Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Kuala Lumpur on C&C
Best Time To Visit Kuala Lumpur
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in Kuala Lumpur
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Where, How?
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, South-East Asia, Asia
Population: 1.589 million (2010)
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
Airport Notes: Made of glass and steel, KLIA is a modern airport ranked amongst the world’s top airports. Found around 50km away from the city, it is also the biggest and busiest airport in Malaysia. Most airlines including Malaysia Airlines, MASkargo, AirAsia, AirAsia X, Malindo Air and UPS Airlines therefore operate from here.
Transportation to-and-from the airport: The airport is serviced by KLIA Trains that connect it to KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur from the main terminal. Using different trains to connect to the airport from KL Sentral is cheaper and faster than using a direct train. There are also bus services like the Airport Coach, Star Shuttle and Sepang Omnibus. They vary in terms of comfort and where they drop off. There are even some that are free!
Additionally, there are Airport Limo limousines and budget taxis from the airport ,as well as red-and-white metered taxis from Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, if you have a car of your own, you could easily connect to the Peninsular Malaysia’s expressway network.
To escape Kuala Lumpur’s crippling traffic jams during rush hour, it would be a good idea to rise above and use LRT & Monorail then finish your journey off in a light blue executive taxi or a common red-and-white taxi. The old center is a place best explored on foot. The streets are well-lit and pavements wide. The double decker KL Hop-on Hop-off buses are great for sight-seeing. Commentary is transmitted through head phones and there’s free Wi-Fi. If you like to self-drive, renting a car is an option as well.
A Note on Taxis:
Ensure you use the coupon taxis that are usually available at the exit to avoid being scammed. Ride-sharing apps like Uber are also recommended as they are cheaper than regular taxis. For the red-and-white taxis and blue executive ones, try and convince the drivers to use the meter otherwise bargain hard! If you aren’t successful, hail a taxi instead; they are more likely to agree to use the meter. Also, look out for places with prepaid coupon systems; they will cost you less.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
The night markets of Jalan Alor are littered with roadside restaurants that fill the air with the aroma of flavorful Asian curries. Changkat Bukit Bintang is home to Kuala Lumpur’s most popular night clubs. The Old City Centre/Old Town is where Chinatown is located. Golden Triangle is the city’s CBD where most malls and the picturesque Petronas Towers stand. The Northern suburbs are home to natural wonders like the Batu Caves.
Navigation tips: Unfortunately, the road signs are in the local language and the road systems and expressways are pretty complicated. Consequently, a GPS system is a must-have. If you are lost on foot, hop onto a bus. They have clearly mapped destination information. Hopefully it is heading to your desired destination. Landmarks such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station can be a life-saver as well.
Best Time To Visit Kuala Lumpur
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Hours Of Sunshine
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Kuala Lumpur is a city famous for the Petronas Twin Towers: the tallest buildings in the world until 2014. It’s a multi-cultural city populated with Chinese-Malay, Malaysians, and Indians. We also have to remember that it is the capital of a Muslim country: many people who travel there may not know this. It is also an ex-British colony, so there are some colonial buildings to be seen and things of the sort. It’s a very modern city with a strange mix of modernism and ancient.
What’s Great and Fun?
The street markets! Kuala Lumpur is not considered one of the most enthralling cities in South-East Asia, even though it’s one of the largest. However, the street market scene there is really exciting and fun. There are a lot of them, but my personal favorite is the largest market in the city – Chow Kit market. Of course you have all your regular South-East Asian staples such as counterfeit Adidas socks, Metallica t-shirts and Ray-Ban sunglasses. You will also find some of the freshest food in the country. This market in particular is a very special experience. There’s also the Taman Connought night market every Wednesday. This one is a little bit different, as it is mostly angled towards food and it’s a night market.
My personal anecdote about Kuala Lumpur is actually not about the city but about the embassy of Myanmar in Kuala Lumpur. I was there back when Myanmar had just opened its borders to tourism, so I wanted to get a tourist visa to visit it. To do that, you had to go to the embassy. When I arrived, it was one of the most unique places I’ve ever seen in my life. It was basically a metal fence bordering the embassy and inside was a yard with a couple of plastic tables and chairs, along with one, one-room building. People would line up to go give their application or to get their passport back. It was all outdoors with tin-roofed sheds – that was the embassy! Everything went well, I got my visa for Myanmar quickly, but it was one of the most unique sights I have ever seen.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Fun Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
You can find budget accommodation all around Kuala Lumpur with dormitory beds being the cheapest option.
Looking online is the best way to find the best bargains!
I suggest Tune Hotel – Downtown KL which came up as a result of the need to meet the rising demand for newer and better budget accommodation. If you a want quick fix to the query of fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur, this would be it.
You would have to look extra hard in order to find something that is mid-range in price and of good quality. Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Impiana KLCC Hotel and Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur are all reasonably-priced four-star hotels near the city center. If you are looking for inexpensive options on fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you might be interested in this.
If you’re on a budget or prefer staying a hostel setting, BackHome Kuala Lumpur and Paper Plane Hostel are my recommendations.
Prices of luxury hotels vary with season. They include The Hilton, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, Shangrila and JW Marriot.
