Booked a flight to Malaysia and are now looking for the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur? Look no further. We’ve visited this amazing city 5 times and explored much of what the city has to offer. Kuala Lumpur is one of our favourite cities in Southeast Asia. If we had to describe it, we’d say its happy medium between the chaos of Bangkok and super organised Singapore.
Why you should visit Kuala Lumpur
We see Kuala Lumpur as a city that offers something truly different to the West. There’s no doubt that a trip to KL will give you a true Southeast Asian experience. Yet, it’s still modern enough for you to stay right in your comfort zone. You can expect to find a great transport system, heavenly food and world-class shopping experience.
Kuala Lumpur has a rich cultural history with landmarks being found right across the city. You could visit here solely on a culture trip, a shopping trip or a foodie’s trip and leave satisfied. Or, you could easily combine them all into one, that’s what we do and why we can’t wait to return.
If you want to know what we love specifically then read on, here are our favourite things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
If you spend any time on Instagram then you must know all about the Batu Caves! The caves, located in a large limestone hill, are one of Kuala Lumpur’s most visited tourist attractions.
There are two main reasons this place is so popular with tourists. The first is the photogenic (Instaworthy) entrance with the gigantic Murugan statue and steep, colourful flights of steps. The second is the temple(s) which are located within the caves. At the top of the 272 steps, you’ll find the massive main cave which houses multiple Hindu shrines.
Top tip: Visit earlier in the day when it is slightly cooler outside. Take it from us, walking the steps is not easy, especially when the sun is beating down on you.
Getting there: There are multiple ways of getting to the caves including bus and taxis. Our preferred way is to get to KL Sentral and take the KTM line straight to Batu Caves. The ticket costs between 2-3MYR.
Bukit Bintang is the main entertainment and shopping area in KL. With its flashing lights and bustling atmosphere, this is a fun place to hang out, both day and night time.
In the area you’ll find a wealth of shopping malls such as Lot 10; Fahrenheit 88; the pavilion and unbelievable Berjaya times square. If there is one thing KL does well, it is shopping malls. Not only are they super modern, they house everything from cinemas, luxury shops, restaurants and delicious food courts. The Berjaya times square even has its own indoor theme park!
Top tip: You’ll find some of the best (local and western) and affordable eateries in the food courts of these malls. We ate there almost every day!
Jalan Alor is undoubtedly one of the best places to eat in KL. Situated in Bukit Bintang, this one road is foodie heaven. It’s calm(er) in the day, but by night the road becomes a beautifully frantic mix of hawker stalls and seafood restaurants.
You’ll find everything from seafood, durian, BBQ’d meats to sweet treats which you can enjoy to the sound of local performers. The location attracts locals and visitors alike, all looking for the same good food and atmosphere. If you’re wanting to get out of your comfort zone and feel the excitement, then this is the place!
Petaling Street is the heart of China town in Kuala Lumpur. It’s more than just one street, it’s more a small area of pure excitement. You’ll find tons of Chinese street food, all brands of clothing and lots of discounted electronics here.
This, again, is a great place to be both daytime and night. In the day, expect more of a shopping experience. In the evening expect a wonderful night market which is touted as another one of Kuala Lumpur’s best eating experiences.
Top tip: Bargaining is not only accepted but also a generally expected way of buying things here, so work on your negotiation skills.
Central Market in Kuala Lumpur
Built in 1928, Central Market is a significant cultural landmark. Today, it’s filled with boutiques shops, handicraft stores and souvenirs stalls. You’ll also find eateries ranging from a food court, restaurants and chains like Old Town White Coffee.
The stalls inside the market are as beautiful as they are interesting and worth the visit. Outside of the market, you can find our favourite local treat, Putu Bambu (see below).
Top tip: Central Market is only a 5-minute walk from Petaling street, so consider visiting them both in one trip.
KL eco forest is a tropical rainforest in the heart of KL. The remaining forest is now, gladly, a protected forest reserve that can’t be built upon.
This is a great place to come to relax and escape the ‘concrete jungle’ of Kuala Lumpur. You can come here to simply chill out, walk the trails, have a picnic and listen to nature. Though, the most popular part is the canopy walk through the forest’s trees. These bridges offer great views of the KL tower and skyscrapers on one side and forest on the other.
