Kuala Lumpur combines culture, glitziness, great food, and so much more. KL reminded me a lot of my favourite South East Asian city (so far!) Singapore, which isn’t surprising given how close the two are.
Here are a few suggestions on how to spend your time in KL should you find yourself lucky enough to stop by!
This beautiful blue Art Deco building is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most iconic buildings. Central Market was built in the 1920s and is still a bustling marketing inside today. It will take you an hour at least to have time to wander round every store and stall, but luckily you’re only a short walk from Chinatown which is packed full of lunch or snack venues.
If you’re a meat-eater (I’m not, but my boyfriend is!) you can grab lunch at Soong Kee’s Beef Ball Noodles, a local favourite that’s always got a queue for a table. It’s supposed to have the best beef noodles in town (a fierce contest in the area I think) and apparently the beef broth was good. Bonus points for them from me, as they were accommodating enough to make me have plain noodles with veg. Yay!
Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Just at the edge of Chinatown is the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. The most impressive part of the temple is the tower at the entrance, which features 228 miniature Hindu gods and figures.
You can pay roughly £1 for your shoes to be looked whilst you go inside the temple – the interior itself isn’t that grand but it’s worthwhile to pay in order to maintain the upkeep of the building and have a look around.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
A 10 minute walk over the bridge from Chinatown will land you in Merdeka Square. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building runs along the edge of the square and is impressively beautiful and detailed. Whilst we were in the square a convention was taking place – it’s a centre point in the city and often used for national events such as Malaysia Day on September 16th.
FACE Suites at Kuala Lumpur
After a long day of walking in the heat, you need to make the most of the sunset skyline views KL has to offer. We stayed in an apartment in the FACE Suites tower during our time in Kuala Lumpur. The rooftop infinity pool at FACE makes it one of the most popular places to stay in the city as the views are incredible! I recommend staying here wholeheartedly, and to make sure you see the same view during the day, sunset and at night as they’re all different yet equally beautiful. If you’re interested, you can find the best rates for this hotel here.
The suites and rooms are absolutely huuuuge and combined with the views, worth every penny. By staying at FACE you also save on having to pay to go up to the Skybridge at Petronas Towers or the observation deck at KL Tower!
Petronas Twin Towers
In the evening, head for the towers. Taking a photo in front of the Petronas Towers has become such a tourist and traveller cliché that you’ll be bombarded by street sellers as soon as you arrive – you’ll need a wide-angle lens for your phone to be able to capture the full height of the towers and the savvy sellers have all the right merchandise to help you out! We came prepared with our own lens, but back-up is at hand, for a price, if you don’t have one with you!
After taking your money shot, you can peruse the designer merchandise in the shopping mall on the ground floor of the towers and make your way through to the gardens at the back which has an equally nice, less busy view of the towers.
Walking from the Petronas Towers to Petaling Street wasn’t the easiest of walks from memory, and when I think back it was always a little bit of a struggle to get around the city. Traffic gets ridiculously bad between roughly 6am – 8am and 4pm – 6pm, to the point it’s genuinely never worth getting a taxi or Uber at this time. Also whenever it rains (which is often, randomly and tropically) the traffic clogs up massively.
Anyway, Petaling Street is a long, quite touristy/rip-off (still affordable, but rip off for Malaysia) kind of prices street with various cuisines available such as Vietnamese and Thai. So why am I recommending going? As with all places like this, Khao San Road in Bangkok for example, you’ve got to go whilst you’re there.
Lot 10 Food Court
Whilst I’m discussing places to eat, at the bottom of the Lot 10 mall is one of the most popular food courts (if not the most popular) in Kuala Lumpur. Lot 10 has dozens of vendors offering probably every combination of meat and noodles available, broths, and delicious laksa.
Outside of the city centre are the Batu Caves. I’d seen quite a lot of photos of the caves and the steps up to them before I arrived in Kuala Lumpur and if I’m being completely honest, I was a little disappointed by the reality when they were compared to my excited expectations. A lot of the photos I’d seen made the steps up look extremely dramatic and as though they went high into the mountains – a trip that might take a couple of hours or so maybe. That’s not to say that the caves aren’t worth visiting, but the climb only takes around 10 minutes at a slow pace.
We arrived at the caves around 8am and it was really quiet, which was great for taking photos and avoiding the crowds. The reason it was so quiet was because the smaller cave didn’t open until 10am, but we weren’t too disappointed to miss out – the main ‘Cathedral Cave’ was open after all… but it was being ‘renovated’!
The 140 foot statue of Murugan at the foot of the steps was the highlight for me. When pictured behind people you can appreciate the perspective of how huge the figure is.
We carried some bricks to the top of the steps with us to play our part in the renovation, but it did make for a tougher climb! The way down was more rewarding, with a decent view of the city and a chance to look out for some of the monkeys that are known to pester tourists on the steps of the caves.
I Heart KL Sign
Just like the photo in front of the Petronas Towers, you’re not a true Kuala Lumpur tourist unless you’ve had a photo with the I Heart KL sign. Just wanted to share what I remember about this photo being taken with you, which is a) it was about 33 degrees at the time and queuing to take it, even for 2 minutes, was HOT and b) my phone slid off the curve of the L and nearly shattered about 1 second after this.
I <3 KL!!
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