Kuala Lumpur is an ultramodern, metropolitan hub and the capital city of Malaysia. A visit to Kuala Lumpur will reward you with a unique mix that isn’t found in many cities of Southeast Asia. It is my favorite city in Asia!
Malay, Indian and Chinese residents in Kuala Lumpur offer the very best of their cultures in this vibrant Asiatic city. Below my top things to see during your visit to Kuala Lumpur and where to stay.
One of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India, the Batu Caves feature an imposing 154 foot high statue in gold which stands at the foot of the 272 stairs you have to climb to view the Temple Cave. The cave features a scattering of elaborate Hindu shrines and intricately painted sculptures of Hindu gods.
Shopping mall Pavilion
Situated in Bukit Bintang, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is the haute couture shoppers’ paradise. Standing out from the mall-scape of the Malaysian capital, the extravagant shopping center is characterized by a white marble complex that offers a combination of both outdoor and indoor shopping venues designed to keep the city’s fashionistas looking their very best.
Cameron Highlands tea plantations
The Cameron Highlands is one of the largest tea plantations in the country and a popular escape from the humidity and heat of Kuala Lumpur. The Highlands are largely agricultural, which means you can tour butterfly and bee farms, wander through flowery gardens and visit the famous tea plantations.
Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara is a national park comprising a densely forested area. The largest national park on peninsular Malaysia, Taman Negara is also one of the most pristine primary rainforests left on the planet! Recognized for its richness in biodiversity, the park is home to various endangered species, insects and birds.
From Kuala Lumpur, you can easily reach Taman Negara by bus and by boat. First, grab the bus to Jerantut. This ride through the countryside takes about 3.5 hours. Then you take the boat that sails through the wilderness to your accommodation in the jungle. This cruise on the river Tembeling takes about 3 hours.
The boat ride to Kuala Tahan in Taman Negara is truly magnificent.During the tour you pass through dense vegetation, you see water buffalo swimming, and you come along Orang Asli villages. The Orang Asli people are the original inhabitants of Taman Negara. Orang Asli literally means natural persons or aboriginal people. To date, they live very primitively and according to their old traditions.
Masjid India Night Market
Like many other Southeast Asian destinations, some of the best shopping in Kuala Lumpur occurs at night at the many night markets of the city. One of the best is the Masjid India Night Market which is ideal for bargain hunting and enjoying an inexpensive dinner of Malaysian street food.
Kuala Selangor Fireflies
At the Kuala Selangor Fireflies Resort Park, nature lovers can enjoy the lights of thousands of fireflies. You can see this particular spectacle while the fireflies flying around engaged in a mating dance at the river around the Berembang trees. Take a sunset ride over the dark river to enjoy the spectacular light show that these little fireflies dedicate to you.
Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is an impressive 6-tiered Chinese temple, the largest of its kind in Kuala Lumpur. The temple is nestled atop Robson Hill and offers amazing views back over the city, while its prayer rooms are full of bright gold Buddhist statues.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Completed in 1897 and designed for governmental administrative offices, the Sultan Abdul Samad building was Malaysia’s first public structure to feature a Mughal architectural style combining influences of Indian Muslim, Moorish and Gothic architecture. The building, located at the Merdeka square is impressive particularly at night when its clock tower and domes are lit up.
Masjid Jamek Mosque
The oldest and most delightful mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Masjid Jamek features big cream onion domes with white and red striped minarets rising from the midst of a palm grove. This is the site at which the first settlers in Kuala Lumpur made their settlement. The mosque is located at a spot where two of the biggest rivers of Kuala Lumpur, the Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak river, meet. Masjid Jamek is the oldest mosque in the city and was built around 1900.
Skybar Traders Hotel
Kuala Lumpur is inseparable from the Petronas Towers. This tower, that is also known as the Twin Towers, is the symbol of this cosmopolitan city. Kuala Lumpur is a modern city in Southeast Asia and is famous for its skyscrapers. In KL you can find amazing “rooftop bars” all of which offer breathtaking views over the city and its mighty towers.
The award winning SkyBar is one of the leading bars on the roof of the city. It is located on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel, that is part of the renowned Shangri-La hotel chain. It is a popular nightclub for a stylish evening of cocktails, music, and with the most spectacular views of the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and the Petronas Towers.
The Sky Bar is a contemporary bar where during the day, you can relax after some shopping in the luxury shopping malls of the town. Directly opposite of the Traders Hotel you find the famous KLCC mall. In the evening, however, the Sky Bar transforms into a real glamorous cocktail bar, complete with DJs and a tasteful offer of tapas.
The centerpiece of the Sky Bar is the pool, which is surrounded by so-called ‘cabanas’ (large recessed alcoves with cushions) on one side, and a bar with sofas and high tables on the other side. I recommend you absolutely to reserve a “cabana”, to enjoy at best the impressive view and the countless lights of the city.
Bubbles and finger food
The Sky Bar has mainly finger food like calamari, Mexican nachos and delicious Malaysian street food like satay on the menu. These snacks are all served in very generous portions. Your selection of drinks is quite diverse, from international wines, beers, spirits to champagne. However, the cocktails are still the best here. Go for the spicy tasting “Selangor Sling” or the sweet and fruity “Mata D’Or”. The best night to visit the Sky Bar is on Monday and Tuesday during the Retro Happy Hour.
The Sky Bar is definitely a place to see and be seen. You’ll find locals and guests who enjoy a refreshing drink after work. If you are traveling to Asia and land in Kuala Lumpur, it is absolutely a must to come here to take a look. It is a lovely lounge spot and there is a pleasant chill-out atmosphere. Keep in mind that the Sky Bar has a dress code (smart casual).
In my opinion, has the Sky Bar the best views of Kuala Lumpur on the Twin Towers. Nothing is less breathtaking than enjoying a specially prepared cocktail, with some relaxing lounge music in the background and a nightly view of the glinstering Petronas Towers.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?
If you want to stay in the center, right in the heart of bustling Kuala Lumpur, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the newly opened KL Journal Hotel. This city hotel is located in Bukit Bintang, also known as the Golden Triangle. Bukit Bintang is the touristic shopping center of the town at a short 20 minutes walk from the KLCC park from where the mighty Petronas Towers arise.
The KL Journal is a stylish boutique hotel located on a quiet street in the middle of Bukit Bintang. At only 300 meters you find the popular Changkat neighborhood. This district is known for its lively bars and restaurants. Changkat is also a nice entertainment area for a night out and especially popular among the trendy locals and expats. So don’t miss it out!
I frequently visit Kuala Lumpur when I am in transit in Asia. The KL Journal is my favorite hotel because it has a central position, it is small and modern. I like the retro style and the personal service.
The rooms are modern and thanks to the large windows you have a nice view of the city. The Pavilion shopping center is only a stone’s throw away, and from KL Journal you can easily explore the city. Do not forget to chill at the rooftop pool of the hotel, during the day or in the evening.
How to Get to Kuala Lumpur
One of the world’s top airports, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport serves as a hub for international flights to and from the Malaysian capital.
Kuala Lumpur has several bus terminals that handle long distance bus services from places such as Singapore.
There are both day and overnight trains to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore and Hat Yai in Thailand.
There are ferry connections from Sumatra in Indonesia to Port Klang, which is located approximately 40km west of Kuala Lumpur.