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Megan the Travelin Writer

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and largest city of Malaysia, known for its mix of old and new worlds. Skyscrapers stand side-by-side with some of the oldest buildings. Here, cultures from across Asia come together to create this vibrant, energetic, diverse city. Spend a couple of days exploring the beginning of what Kuala Lumpur has to offer.

14 Best Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur




things to do


1. Batu Caves

Head to the colorful Batu Caves early in the morning for a spectacular view over the city. At the top of 272 rainbow steps, a 140-foot golden statue towers over the limestone hill, marking the entrance to the enormous Batu Caves.


Hindu worshippers start arriving before dawn to visit this shrine, one of the most sacred outside of India, so you'll want to arrive early. Plan to visit on a weekday and not a public holiday to avoid the largest crowds. As a guest to the site, show respect by dressing appropriately, covering your shoulders and legs.





2. Thean Hou Temple

One of our favorite places in Kuala Lumpur, this striking Chinese temple sits on a hilltop overlooking the city below. Built of six levels, Thean Hou is one of the largest Chinese temples in southeast Asia. Visit at 7:30am to avoid the crowds and enjoy the peaceful embrace of a quiet morning in a bustling city. You'll fall in love with the bright red and gold of "Thean Hou," Queen of Heaven.



Entrance is free. There is a donation box inside the temple.



3. Sultan Abdul Samad and Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square is where independence in Malaysia began, marked by a 95-meter-high flagpole. Right next to it is one of the most unique buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Abdul Samad, a former courthouse. Take a walk along the river behind Sultan Abdul Samad to view some of the city's most impressive and colorful street art.





4. Merchant's Lane, Kuala Lumpur's most hidden cafe

"That's why her hair is so big . . . it's full of secrets." Just a 15-minute walk from Merdeka Square, Merchant's Lane Cafe is one of those hidden spots you'd likely never find without local knowledge or a guidebook. To find this true hidden gem of a cafe, look for the newspaper shop and climb the steps behind the blue door. It's a perfect hideaway to relax over lunch, try their delicious coffee, and feel like a local.



They have a 12-3pm weekday lunch special. When you order a main, get a drink for only 5 MYR extra.



5. Street Art

Kuala Lumpur's street art will leave you awe-inspired. Start your self-guided walking tour of Kuala Lumpur's street art at "The Goldsmith," before walking to Kwai Chai Hong, a hidden alley of stunning art tucked away from the main street just a block from Merchant's Lane Cafe. Despite the name, Concubine KL is a trendy spot to grab a drink and view some of the street art from above.







6.  Street Food at Jalan Alor Night Market

Jalan Alor Night Market is one of the most famous street food stops in the world. Just after sunset, seemingly endless food vendors and restaurants pour out onto a bustling street.





7. Little India

One of the best parts about Kuala Lumpur is its diversity, a city where many cultures, religions, and people groups come together to build this vibrant city. Visiting Little India, also known as Brickfields, will transport you to the streets of India, listening to the sounds of Bollywood music, temple bells, and street vendors. The streets are lined with colorful shops, restaurants, and vendors selling everything from fragrant spices to beautiful silk fabrics. If you love India or Indian food, you have to stop here; it's just a few minutes from KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur's main railway station.





8. Try Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar is one of Malaysia's most famous dishes. The name originally means rice on the shoulder from when "nasi" (rice) sellers from India would balance a “kandar” (pole) on their shoulders. Little India and ABC One Bistro is a great place to try Nasi Kandar, which is steamed rice topped with curry.



We highly recommend their masala dosa; it costs only $0.99, and can be enjoyed while watching the metro go by. Ask the robot to deliver it. 😉


9. Petronas Towers

The Petronas Towers are the most famous icon of Kuala Lumpur. At 451.9m (1,483 feet), they are the second-tallest twin towers in the world. Snap a photo in front but beware of the pushy salesman, shop inside the towers or visit the 86th-floor observation deck. Make sure to visit the KLCC Park at the back of the towers for a relaxing, green retreat inside the city.





10. Lunch at Leaf & Co.

Odds are you're doing a lot of walking in Kuala Lumpur, and why not? It's a great city to do that. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, you'll love having lunch at Leaf and Co., a modern restaurant with both traditional and contemporary Malay dishes. We recommend the soft shell crab burger.





11. China Town

If you love Chinese food, you have to visit China Town in Kuala Lumpur. You'll find traditional Chinese cuisine, such as dim sum, dumplings, noodles, and the some of the best roast pork and rice in KL. Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown is known for its mouth-watering street food, vibrant streets, and bustling Petaling Street Market. Take a stroll through the colorful stalls and shops where you can find everything from souvenirs to traditional Chinese medicine.





12. Central Market - Outside

Whatever you're looking for, it's likely you'll find it at Kuala Lumpur's Central Market. Divided into two sections, the market is so large I divided it into two. Outside, you'll find traditional Malaysian crafts and souvenirs, from batik prints to handmade jewelry, pottery, and leather goods.The market also has a food court serving some of the best local dishes in the city.




13. Central Market - Inside

Inside the Central Market, you'll find local Malaysian brands many of them started by young residents of KL. It's a great way to shop local and support some of Malaysia's up-and-coming designers.





14. National Museum of Malaysia

Wondering how this vibrant city came to be? So were we, and the National Museum of Malaysia is a great starting point. Inside, you'll find information and artifacts leading from before the start of colonialism to Malaysia's struggle for independence to now.



5 Malaysian ringgit for foreigners, about 1 USD

They offer free tours in English 10am Thursday to Saturday.

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