Kuala Lumpur used to be a tiny settlement for Chinese tin traders in the jungle along two rivers. The city’s name translates to ‘muddy confluence’ in the Malay language, and locals refer to their capital as KL.
Malaysia has developed into an eclectic metropolis full of diversity where Indians, Chinese, Malays and expats live together in harmony. Today, KL is known for its dramatic skyline, parks, tasty food and friendly people.
This bustling city is a blend of old and new with all types of architecture from colonial, oriental, western and modern buildings. KL is a great base to explore the country’s beach towns, jungles and experience its cultural diversity.
Sharing our favorite places to stay, dine, spa and what to do in the 24 hours we spent in Kuala Lumpur.
Check out our photos on Instagram at: click here
STAY & DINE & SPA
We stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur Hotel. Centrally located in the heart of the city, near upscale boutiques and skyscrapers. Upon arrival to our hotel, we received the standard high level of service with a smile.
Our spacious suite included a living area, separate bedroom, large bath, plus another ½ bath near the entry. The suite was comfortable and quiet, the perfect place to stay in a big city.
Spa: One of the highlights was the Sensory Sound Bath treatment at the hotel’s spa. This treatment integrates traditional healing practices with a full body massage using hot stones, and a ‘Sound Bath’ that leaves you feeling energized and relaxed at the same time. Reservations can be booked at email: email@example.com
Dinner at The Library: Book a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant: firstname.lastname@example.org Set in a library with a curated collection of books, this fine dining restaurant featuring Chef Wai’s seasonal menu and award-winning dishes inspired by international and Asian cuisine.
WHERE TO GO
Book a Guide & Driver: We recommend booking a guided tour with Tour Leader/Manager Aryadi Razak, a licensed guide based in Kuala Lumpur email: email@example.com
We also hired an excellent driver Mohamad Aidil email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both Mohamad and Aryadi work together and are very professional and offer a variety of tours based on guest’s interests – Heritage Tours, Food Tours, Walking Tours, etc. Aryadi will customize your tour and meet you at your hotel with driver Mohamed to start your tour.
PLACES TO VISIT
Petronas Twin Towers: Located in the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC), these 88-story twin towers are the world’s tallest at over 1,400 ft. high. Check hours when the public can visit the sky-bridge on the 41st floor.
Golden Triangle: This upscale neighborhood is near the Petronas Towers and you’ll find shopping centers, commercial buildings, plenty of cafes and restaurants.
Bukit Bintang: Our hotel was in this area where there are modern shopping centers next to small alleyways with street vendors serving traditional Chinese and Malay dishes for under $5 usd. Don’t Miss! Walk around Bintang and find art on murals along Jalan Alor, Jalan Berangan and Tengkat Tong Shin, lined with cafés, pubs, boutiques. Lots of fun especially at night.
Chinatown: Visit the open markets and bargain for a souvenir, get spring rolls to go – this is the place where KL originated. Stroll along Petaling Street, a popular tourist spot where you can buy knock-off purses or watches, t-shirts, leather items, tea sets and pick up some street food from stalls lining the alleyways. Tip! Be sure to bargain.
Little India: See the oldest Hindu temple in KL – Sri Mahamariamman.
Buy a sari, a snack from a roti vendor, smell the flower garlands.
Central Market: Located in a former pre-war wet market, this building was renovated as an arts center with galleries, shops with souvenirs, handicrafts and Malaysian art.
Independence Square (Merdeka): This is where the Malays declared their independence from Britain in 1957. One of the city’s most famous buildings to visit is in this palm tree-lined square – the Sultan Abdul Samad, where you’ll see elements of Victorian & Moorish architecture. Another Moorish building is the former City Hall and you’ll see an adjacent cricket field in this square. Stop at the Tourist Office to get maps and more information here.
Railway Station & National Mosque: These historical buildings are still intact today.
KL Tower: Go to the top skydeck for panoramic views of the city. One of the tallest buildings in the world, and the tallest telecommunications tower in SE Asia.
Lake Garden, Titiwangsa: Visit the bird park here! Great place to go and relax within the city.
Dong: If you like batik, see a demo at this modern hand painted batik studio.
National Monument: Learn about the history of Malaysia at this monument.
National Museum: Called the Museum Negara – Malaysian history, culture and traditions are showcased through the murals and artifacts.
Embassy Row: Drive down the street where there are several embassies and premium properties in KL.
Shopping: Suria KLCC is Malaysia’s top shopping place located in Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). You’ll find fashion, entertainment, services all here.
Starhill Gallery: Visit this gallery with dozen cafes and restaurants, fashion, art & more. Our concierge recommended Enak KL where you’ll taste some of the best Malay cuisine like tamarind prawns or lamb spiced with cinnamon-cardamom.
Great views: There are phenomenal views from the KL Tower Sky Deck and the skybridge at Petronas Towers. Our favorite place to see views of the Petronas Towers and city was at the W Hotel‘s WET bar & terrace – listen to groovy tunes by DJ’s and order up a cocktail/mocktail made by the W mixologists.
Batu Caves where there are Hindu Temples in 400 million yrs old caves. Not far from here, you can also visit Royal Selangor, the largest pewter factory in the world and learn how pewter is made.
Kings Palace (Istana Negara): This is the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the monarch of Malaysia. Impressive gold domes & Islamic architecture.
On the way to the KL Airport, take 30 mins to visit the Putra (Pink) Mosque and be sure to go inside to see the interior (there are robes on loan at the entrance for women).
Nearby you can also visit the Astaka Morocco where the architecture resembles what you’d see in Morocco.
Acknowledgements: Global Adventuress thanks The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur for hosting us during our stay.