Scenically located on the Klang and Gombak rivers, Kuala Lumpur, known locally as KL, is Malaysia’s capital city and also the most populated and economically successful city in the country.
Despite being home to some of the world’s tallest and most impressive buildings, the city still manages to preserve the character of its colonial past. It is a complete fusion of old and new, with historic buildings situated next to brand new high-rise towers and beautiful mosques overlooking shops and cafés.
Most tourists tend to visit Chinatown and Little India. There are many hotels and restaurants to choose from in this area as well as fascinating local markets, excellent shopping opportunities and the best places in the city to people watch. Both areas add to the cosmopolitan charm of the city and should not be missed.
Sightseeing opportunities abound including the Petronas Towers, Batu Caves and KL Tower. As well as the sights on offer, the city also boasts a vibrant nightlife and excellent shopping opportunities. There will be no time to get bored in Kuala Lumpur as the list of things to do is exhaustive.
Most people arrive in Kuala Lumpur by air, landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. From here, it is possible to take a taxi or bus to anywhere in the city. Once in the city, you will find that it is a large and sprawling area which is not practical to cover on foot. Luckily there are many public transport options available although the best way to travel from sight to sight is by air-conditioned taxi.
Travel to Kuala Lumpur - Getting There
All international visitors who fly into the city arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This airport can be found outside the city centre, with a journey time of just 30 minutes by express train. Worldwide flight times from the following countries are: 20 to 25 hours from the US, 12 hours from Europe, 7 hours from Tokyo and about 2 hours from Bangkok.
- Worth it? Many people visit Malaysia to take advantage of the beaches, but it is worthwhile stopping for a few nights to take in some of the capital’s sights.
- What to do: sightseeing, shopping, dining out, enjoying the view atop the towers, sipping cocktails in the trendy bars, caving.
- Best time to go: June and July are the driest months and also the most popular times for travel.
- How Long? Two to five days is long enough to see the sights on offer.
- Trivia: the Petronas Towers used to be the tallest buildings in the world until the Taipei 101 building was built in Taipei, Taiwan.
Kuala Lumpur Attractions
- Aquaria: an enormous aquarium featuring an underwater tunnel, a collection of over 5,000 exotic fish, a number of other sea life and plant species and multimedia kiosks.
- Sze Ya Temple: the oldest Chinese temple in the city is popular with local Buddhists.
- Batu Caves: impressive caves which are covered with Hindu shrines. They are located just outside the city and well worth the trip.
- Chinatown: an excellent place to stand back and people watch. This is one of the most vibrant areas of town and along with the usual habitual Chinese restaurants, market stalls and jewelers, visitors will also find some of the best shopping in the city.
- Petronas Towers: the second tallest towers in the world, these buildings offer stunning views across the capital as well as upscale shopping opportunities in the basement and a stylish interior.
- Jamek Mosque (Masjid Jamek): this is one of the oldest mosques in the city, dating back to 1909. The three domes make it one of Kuala Lumpur’s most noticeable landmarks.
- National Monument: an enormous bronze structure which commemorates the soldiers who gave their lives fighting for Malaysia. It sees seven soldiers holding up the Malaysian flag, with each one representing one of the seven virtues: unity, strength, leadership, sacrifice, courage, suffering and vigilance.
- National Zoo: this is one of the best places in the country to learn about and view indigenous animals.