What to do in Kuala Lumpur? People have asked us this question quite a few times. In 2014 we came to KL for the first time. And in the last 3 years we have been to this city several times, for about 3 months in total. Twice we spent about a month in Kuala Lumpur at a time. And I’m sure we will return. So, I guess, I’ll not surprise you anymore saying that Kuala Lumpur is one of our favorite cities in the world.
As I know the city so well, I decided to write this article to share with you the 30 best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
The list contains historical and religious sites, museums and parks, modern buildings, shopping areas and malls, as well as some of, in my opinion, the best places for food.
What to Do in Kuala Lumpur? – 30 Best Places to Visit in Kuala Lumpur
1. Batu Caves
One of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. And also definitely one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
Batu caves is a series of caves and Hindu temples on a limestone hill, and the whole temple complex is dedicated to Lord Murugan. There is a large golden Murugan statue outside the temple complex. The height of the statue is 42,7 m (140 ft), and it is the world’s tallest Murugan statue.
When visiting Batu Caves, beware of the sneaky monkeys! Keep your belongings in your bag and do not carry food or flashy and colorful things (like, sunglasses) which can attract monkeys. Several times I’ve seen monkeys grabbing and stealing stuff from people. Also hold your electronics tightly, as they can try to take them, too.
2. Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers probably are the most popular landmark of Malaysia, and definitely one of the top places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. They were the world’s tallest buildings until year 2004. They still remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
The height of Petronas Towers is 451.9 m (1483 ft), floor count – 88 (+5 below ground). The towers are connected by a bridge (Skybridge) on the 41st and 42nd floors. The bridge is open to public, and you can get a ticket for a mere 85 RM (about 20 USD / 18 EUR). As it is a very popular tourist attraction I suggest that you buy the tickets at least a few days in advance. Once we wanted to buy a ticket only a day in advance, and there weren’t any available.
You can buy them online on Petronas Twin Tower homepage.
3. KLCC Park
KLCC Park had been built with a purpose to make Petronas Twin Towers area greener. And they have succeeded – in the midst of glass and concrete jungle there is a nice green park with a man made lake – Lake Symphony, where every evening visitors can enjoy light and fountain show. On weekdays light and fountain show is from 6 PM till 11 PM. On holidays and weekends – until midnight. The fountains are on also during the days. Weekdays – 12:00 until 2 PM; weekends – from 10 until the sunset when the light show starts.
In addition to Lake Symphony there are pedestrian (running, bicycle) trails, benches, a shallow pool with fountains for children and a playground.
4. KLCC Aquaria
KLCC Aquaria is one of the largest and most popular oceanarium in Asia. It is located beneath KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre), and its area is 5600 square meters. Oceanarium has two levels and a 90 meter-long underwater tunnel where various spectacular sea creatures can be spotted.
Not only you can look at the sea creatures but you can pet them as well! Yes, touch! There are several “petting pools” where you can hold starfish and pet leopard sharks. It might sound cruel but by the look of it fish do like it (well, I couldn’t tell if the starfish liked it).
5. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
KL Bird Park is considered the world’s largest walk-in aviary. However, the name is a bit deceptive. As not all the birds are wandering and flying around freely. A lot of them are in the cages and enclosures.
The park is big (20.9 acres / 8.5 ha), so dedicate at least a couple of hours for a visit. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is located adjacent to the Lake Gardens. So, after a visit to Bird Park, wander around Lake Gardens (see below), which house a butterfly park (see below) and an orchid garden as well.
The Bird Park houses more than 3000 birds representing more than 200 species. Most of the birds are local. The Bird Park is definitely among the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
6. Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park
KL Butterfly Park is a public butterfly zoo, located very close to the bird park, on Perdana Botanical Garden’s premises. So, you can visit it on the same day. Entry fee isn’t high – only 25 RM (about 6 USD / 5,3 EUR).
The area of the butterfly garden is large – 7432,2 square meters (1,8 acres). The park is home for more than 5000 butterflies, many them are local species, including Rajah Brooke’s birdwing, the national butterfly of Malaysia!
7. Perdana Botanical Garden (Lake Gardens)
Lake Gardens is a large 227-acre park located quite close to the central part of Kuala Lumpur. It is the first large-sized recreational park in Malaysia, and it was established in 1888.
As I mentioned before, KL Bird Park and Butterfly Park is located on its premises. Lake Gardens is a great place where to relax after a tiring walk around the glass and concrete jungle – the city center of Kuala Lumpur.
8. Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is an imposing temple with elements of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. The temple was built by Hainanese living in Malaysia, and opened to the public in September 1989.
On the premises of the temple a visitor will find a tortoise pond, Chinese medicinal herbs garden and statues of 12 animals of Chinese astrology.