Just like everywhere, Airbnb is a very interesting option. If you’re not already a member, you can use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first reservation.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Famous Foods and Specialties
- Bak Kuh The – Pork spare ribs cooked in a dark sticky herbal sauce
- Nyonya chicken curry
- Red Malaysian Snapper
- Creamy salted egg-fried crab
- Kuih – Dessert made of coconut, palm sugar and pandan
- Roti Canai – Flaky pastry
The Best Drunk Food
- Satay – Marinated skewered meat
- 7-Eleven is sometimes the only option late at night
Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
Other than food markets, Bijan (3 Jln Ceylon) is a great restaurant to go for traditional Malaysian food. They serve classics such as ampung chicken curry and beef rendang. They also have interesting desserts like chocolate durian cake, if you’re a fan of durian. Otherwise, the Gula Melaka Cake (pandan sponge cake) and coconut ice cream are delicious too!
If you want to make a right choice on fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur, be aware of the food and dining options in the city.
Kuala Lumpur has a great variety of Asian cuisine and Indian food is definitely one of them. If you’re a curry lover, Betel Leaf (77A Leboh Ampang) serves excellent Indian curries ranging from chicken to lamb and vegetarian options. Order a mango lassi or masala tea to cool down your tastebuds.
Ever heard of Nyonya food? It’s a cross between Malaysian and Chinese dishes created by Malaysians who married to Chinese people back in the 19th century. The Bird Restaurant (5 Jalan 3/62d) serves this unique cuisine in an authentic way which may be hard to find elsewhere.
Note: The Bird Restaurant has since closed its doors.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Beer, tuak (palm wine), some imported wines, and whiskies.
Drinking in Public
Malaysia was once named the tenth largest alcohol consumer in the world. It is, however, predominantly Muslim and there are therefore rules that non-Muslims adhere to avoid insulting their fellow compatriots. Public inebriation, for example, is not condoned.
Consumption of alcohol is mostly done on premises like nightclubs, refreshment outlets, and at restaurants that are open late. Changkat Bukit Bintang is your go-to-street for a night out in the town, though there are numerous other joints around the city.
Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
If you want to make the best choice on fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you need to know the location of the best bar in the city. It is always better to keep both near as much as possible.
Heli Lounge atop Menara KH building serves as a helipad during the day. At night, it is a sky-high open-air rooftop bar that’s just the spot to watch the sun go down.
Pahit is an old school cocktail bar tucked away behind the lackluster entrance to an old town building. Enjoy its retro feel as you sip on its potent cocktails.
Show up and show out at the Sky Bar on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel. Tables are lined around the pool, so be careful to avoid soaking your ensemble.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: What to See and Do
Standing tall at 452 meters, the Petronas Towers are a must-see. These imposing twin towers are quite literally the height of beauty.
Art meets religion at the stunning Islamic Art Museum. Aside from its high quality decorative art exhibits, its beautifully-decorated domes and glazed tile work are ogle-worthy.
With streets lined with shop houses, Chinatown is like a walk down memory lane filled with traces of old Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia’s modern and contemporary art is beautifully showcased on the National Visual Arts Gallery’s side staircases.
You will not miss the Menara Kuala Lumpur in the city’s skyline. Though not as tall as the Petronas Towers, the view from its 276m observation deck and 300m open deck (with just glass between you and its bottom) is to die for.
For amazing views of KL’s mosaic dragons and phoenixes, the awe-inspiring Thean Hou Temple is just right.
Speaking of temples, have your fortune read at Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, KL’s oldest temple.
On KL’s walls, you may also come across either #tanahairku mural, #districtcreative #artforlife mural, or the Cockerel Mural.
Walk across KL Eco Forest Park’s canopy walkway nested in a dense lowland forest. It is always better to decide on fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur after checking the connectivity to the places that you want to visit in the city.
Every evening, Jalan Alor turns into an un-ending open-air food market serving everything from Chinese, Malay to Thai dishes.
Tipping in Kuala Lumpur
Just like in most of Asia, tipping is not expected, however it is always a nice gesture. It’s best to just round up the total cost of the bill, especially since a service charge is usually included in restaurants.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
The most common scam in Kuala Lumpur is probably the counterfeit merchandise. Be careful what you buy in the markets as there are a lot of counterfeits. Clearly when you buy a $5 pair of Ray-ban sunglasses, you know that this is a counterfeit. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is! However, there are counterfeits of other things, including smart phones. You will find fake copies of the latest smartphones and the price is not as obviously low as you might expect. Therefore be very careful and do not buy electronics at these markets.
There are criminal elements such as pickpockets in the street markets so be careful!
The taxis in Kuala Lumpur are not safe. If you have to use a taxi, make sure it is a registered taxi and that you ask for the meter to be turned on. This is not a tip I give to every single city because there are cities where it’s possible to negotiate the price ahead of time and be safe. Here I am suggesting everybody to only use meter taxis in Kuala Lumpur. Make sure it’s an official taxi with a company that is registered. Take a picture of the license place and on top of that, do not let anyone else enter the taxi. If you are sitting in the taxi and the driver lets somebody else in, saying ‘We’re just going to drop this person off’, do not let that happen and get out of the taxi right away.
Don’t look for fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur in such places.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for the Malaysia