Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide (update 2023)

Kuala Lumpur holds a special place in our hearts as one of our favorite Asian metropolises! We wholeheartedly immersed ourselves in the vibrant chaos that this city has to offer. It marked our first introduction to Asia, navigating the bustling streets with wide eyes and adventurous spirits!

The colors, the chaos, the flavorful cuisine, the cheerful locals – even the unique aromas and the beads of sweat glistening in the tropical heat – we embraced it all then, and continue to do so with equal intensity now. Kuala Lumpur, with its impressive skyline adorned with some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers (including the tallest in Southeast Asia!), exudes a vibe that few cities can match.

The melting pot of cultures, enriched by a vibrant Chinese and Indian community, adds to the city’s versatility and uniqueness. We eagerly set foot on KL’s ground whenever the call of Asia beckons, discovering something new with each visit.

In this article

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur
Kuala Lumpur blog

A little introduction about Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the beating heart of Malaysia! This city, sprawling over some 243 km², is home to some 2.3 million souls. It is a city of contrasts and hidden gems, where you will be short of eyes. You stumble across both gleaming skyscrapers and historic gems here, a visual symphony of old and new. Couple of fun facts about Kuala Lumpur:

  • The iconic Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world!
  • Since 2023, KL has added a new gem, the Merdeka 118, the world’s tallest building after the Burj Khalifa
  • Kuala Lumpur is a shopper’s paradise. From upscale shopping malls to bustling street markets, there is something for everyone!
  • The food here is heavenly! From street food to five-star dinners!
  • Need a green escape between shopping and eating? KLCC Park is your go-to!
  • Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of cultures; a cocktail of Malay, Chinese, and Indian!
  • For bird lovers, the KL Bird Park is home to more than 3,000 birds!
  • Temples more your thing? From Thean Hou to Batu Caves, the city is a temple mecca!
  • Feel like Tarzan at the KL Forest Eco Park, a slice of jungle in the middle of the city!
  • Kuala Lumpur literally means “muddy confluence. Not very sexy, but accurate!

What to do in Kuala Lumpur

There is a lot to do and see in Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, we definitely recommend booking at least 2 (preferably 3) nights to see as much of the city as possible. Walking around the city is possible, but Grab is still often our friend while visiting this city. These are our absolute must-do’s for your visit to Kuala Lumpur. Tip! Also read 10x things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

  • Visit the unique Batu Caves. Walk the colorful steps and admire the unique temple found here in the cave.
  • Try street food in Jalan Alor.
  • Have a beer on Bukit Bintang.
  • Visit the Petronas Tower and Merdeka 118.
  • Have a cocktail at one of the many sky bars, our favorites: EQ skybar, Helipad Lounge or Fuego.
  • Score souvenirs at Petaling Street Market, Chinatown (Central Market is also possible, slightly less chaos).
  • While you’re there, slide a Clay Pot Meal into the street right away.
  • Admire the street art of Kwai Chai Hong and slide into one of the many hipster joints you’ll find here.
  • Escape the heat and go shopping at Pavilion.
  • Visit the beautiful Thean Hou temple.
  • Escape the crowds and head into KLCC park.
  • Walk across suspension bridges in the green ECO park in the middle of the city.
  • Discover the oldest Hindu temple: Sri Mahamariamman Temple of Kuala Lumpur, full of colorful details and rich history.
  • Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens of Perdana Botanical Gardens, full of exotic plants and flowers, an oasis of calm in the bustling city.
  • Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: Escape the city bustle at this oldest permanent forest reserve in Malaysia, located in the heart of the city.

Jalan Alor

It may be a small street, but the cozy bustle is great! Your senses are stimulated by the delicious smells and sounds of shifting chairs, singing, lively conversation and the sizzling of satay and nasi on the grill. Plop down on one of the cheerful chairs and be surprised by local delicacies served on orange plastic plates. We went for prawns, noodles and of course, satay was not to be missed. What a taste fest! Granted, it has become a tourist hotspot, but it is still highly recommended for anyone visiting Kuala Lumpur! Take a seat on colorful chairs and local dishes are served on orange plastic plates. We ordered prawns, noodles and, of course, satay was not to be missed. The food was fantastic! It has become quite touristy by now, but then still a big tip if you are in Kuala Lumpur to visit.

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Batu Caves

The caves were discovered in the early 19th century by an Indian commercial traveler named K. Thamboosamy. The first temple was built in 1891, called the Sri Subramaniar temple. The Cathedral Cave is full of altars. In front of the caves is an impressive statue of Lord Murugan. The temples in the Batu Caves were built in honor of Lord Murugan.

From the main train station you can easily take a train to the caves.

Kuala Lumpur blog
kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Thean Hou temple

One of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia, Thean Hou Temple is dedicated to Thean Hou, the Heavenly Mother. This magnificent temple is a celebration of color and detail, where traditional Chinese architecture goes hand in hand with modern elements. Located on a hill, the temple also offers stunning views of Kuala Lumpur.

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

Stroll through the Chinese market and slide down the street at one of the many street food eateries you’ll find here. Chinatown is one of the oldest places in Kuala Lumpur. Chinese traders came here to sell their wares.

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur
kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Visit a sky bar

Sipping an overpriced cocktail in a sky bar and enjoying spectacular views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline is a must-do in this city. Our favorites are without a doubt: Helipad Lounge, EQ Skybar and Fuego. Helipad Lounge is technically not a real sky bar, but a former helicopter pad transformed into a bar. The bar itself may not be spectacular, but the view, on the other hand, is jaw-dropping. You get a 360-degree view of the entire city. A few years ago you could look around here unhindered, but now other tall buildings have curtailed the view a bit. Nevertheless, it remains an indispensable place.

