Home Malaysia 6 Simple Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

6 Simple Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

by David
KLCC Park, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

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Given that it’s the nation’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur tends to be the first place people go to in Malaysia. Among the capitals of southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur sometimes gets lost in the mix but it’s certainly a modern city and cultural hub.

While it’s a natural inclusion on any itinerary that tours Malaysia, the city is also a fantastic place for a stopover when in Asia as the home base of Air Asia. Rather than reproduce one of the common lists of things to do when visiting Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, I thought I’d go a different path and share insights based on my visits to the city. So, here are some fairly general Kuala Lumpur tips for visiting that I thought worth knowing before you go.


Don’t Expect Singapore

Petronas Towers, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

It’s funny that this needs saying but I’ve heard the comparison enough that it bears mentioning. Some people seem to find visiting Kuala Lumpur a disappointing experience after visiting Singapore, perhaps expecting the two to be quite a like. Granted, they’re close together geographically and have many cultural and ethnic similarities.

But that can also be said about two cities in the same country; George Town and Kuala Lumpur are also quite different from each other. Certainly there are some similarities. The food is phenomenal in both, there are a ton of skyscrapers and some pretty parks to boot. They also have a bit of shared history I suppose, given their colonial British past and the merge that happened in the early 1960s.

But I think from that point the two took quite different paths, with Singapore’s economic boom a major part of that. Back to my point, it’s best to visit without expectations, because that way you can see KL for what it is rather than what it isn’t.


See the Different Sides of the City

Masjid Jamek, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur couldn’t be the capital of a country like Malaysia if it didn’t reflect the country’s diversity. I know how tempting it is to head to the Petronas Towers and feel like you’ve seen the sights here, but that’s just one side to the city. Beyond the financial/business district nature of Bukit Bintang and the city centre, there are many wildly different corners of KL. After all, part of Kuala Lumpur’s appeal is just how much things change when you move from one part of the city to the next.

Just set foot in Little India in the Brickfields neighbourhood and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve entered a new city. It’s not just the Hindu temples that add some colour and character here, it’s every single shop, the vibrant arches by the road and even the patterns of the food path. But of course the same goes for the city’s Chinatown, like in Petaling Street where lanterns hang overhead and houses look like they belong in central Malacca.

Essentially, what I mean is that visiting Kuala Lumpur, you need to move about a bit. Don’t confine yourself to just one part of the city.



Eat at Food Courts and Malls

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Places to Visit in KL Malaysia

Malaysian food may be one of my all-time favourite cuisines at this point, there’s so much to love. But what I truly love is that you don’t need to go anywhere special to enjoy it. This isn’t me trying to say you should only eat at street food stalls. You can if you want to, and naturally the same with restaurants. Or you can just go to the mall food court and still have a delicious, genuine Malaysian meal.

That’s because it’s actually really common for locals to eat their meals in food courts and shopping malls. Not just lunch but evening meals too, with restaurants and kiosks doing a great trade into the night. You wouldn’t believe how busy the KLCC food court is at lunch time and barely a tourist in sight.

At these food courts, not only can you get the usual international chains and other common dishes, but plenty of Malaysian meals as well. Then there are the actual restaurants inside the malls too, with Papparich are frequent, safe bet for Malaysian cuisine.

This isn’t exactly just a tip for visiting Kuala Lumpur either, since it’s also true of elsewhere in Malaysia and southeast Asia. I know in Australia the idea of going to do dinner in a food court might seem a convenient last resort but it’s a great option in Kuala Lumpur, especially if you’re on a budget.


Getting About Kuala Lumpur

Getting About KL, Sightseeing KL Malaysia

Since Kuala Lumpur is a big city with its sights spread out, you’re going to need help getting about. With KL, you have your choices which is handy as they each have their strengths. Personally, I’ve had mixed experience with public transport in KL, but think it’s pretty good for the most part. I have had some experience with the city’s monorail and MRT metro networks and can say that they’re pretty good, if the monorail isn’t full.

With 11 different MRT lines, including the monorail and airport connection, the metro network can be hard to first get your head around. The most important station that nearly every line passes through is KL Sentral and chances are you’re going to need switch lines as you go about sightseeing. The simplest fare is the “single journey token” but it’s not the best value for money. Still, it may be the best way to go for tourists only on a stopover visit.

I will say though, that Grab really is a good alternative from my experience. Not wanting to risk the busy monorail, I used Grab a couple of times and it was affordable and also fast. This was outside of peak hour though and I did see some pretty heavy peak hour traffic so I’m not sure how good it would be then.


Visit the Batu Caves

Batu Caves, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

While this post isn’t really a sightseeing guide, I did want to mention one awesome sight in Kuala Lumpur not to be missed – the Batu Caves. Right to the north of KL, just beyond the city limits lie this beautiful and immensely spiritual place. Found inside a large limestone hill, these caves are home to several Hindu shrines, let alone the colossal golden statue of the god Murugan outside.

While scenic before, the recent upgrade that saw the 272 steps painted vivid colours makes it look way nicer than when I went. Insides the dim light of the caves, you’ll not only find the shrines but bats in the rocky ceiling and open-air sections with light pouring in. When the group of us went here on my first Kuala Lumpur visit, we took a taxi out but you can also take the MRT 1 line here too.


Visit During Hari Merdeka

Hari Merdeka Parade, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

National holidays are always a fun time to visit somewhere, seeing everyone celebrating with special events. That’s what is in store if you are in Kuala Lumpur or anywhere in Malaysia on the 31st August. That’s when Malaysia celebrates Hari Merdeka, their Independence Day, on the anniversary of the country’s independence from the British. With flags simply everywhere in the city and jets flying overhead, it’s a hard event to miss.

With parades through the streets, things seem to center upon the huge Dataran Merdeka square. Lots of different groups participate in the parades, with uniforms and costumes a plenty. Each year the celebrations follow a different theme, although all are centered on patriotism. If you get the chance, it’s a cool event to be a part of, even as a spectator.

Hari Merdeka Festival, Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Malaysia


Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

KL Street Art, Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Accommodation in Kuala Lumpur is in great supply, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a place to stay. Popular neighbourhoods to stay in include Bukit Bintang and neighbouring Imbi, which is where I’ve stayed on my visits. You might be surprised just how affordable a three star hotel like the City Comfort Hotel is, or even somewhere like the Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. I’ve stayed at both and they’re fantastic value for money.

Other areas close to the city’s sights include around the KLCC Park and over in Chinatown. It’s best to find places close to public transport and malls in my opinion. And yes, you should find the city pretty affordable, which is always nice.




Have you had the pleasure of visiting Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia before? What tips would you add to this Kuala Lumpur travel blog post? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

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1 comment

Christina June 4, 2019 - 9:38 pm

Kuala Lumpur is an amazing country, I love to be there.
People are friendly and they have amazing foods.
Everything is pretty much than in the US.

You wrote a good guide by the way and photos are mind-blowing.


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