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A Guide to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is a vibrant and modern city boasting a fascinating combination of both heritage and innovation. Every year, my family goes back to Kuala Lumpur for Chinese New Year, and I never fail to fall in love again with the city’s buzzing energy and delicious food. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, there’s always something new to see and do; so here’s my city guide to Kuala Lumpur:

Batu Caves

Batu Caves

See

Batu Caves

A spot that never fails to impress, this limestone cave houses a beautiful Hindu temple. Up the 200 odd steps, you’ll be led into a stunning and historic place of worship frequented by both visitors and plenty of monkeys. 

Twin Towers

Perfect for iconic selfies, the Twin Towers are great to observe from below or scaled up for a bird’s eye view of the city. The Skybridge, a glass walkway linking both towers, is an especially memorable experience and a rare chance to see the city from that height. Toast the city’s beauty at the SkyBar before heading off to eat your way around town.

China Town

Located on Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur’s China Town is a sight to behold. Now basically an integral part of Malaysia’s local culture, the Chinese Malaysians have reinvented what we know as Chinese food. Look forward to plenty of delicious street food such as satays, wonton noodles, and Pan Mee, as well as the opportunity to snag some souvenirs at bargain prices. 

Islamic Arts Museum

Islamic Arts Museum

National Art Gallery 

For those who enjoy a dose of contemporary art, the National Art Gallery, or the Balai Seni Negara, is the place to be to get a feel of locally produced visual art and the creative scene. From Biennale to local artists old and new, the large venue holds over 2,500 works in its permanent collection alone.

Islamic Arts Museum

A rare chance to admire native Islamic art up close, the Islamic Arts Museum is an inspiring place that’s home to 30,000 square metres of artefacts. Currently the largest museum of its kind, you’ll find books, ceramics, textiles and jewellery, as well as the largest scale models of the Great Mosque of Mecca.

Street Food

Street Food

Eat & Drink

Ramadhan Bazaars

To truly experience Malaysian food fused with flavours spanning Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines, it’s best to visit one of the Ramadhan Bazaars in town. Held during the holy month of Ramadhan, these bazaars are where Muslims break their fast, while many non-Muslims also join them for a feast. Open from late afternoon, these night food markets are perfect for grazing and exploring with friends.

Ramly Burgers

Ramly burgers, or street burgers, are a Malaysian must-have when it comes to street food. Usually sold in food carts but also found in stalls and shops, this greasy, saucy and often messy treat is available from early evening to late night. Rather than heading for the fast-food joints post-drinks, look for a ramly burger near you instead.

Helipad, Kuala Lumpur

Helipad, Kuala Lumpur

Jalan Alor

If you need a one-stop destination for a late-night supper or night market strolling, Jalan Alor is the place to be. With a good mix of Chinese seafood restaurants and local street food like chicken wings and oyster omelettes from hawkers made fresh to order, you’ll be set for a delicious evening. 

Rooftop Bars

In a city of high-rises, there are always amazing rooftop bars. Surprisingly affordable and often located on top of hotels, places like Helipad and Mantra Bar will give you a 360 degree view of the city, as well as a memorable evening, shared over drinks and nibbles.

Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

Shop

Central Market

For crafts, trinkets and souvenirs, head to Central Market. Mostly filled with vendors selling traditional Malaysian crafts and art, it’s a bright and airy traditional market with rows upon rows of vendors and cafes to rest your feet in between. Perfect for an afternoon of exploring and shopping, just remember to barter, within reason.

Bukit Bintang

Bukit Bintang is a bright and busy shopping area lined with side-by-side shopping malls. From upscale and luxurious complexes like the Pavilion KL and Starhill Gallery to the more budget-friendly Sugei Wang Plaza and Lot 10, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Head to Plaza Low Yat if you’re on the hunt for some new electronics.

One Utama

One Utama

Bangsar

More of a residential neighbourhood, Bangsar is a laidback spot to walk around in and explore, including the Bangsar Village mall where you’ll find quiet shops to take your time trying items on. Along the streets, you’ll find quaint independent boutiques among cafes and bars worthy of stopping by for a quick break.

One Utama

Opened in 1995, One Utama is still one of the best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, and the largest mall in the entire country. Sprawling with seemingly endless brands, boutiques, restaurants and leisure spots, it is a place you can spend more than a day exploring. Get pampered, try on new clothes, catch a movie, or even hit the batting cages all under one roof.

Written by Karen Chiang

As a third-cultured millennial, I have been writing about travel and lifestyle for several years for the likes of BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Crave Magazine, and WGSN. Now living in Hong Kong, I love to explore cities one bite at a time, preferably in hip neighbourhoods and hidden alleyways. Follow my adventures on Instagram @livewellbasics.

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