A mosaic of cultures, great food, amazing shopping experiences and world-class entertainment awaits in the Garden City of Lights
Kuala Lumpur (or KL) had its humble beginnings as a tin-mining town back in the 1850s before it became the federal capital of Malaysia. Today, it’s the country's fastest growing city and a tourist hotspot – especially for travelling shopaholics. If that's you, you'll want to check out KL's mega-malls for bargain and top-end buys: try Pavilion, Mid-Valley Megamall, The Gardens Mid-Valley, Publika, The Curve, Ikano Power Centre and KLCC.
If you’re more of a culture vulture, you have the option of taking the Malaysia Heritage Walk for an introduction to Pasar Seni and Chinatown, or catching a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra at the Petronas Twin Towers. Learn more about the history and heritage of Malaysia by visiting the National Museum, National History Museum, Dataran Merdeka or the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.
First-time visitors should sample all the local delicacies Kuala Lumpur has to offer. Don’t miss the Lot 10 Hutong food court in Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor, a popular local food street.
Things to do
A taste of Italy
Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe opens in new windowby Cielo Dolci offers some of the most exquisite frozen desserts in town. The gelato flavours are stored in authentic pozzetti tubs to preserve their texture and taste. But what’s really unique are the surprising flavours available on rotation – you might find tau fu fa (soy pudding), nasi lemak, beef bacon or popcorn.
Changkat Bukit Bintang is a great place to grab dinner or a cold one after a long day of sight-seeing. There are plenty of restaurants and bars lining both sides of the street. A popular location for tourists and locals alike, the area comes alive as night falls.
Reach dizzying heights
Visit the Petronas Twin Towers opens in new window and either walk across the Skybridge linking the two towers at Levels 41 and 42, or head on up to the Observation Deck on Level 86 to take in the breathtaking view of the city.
Splashing good time
Sunway Lagoon opens in new window, an amusement and water park, which includes a man-made surf beach, recently added a new attraction called the Vuvuzela to its list. It’s the world’s largest water ride, which is a must-try for adventure seekers!
Your cave or mine?
A 272-step climb will lead you to a Hindu temple and shrine, which form part of the Batu Caves opens in new windowtemple complex. The main attractions here include a large statue of a Hindu god at the entrance, frolicking monkeys and the view of the city skyline from the top of the steps.
Distance to city centre 50km
Taxi There are taxi counters in the arrivals hall where you can buy a pre-paid voucher. The trip into central KL, depending on where you’re going, will cost around MYR RM80 for a budget taxi (2-3 people) and take around an hour. Metered taxis are also available outside the terminal. There’s a 50% surcharge between 12am and 6am.
Train The KUL Ekspres opens in new window is the fastest way to travel to the city, taking only 28 minutes to KL Sentral. It departs every 15-20 minutes and costs MYR RM55.
Bus There are bus services opens in new window to destinations around KL, including an express coach to KL Sentral departing every 30 minutes. The fare is MYR RM10 and the trip takes about an hour.Back to top
When to go
Malaysia experiences tropical weather all year round, so there isn’t really a bad time to visit. However, do take note of the wetter monsoon seasons which occur in late May to September and November to March. If you're planning to include a trip to the islands on the east coast, it’s best to avoid the period between November and February, as beach resorts will be closed then.
The city comes alive during key festivals such as Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year, Merdeka or Independence Day (August 31) and Hari Raya Puasa.Back to top
The free GOKL bus service opens in new window has four circular routes around the city, with buses running every 5 minutes during peak times and every 10 minutes at other times. The monorail opens in new window can be useful for travelling between sightseeing areas. There is also the LRT opens in new window (Light Rail Transit) for going further afield. A KL TravelPass opens in new window, available at the airport, will give you airport transfers on the KUL Ekspres as well as 2 days’ free travel; you can then add cash to the card to continue using it on public transport. Taxis are plentiful, but make sure they use the meter.Back to top
The quirky side of Kuala Lumpur most tourists don't see
From home-grown farms to private dining experiences and local hang-outs, these are the best places to visit to see the more offbeat side of the Malaysian capital.
Where to see the largest firefly colony in the world
If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Malaysian capital, these beautiful places will give you a healthy dose of nature and relaxation.
5 reasons to visit Kuala Lumpur
The Malaysian capital has it all – unique architecture, timeless mountain ranges and tasty food, all of which add up to a rich culture and history.
I went on an 'achievement holiday' in Kuala Lumpur. Here's how it went!
Returning from holiday having acquired a new skill or accomplishing something is the latest trend in travel. For a jewellery fan, learning to be a pewtersmith in Malaysia was the perfect way to 'upskill on downtime'.
Legit cafes in Kuala Lumpur for coffee junkies
Marcus Foo, co-founder and managing director of Papa Palheta Malaysia, shares his five favourite cafes for seriously good coffee in KL.