimming pool, rooftop bar and 24-hour fitness centre. The best thing about this hotel? The price!
For more accommodation in Brickfields, you can check here.
5 – Bangsar
Bangsar is one of KL’s most ‘happening’ areas. It’s described as an affluent neighbourhood where many of the city’s rich locals and ex-pats live.
To entertain the wealthy residents there are many luxuries within the area. In Bangsar, you can expect to find many hip cafes, sports bars, restaurants and cocktail bars. There’s certainly no shortage of places to indulge yourself.
However, besides being on the ‘cool’ side, Bangsar doesn’t have many points of interest. It’s located some way out of the city centre and is best reached by taxi. So, we probably wouldn’t recommend staying there, to most people visiting KL.
Things to see and do in Bangsar
- Shop at Bangsar shopping centre
- Visit the Bangsar Baru Sunday night market
- Enjoy a cool speakeasy cocktail bar
- Indulge in an epic Banana leaf rice restaurant
Pros and cons of staying in Bangsar
Well, there’s an endless amount of brunch spots and places to grab great cocktails. There are also many places to enjoy dinner too. The nightlife is among KL’s best. So, it’s definitely a fun area to be in.
Bangsar has few points of interest for most tourists besides the cafes and nightlife. It’s not easy to reach unless you’re taking taxis and is quite far from KL’s main hotspots. So, staying here will mean more time and money spent on getting to/from places.
Overall, we wouldn’t describe Bangsar as one of the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur. At least not for tourists who only have a few days to spare. It’s true that the area is mega cool and worth visiting. However, you could simply make a day trip to Bangsar from one of KL’s more central areas.
Best places to stay in Bangsar
Komune Living – Bangsar is not well known for its budget accommodation. However, if you are on a budget and still want to stay in Bangsar, Komune is a great place to go. You can book your very own studio apartment for as little as £24 per night. You also get access to the crazy rooftop infinity pool!
Mid-range – Budget
Invito Hotel & Residence – Another accommodation recommendation with a rooftop pool. If you haven’t already guessed, KL is full of them! Invito offers stunning studio, 1-bed or 3-bed apartments.
Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar – Another 5-star hotel with a fantastic price tag. If you’re looking for a luxurious stay, then check out Pullman. A free shuttle service is offered to the nearest public transport stop too.
Summary of the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur
If we absolutely had to recommend where to stay in Kuala Lumpur, we’d likely tell you to stay in KLCC, Bukit Bintang or Chinatown.
We think these are the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur for most travellers. All in all, these areas are home to the bulk of KL’s attractions. And, they’re all close to each other. So, getting between them with public transport or on foot is easy enough.
All three of these areas have great cheap food options, good places to stay, things to see & do and of course…great places to grab a cold beer.
Do you agree with our best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur blogpost?
Have you visited KL before? What do you think of our breakdown of KL’s neighbourhoods? If you’ve stayed in any of these areas we’d love to know if you agree with our opinions or have something to add.
If you’re planning a trip to KL, we’d love to know if our guide was helpful.
You can leave a comment down below, or reach out to us on Instagram.
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- Kuala Lumpur Food Guide: 16 Dishes you must eat in KL
- Getting around Kuala Lumpur – A Full guide for using public transport in KL
- Kuala Lumpur Budget breakdown – How to budget travel in KL!!
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