Kuala LumpurTravel Guide

Kuala Lumpur, or simply ‘KL’, is one of the most captivating cities in Southeast Asia. A melting pot of cultures and of old and new, you’ll find beautiful mosques, colourful temples and shrines rubbing shoulders with historic colonial buildings, leafy banyan trees and steel-clad skyscrapers. Colourful streets are lined with food stalls and also dotted with upmarket malls, and if you’re looking for a shopper’s paradise, Kuala Lumpur is it! A hotspot for nightlife with karaoke and jazz bars, pubs, nightclubs and a performing arts scene, you’ll also find world-class cuisine to tuck into and many beautiful green spaces in the city. Another bonus is that KL has some exquisite beaches on its outskirts. Tempted to find out more? Our Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide will reveal all you need to know about Malaysia’s fascinating capital city.

Kuala Lumpur quick facts

Language

National language

Malay

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

GBP £0.60

Local time

Monday

1:39am

Currency

Malaysian ringgit

GBP £1.00 = MYR RM5.91

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

GBP £3.19

Electricity

Plug type: A

2 or 3 pins • 240V

Explore Kuala Lumpur

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?

With more than 14 million visitors flocking to the city each year, it’s not surprising there’s a wealth of accommodation options to choose from. Best of all, many offer good value for money compared to other cities around the world. From majestic hotels and luxury apartments to cosy guesthouses and the trendiest hostels, KL has it all.

The shopping and entertainment district of Bukit Bintang and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) in the city’s Golden Triangle are the popular areas to stay. Their central location means attractions, shopping malls, restaurants and bars are on your doorstep.

Feel like royalty from the moment you step into the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. The luxurious, spacious rooms offer every comfort imaginable, and then there’s that marble bathroom… Best of all, you get your own butler when you stay at this hotel in Kuala Lumpur.


For a taste of what it’s like to stay in a traditional Malaysian kampong village, opt for Villa Samadhi romantic garden resort. A gorgeous lagoon pool weaves through the tranquil resort, connecting the luxurious Asian-inspired rooms with traditional thatched roofs.


Prefer something more colourful and edgy? Check out CitizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang, a super stylish 4-star hotel in Kuala, close to the Jalan Alon street food market. A standout feature in the rooms is the large TV with Airplay and a convenient control pad from where you can set everything – the lights, the blinds, and more.


Located next to the Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall and Sephora store, Gold 3 Boutique Hotel an affordable and relaxed Scandi vibe in the heart of the city. But if it’s just the basics you’re after, ﷟HYPERLINK "https://www.thebedklcc.com/"The Bed  will do just fine. It offers accommodation in bunk bed-style pods with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and shared bathrooms. will do just fine. It offers accommodation in bunk bed-style pods with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and shared bathrooms.


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

From glitzy malls, lively markets and historical sites to beaches within driving distance, there’s something for every kind of traveller in KL. Here are a few must-visit attractions:

Let’s face it, you haven’t been to KL unless you’ve stood at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers – or even better, scaled its heights for a breathtaking view of the city. Standing at 452m, these identical 88-storey chrome-and-steel skyscrapers hold the record for being the tallest twin towers in the world. Ride a high-speed elevator to the skybridge that connects the two towers on levels 41 and 42, then take another to the observation deck on level 86. Afterwards, go shopping or watch a movie at Suria KLCC at the base or relax in the gorgeous park behind the towers.


Tired of shopping? Then head to the Batu Caves, Malaysia’s most sacred Hindu shrine. Located in an ancient limestone hill in the district of Gombrak, it’s only a 20-minute drive from the city centre. Climb 272 steps past a massive golden statue of Lord Murugan and chattering monkeys to reach the entrance to the biggest cave. Inside, marvel at the cave’s 100-metre-high ceiling and explore the shrines glowing from within its depths. You can also take a guided tour of the Dark Cave (not for the faint-hearted).

 


So many clubs, pubs, rooftop bars, and so little time… If you manage to get to one rooftop bar, make sure it’s the incredible Heli Lounge Bar in Bukit Bintang. The cocktail bar on the 36th floor emerges at night after the floor has been operating as a helipad during the day, and its drawcard is how it showcases KL with incredible 360-degree views. Later, we recommend heading to the nightclub on the 34th floor for some dancing till dawn.


Berjaya Times Square is a shopping hotspot and the perfect place for family fun in the city centre. Head to the 5th floor, where you’ll find the entrance to Malaysia’s largest indoor amusement park. With more than 24 rides and plenty of other carnival activities, there are thrills here for every age. Buckle up for an adrenaline rush as you take a loop on the Supersonic Odyssey roller coaster. And if your stomach’s up to it, we dare you to take a twirl on the Spinning Orb. Little ones will love the Buddy-Go-Round and the other rides and games in the Fantasy Garden.


Bagan Lalang is a beautiful, quiet beach lined with mangrove trees, under half an hour’s drive from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. More than sun, surf and water sports, you can also indulge in some pampering at a variety of spas and sample local cuisine at the nearby restaurants.
 


