Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it’s most commonly referred) is a fascinating city, filled with interesting sights, unique things to see and do, diverse neighbourhoods to explore, and a lot of great food covering a variety of cuisines. Interest piqued yet? To help you navigate your visit to Malaysia’s capital, our local Kuala Lumpur tour guides share their takes on the best things to seek out in KL.
Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art is located in the pretty Lake Gardens area of KL and houses more than 10,000 artifacts, as well as a huge library of Islamic arts books. The design of the museum itself is unique in that rather than being comprised of multiple, smaller galleries, displays are showcased in a large open area that makes for more relaxed exploring. Exhibits are spread over two floors of permanent galleries along with two special galleries for temporary exhibitions.
Some highlights include the renowned Islamic Architecture Gallery, the India Gallery, the Chinese Gallery, the Ancient Malay World Gallery, and the reconstructed Ottoman Syrian Room dating back to the 19th century. If you’re a history buff, this is for you.
If you’re looking for drinks with a view, the best place to sip a cocktail while watching the sun go down or getting 360-degree views of the city skyline has to be Heli Lounge Bar, a fully functional helipad by day that converts into a rooftop bar in the evening. Located on the 34th floor of the Menara KH building, Heli Lounge Bar is made up of two levels: a nightclub/lounge on the top floor and the helipad bar on the roof above. If you’re going for the sunset (and we recommend you do), go right for 6pm as the rooftop gets busy. Dress code is relaxed and there’s no cover between 6pm and 9pm, but after that, dress up and expect to pay to get in.
KL’s Petaling Street, the centre of Kuala Lumpur’s original Chinatown, is a fun place to go any time of day or night in the city. This is where to head if you’re on the lookout for souvenirs or want to bargain your way to anything from knockoff handbags and T-shirts, to hats, shoes, jewellery and handicrafts. It’s a busy shopping area, but never feels overwhelming. There’s also a lot of good street food here, so finding a cheap and delicious meal won’t be too hard. If you’re planning to stay in the area into the evening, stop by PS150. Housed in a pre-war shop, this hidden cocktail bar can be found at the end of Petaling Street behind a nondescript entrance. Once inside, you’ll be treated to a list of creative cocktails with an Asian twist.
Anyone looking to experience Malaysian culture in the form of traditional dance can head to the Malaysia Tourism Centre, to see the free performance by their in-house troupe. Performances are held at Amphitheatre Hall on Monday to Saturday from 3pm to 4pm every week, and entrance is free.
Take the KTM Komuter train service from KL Sentral to Batu Caves, a worthwhile excursion for anyone visiting KL. A massive limestone outcrop houses a series of caves in which you’ll find temples and Hindu shrines. The first thing you’ll see as you get to the caves is the towering statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan, and then it’s a steep 272-step climb to get to the caves system itself. Take your time exploring (go early if you can, to beat the crowds) and be mindful of the mischievous monkeys who have been known to grab anything shiny or resembling food.
What seems like a fairly unassuming street during daylight hours becomes a haven for street food as soon as the sun starts to go down. Rows upon rows of hawker stalls set up on both sides of the street, along with plastic tables and chairs spilling out onto the street itself. You’ll find an array of cuisines here, mostly made up of Chinese, Thai and Malay, all interspersed with smaller satay carts and stalls selling durian — the love-it-or-hate-it fruit that divides palates everywhere. Spend some time walking up and down the street to see what piques your interest, grab a table and order up something delicious. If you’re still hungry, spend more time eating your way through KL with our KL Food Experience tour.
Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of incredible food, cool city hustle and bustle, infamous architecture (we’re looking at you, Petronas Towers) and just about everything else we love about Southeast Asia. Jump on a KL tour with Urban Adventures to see the sights and eat the bites of this vibrant Malaysian city with the people that know it best, the locals!