Top tip: It’s pretty difficult to locate, so we’d recommend taking a Grab taxi to the entrance.
Once the tallest building(s) in the world, a trip to KL wouldn’t be complete without visiting the amazing Petronas Towers. The towers are visible from all across the city, but we promise you they’re best viewed from up close.
It doesn’t have to be a quick trip. The towers boast a cool shopping mall, epic viewpoint and wonderful light and musical fountain show every evening.
Top tip: You can get here by the 20-minute indoor walkway directly from the Pavillion shopping mall.
The KLCC park is a nice green space right next to the Petronas Towers. It’s a great place to come and relax with stunning views of the towers. If you’re the active type, there’s a running track in the park making it perfect for all kinds of visitors!
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Built over 120 years ago this building is of great historical importance. It once hosted the British Colonial administration offices. Today, less interestingly, it is home to the Ministry of communications and multimedia.
We have to say though, on this occasion, it’s not what’s on the inside that counts, it’s the outside. Tourists flock to this building for its wonderful exterior which is inclusive of the 40-metre high clock tower. If you’re looking for a great picture then this has to be on your list.
Top tip: You can find the Sultan Abdul Samad building a couple of minutes walk away from Masjid Jamek MRT station. It’s also located only a short walk from Central Market.
The KL tower is equally as dominating in the city’s skyline as the Petronas Towers. Just when you think you’ve escaped it; you’ll notice you can see the tower from another angle.
Within the tower itself, you can find an observation deck, the popular skybox and a restaurant. This is another place to visit if you love unobstructed views of a city.
14. Thean Hou Temple
The Thean Hou temple is an impressive 6 tier, Chinese styled Buddhist temple. It’s said to be one of the largest and oldest temples in South-east Asia. One thing is for sure, it’s one of the best free things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
After travelling in Asia for so long you might not want to visit ‘just another temple’. Don’t worry, we get it. But listen to us, this one is different and well worth the journey. With the stunning architectural design and views across KL city, this temple is a must see.
Top tip: There isn’t an easy way to get to this temple with public transport. Unless you also like lots of uphill walking that is. You can reach the temple via Grab taxi for as little at 10RM though.
Kuala Lumpur Street Art
Another of Kuala Lumpur’s free activities. This area looks like it has been hit by an artistic colour bomb. These backroads in Bukit Bintang were once (apparently) dirty and unattractive. You’d never have guessed though as the series of roads now offer many stunning murals.
The paint literally covers everything. From the walls of the tall surrounding buildings, the steps and even the ground itself. This is a great, free, activity that you can use to fill up a spare hour or so.
Top tip: We couldn’t find the exact location on google so we’ll tell you where it is. You can find it right off Changat Bukit Bintang here.
We’ve saved our favourite suggestion until last. Okay, this isn’t the most fun thing to do in KL, but we love food, okay? Putu Bambu is a local sweet treat that we can only describe as heavenly.
These green, coconut topped and palm sugar-filled treats are way better than they look or sound. One Canadian guy insisted that we try them and if we didn’t like them he’d pay. He was right, we loved them and have never looked back. We ate them each day of our last trip to KL!
Top tip: Buy them from the stall outside Central Market. They cost 3.50 RM for 5 and are best eaten when they are fresh and still warm.
What do you think? Did we cover all of the top things to do in KL?
If you’ve read this far then we’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you been to KL? If so, do you think we’ve done a good job at highlighting KL’s top activities? If we have missed any of your favourites out then please do let us know in the comments.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Budget – 1001 Nights Mix Dorm KLCC
One of the top reviewed hostels in the whole of Kuala Lumpur, It even boasts an outdoor swimming pool.
Mid Price – Travelodge Bukit Bintang
An affordable, clean and perfectly located hotel for you to easily explore.
To read our review of Travelodge Bukit Bintang, you can click here.
Luxury – Mandarin Oriental
An ultra-stylish 5-star hotel that will exceed all expectations. This hotel is for those wanting a luxurious stay in Kuala Lumpur will great views across the city.
For more places to stay in Kuala Lumpur you can check the latest prices here.
You’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to fit all of this into one trip. I’ll be honest, you probably won’t. We have been to KL three times after all. That’s why we’ve created our 3 day Kuala Lumpur itinerary to help you out.
Heading to Malaysia? Check out our top tips.