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Kuala Lumpur food and drink

Lonely Planet named Kuala Lumpur One of the Best Places to Visit in 2023 for its food. Offering a culinary experience as eclectic as its skyline, from fine dining to street food, trust us, your taste buds will be spoilt for choice in KL. Here are just a few options in the central Golden Triangle area:

Celebrating something special? Thirty8 offers the perfect romantic setting. The Grand Hyatt hotel’s signature restaurant is consistently voted the most scenic dining spot in KL. Tuck into the sharing menu, which includes the restaurant’s famous fried crab cakes and matcha parfait, as you admire the views of the city on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

For adventurous foodies, Dining in the Dark KL dishes up a fine-dining experience with a twist. Here you’ll dine in absolute darkness, guided through a four-course meal from a set menu by capable experts. All is revealed after you’ve enjoyed your meal.


For the best street food in the city centre, sample sizzling skewers, steaming bowls of noodles and hot-from-the-wok stir-fried delights along Jalan Alor, especially at night. Both sides of the lively street are packed with restaurants and stalls serving every type of food in Malaysia. (Tip: Don’t miss Wong ah Wah's smoky barbecued chicken wings.)

For an indoor street-food experience, head down to Lot 10 Hutong Food Court on the basement of Lot 10 shopping centre. Here you’ll find dozens of stalls featuring some of Malaysia’s most beloved local dishes, including nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk), satay (meat skewers) and Hon Kee porridge (fresh raw fish porridge, and it’s delicious!).

Another option to explore, if you’re keen on some shopping too, is the Petaling Street Market in nearby Chinatown. From roast duck, sweet potato balls and egg tarts to local picks like hokkien mee (a noodle dish) and oyster omelettes, get set for a gastronomic adventure as you browse the many stalls and restaurants in the area.


Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Kuala Lumpur through your eyes

Where to shop in Kuala Lumpur?

Good news – you can shop till you drop in Kuala Lumpur. From huge, flashy air-conditioned shopping malls to colourful bazaars and markets, shopping is an exciting activity you can do all day long.

Most of the fashionable and upscale shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur can be found in Bukit Bintang and KLCC.

 Pavilion KL in the middle of the Bukit Bintang strip, is among the most popular malls. You can find everything from a gourmet emporium to a couture pavilion in this 10-storey retail mecca.

Lovers of luxury brands and international designers will be in their element at KL’s most luxurious mall, The Starhill, just across the road. From Louis Vuitton to Roberto Cavalli, Rolex and more, shopping doesn’t get more high-end than this.

Prefer tech to fashion? Plaza Low Yat is rated the best shopping centre for gadgets and IT accessories – so expect to spend a few hours in virtual heaven!

If you’d rather shop a bit further away from the main action, opt for a trip to the Mid Valley Megamall. Easily accessible by public transport, it’s one of the top-rated malls in Kuala Lumpur. From local department stores and supermarkets to high-end international brands like Zara, H&M and Swarovski, this is where the locals like to shop.  

A covered pedestrian bridge connects Mid Valley Megamall to The Gardens, a smaller luxury shopping centre which will appeal to parents, as it has a dedicated children’s edutainment centre with educational and experiential playgrounds.


There are dozens of local bazaars, markets and shops in Kuala Lumpur that offer bargain shopping and unique products like batik print clothing, rice wine and spices. But for a true Asian street-shopping experience in the Golden Triangle, there are two that stand out:

Central Market is an iconic, covered bazaar a short walk from Merdeka Square. With 350 shops and stalls, it’s the perfect place to go if you’re hunting for affordable Malay, Chinese and Indian-inspired souvenirs made by local craftsmen. Don’t be shy to ask to have your portrait sketched or to request a custom-made souvenir.

Petaling Street Market in Chinatown is a must if you’re an adventurous shopper who likes to bargain. It’s packed with stalls selling everything from bags, shoes and T-shirts to watches, DVDs, and phones but don’t expect a guarantee on your items! It’s an enjoyable experience, especially at night when the market is at its liveliest.


Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Kuala Lumpur?

KL experiences a moderate  equatorial climate, which means it’s hot and humid with tropical rain showers throughout the year. The average temperature is around 33°C (91°F) during the day but it can reach as high as 35°C (95°F) and at night it’s around 24°C (75°F).

The best time to visit Kuala Lumpur is in the dry season. This is because less humidity makes it more comfortable to explore the city – plus there’s less chance of a downpour. (Always have your umbrella with you just in case.)

June and July are the driest months of the year but there’s still an average of 125mm of rain. April and November are the wettest months of the year.

Peak season is between December and January, then again between June and August. This is because it’s festival season and people from all over Asia flock to the city for the celebrations. If you’re planning your trip during peak season, get ready for crowds – and to pay higher hotel rates.

If you prefer to visit when the city is less crowded, consider travelling between February and March or September to October. These are considered the city’s off-seasons.

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How to get around Kuala Lumpur

However, KL has a comprehensive  public transport network making it easy to get to major tourist attractions if you’re short on time – or energy! Get discounts on fares with a My Rapid Concession Card. This is a convenient smart card that can be used on all Rapid KL buses, trains, and the monorail. Just tap and go.

If you’re on a budget, you can hop on and off the Go KL City Bus for free. Easy to spot, the pink single-decker buses cover five routes and loop around the central business district. They pass by many main attractions, shopping malls, and sights, running every five minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours.

Of course, you’ll find metered taxis are plentiful and available around the clock, too. But they can be expensive. Another option is to use Southeast Asia's ride-hailing service Grab.  Just download the app and you’re good to go.

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

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