Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s bustling capital city and a fun place to explore. Well known for its skyscrapers and culturally diverse community, KL is becoming more popular as a tourist destination.
It is best to spend at least 3 days in the city as there is lots to see and do!
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Top Things to Do & See in Kuala Lumpur
1. Batu Caves
Known for their iconic rainbow colored stairs, the Batu Caves should be at the top of your list when visiting KL. Painted only a few years ago, the 272 steps lead all the up to a hidden cave Temple. At the foot of the steps will be a large statue of Lord Murugan painted in gold.
It is best to arrive early to avoid the crowds. We got there just before sunrise and about 2 hours later the place started to get busy.
Also, be careful of the cheeky monkey’s! They are known to be little thieves and steal your stuff.
There is no fee to see and climb the stairs of the Batu Caves. If you’d like to leave a donation you can do so at the entrance to the Temple at the top of the stairs.
How to Get to the Batu Caves
Located about 20-30 minutes (depending on traffic) just outside of the city center you will reach the recognizable cave temple. The easiest and most convenient way to get here is by using GRAB.
2. Thean Hou Temple
Located at the top of a hill overlooking KL is the Thean Hou Temple. This Chinese Temple is one of the largest in Southeast Asia and is very popular with visitors from all over the world.
Comprised of six different levels, the Thean Hou Temple is well known for its sting of iconic golden lanterns. Unfortunately, the Temple was under renovations during our visit which meant that the lanterns were taken down.
Spend some time walking around the exterior and then take a peek inside. Just be sure to remove your footwear when entering inside the temple.
Tip: The entrance is free and it is best to arrive early to avoid the crowds.
3. KL Forest Eco Park
Located in the heart of the city center the KL Forest Eco Park is an escape from the bustling city life, even if just for a short time. We love finding unique places like this and the Eco Park was easily our favorite spot to be in nature.
The entrance to the park is free and you have full access to the suspended bridges and the trails. When you enter the park, follow the signs towards the canopy walk and you will come to the first tower. Climb up and be rewarded with the fun rope bridges and stunning views of KLCC!
Tip for getting this shot: While many may think this is a drone shot it actually isn’t! To achieve this same photo, have someone stand at the top of the second tower while you walk across the second bridge! If you don’t have someone to take your photo you could easily set up a tripod. However, I would recommend coming early or when it’s not crowded so you don’t leave your gear unattended.
4. Perdana Botanical Gardens
Located in the heart of KL, the botanical gardens is perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you can take a leisurely stroll around the gardens and lake. There are many different species of flora and fauna and it’s a great place to relax.
Entrance to the Perdanan Botanical Gardens is free although there are a few exhibits that you can enter for an extra cost. The butterfly garden is one of the places that requires an additional fee.
5. Petronas Twin Towers
The most iconic spot in Malaysia is without a doubt the Petronas Twin Towers. Guarantee you’ve seen these massive cycliner shaped twin buildings pop up many times on Instagram. There are many different viewpoints to see the towers including out front and from the gardens in the back.
There is also a large mall inside the 2nd tower which has almost every store you can imagine! Be sure to exit out through the mall to get to the man made lake out back! Walk around the park and find this spot with the whale and dolphin statues.
They also have a synchronized fountain light show every night at 8 pm, 9pm and 9:45pm. The show lasts for about 10 minutes!
There is no cost to see or enter the Petronas Twin Towers or the gardens out back.
6. Wilayah Mosque
Accented with a beautiful turquoise color, the Wilayah Mosque (or Federal Territory Mosque) has become a popular religious sight to see during a visit to KL. When you arrive you will enter through Gate B.
Entry begins at 10 AM and you can only enter with a guided tour unless you are Muslim. They will also provide proper attire which you will need to wear for the duration of your visit out of respect. There is no fee to enter however they do have a donation machines at the entrance.
You will begin the tour inside the Mosque, learning a bit about the history and architectural influences of the Mosque itself. The Mosque was influences of Turkey, Morocco, Egypt and more. You will pass through the main prayer hall which can hold 10,000 worshippers at a time. The entire structure can hold 17,000 people at maximum capacity.
After walking through the interior you will head outside and get the best views of the unique turquoise design. Your guide will leave you here to take as many photos as you want so don’t feel rushed to leave.
Tip: Try not to visit the Mosque during prayers time as it will become very busy with worshippers.
Good to Know: Drones are technically not allowed to be flown at the mosque. We only found out after we had landed ours and the security guard informed us.
7. Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Located directly across from Merdeka Square, this unique building definitely stands out against the other high rise buildings. This late 19th century building used to be Government offices. Now it is a lovely place to visit and wander around.
Be sure to walk around back for views of the river and fountain in front of the building!
How to Get to Kuala Lumpur
There are many international flights that arrive and depart from Kuala Lumpur. In fact, it is one of the main hubs in SE Asia! You can typically find inexpensive flights to and from KL. We use Skyscanner to find all of our flights and then book directly through the airlines.
You can also get to Kuala Lumpur by bus from Singapore or anywhere else that is connected by land! Once you cross the border you will have to go through immigration which is an easy process.
How to Get from KL Airport to the City Center
Once you arrive at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) you will exit through the arrivals gate and be confronted with many different ways to get into the city center. Unless you have already pre-arranged transport with your hotel you will have to figure it out on your own.
By Taxi or Grab
There are a few taxi stands but they will most likely quote you an extremely high price. For us, they quoted us around 150 MYR ( $36 USD). If you can get connected to wifi at the airport and already have the GRAB app downloaded to your phone then I would suggest trying that. GRAB will be significantly cheaper than taking a taxi!
By Public Transit
1. Airport Express Train
The first option would be the Airport Express Train. This is the fastest way to reach KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center) and costs 55 MYR ($13 USD) for a one way ticket or 100 MYR ($24 USD) for a round-trip ticket. The journey will take 30 minutes and you will arrive at the main station in KL. From here you can take an inexpensive taxi or metro to your final destination.
2. The Bus
The second option is the bus. We used the bus and found this to be the cheapest option. Once you exit through baggage claim go to your right and take the elevator or escalator down to level 1 where the Airport Express Train is. From this level, exit the airport and walk across the street where you will see a the bus station.
You can easily purchase your 15 MYR ($3.60 USD) ticket at the counter and then wait a few minutes for your bus. The bus journey takes just under one hour and you will arrive at the main station in KLCC. Once you arrive here, head inside and up the stairs where you will see a taxi stand. From here it cost 13 MYR ($3 USD) to reach our hotel by taxi.
How to Get Around KL
Transportation within KL is easy, inexpensive and convenient. With options like the metro, train, monorail and GRAB you’ll be able to get around the city with ease. During our stay we mostly used GRAB but also took the train and subway a few times.
The train is easy to use and there are many locations all around the city. Once you arrive at the station you can always ask the information desk for help when using the machines or for advice on where to go.
When you enter the train station you will see a few machines where you can purchase your ticket. There is an english option but it can be a bit tricky to decide exactly which ticket you need to purchase as there are a few options. Luckily you will find an information counter inside the station which should be able to help you select the correct train.
We only used the train when we needed to get to the Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS) bus station to get on a bus to go to Tioman Island. Most likely you will just use GRAB if you are visiting the city for a short time.
If you are planning on using GRAB in Malaysia and throughout SE Asia it is best to download the app prior to your arrival. The app will need to send a confirmation code via text in order to proceed with the sign up.
Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
1000 Miles Hotel
This budget friendly hotel has everything you need with a/c, hot water, cleanliness and a comfy bed. Their staff is extremely friendly and helpful and the location is great for moving around the city.
AirBnb is always a great option. With a unique selection of accommodations you’re sure to find something that will suit your needs. We used an AirBnb for part of our stay in KL and it was nice having our own kitchen and a bit more space.
Use this link to save $30 off your first booking with AirBnb!
Where to Eat in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has some incredible restaurants and cafes dotted all around the city. You will have no problem finding somewhere delicious to eat while you are there! These are a few of our top recommendations of places to eat within the city!
VCR- delicious brunch with 2 convenient locations in the city
Merchant’s Lane Cafe- Hidden behind a turquoise door, cutest interior
Kind Kones Bangsar Village- Yummy vegan ice cream located inside a mall
Lisette’s Cafe and Bakery- The best baked goods! Try their blueberry crumble muffin!
Feeka Coffee Roasters- Delicious tea and coffee
Leaf & Co Cafe- Very yummy waffles and great place to relax
Petaling Street Market- The best street food and so cheap!
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WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE?
- Main Camera: Sony A7III
- Wide angle lens: Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom lens: Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3
- Secondary Camera: Canon 6D Mark II
- Canon wide angle lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
- Underwater camera: Leica X-U
- Camera with gimbal: DJI Osmo Pocket & Underwater Housing
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
- Camera Bag: Polar Pro Drone Trekker
- External Hard Drive: LaCie 1 TB rugged mini external hard drive