9. Masjid Jamek (Jamek mosque)
Jamek Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. The mosque is built in a rather unusual place – at the confluence of Gombak and Klang rivers. Masjid Jamek is the first large mosque to be built in Kuala Lumpur.
The design is similar to the one of Kuala Lumpur railway station’s. Both buildings were designed by Arthur Benison Hubback – a British architect and soldier.
10. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
KL Railway station was the main railway station before Kuala Lumpur Sentral railway station was opened on 2001.
Even though KL Sentral railway station is the biggest railway station in Malaysia from the outside it is not impressive at all. It looks like a shopping mall. Old Kuala Lumpur railway station, on the contrary – is a very impressive building. It looks like a pretty castle!
As I mentioned above it was designed by a British architect, in similar style to one of the most popular mosques in Kuala Lumpur – Masjid Jamek.
Remember, that currently only three trains are stopping at this station. It’s definitely not a railway hub any more.
11. Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara KL)
KL Tower often is listed among the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the most popular landmarks in Malaysia as well.
Head to KL Tower if you want to see a spectacular view of the city! The view from the tower is more impressive than one from Petronas towers, as the viewing platform is located higher (170 m vs. 276 m!). And it is cheaper to get there as well! The ticket costs 52 RM (about 12 USD / 11 EUR).
There is a revolving restaurant located on a viewing deck – Atmosphere 360. It is the highest restaurant in the city! If you plan to dine there, take into an account, that it takes more than an hour for the restaurant to do a full circle.
For 105 RM (about 26 USD / 23 EUR) you can get even higher – to Sky Deck at 421 m.
Chinatown is a good place for shopping and trying out various street food! The main shopping street is Jalan Petaling. There you will find countless stalls selling knock-off accessories, bags, clothes, shoes and electronics. As Chinatown is regarded as one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and it indeed is a popular tourist spot, in most stalls prices are higher than usual. If you think you are good at it, try to haggle!
A lot of hostels and budget guesthouses are located in Chinatown and around it.
I suggest you to visit not only Jalan Petaling but also other streets around it. You’ll see a lot of traditional Chinese shops and eateries.
13. Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is a good place for eating out! Of course, you’ll see a lot of Chinese, Malay and Indian eateries and restaurants. But not only those! There are quite a few Arabic, Moroccan and Iranian restaurants and street food stalls. We always head to Bukit Bintang when we want to eat Shawarma (chicken, lamb, beef, etc, meat shavings and vegetables in a pita bread). Mmmmm!
Jalan Alor is the main food-street of Bukit Bintang, and it is often listed as one of the top places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Jalan Alor is one of the most famous street food areas that both locals and tourists love to visit. A lot of hawker stalls and numerous sea food restaurants are located there.
A couple of large malls and a lot of different shops and boutiques can be found in the area of Bukit Bintang, too.
14. Little India
Little India is another great place for shopping and trying various Indian food. Visit Little India if you want to buy Indian goods and produce, and / or try some good Indian food!
15. Sunway Lagoon
Sunway Lagoon is one of the largest and most popular theme parks in Southeast Asia! Its area is 356 123 square meters (88 acres), and the park has 90 attractions spread around six zones: Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, Water Park, Amusement Park, Wildlife Park, Scream Park and Extreme Park.
Interesting fact – one of the largest man-made surf beaches is located in Sunway Lagoon theme park!
16. Low Yat Plaza
Low Yat Plaza is a large mall specializing in electronics and IT products. It is the largest IT shopping mall in Malaysia, and it is regarded as the most comprehensive one in whole Kuala Lumpur.
There are 7 floors, and around 350 stores. If you are a fan of electronics definitely visit Low Yat Plaza even if you don’t need any new gadgets.
It is also a place where to go if you need a second hand gadget, such as a phone, a tablet or a laptop.
17. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is the oldest Taoist temple in Kuala Lumpur. The temple is founded by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, and dedicated to the deities Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya, who guided Kapitan Yap Ah Loy during the civil war. Very beautiful place.
The temple is located in Chinatown, near Petaling Street.
18. Central Market Kuala Lumpur (Pasar Seni Kuala Lumpur)
Central Market used to be a wet market, but now it is one of the most popular tourist attractions and often is listed among the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Now it is also a landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage.
The market’s original building was built in 1888 by the British, but in 1937 the current Art Deco style building was completed.
The market has two floors: ground floor with the stalls, and the first floor, which houses a food court. The stalls on the ground floor offer good quality textiles, paintings, souvenirs, sculptures and other handicrafts.
19. Medan Pasar
Medan Pasar is a square near Chinatown. It used to be a notorious neighborhood – it housed numerous gambling places and brothels. Of course, all of it is gone now, and nowadays it is just a nice square close to the city center.
In the middle of the square stands a small art deco clock tower.
20. KL City Gallery
KL City Gallery is a museum and tourist information center. There you can get free maps and free brochures about all the regions of Malaysia (you can get them for free online as well). As well as all the necessary information about traveling in Malaysia.
