The Ultimate Guide to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

batu caves kuala lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and the country’s largest city. It’s home to colonial architecture, modern skyscrapers, and iconic landmarks. Malay, Chinese and Indian residents make up its diverse and multicultural community. Therefore, Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot offering the most diverse food and culture. This vibrant and sprawling city is an underrated destination that can’t be missed when visiting Southeast Asia!

Check out my Krabi, Thailand itinerary if you haven’t already!

Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

There are 7 main areas in Kuala Lumpur: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC), KL Sentral & Lake Gardens, KL Tower, Chinatown, Chow Kit, and Bangsar South.

Bukit Bintang

Bukit Bintang is the place to be if you want to be close to all the action! Most first-time visitors stay in this area, because there are many restaurants, malls, nightlife and street food. It’s got everything from cheap street food to upscale restaurants.

Kuala Lumpur City Center – KLCC

KLCC is the most popular area to stay in KL, since this is where you’ll find its most iconic landmark – the Petronas Towers. Moreover, you’ll also be close to shopping and the lush KLCC Park.

KL Sentral And Lake Gardens

KL Sentral can be seen as the most convenient place to stay, because it’s home to KL’s main Train Station. You can easily access other cities in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore through its various transportation links here (I.e. MRT, LRT, monorail, and the airport Klia Express Train).

KL Tower – Bukit Nanas

This area is home to one of KL’s most iconic landmarks, the KL Tower (or Menara Tower). You can visit the top to get a view of the whole city!

Chinatown & Merdaka Square

This area is filled with historically significant buildings such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Merdaka Square. Chinatown is popular with backpackers, since it offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations.

Chow Kit, Kampung Baru & Masjid India

If you’re looking to stay in a less-touristy area, this is the place to be. Also known as Little India, this residential area is filled with predominantly Malay residents and is home to the famous Bazaar Baru Chow Kit.

Bangsar South

Bangsar South is a popular choice for families, since it’s located a little bit outside of the busy downtown area. It’s recently become more trendy and upscale due to its skyscrapers and posh malls.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in an Airbnb located in between Bukit Bintang and Chinatown. It’s close to many restaurants, the Jalan Alor Street Market, malls, and public transportation. It was also a short drive to many popular attractions. The condo itself was huge, clean and had amazing amenities in the building.

Use my discount code to receive $45 CAD off on your first home booking (must be more than $95 CAD).

two girls looking at a city skyline

How to Get Around Kuala Lumpur

Public transportation such as the MRT and bus are super efficient and easy ways to get around Kuala Lumpur (KL). If you’d rather travel by car, use the ride-hailing app Grab. It’s an extremely affordable and comfortable way of travelling around the city due to that fact that it’s almost half the price of taking a regular taxi.

What to Do in Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves

couple on colourful stairs batu caves

Entrance Fee: FREE
Hours: 7am – 8pm

Batu Caves is an important Hindu religious site which has a series of caves and temples inside a limestone mountain. It’s located about 15 kilometres North of KL and is a very popular sight in Kuala Lumpur. Last summer, they repainted the 272 steps leading up to the caves. As a result, Batu Caves became extremely popular on social media. Be sure to visit the cave temples once you reach the top! Don’t skip this while you’re in town!

*PRO TIP: This temple opens at 7am, but we arrived at 6am to avoid the crowds! As a result, we had the stairs to ourselves for a short time. So arrive early!

batu caves kuala lumpur
batu caves kuala lumpur

Some Things to Remember:

  • Dress respectfully by covering your shoulders and knees.
  • There are dozens of monkeys that live around the stairs. Be careful when taking photos since they’re known to be aggressive.
  • Don’t have any food or snacks clearly visible or the monkeys will grab it from you!
  • Wear comfortable shoes!
batu caves kuala lumpur
Don’t miss this temple that’s located on the left and base of the stairs.
batu caves kuala lumpur
Dark Cave Temple!
batu caves kuala lumpur

The Federal Territory Mosque (Wilayah Mosque)

federal territory mosque kuala lumpur

Entrance Fee: FREE
Visiting Hours: 9am – 12pm, 3 – 4pm, 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Closed on Friday mornings.
Free Guided Tours: Available 10am – 6pm

wilayah mosque kuala lumpur

With more than 60% of Malaysia’s population being Muslim, there’s no shortage of stunning mosques in Kuala Lumpur. Be sure to visit the Federal Territory Mosque, which is probably the most magnificent one in the city! The architecture, detailed patterns, and symmetrical structures are jaw-dropping especially during sunset! We got so lucky with the most incredible sunset view the evening we visited!

federal territory mosque kuala lumpur
federal territory mosque kuala lumpur
federal territory mosque kuala lumpur

Some Things to Note:

  • If you’re taking a Grab Car, tell the driver to drop you off at Entrance B where the tour guide office and robe counter are located.
  • Women will be given a free set of robes to wear during their visit. Return them before exiting.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the Mosque.
  • Furthermore, go early in the morning to avoid the crowds or in the evening for sunset.
federal territory mosque kuala lumpur

