The Malaysian city is Asia’s new capital of cool.
To get an idea of what the city has to offer, hop on this free–and-easy tour of KL with over 23 stops covering more than 70 attractions. Choose between the 24 and 48-hour tickets. Children below five ride free. Popular stops include the KL Tower, KLCC, Lake Gardens, Chinatown and Central Market.
BEAT THE TRAFFIC
The all-new MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is the pride of KL. Ride to discover some of the city’s favourite enclaves, including Damansara Heights for cool independent stores and eateries at Plaza Batai and DC Mall; Bandar Utama for one of KL’s top shopping destinations, One Utama. If you’re a fan of satay, head to Kajang to fix that craving.
What To Do
THE RIVER OF LIFE
KL rivers are getting a new lease of life with the opening of the first phase of the River of Life Project. Visitors can discover the aesthetic nature of the river while admiring iconic riverfront buildings, including KL’s oldest mosque, Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad. Look out for the ‘Blue Pool’, designed to visually transform the rivers into a stunning sensory experience with dancing fountains and beautiful lightings from sundown till late.
SEE KL BY FOOT
Designed to give visitors an insight into the country’s colonial past under British rule, KL Heritage Walk is a free guided tour, beginning from the KL City Gallery. The walk takes you through historical spots, including Dataran Merdeka, where independence was proclaimed, and the Moorish-inspired Sultan Abdul Samad building.
Bangsar continues to be one of KL’s trendiest neighbourhoods, with the spotlight on the enclave of Kurau-Riong-Kemuja. Go on a food trail in Lorong Kurau, starting with delicious poori at Ganga to Nyonya food at Baba Low’s. Don’t miss the tomahawk at N97 and the roast chicken with homemade thoom at Bakar. Nearby, the Kurau Community Library is a beautiful public space worth spending the afternoon in. A stone’s throw away is the neighbourhood of Riong with APW at its heart. A creative space where arts, culture, business and technology converge to encourage innovation, APW is the place to be seen on weekends with fun F&B outlets like Kaiju Company providing a Japanese-Thai experience and Breakfast Thieves for long, lazy brunches. Look out for the monthly RIUH! Market for well-curated pop-up stores and food, creative workshops and live performances. Over at Kemuja, drop by the uber-cool Nala Kampung House to shop for gifts for your loved ones. Down the road, Kedai Bikin offers Malaysian-crafted furniture and home accessories. Buy their popular string chairs and beautiful tables. End your day at Dr.Inc with awesome cocktails.
VIEW FROM ABOVE
Get a bird’s eye view of the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower with Cempaka Helicopter’s heli-tour packages. Alternatively, head up to the observation deck of Menara Kuala Lumpur for stunning 360-degree views.
BE AT ONE WITH NATURE
KLCC Park forms a peaceful green oasis in the city centre, while Lake Gardens is beautifully surrounded by key attractions, including the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and the much-loved Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. Take part in a Lake Gardens Segway tour by Eco Ride Malaysia for a fun and environmentally friendly way to see the park.
What To Eat
MELTING POT OF CUISINES
KL thrives with dining experiences from all over the world. For crab curries, try Aliyaa, an authentic Sri Lankan restaurant. Erawan serves the best Thai food (the crispy papaya salad is a must), Cocott’ is the go-to spot for raclette, and Oribe excels for sushi. For a dining experience with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers, check out Fuego at Troika Sky Dining for innovative tapas. Cilantro, offering French cuisine with a touch of exotic Asian, is a revered institution, while Dewakan, founded by Malaysian chef Darren Teoh, honours the bounty and the blessings of the land by using mostly local produce.
Jalan Alor, a hawker street, has long been a favourite of locals and tourists alike. The chicken wings and seafood specialities at Wong Ah Wah are a must, along with the cheerful dishes with home-cooked flavours of Restoran Muar on nearby Tengkat Tong Shin. For more upscale venues, JP Teres and Bijan are great starting points to discover local cuisine.
Where To Hang Out
Using distinctive ingredients that are native to this part of the world, the cocktails at PS150 draw from bold Southeast Asian flavours, served in a pre-war shophouse with a tiny stationery shop as its façade. Omakase + Appreciate is the only bar in KL that has been included in the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017 list, while Skullduggery offers craft cocktails in a sleek, secretive setting.
DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
Nightlife is fun and buzzy. For good music and an amazing crowd, head to KYO at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur. The city’s centre of gravity, TREC KL, is the place to people-watch and be seen. Dance venue Zouk can be found here.
Where To Shop
Inspired by Malaysian and Asian heritage, the patterns at Nala Designs are hand-illustrated, with designs and colours that encapsulate the diversity of Southeast Asia. Shop for their pieces at Nala’s Kampung House on Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar. Celebrating craftsmanship by engaging in ethical partnerships to promote conscious consumption, Earth Heir takes handicrafts to the next level. Their beautiful hand-woven bags are made by the women of the Kenyah tribe in Sarawak.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
From Pavilion KL to Suria KLCC and Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur’s shopping options are mind-boggling. From designer brands to high street favourites, you can get almost anything here. Look out for the all-new Armani KL, which offers three floors of stylish wear, and Malaysia’s first JD Sports, all at Pavilion KL.
WORTH THE TREK
Located an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, discover the paddy fields and pretty fishing villages of Sekinchan. Seafood lovers will be happy to know there’s some of the best seafood here in Malaysia. For those who prefer cool weather, head to Cameron Highlands and discover its colonial estates and tea plantations.
KL is sunny and humid all year round, so stick to light, breathable fabrics. However, have a brolly handy for rainfall. The best time to visit is from May to August, when skies are often blue. Dress modestly at places of worship.
English is widely spoken, but it would be worthwhile to learn basic Bahasa Malaysia phrases for when you travel away from the capital.
The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is the official currency. For the best rates, exchange at money changers in shopping malls.
For last-minute gifts and souvenirs, duty-free outlets at KL International Airport and KLIA2 offer the latest gadgets and designer goods.