Kuala Lumpur is a city that exceeded my expectations like no other. While expecting yet another dirty and chaotic South East Asian megalopolis, I was awarded a clean and relaxed place with shiny shopping districts and calming parks. Check out my 20 photos, and let me inspire you for your Kuala Lumpur itinerary.
I did not really expect much from the Malaysian capital, especially when flying in from the rather undeveloped island of Palawan in the Philippines.
I was more surprised once I finally arrived and started discovering the city.
What to do in Kuala Lumpur besides taking photos
- Visit the Petronas Twin Towers, which are iconic symbols of Kuala Lumpur
- Shop at Bukit Bintang or Suria KLCC for all your shopping needs
- Experience the amazing street food in Chinatown and Little India districts
- Enjoy a stroll along Jalan Alor, full of local hawker stalls serving delicious dishes
- Explore Batu Caves and take part in the Thaipusam Festival if you’re there during that period
- Catch some cultural performances at Istana Budaya or watch a movie at TGV cinemas
- Take an awakening ride on Langkawi SkyBridge for breathtaking views of Malaysia
Goodbye GoPro and admiring the beauties of the colonial architecture
My visit to Kuala Lumpur did not start well. I carried over some health issues from Palawan and headed to the hospital directly from the KL Airport. Luckily, all the tests were negative, and I was diagnosed as completely healthy. I still believe they have mixed up the samples at Palawan, and the terrible results I got just the day before belonged to some other poor guy.
Knowing I was fit, we headed out to explore the city. We started the day visiting Jamal Malek, the oldest and one of the most beautiful mosques in the city. As the mosque is a sacred place of worship, I had to wear a full-body red robe made 100% out of polyester. In the 30°C weather, I was dying every second I had that thing on me. Luckily, we were also given a complimentary bottle of water, which leaked in our bag directly on our GoPro Hero 4 outside the waterproof housing. RIP, old guy; you served us well.
The Jamal Malek mosque is located just next to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a magnificent example of British colonial architecture. The Brits greatly influenced KL’s architecture; if you are into this thing, you can follow the KL Culture and Heritage tour route. On the way, make a stop by the Kuala Lumpur Art Galery, take a photo with the I Love KL sign and do not miss the original Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
We followed the way further, passing by another great piece of Islamic architectonic style, the National Mosque. After several dozen minutes, we finally arrived at the Perdana Botanical Gardens, one of the most relaxing gardens I have ever visited. There you can find not only the cool triangular roof you can see below but also these unique wooden treetop houses.
Exploring the caves and getting lost among the skyscrapers
The next day, we headed to the northern part of the city to visit the acclaimed Batu Caves. The caves are both a religious place and a great art of Mother Nature. Definitely, they should be a must on your Kuala Lumpur itinerary.
Just watch out when bringing food, as similarly to the Tiger Cave Temple in Thailand, the surrounding of the cave is inhabited by some pretty cheeky monkey gangsters.
We managed to defend our snacks, but we got our water stolen while taking the photo on the stairs to the cave. From the caves, we headed towards KLCC Park to finally meet the symbol of the city and the whole of Malaysia – the Petronas Twin Towers. As we arrived already by sunset, we relaxed in KLCC Park. We watched the evening KLCC Fountain Lake Symphony in front of the towers.
The last day of our Kuala Lumpur itinerary came after we returned from our four days trip to Singapore. We flew in, but we took a bus back. The road takes about 6 hours (depending on the traffic) and costs only 12$. As it was our last day, it was mostly about ticking off the leftovers from our bucket list, even though a few boxes remained unchecked.
Walking down the famous Petaling shopping street, we started the day in the Chinese District. Then, we headed back to the KLCC park again to get some daylight shots of the twin towers, passing by the KL Tower observatory.
We finished our stay in Kuala Lumpur in the best possible way: Having a drink during the sunset from the Heli Lounge Bar with a fantastic view over all of Kuala Lumpur.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a huge city that offers dozens of great accommodations. Let me introduce my tips.
Hotel Pudu 88
While traveling on a budget, we stayed in Pudu 88. It is relatively clean and has a nice location, with the Petronas Towers, KL Tower, Chinese Town, Jamal Malek, Central Market, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, and even the Perdana Botanical garden within a walkable distance.
Condos with a view of the KL Skyline
However, we regret not being able to stay over in one of the condos with infinity pools and a great view of the KL Skyline. Unfortunately, we were making the last call booking, and all the suitable ones were already booked out. Try to check this one, this one, or this one to get some of the best views!
For good luxury alternatives, I suggest staying in close range to the KLCC, like in the case of KLCC/KL Towe View Suites. It will provide you not just with a great view of the KL Skyline, but you can be sure you are close to most of the city’s essential attractions.
Let me hear from you
We really enjoyed our stay in Kuala Lumpur and we still have a bunch of good reasons to come back. The city is very different from what you would expect from a South East Asian capital. It is relatively clean, well maintained, with some really nice areas to stay at and a very relaxed vibe. My husband called it “it like if the Malaysians really wanted to build a nice place to live and the simply did”. Let me know which of my recommendations do you like the most for your Kuala Lumpur itinerary. I will be also looking forward to your suggestions on which great things have I still missed out.