This list of 10 best things to do in Kuala Lumpur should be included in any traveller’s itinerary. It comprises the city’s most iconic landmarks, both natural and manmade, and showcases the best KL has to offer. The Malaysian capital is known for its multicultural community, which mainly consists of Malay, Indian, and Chinese residents. As a result, you’ll find vibrant events and festivities celebrated throughout the year, while local markets and religious sites offer a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle.
1. Petronas Towers
Anchoring the sprawling Kuala Lumpur City Centre, are the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Hailed as the Twin Jewels of Kuala Lumpur, a visit to KL just is not complete unless you have visited these doppelganger structures. The 88-storey chrome and steel towers are joined at the 41st and 42nd floors (175m above street level) by a 58m-long, double-decker Sky Bridge
2. Menara Kl Tower
Standing atop the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the 421m-high KL Tower is, at present, the world’s fifth tallest structure. Officially known as Menara KL, it has been outshone by the Petronas Twin Towers but remains an important architectural marker and boasts spectacular views of the city. The viewing deck is at least 100 metres higher than the Petronas Tower’s Skybridge – to get free tickets be sure to arrive early.
3. China Town
The colourful Chinatown is a well-known bargain hunter’s paradise that seemingly never sleeps. Deeply immersed in Oriental culture, heritage and history, it is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist spots in Malaysia, and holds its own against its more glamorous neighbours, KLCC & Bukit Bintang. Representing Malaysia’s multihued multicultural background perfectly, you can find all sorts of stuff, from Chinese herbs to imitation goods in this area.
4. Batu Caves
11 km north of KL, Batu Caves is a 400 million-year old limestone hill (with a 100-year old temple incorporated within it), best known as the focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam. The celebration attracts thousands of visitors who come to see the colourful spectacle of devotees who pay homage by carrying ornately-decorated ‘kavadis’ (frameworks) combined with various metal hooks and skewers which are used to pierce the skin, cheeks and tongue.
5. Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Among Kuala Lumpur’s earliest Moorish-style buildings, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a distinguished city landmark that originally served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration. Today it is home to the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia. Built in 1897 and designed by AC Norman, it is set to the east of Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) and is frequently the backdrop for Malaysia’s annual Independence Day parades.
6. Roof Top Sunset
There’s no doubt about it – Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant, bustling city from sunrise to sunset. To gain a whole new appreciation for Malaysia’s capital, we recommend you get away from the busy streets and take in the view from a whole new angle – the rooftops.
Best of all, Kuala Lumpur is home to numerous nocturnal hotspots, ranging from classy ristorantes to cocktail lounges, that are nestled atop high-rise structures. Below is 7 Great Rooftop Bars in Kuala Lumpur which offer wonderful ambience for those who want to sit back and watch the sun set below the city horizon – with a drink in hand, of course.
The Heli Lounge Bar
Marini’s on 57th
View @ G Tower
The Roof @ First Avenue
Bridge Bar Kuala Lumpur
7. Jalan Alor Night Market
Called the cultural heart of the city’s local cuisine, Jalan Alor (ocated just behind Jalan Bukit Bintang), is basically a strip of atmospheric air-conditioned Chinese seafood restaurants, with a row of hawker stalls set up on the five-foot walkway on both sides and plastic tables and chairs spilling out onto the road. The variety of food available is amazing with barbecued meats, noodles and desserts recognised as some of the best (and cheapest) in the city.
8. Central Market
The focus for the city’s artistic community, Central Market is a KL cultural landmark, just a short walk away from Petaling Street. Also called Pasar Seni, it was built in 1928 and used to be a simple wet market, until the early 1980s when it was revamped into a handicrafts outlet. In similar vein to New York’s SoHo flea market – the merchandise here is cheap and comprises traditional goods such as batik, embroidery carvings, souvenirs, and sculptures.
9. Perdana Botanical Gardens
The Perdana Botanical Gardens boast the largest collection of flower gardens and animal parks in Kuala Lumpur city centre. Formerly called Lake Gardens, one of its standout features is the Orchid Garden, which is fitted with walking paths and manmade fountains, as well as a semi-circle pergola and rock garden that house 800 species of orchids. Another must visit is the Hibiscus Garden, where you can find Malaysia’s national flower in full bloom and a colonial-era building. Within the building is a quaint tearoom and a gallery showcasing the history and significance of the hibiscus flower in Malaysian history
10. Explore the street Art
Kuala Lumpur hides some seriously beautiful pieces of art in the hidden corners of small streets. You might not realize that the places you pass every day while driving your car are actually covering a huge 10×10 meters murals on the other side of the wall!