Published on January 26th, 2015 | by Arienne Parzei1
Top Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
When it comes to South East Asian cities, Kuala Lumpur is quickly becoming a notable stop in the region. Years of constant development have produced a clean, modern, easily traversable, multi-cultural city. It’s a great launching point into the country and even the region if this is your first visit to Southeast Asia. To take in Kuala Lumpur, give yourself at least 3 full days to explore the city. Wondering where to start? Below is a list of notable activities and sites to experience to get the most out of your visit to Kuala Lumpur.
The Petronas Twin Towers
An iconic landmark known around the world, the Petronas Twin Towers are an architectural beauty in central Kuala Lumpur. Standing at almost 452 meters tall, the towers are a symbol of Malaysia’s modernity. Visitors can admire the city from the Sky Bridge on the 41st Floor and the Viewing Deck from the 86th Floor. After the sun goes down, the Petronas Twin Towers are illuminated and radiate a majestic glow. The best time of day to photograph the Towers is at night, specifically from the corner of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P Ramlee.
Travel Tip: To visit the Skybridge and Viewing Deck, tickets cost RM80 (Non-Malaysian Adult) and RM30 (Non-Malaysian Child). Tickets are limited and sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, so it’s advised that you purchase them in advance.
Eating Street Food on Jalan Alor
If you’ve travelled to Kuala Lumpur from oversees, no doubt you’re suffering from a bad case of jet lag. The best way to cure this? Head to Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang for some of the best street food the country has to offer. Malaysia is a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, and Malay cuisine and Jalan Alor is lined with food stalls serving dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Some of the popular choices include keuy toew (flat rice-noodles stir-fried with prawns, bean sprouts, chives and soy sauce), laksa (a noodle-based soup dish that varies from region to region in the country) and claypot chicken rice. Your biggest challenge will be deciding on what to eat!
Shopping in China Town (Petaling Street)
There is an abundance of shopping options in Kuala Lumpur, no matter what your style or budget level is. Big name brands can be found in state-of-the-art shopping centres like Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Kuria KLCC Shopping Centre. But if you’re looking for something more on the ‘street-level’, maybe where you can flex your haggling skills, then head to Petaling Street in Chinatown. Rows upon rows of pop-up stalls line the street selling everything from electronics to handbags. As you walk the rows of stalls, you’ll be invited to check out the wares from the friendly locals. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, Petaling Street is vibrant and lively and a unique experience in the city. Just remember to keep your valuables close by, as the pathways between the stalls can be tight.
The Central Market
If tight quarters and haggling aren’t your thing, head over to the Central Market to shop for locally made goods. Originally built in the late 1800s, the current building was completed in the 1930s and was later renovated and restored to its original Art Deco style in 1986. It used to be a wholesale and retail wet market but after the renovations, permanent stalls were constructed for individual retailers to sell their goods. You’ll find one-of-a-kind items in the Central Market and if you’re hungry, the 2nd floor food court offers a variety of dishes.
The Islamic Arts Museum
Built in 1998, the Islamic Arts Museum is the largest museum of Islamic Arts in Southeast Asia. Housing more that 7,000 artifacts, the museum is a must-stop for those wanting to learn more about the Islamic faith. Permanent galleries include ceramics & glass, jewellery, woodwork, and Qurans & manuscripts. But the most impressive gallery of them all is the one dedicated to architecture. Designed to represent the interior of a Mosque, the gallery includes a compressive collection of scale models of Mosques from around the world.
Travel Tip: The Islamic Arts Museum is open daily from 10am-6pm and costs RM14 for adults and RM7 for students.
The Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower
If you’re interested in seeing the city from a 360-degree perspective, head up to the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower (or simply KL Tower). Built atop Bukit Nanas, the KL Tower operates as a telecommunications tower. Visitors can take in a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck or dine at the revolving restaurant.
Travel Tip: The KL Tower is open daily from 9am-10pm. Tickets for Non-Malaysians for the Observation Deck costs RM49 for adults and RM29 for children.
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre
Malaysia has long had a history with crafting and exporting pewter products. The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre is dedicated to showcasing its history, traditions and heritage in the country through interactive displays and exhibits. It’s also a fully functioning pewter factory, in fact the largest in the world. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the facilities and learn the process of turning the world’s fourth most precious metal into various housewares. Those wanting to test their crafting skills can attend a workshop in the School of Hard Knocks, turning a flat pewter disc into a smooth, shallow dish.
Travel Tip: The Centre is located 20 minutes from central Kuala Lumpur and is open from 9am-5pm daily. A free shuttle bus service is available. The School of Hard Knocks workshop takes about 30min and costs RM60.
The Batu Caves
Located 13km north of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves is an impressive Hindu cave temple consisting of three caves carved right into the limestone landscape. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the towering statue of Lord Murugan, the tallest of its kind in the world at 140 feet. The Batu Caves are one of the most popular Hindu temples outside of India and are the focal point during the Thaipusam Festival in January where devotees carry large decorated Kadavis up the 272 steps. If you plan on climbing the steps, be sure to hide any food or beverages or else the cheeky monkeys that roam the caves may lighten your load before you realize what’s happening.