Thean Hou Temple

thean hou temple kuala lumpur

Entrance Fee: FREE
Hours: 8am – 10pm

Thean Hou Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia. With its structure adorned with red lanterns, it’s also a really popular wedding venue. Visit at 8am before all the tours groups arrive to get plenty of photos around this temple!

thean hou temple kuala lumpur

thean hou temple kuala lumpur
thean hou temple kuala lumpur

Petronas Towers

petronas towers kuala lumpur

The Petronas Towers are the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers and stands today as the symbol of Kuala Lumpur. The structure is designed after Islamic art and is KL’s most popular tourist attraction. You can visit the Observation Deck and Skybridge to get a 360 city view. Go to the official Petronas Twin Towers site for more information.

petronas towers kuala lumpur

Be sure to visit the Suria KLCC Shopping Centre, located at the base of the Petronas Towers. It includes a cinema, restaurants and upscale shopping. Also, don’t miss the towers illuminated at night and the water fountain show! It takes place everyday from 12pm – 2pm and 6pm – 10pm. In the evening, the water show is accompanied with colourful lights at 8pm, 9pm and 9:45pm.

petronas towers kuala lumpur
petronas towers kuala lumpur

Perdana Botanical Garden

perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur

Entrance Fee: FREE (Additional fees required for the bird and butterfly parks)
Hours: 9pm – 6pm

The Perdana Botanical Garden is a peaceful and lush recreational park. It’s home to the largest collection of animal parks and flower gardens. The Garden is located in the middle of KL, but the landscaped gardens provide an oasis from the city bustle. Be sure to roam through the Deer Park, Hibiscus/Orchid Gardens, and the beautiful Perdana canopy.

perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur
perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur
Perdana Canopy
perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur
You can get a tram ride around the park for a small fee.
perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur
perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur
perdana botanical garden kuala lumpur

Putra Mosque

pink mosque kuala lumpur

Entrance Fee: FREE
Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 9am – 12:30pm, 5:30pm – 6pm and Friday, 3pm – 4pm, 5:30pm – 6pm

Putra Mosque is made of rose-tinted granite, hence the nickname the “Pink Mosque.” Don’t miss inside the main Prayer Hall to see the large pink domes too.

pink mosque kuala lumpur

Some Things To Note:

  • Putra Mosque is located a 45-minute drive outside of KL in the city of Putrajaya, so take a Grab car.
  • Women will be given a pink robe with a hood at the robe counter.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the Mosque.
  • The main entrance sign states “Females who are menstruating are requested not to enter the Main Prayer Hall.”

Visit the KL Forest Eco Park

KL eco forest park

Entrance Fee: FREE
Hours: 7am – 7pm

KL Forest Eco Park is one of Malaysia’s oldest forest reserves. It boasts an impressive 200 metre canopy walk that provides an aerial view of the city. Also, this area has several nature and hiking trails that you can explore.

Other Areas to Explore

  • Little India
  • Chinatown
  • Independence Square
  • Central Market
  • See the Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Merdaka Square


Lot 10 Hutong Food Court

lot 10 hutong food court

Hours: 10am – 10pm

Lot 10 Hutong is a curated gourmet-heritage food hall which showcases Malaysia’s most popular hawkers and their signature dishes. It’s easy to get lost in this maze of food stalls, but make sure to check out all your options before ordering your dish! The most popular dishes are the fried oyster omelet, Penang noodles, curry laksa, and more!

lot 10 hutong food court

Explore Jalan Alor Street Market

jalan alor

Hours: 5pm – Midnight with some stalls open 24 hours a day

Jalan Alor is one of the most famous food streets due to the rows of hawker stalls and seafood restaurants that line the road. It serves a huge variety of food from barbecued meats to cheap desserts. Furthermore, there’s many stalls offering fresh fruit and seafood too!

Village Park Restaurant

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7am – 7:30pm, Saturday to Sunday, 7am – 6pm

Our friend took us to try the BEST Nasi Lamek restaurant in town! Nasi Lamek is often considered as the national Malaysian dish. It’s served with fried chicken, coconut milk rice, sambal, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts, and cucumber. Expect a wait, because this place is usually packed with both locals and tourists!

Eat at Kedai Mamak Husin Restaurant

Kedai Mamak Husin is a South Indian Restaurant that offers a huge variety of curry dishes, fried chicken, fish, nasi goreng and naan. We ate here several times during our stay in KL. Their fried chicken and Teh Tarik are amazing!!

Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik literally translates to “pulled tea,” which describes the pouring process during preparation. It tastes like milk tea that can be served hot or iced. It’s super delicious! Hence, we had one every single day!


Make sure to try their BBQ meat skewers served with a spicy peanut sauce!

There’s an abundance of Malaysian dishes and sweets to try, but it’s hard to cover them all. But, make sure to ask for the specialty dishes!

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