Home to the eighth tallest towers in the world, Kuala Lumpur is so much more than just a capital city. Besides being the economic and financial hub of Malaysia, it is also a powerhouse of culture. With its swanky skyscrapers dominating the skyline, Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in South-East Asia. However, its historic domes and minarets, colorful street markets, and local cultures add many more shades to its beauty. This destination guide will help you with a list of the best places to visit, what to eat, how to commute, and things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 2 days.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KUALA LUMPUR
Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Here are my top picks.
If you want a flavor of Malaysia’s royal history, head over to the National Palace, or as the locals call it, Istana Negara. The palace is the official residence of the Malaysian monarch and one of the best places to visit in KL.
Sprawled over 97.65 hectares in area, the palace complex has 3 main divisions. Its 22 golden domes are truly gorgeous.
The palace itself is not open to visitors. However, one of the main reasons why tourists flock to this place is to see the palace guards. You can see them in their traditional as well as modern uniforms here. Don’t miss the change of guards ceremony which takes place every day at 12 noon.
And if you’re a little disappointed that the palace isn’t open to the public, you can visit the old Istana Negara. This is the old palace of the king which has now been converted into the Royal Museum.
The Twin Towers
When we talk about the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur, a mention of the twin towers is imperative. Better known to some as the Petronas Towers, these iconic structures of Kuala Lumpur are truly spectacular.
Your visit to the twin towers won’t be complete without a trip to the sky bridge from where you can see some magnificent views. However, make sure to book your tickets online in advance, because they get sold out real quick at the venue.
The towers are open on all days except Mondays. Also, make sure to check for any local holidays before you visit.
The towers are a part of a bigger complex known as Kuala Lumpur Convention Center or KLCC. Inside it, is a massive 6 story shopping mall that’s worth checking out too. The Suria KLCC.
This is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Kuala Lumpur. However, it’s located a little outside the city, around seven miles north. These are limestone caves and cave temples which house Hindu shrines.
Be prepared to climb a whopping 272 steps to get to the caves. And you’re sure to meet a bunch of monkeys when you’re visiting these caves. The area around the caves is great for hiking too and there are multiple routes that you can take.
And now for one of my favorite spots and one of the best places to visit in KL. Bukit Bintang – a paradise for shoppers. The Bintang Walk is a stretch of road that goes around this entertainment district. You’ll find everything here including swanky malls, stores, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Pavilion KL is one of the most famous landmarks of Bukit Bintang. You can find all your favorite brands here, such as Coach, D&G, Versace, and YSL. The nightlife is pretty exciting and includes live music and rooftop bars.
KL Bird Park
The KL Bird Park is a popular tourist attraction and one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. It houses over 3000 birds and more than 200 different species of them. The park is spread over a large area and divided into four zones. It is essentially a huge aviary where birds are free to fly about and interact with visitors. Only zone 4 houses birds in cages.
WHERE TO EAT IN KUALA LUMPUR
Your visit to Kuala Lumpur will be incomplete without a stop at Jalan Alor. Once a place of questionable repute, it’s now one of the best places in Kuala Lumpur for foodies.
However, don’t expect anything too lavish or uber-hip. This place has a modest charm to it where the food is the show-stopper. Extremely reasonably priced and served by street vendors on plastic tables and chairs. Make sure to visit only after sundown as the area lights up and becomes active only at that time.
You’re likely to find a multitude of food courts in KL given that there are so many shopping malls. However, one of the best places in Kuala Lumpur for foodies is the food court in Lot 10 mall, Hutong.
It’s especially interesting because the food here is prepared by a bunch of street vendors who were hand-picked for the job. If you’re looking for some delicious and authentic Malaysian cuisine, this is where you should go.
GETTING AROUND KUALA LUMPUR
KL Hop-on Hop-off Bus
According to me, Kuala Lumpur has one of the best Hop-on-hop-off bus services in the world. I’ve tried these in many other cities but nothing compares to the experience we had in KL.
Unlike the ones in Hong Kong or Miami, there’s just a single route on which the bus operates. And this covers almost all of the major attractions of the city.
Except for the Batu Caves and Genting Highlands, this bus can take you to all the other attractions in the city. They’re easily available too and bus stops aren’t easy to miss.
Go-KL Free Bus
Other than the KL Hop-on Hop-off, you can also avail the free Go-KL bus, which runs on two separate routes. The Purple line and the Green line. These buses also stop at many of the attractions.
However, you’ll need to make a note of where you need to get off because this isn’t meant to be a guided tour. Keep in mind, though, that these buses are usually quite crowded and they’ll only cover a few attractions.
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Cab drivers usually ask for exorbitant prices and generally don’t agree to charge you by the meter. However, with Ubers available, this situation can be avoided easily.
If you wish to commute using public buses or trains, KL Sentral is the hub where you need to be. You can reach any place via buses or trains from this particular location. We didn’t visit the Batu Caves, but for Genting Highlands, we boarded a bus from a stop right next to KL Sentral.
PLACES TO STAY IN KUALA LUMPUR
There’s no dearth of good places to stay in Kuala Lumpur. The area around KL Sentral is one of the busiest locations and you’ll find a variety of hotels here.
The following hotels are worth checking out and contrary to popular belief, 5-star hotels won’t burn a hole in your pocket, in KL.
- Hilton Kuala Lumpur
- The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Autograph Collection
- Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
- Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
- Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur
DON’T MISS OUT ON KUALA LUMPUR’S…
Right opposite to the KL Bird Park, is Kuala Lumpur’s most unique attraction, the Orchid Garden. It houses an incredible variety of orchids and said to have thousands of different species of them.
It’s truly a visual delight for flora fanatics. You can even buy some pots to take back home with you.
Kuala Lumpur has a sizeable Chinese population and China Town is one of the top attractions in KL. The main street in the area is Petaling Street that houses numerous stores selling souvenirs, street food, clothes, bags, and what-not.
Be prepared to haggle when buying anything here. Even though the vendors might dissuade you from bargaining, know that it’s just to help themselves to a better deal. This is just a little piece of the delicious pie Kuala Lumpur has to offer. Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly one of my most favorite cities and when you visit it, you’ll know why.
Chandrima is a passionate traveler from India, who loves to inspire others to travel. She’s been to 15 countries and more than 50 cities and shares her travel experiences and other useful tips on her blog Travel Stories Untold.
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