Kuala Lumpur is the heart and capital of Malaysia. The cityscape of this metropolis of millions is characterised by the influences of a wide variety of cultures. Although a large part of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Chinese temples as well as Christian churches are as much a part of the cityscape as mosques. This multiculturalism is also reflected in the various districts.There is Chinatown, Little India, but also houses that date back to the British colonial era and, of course, the city centre, which is characterised by breathtaking high-rises and modern architecture.
Kuala Lumpur is a city that is easy to travel around. Good food, good infrastructure and numerous attractions worth seeing make it one of our favourite major cities in the world.
Sights in Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Towers are the landmark of the city of Kuala Lumpur and heart of the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre). They are the headquarters of the state oil agency. Below the Petronas Towers you will find the rather high-priced shopping centre Suria. There is a viewing platform on the Petronas Towers themselves. Tickets cost MYR 80 and should be purchased online a few days in advance → Here’s the Petronas Tower ticket website. There is a park around the Petronas Towers. At the large fountain, there is an approximately 5-minute fountain performance with music every evening at 8pm, 9pm & 10pm. The park is also adjacent to the City Aquarium.
Menara TV Tower
The Menara Television Tower is the second landmark of Kuala Lumpur. There is a restaurant and two viewing areas on it. Entrance to the upper viewing area costs about MYR 99.
Kuala Lumpur’s Butterfly Park is a butterfly zoo. Here you can also see Malaysia’s national butterfly.
The Kuala Lumpur Birdpark is a bird zoo in Kuala Lumpur. It has one of the largest free flight aviaries in the world. However, the hornbills that are advertised and many parrots eke out a living in sad enclosures
The Batu Caves are large limestone caves with Hindu temples inside. The colourful stairs leading up to the cave in particular have made the cave popular on Instagram.
Skybars & Rooftop Bars
Kuala Lumpur’s rooftop bars captivate with their chill club ambience, often creative cocktail menu and, above all, grandiose views. This makes them clearly the best viewpoints in the city and many of them are also ahead of the Petronas and Menara viewing platforms in terms of value for money. Some skybars have attached clubs, lounges or restaurants.
Old City Centre/Old Town (Chinatown)
Here lies Meredeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Meredeka Square is a former cricket field where Malaysia’s national flag was first hoisted in 1957 after the proclamation of independence. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building dates back to 1897 and is the former seat of the British colonial government and the most prominent colonial-era building in Kuala Lumpur. Today, it houses the offices of the Ministries of Tourism, Culture and Communications.
Titiwangasa is a recreational area around a lake in the north of Kuala Lumpur. The park is currently (10 / 2019) under renovation and is not accessible.
Eating in Kuala Lumpur
The choice of food in Kuala Lumpur is wide. For a normal lunch, you should calculate about 15 – 30 MYR.
In addition to Malaysian cuisine, Chinese, Indian and Japanese cuisine are also found widely. Western cuisine is mainly found in the form of fast food.
The easiest and usually cheapest way to eat in Kuala Lumpur is at the food courts in the shopping centres. Every shopping centre has these areas where several food stalls share a seating area.
Restaurants are plentiful in Kuala Lumpur. Whether restaurants on top of skyscrapers, restaurants in shopping centres or small restaurants on the street that are really just a snack bar with plastic chairs, you can find something in every price range and for every appetite. If you want good Western cuisine, however, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.
At lunchtime, there are numerous small mobile food stalls with home-cooked food lining the streets. Those who prefer to sit down can experience a mix of street food and restaurants also at Nightfoodmarked.
Our tip for special dining venues in Kuala Lumpur
- at KL Citywalk there is a small restaurant strip that is frequented by many locals at lunchtime
- The buddhist temples in Kuala Lumpur offers a very affordable vegan buffet
- At the Japanese shopping centre next to the Pavilion shopping centre, there is a quaint food court in the basement
Transportation in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has a good system of public transport. However, the many letters can be a bit confusing. If you are in Kuala Lumpur for a longer time, it might be worth getting a monthly pass for all public transport. This is available without BRT (long-distance bus line) for MYR 50 and with BRT for MYR 100
In Kuala Lumpur, a distinction is made between LRT, MRT and Monorail. LRT, MRT and Monorail are the rail transport within the city area, which differs in the type of trains. The rides are relatively cheap. You can buy single tickets or a Myrapid TnGo Card, which you can top up to go cashless. The Touch’n Go Card costs around 10 MYR. Unfortunately, the tickets are often only valid for one of the systems and changing trains can be a bit awkward.
