Kuala Lumpur – sights and attractions
In our guide I’d like to show you 15 things and sights which you should visit if you stay a couple of days in the city. Take your time and explore KL, it’s definitely worth it!
How to get to Kuala Lumpur
You can easily reach Kuala Lumpur by airplane. There are Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, which are two of the largest transport hubs in Southeast Asia. From all countries of Asia as well as from Europe or the Emirates there are direct flights and flights with stopover to KL. Flights with low-cost airlines such as AirAsia arrive at the KLIA2 and flights with better airlines like Emirates, KLM etc. arrive at KLIA.
Should you arrive from neighboring countries such as Thailand or Singapore, there are other options like the bus or train. Departure times and prices for these means of transport can be found at our site.
1. Merdeka Square & Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
Kuala Lumpur’s independence square. Here you can see the former highest flagpole of the world, where the Malaysian national flag was hoisted for the first time on August 31, 1957. Right next to the square you can find the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, where the Malaysian legal authorities are located.
Furthermore, the KL City Gallery is also situated at the Merdeka Square. A museum of the past and the future of the city. If you have some time you should definitely visit the museum as there is only an admission of RM 5.
You can combine these two highlights with the Twin Towers, the National Mosque and the Royal Palace on a private half-day city tour around KL.
2. The KLCC Park
Behind the famous Petronas Twin Towers and the Suria KLCC shopping complex is a beautiful and green park among all the skyscrapers, the KLCC Park. Everything is well-kept and there is even a public swimming pool for the kids.
Many tourists and locals are coming to the park to relax under the shadow of the trees and enjoy the view of the surrounding buildings, as well as the Twin Towers. If you want to escape from the big city for a while, I can only recommend a visit to the KLCC Park.
3. The Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are the famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur. Almost everyone knows them and everyone who is visiting KL wants to see them!
It was just 2004 when the towers were replaced as the highest building of the world, but they are still the highest twin towers of the world.
We’ve never been on top, because we think they would be missing in the skyline view of the city, but it’s possible to go up there. If you like, you can walk on the Skybridge which connects the two towers, or visit the observation deck on the 86th floor.
The price for a ticket is RM 80 (about € 17,00 in June 2019) and if you want to have a ticket you have to queue up at the entrance in the early morning, starting at 8.30 A.M. The tickets are limited to a number of pieces per day.
Otherwise you can buy them online. We would rather recommend to go up the Menara Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL Tower, instead.
4. Menara Kuala Lumpur aka KL Tower
The TV tower of Kuala Lumpur is currently the 7th highest of the world and offers an amazing 360-degrees view over the city. From the entrance you can catch a free shuttle bus to the tower, so you don’t have to walk up the last part of the way.
You will now have two choices to visit the tower:
- 1. Observation Deck: The price is RM 52 and you will get a 360-degrees view of KL at a height of 276 meters, but unfortunately behind windows.
- 2. Open Deck: The price is RM 105, but here you will get an open-air 360-degrees view of the city at a height of 350 meters.
You can find some more information in our article “Above the roofs of Kuala Lumpur – the KL Tower at night“.
5. Bukit Bintang
One of the most popular entertainment and shopping districts of Kuala Lumpur. Here you can find from Hawker Centers, shopping malls to night markets and bars almost everything you can wish for. Especially popular is this district amongst the younger generation.
Not only tourists, but rather many local people are bustling here through the nightlife. Also there is a so-called Arabic District with many delicious dishes that are ideal for a nice dinner.
You can get there best with the KL Monorail. The name of the station is “Bukit Bintang” as well.
6. Masjid Negara – the national mosque
The Masjid Negara, which actually means state mosque when you translate it, offers room for almost 13,000 worshipers. The 73 meters high minaret and the star-shaped roof are the main features of the modernly designed national mosque.
You can visit the mosque daily. On site you will be provided with a head and body cover, both for men and women. Hence, you don’t have to pay attention to your clothes beforehand. However, it can sometimes take some time to get in when all coverings are on loan. Everything is free of charge and you get a great insight into the national mosque of Malaysia.
7. Orchid Garden
If you follow the street “Jalan Perdana” (right next to the national mosque) up the hill, you’ll arrive at the Orchid Garden which is a part of the Perdana Botanical Garden. In addition to the beautiful orchids and the quite nice atmosphere – far away from the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur – the gardens offer two more highlights.
From here you will have an absolutely wonderful view at the skyline of KL and when you explore the garden a little bit further, then you will likely spot some wild monkeys who like to make some trouble.
The opening times are daily from 8.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. and there is no entrance fee.
8. Chinatown – Petaling Street
During the day there is not much going on at the Petaling Street, but as soon as the late afternoon begins, everything comes to life here and there will be stalls with almost everything you can imagine. You can buy all sorts of items – from T-shirts, shorts, souvenirs, handbags, watches up to shoes, football jerseys and of course much delicious Chinese food.
