The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is a culturally-rich metropolis that’s been surprisingly overlooked by travellers to South East Asia. Amidst the mega malls and skyscrapers,there’s a medley of heritage buildings emblematic of the main ethnic groups in Malaysia including adorned mosques of the Malays, the incense-wreathed Buddhist temples of the Chinese, and golden-clad Hindu temples of the Indians. It’s all evident from the colourful cuisine, traditions and architecture of what is one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide
Explore Kuala Lumpur
A symbol of Malaysia, the 88-floor twin towers are the tallest pair in the world at 452m. The stainless steel exterior of the towers feature Islamic designs, as evident from the masts that resemble the Star of Islam. The 86th-floor observation deck and 41st-floor Skybridge are opened to visitors all year round except during Hari Raya Adilfitri.
Malaysian independence was declared in this big open square, framed by historical edifices like the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral.
This enormous 1960s mosque is the main place of worship for the Muslim population. With a design inspired by Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Masjid Negara has an umbrella-like roof and a 74m-high minaret. Its prayer hall can accommodate up to 15,000 worshippers.
Gazetted by the British in 1900 as a Malay agricultural settlement, this area has miraculously retained the village way of life within the city. Get a taste of kampung (rural vilage) life by wandering along the leafy gardens and traditional Malay wooden houses.
Kuala Lumpur’s most prominent retail belt buzzes with life from day to night, with high-street fashion stores, shopping malls and swanky bars.
Take a day trip to this Hindu shrine carved right into a limestone hill and adorned with a series of golden figures. At the entrance of the caves, you’ll find the world’s tallest statue of Hindu deity, Murugan.
Where to Eat and Drink
Malaysian cuisine is a delicious salmagundi of South East Asian flavours thanks to its multi-ethnic heritage. In the culinary capital of Malaysia, expect to find spicy Malay rendang, red Indian curries, quintessential Chinese staples and traditional Peranakan sweets all under one roof. Almost every restaurant here is Halal-certified, making it a breeze for Muslim diners.
Jalan Alor Food Street
What was once the red light district has become the city’s most popular corner for authentic, local fare. You’ll find cheap dishes here, from hokkien noodles to Penang char kway teow and the legendary king of fruit, durian.
Melur & Thyme
This award-winning restaurant has been voted one of the top Halal restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Specializing in duck, the eatery cleverly fuses duck into its east-meets-west menu, serving dishes like duck satay and carbonara pasta with duck.
Sample all-time local Halal classics like gado-gado and rendang padang at this Malay fine dining restaurant that has won several accolades for its great service and wholesome flavours.
Experience how the Chinese emperors would feast at this elegant restaurant in Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel. Cantonese classics are given a modern twist and served in a regal setting.
Pavilion Food Court
For affordable Malaysian food, head to one of the many food courts in town. Food Republic at Pavilion Mall is one of the city’s newest food courts and dishes out the best hawker fare at affordable prices and in a comfortable setting.
Having been named Best Malay Restaurant once, this plush Halal restaurant uses recipes that have been passed down from generations, and serves up food that’s unmistakably Malay.
Traders Hotel by Shangri-La
Winner of the ‘Best Experience Hotel’ Award, this luxury hotel prides itself on having the best panoramic view of the Petronas Twin Towers in town. Sip cocktails and enjoy tapas at Skybar, the city’s most popular rooftop bar located on the 33rd floor of this hotel.View
Arenaa Star Hotel
A unique movie-themed hotel featuring funky decor, classic posters of Hollywood stars, and individually-designed rooms. Fun and full of character, this boutique hotel is just a hop away from Merdeka Square and the Central MarketView
Ansa Kuala Lumpur
Simple lines, calm lighting and airy interiors give this midrange hotel a contemporary and soothing feel. Located in the nightlife hub of Bukit Bintang, it gives the sensation of an oasis in the heart of all the action.View
Tune Hotel Kuala Lumpur
As part of a budget hotel chain, this is the best low-cost accommodation option in town with reasonable prices and good location. The white-and-red rooms may be small but they’re clean, modern and practical.View
Best Time to Go
Like most parts of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is blessed with tropical climate, which means sunshine, high humidity and some rain all year round. The best time to go is during the driest months from June to August, although average temperatures are high at around 25 to 30°C. The northwest monsoon brings lots of rain, especially in April and October to November.
During Ramadan, some restaurants and businesses will be closed, at least until sundown. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the Malay name for Eid al-fitr, and is arguably the biggest festival in Malaysia, celebrated extravagantly with massive feasts and traditional wear. Another major event in Malaysia is Hari Merdeka, Malaysia’s Independence Day, which falls on 31 August each year. Expect parades, fireworks and plenty of musical performances on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Kuala Lumpur, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, and Saudia. Currently, there are no direct flights available. Most flights have at least one stop, and the journey in total takes at least 11 hours.
Getting from Airport to City
The KLIA Express is a non-stop service that takes 28 minutes to travel from KL International Airport to KL Sentral train station. A single ticket costs 55 MYR and is cheaper when purchased online. Another train service, KLIA Transit, takes a little longer and is used by people traveling to the suburbs of the city.
By public bus
The Airport Coach takes an hour (sometimes more due to traffic congestion) to get to KL Sentral and costs 10 MYR each way. The Star Shuttle connects the airport with Pudu Sentral bus station, takes an hour and costs 10 MYR each as well.
Taxis are readily available outside of the Arrival Hall. You can choose from budget, luxury or family taxis. A budget taxi can only take up to three passengers due to limited luggage space. The journey to the city takes around 60 minutes and costs around 75 MYR each way.
The official language of Malaysia is Malay, though 137 languages are spoken throughout Malaysia. The most common languages are Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil, though English is widely spoken as well.
The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). The current conversion rate is 1 SAR to 1.08 MYR.
Electrical outlets in Malaysia supply electricity between 220 and 240 volts.
The outlet style in Malaysia is three-prong plug.