Furthermore, there are the KTM Komuter and ERL Express trains that depart from KL Sentral, the main railway station. The KTM Komuter leaves the city for the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur (for example, also in the direction of Batu Caves). The ERL express train runs from Kuala Lumpur to the international airport (KLIA) and costs MYR 55 – from 2 persons onwards, a Grab is worthwhile (approx. MYR 65; ride service cf. UBER; taxis are significantly more expensive).
Bus / Bas:
Go KL: Kuala Lumpur has a free bus system named after colours. Buses run 7 days a week from 6am-2pm (7am-2pm Sat/ Sun & public holidays) every 5- 10 minutes. The buses serve the main tourist spots and office districts. You can find the route map and timetables here.
Rapid KL: Kuala Lumpur’s second bus system is chargeable. You can find the stops here. However, it is easier and clearer to use the route planner (here) on the website. The buses are cashless. So you should get a Myrapid TnGo Card at one of the train stations (belonging to the same provider MyRapid) and load it up beforehand.
Hop On Hop Off: There is an extra Hop on Hop Off bus for tourists in Kuala Lumpur that goes (exclusively) to many of the typical sights. The buses usually run every 30 minutes, but during rush hour they can sometimes only come every 2 hours because they get stuck in traffic. Tickets for the bus cost MYR 50 for 24h and MYR 74 for 48h. You can buy the tickets online here and also find an overview of the official sales points and stops.
In the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur, it is also easy to get around on foot. Only when you move a little further away from the city centre are there often no more pavements. The pavements are usually in good condition. Occasionally, however, there are sections where the pavement is missing.In the city centre area in particular, many pavements are covered so that you don’t get wet even when it rains. However, the canopies are not continuous, so you still need an umbrella.
A particularly good walkway is the KL Citywalk (KLCW) which connects Pavillion and Suria Shopping Centre, among other places. The Citywalk consists of covered walkways lined with shops and cafes and an elevated walkway.
But as a pedestrian, be sure to note that Malaysians do not always obey traffic lights. Even if the pedestrian lights are green, cars and scooters may suddenly shoot through the intersection or turn left ( Malaysia has left-hand traffic). Sometimes, therefore, it is even safer to walk through red lights if the cross traffic is just preventing motorists from simply driving off. It is best to take your cue from the locals.
Grab / Taxi
In Kuala Lumpur, apart from taxis, there is also a ride provider GRAB. Grab is significantly cheaper than taxis. Since October 2019, Grab drivers have also had to pass a separate driving test to ensure that they abide by traffic rules. However, this initially led to a shortage of drivers as there was no sufficient transition period. Accordingly, many drivers dropped out until they could take the test.
Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
If you want to shop in Kuala Lumpur, you will quickly find what you are looking for in the numerous shopping centres. Here is a small selection of shopping centres that we visited and found to be good. However, there are countless other shopping centres.
- Suria: Shopping centre under the Petronas Towers. You can get many luxury brands here.
- Pavillion: Biggest central shopping centre with many luxury brands but also things for everyday use. Good food corner in the basement.
- Avenue K: Small department stores’ right next to Suria. Here, in addition to small shops, there is also a weekly changing theme area in the assembly hall, for example with products from all over Malaysia.
- 1 Utama: Large department stores’ just outside the centre. Cheaper than the central department stores. Large nighltlife area with rooftop bar, restaurants and a club on the roof next door.
- Berjaya Times Square: One of the biggest shopping centres in the world. There is a lot of cheap Chinese fashion here. There is an indoor amusement park. → our test report
Accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur offers all sorts of categories of accommodation. Prices for an apartment start at around €20 per person per night. However, a place in a dorm can be had for as little as €6 per night per person. Many of the accommodations in Kuala Lumpur are of European standard or even better equipped. A look at the photos and the location information is worthwhile in any case.
FAZIT Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is an exciting and diverse city. It is therefore definitely worth a visit. The city centre, however, is a little more expensive than the rest of Malaysia.
We personally really like Kuala Lumpur and would come back anytime.