The road is literally paved with stalls and food courts. Just take a walk in the evening through the alleys between all the stalls and go with the flow.
You want to buy something? Get yourself ready to haggle. Often the first price is set very high from the vendors and you can start bargaining by setting your price to about half of theirs.
If you want to experience the Petaling Street at night, then we recommend the Private Night Tour, where you also visit the Sri Maha Mariamman temple and eat delicious Malaysian food.
9. Kasturi Walk
Not far from the Petaling Street is another market, the Kasturi Walk. Also popular with locals and tourists and you can walk through the alleys as well and buy some souvenirs for your home.
Not only will you find souvenirs over here, but rather the so called Hawker Centers, where you can try a variety of the Malaysian cuisine.
On the contrary to Chinatown with its Petaling Street, everything in the Kasturi Walk looks a bit more classy and modern. Nevertheless, you should pay the market a visit since it’s only a 3-minute walk away from Chinatown. The openings hours are from 10.30 A.M. to 10.30 P.M.
10. Brickfields – Little India
A couple minutes south of the KL Sentral main railway station is the district Brickfields located – also known as Little India!
In addition to several stores with Indian goods and food, the street arouses in the nighttime. The pavement will be full of chairs and tables and everywhere you can smell the scent of Indian dishes.
If you love the Indian cuisine or would like to try it, then that’s the place to be. You shouldn’t miss a little bit India right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur during your visit!
11. KL Sentral
There is almost no way around the main railway station of Kuala Lumpur. The building is not only a train station, it is also a really big shopping mall called “Nu Sentral”.
If you take the shuttle bus from the KLIA/KLIA2 or the KLIA Ekspres train, you will arrive at KL Sentral. From here you can take all the regional trains (e.g. to the Batu Caves) and every subway or suburban train. It is the main hub of KL.
In the area around the KL Sentral is currently some construction work going on, so that you will see some more skyscrapers here in the future and the whole neighborhood will become quite modern.
Also you won’t be starving over here, because you have lots of restaurants outside the train station. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Malay – almost everything you could wish for. A visit to KL Sentral and its surroundings is definitely worth it.
12. Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are located only a short ride of 20-30 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur with the KTM Komuter. The caves are inside of limestone cliffs and filled up with Hindu shrines and temples.
The huge, golden statue at the entrance probably comes to most people’s mind when they think about the Batu Caves. When you walk up the stairs you will see loads of wild monkeys and you should take care a little bit of your belongings.
The area around the Batu Caves has been properly cleaned since our first visit in February 2013 until the last visit in January 2019 and it also provides some new attractions. A great tip for a half-day excursion.
For more information you should read our Batu Caves article.
13. Menara KH – Helipad Lounge
After the half-day excursion to the Batu Caves you still have some time in the evening to explore Kuala Lumpur a little bit more. I can recommend the Helipad Lounge of the Menara KH. A still active heliportabove the roofs of KL, which is converted to a bar in the nighttime.
The entrance is free, but if you want to go to the landing spot, you have to buy a drink at the bar. Its definitely worth it for this amazing view. The bar opens at 6 P.M. and if you want to enjoy a nice sunset, then you should come in time and safe yourself a spot at the helipad!
Unfortunately, the Helipad Lounge is no longer an insider’s tip, so when we were visiting again in January 2019 there were a lot more visitors than before. Also many tables and benches were built on the landing field. Nevertheless, it’s still a fantastic place for a nice drink and sunset as well as an nocturnal view of the city.
14. Masjid Jamek
The Jamek Mosque is one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur and was built in 1909. Until the opening of the National Mosque it was for a long time the biggest mosque and a venue for the Muslim population of the city.
You can also visit this mosque, but it’s closed during prayer times. You should pay attention to cover your knees and shoulders as well.
The mosque is not located far away from the Merdeka Square, more precisely where the rivers Gombak and Klang converge. The surrounding area is currently being constructed and many things will change here in the future, so that the rivers and the surroundings will become really beautiful. The mosque itself is already an attractive sight now.
15. Kampung Baru
The district Kampung Baru is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and was already supposed to be developed many times. However, the residents resist against it because they want to preserve the original Malaysian lifestyle over here.
In the nighttime in Kampung Baru you will find many restaurants or rather Hawker Centers/cookshopswhere you can get delicious food. But it’s a little bit difficult to get along here with English since there are almost no tourists in this neighborhood. Definitely a small food adventure and with hands and pointing on menu cards you can arrange almost everything.
Furthermore, you will have a nice view from here at the Petronas Twin Towers, which is not to be sneezed at and absolutely beautiful at night.