Things to do
The Malaysian capital is known for its multicultural community. This list of 9 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.
1. Petronas Towers
When the Petronas Twin Towers were completed in 1998 they were declared the tallest buildings in the world, surpassing the 442-metre-tall Willis Tower in Chicago, U.S.A. At the base of the Petronas Twin Towers is Suria KLCC, an upmarket shopping mall that is very popular with tourists.
Set on Level 86 is Petronas Twin Towers' observation deck, where visitors can get a closeup view of the tower's spire as well as digital displays and exhibit of the tower's history. The double-decked Skybridge at the Petronas Twin Towers is one of its major draws as it offers amazing views of the city.
Another one of its most notable features is the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas concert hall, Southeast Asia’s leading venue for classical music.
Chinatown, based in Petaling Street, is also known as 'Chee Cheong Kai' (Starch Factory Street), a reference to its roots as a tapioca-producing district. Deeply immersed in Oriental culture, heritage and history. Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist spots in Malaysia. At night, its main market area, Petaling Street, transforms into a lively and vibrant night market, filled with hundreds of stalls offering all kinds of goods at dirt-cheap prices.
Batu Caves, one of Kuala Lumpur’s most frequented tourist attractions, is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. Located approximately 11 kilometres to the north of Kuala Lumpur, this 100-year-old temple features idols and statues erected inside the main caves and around it. Incorporated with interior limestone formations said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus.
4. 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.
5. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is located in Petaling Jaya – a thriving satellite town – about 15km southwest of the Kuala Lumpur city centre. With a variety of watery rides on offer and plenty of dry-land activities too, there are few more fun ways to spend a day than cooling down at Sunway.
Built on the site of a former tin mine and quarry, when it first opened the highlights of this multi-zone theme park were its water slides and the world’s largest manmade surf beach. These days, it has expanded and encompasses a total of five different zones – the water park, Scream Park, Amusement Park, Extreme Park and Wildlife Park.
6. Jalan Alor
Hosting a lot of hawker stalls and seafood restaurants, Jalan Alor is one of the most famous roads in Kuala Lumpur for food. Located just behind Jalan Bukit Bintang and a short walk away from Changkat Bukit Bintang, it is a favourite after-clubbing dining spot in the Golden Triangle area.
Though the seafood at the air-conditioned restaurants is really good and inexpensive, we highly recommend the hawker food. KL being an immigrant city, the variety of food available is amazing and in Jalan Alor the barbecued meats, noodles and desserts are some of the best (and cheapest) in the city. Most of these dishes cannot be found in fashion-conscious restaurants – and even if they are rarely as tasty, so hawker stalls are a favourite on the city’s foodie scene.
7. Aquaria KLCC
One of the largest aquariums in Southeast Asia. Home to over 150 species of marine life, its star attractions include scary tiger sharks, lethal sea snakes, blue rays, bright coral fish, seahorses and more.
It’s a well-stocked aquarium just begging to be explored, and after a few hours here you'll have seen over 5,000 freshwater and marine creatures, including massive arapaimas, giant groupers, gar fish and more.
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.
The Perdana Botanical Gardens, set within the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park, contain the largest collection of flower gardens and animal parks in Kuala Lumpur city centre.
One of its standout features is the Orchid Garden, which is a five-minute walk from the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. This flower garden spans 10,000 square metres, housing walking paths and manmade fountains, as well as a semi-circle pergola and rock garden that house 800 species of orchids from both climbing and terrestrial varieties.