For a small fee (5 RM, 1 EUR) you can see the exhibition and get to know more about the history of Kuala Lumpur. There you will see photos, scale models, paintings and more!
There is a big sing “I LOVE KL” in front of the building.
21. The Islamic Arts Museum
Regarded as one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur, it’s located not far from the central part of KL, next to Perdana Botanical Gardens. The museum has 12 main galleries, and it hosts various religious and historic artifacts, manuscripts, textile, ceramics, jewelry, arms and armor.
The Islamic Arts Museum is one of the most popular museums in Asia (Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice), too, and it is the largest museum of Islamic arts in South East Asia.
22. Sultan Abdul Samad building
Sultan Abdul Samad building is an imposing building located near KL city center and Masjid Jamek. Its design is similar to the one of Masjid Jamek and Kuala Lumpur railway station. The style is Neo-Moorish, and it was not uncommon at that time.
23. Masjid India and Bazaar
They are located very close to Masjid Jamek and Masjid Jamek LRT station. Masjid India is one of my favorite mosques in Kuala Lumpur. In my opinion, it has a rather unique design, and I like it very much.
Masjid India Bazaar is located beside the mosque. It is a large market, mostly for locals. Clothes, footwear, toys, souvenirs and different accessories are sold there. As it is not a very popular tourist destination the prices are fair and sellers – less aggressive. Head there if you want to have a peaceful shopping experience!
24. Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. As it is located in Chinatown, head there after exploring Chinatown’s streets and savoring its street food! Advise – don’t be shy, and walk in the temple as well! Hindu temples are amazingly colorful and interesting because of the countless statues of Hindu deities.
25. Local Night Markets
Head to one of these local night markets if you want to try local food, snacks and sweets: Sri Petaling (Tuesday), Taman Connaught Night Market (Wednesday), Plaza Mont’Kiara Fiesta Nite Market (Thursday), Kampung Baru Market (Sunday).
When you are there definitely try some these foods:
- Nasi Lemak (fragrant rice cooked with spices, spicy sauce and fish / meat).
- Satay – skewered pieces of chicken / beef meat.
- Different types of noodles – biasa, Char Kway Teow, Mee Goreng.
- Murtabak – spicy omelet with vegetable and/ or minced beef, chicken, mutton meat filling.
- Fried bananas (there are different types).
- Banana and coconut sweets wrapped in banana leaves.
- Green pandan “pancake” rolls filled with shredded coconut.
Some clothes, footwear, toys, bags and other accessories are sold on the night markets as well. The prices are lower than in the touristic places.
When reading guides to Kuala Lumpur, you don’t see a suggestion to visit a night market too often. But, in my opinion, you should definitively go to at least one night market.
26. Chow Kit Market
Chow Kit Market is one of the best outdoor markets in Kuala Lumpur, and it is regarded as Kuala Lumpur’s largest wet market. Fresh meat, fish (dried and fresh) and sea food, vegetables, fruits and spices are sold there. There is a dry section as well – with stalls offering clothes, shoes, various accessories, CDs and sweets – and street food stalls offering wide variety of local dishes.
The market is located near Kampung Baru, on Tuanku Abdul Rahman street, and it is open daily, 06:00 – 17:00.
27. Suria KLCC
Suria KLCC is a large shopping mall below The Petronas Towers. It has over 400 stores. Designer clothes and footwear, sportswear, electronics, cosmetics, food, banks, etc. – everything under one roof! Head there if you need serious (for quality goods) shopping to do!
My favorite bookstore is in Suria KLCC. Kinokuniya Book Store is a huge bookshop, and it makes it a paradise for bookworms and stationery-lovers! Head there and see for yourself!
28. Pavilion Mall
Pavilion Mall is a large mall situated in Bukit Bintang. It has six different precincts: world’s major fashion label stores (many of them are flagship stores), Bintang Circle with an atrium, a food court, entertainment and sports area, beauty parlors and convenience and household stores.
Just like Suria KLCC – it is worth a quick visit even you don’t like shopping. It is fancy and its interior is pretty. There are several nice cafes and amazing ice cream stand. You don’t like shopping, right, but you will definitely enjoy eating, ha!
29. Masjid Negara (The National Mosque of Malaysia)
The National Mosque of Malaysia is a large mosque situated near Kuala Lumpur railway station. Its design is bold and modern, and the mosque has an unusual umbrella-shaped roof.
30. National Museum (Muzium Negara)
National Museum is a great place to go to get an overview of Malaysian history and culture! The museum houses four galleries where visitor can see traditional musical instruments, weapons, painting, ceramics, textiles and illustrations of different cultural events and festivals.
This museum is often listed among the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
Do you have questions about traveling to Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia? Don’t hesitate to ask!
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.