Kuala Lumpur blog
Kuala Lumpur blog

Visit a Shopping Mall

If you are in Kuala Lumpur, you really can’t ignore the giant shopping malls! Whether you are an avid shopper or just want to browse around, a visit to one of these shopping paradises is not to be missed. It’s a mix of everything, and that’s why it’s so much fun!

Kuala Lumpur blog

Even more options:

– Suria KLCC: perfect to combine with the Petronas Towers.
– Berjaya Times Square (has an indoor amusement park).
– Mid Valley Megamall: one of the largest shopping malls.
– Sunway Pyramid: best known for its striking design inspired by the pyramid of Egypt.

Bukit Bintang

Surely this is the place to be for a beer! For us just a little too crowded, but of course this street is simply not to be missed during your stay in KL.

Also read the article “10x things to do in Kuala Lumpur.”

Kuala Lumpur blog

Hotspots & food in Kuala Lumpur

From Trendy Coffee Shops to Street Satay, Kuala Lumpur Has It All!

Discover the vibrant restaurants of Kuala Lumpur with our where to eat list:

  • China Town Streetfood
  • Jalan Alor
  • The Rabbit Hole
  • VCR
  • Wizzards
  • Dao Bao
  • Feeka Coffee Roasters
  • The Hungry Tapir
  • Bao Ban

Read our detailed article “FoodGuide Kuala Lumpur.”

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Best time to travel to Kuala Lumpur

When is the best time to foetsie to KL? Kuala Lumpur is actually a good idea all year round, but the high season runs from March to September. This is therefore labeled as the best travel time to visit Kuala Lumpur.

The rainy season runs from October to March, it’s a lot quieter then and a little rain never hurt anyone anyway.

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Transportation in Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur, trains really are your best friend when it comes to covering long distances. The integrated train system connects the city and surrounding areas and gets you to your destination quickly and efficiently. The KLIA Ekspres will take you directly from the airport to the city center in no time. And then you have the LRT, MRT and monorail, which take you around the city with ease.

But what if you are already in town and want to move quickly from point A to point B? Then Grab is your greatest buddy. This app-based ridesharing service makes it super easy to arrange a ride. Just enter your destination, choose a driver and you’re ready to go. The best part? It really doesn’t cost you a dime.

Which budget do i need in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur is not expensive, but neither is it a budget destination. On the street you can often get something to eat for a few euros, but beer, in turn, is quite pricey. With a daily budget of 25 – 75 euros p.p. you’re basically always in the right place. Herewith a small indication of prices:

  • Food: You can eat locally for as little as RM6 (€1.20) to RM15 (€3.00) per dish, but plop down at a trendy toko and you’ll soon pay RM30 (€6.00) to RM60 (€12.00) per dish.
  • Beer: For this rolling beer team, KL is not a budget destination at all. For a beer you quickly pay 15RM – 30RM, which is about 3 – 6 euros for a golden rag.
  • Accommodations: For a hostel you pay about 40 (€8) per night, for a budget hotel you pay about 150 RM (€30) per night, mid-range 250 RM (€50) and anything above that already gets pretty fancy schmancy.
  • Sightseeing: Many sights in KL are free, think of the beautiful Thean Hou Temple. Others require you to pay an entrance fee, but this is often between RM10 (€2) and RM50 (€10).

Day budget Kuala Lumpur

  • Budget backpacker: 15 – 30 euros per day
  • Flashpacker: 25 – 50 euros per day
  • Fancy schmancy traveler: 50 – 100 euros per day

Kuala Lumpur can be as cheap or expensive as you like. With many street food options and affordable accommodations, it is possible to enjoy KL even on a smaller budget.

kuala lumpur tips
kuala lumpur

Practical information about Kuala Lumpur

  • Download Grab: For easy and affordable transportation in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Take Credit Cards Along: Provide both Mastercard and Visa for wide acceptance. Check the transaction fees with your bank.
  • Appropriate Clothing at Religious Sites: Cover shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites.
  • Fan: Useful for cooling in the hot and humid climate.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the bright sun rays of Kuala Lumpur.
  • Before leaving, always check with the GGD to see what vaccinations you need.
Kuala Lumpur blog

What are nice places to stay in Kuala Lumpur?

Looking for the perfect home base for your adventures in Kuala Lumpur? We’ve done the sleuthing for you. From cozy hostels to atmospheric guesthouses, discover our selection of comfortable and affordable accommodations that will make your trip to Kuala Lumpur unforgettable. Let the adventure begin!

How to get to Kuala Lumpur?

Of course, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the most obvious choice if you want to fly to Kuala Lumpur. But let’s not forget that you can also look at nearby airports, such as Düsseldorf and Brussels. Sometimes there are surprising deals and discounts available from these airports, so don’t be afraid to explore some additional options!

Flying to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

KLIA is your gateway to the magic of Kuala Lumpur. Airlines such as KLM and Malaysia Airlines offer direct flights from the Netherlands to KLIA and this flight takes about 12 – 14 hours.

We often find a stopover a little nicer so we can stretch our legs for a while and is often a lot cheaper as well. We have good experiences with qatar, Emirates and Etihad. You then spend about 16 – 20 hours.

To the City Center of Kuala Lumpur

Upon arrival at KLIA, there are several ways to travel to the city center. The KLIA Ekspres train is fast and reliable, taking you to the central KL Sentral station in about 30 minutes. However, we didn’t feel like a hassle and booked a cab through Booking. Super easy and in terms of cost it doesn’t make much difference than with a Grab. Another great option is to travel from the airport to the city.

Visas and Travel Documents for Kuala Lumpur

A tourist visa for up to 90 days is usually not required for Dutch travelers. But always check current visa requirements before you leave, as rules can change. For a 30-day visa, you pay nothing else.

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