Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Kuala Lumpur.
History and military buffs shouldn’t miss Malaysia’s National Monument during a visit to Kuala Lumpur. Tugu Negara is easy to access (and hard to miss) in the Lake Gardens on Jalan ... Read more about Tugu Negara .
The IAMM has more than 7,000 artefacts in its permanent collection, ranging from delicate pieces of jewellery through to large models of mosques. As well as the excellent permanent collection, it also hosts interesting special exhibitions. One of the biggest pleasures of visiting the museum though has nothing to do with the exhibits. The building itself is a treat for the eyes, especially ... Read more about Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Muzium Kesenian Islam) .
As well as a photographic record of the city, entitled Memories of Kuala Lumpur, the ground floor has a scale model of Merdeka Square. The first floor has a viewing deck looking out onto the square, and a scale model of modern KL (still a work in progress as of early 2012). The building itself has had a varied history; built in 1899, for decades it housed the Government Printing Office of ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur City Gallery .
They are the poorest, least healthy, worst educated, most marginalised community in the whole country. Their story is a fascinating one, but you will only get a sanitised version of it at the government-run Orang Asli Museum. The best part of the museum is the black and white photos; the worst part is the complete lack of information about the Orang Asli's desperate struggle to hold onto their ... Read more about Orang Asli Museum (Muzium Orang Asli) .
In a country where hundreds of historic buildings are demolished every year in the name of progress, Badan Warisan has for years fought a lonely battle to save what built heritage is left. The centre, including its revamped gift shop, is open every day except Sunday (10:00-17:30; 10 ringgit donation), with guided tours of the Rumah Penghulu, a restored Malay house from Kedah, at 11:00 and ... Read more about Heritage Centre (Badan Warisan) .
In that journey, it shifts steadily from being an informative experience, to being a propaganda vehicle for Malay nationalism. The grounds of the museum contain a random collection of moderately diverting exhibits, including a steam locomotive, and a Malay Sultan's palace. Despite being located right next to KL Sentral, getting to the National Museum is a real pain by public transport - ... Read more about National Museum (Muzium Negara) .
Part of this is down to its interactive approach, which will appeal most of all to kids. Highlights include the Dark Ride, a scientific journey through Malaysia, an interactive Formula One motor racing car; a 3D cinema; and a cartoon village. On the flip side, Petrosains is also a shameless propaganda vehicle for the petroleum industry -- the centre is owned by Petronas, Malaysia's largest oil ... Read more about Petrosains Discovery Centre .
Its primary function was originally as a communications hub, but these days it has become a major tourist attraction, with attractions including a Formula One motor racing simulator and pony rides. The highlight (quite literally) for most people is the views, which are accessible either from the observation deck or the revolving restaurant. Neither can be described as a cheap experience. ... Read more about KL Tower (Menara KL) .
Constructed in 1910, Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is one of the city's architectural highlights. Approached from almost any angle, this building is an extraordinary blend of Eastern and Western styles. For nearly a century, this was the principal railway station in first British Malaya, and then post-independence Malaysia. In 2001, with the opening of KL Sentral, it lost much of its ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur) .
Even if you are not a fan of massive skyscrapers, they are undoubtedly an impressive sight, particularly when lit up at night. The best place to take pictures (from ground level) is KLCC Park, but probably the greatest view of all is from Sky Bar at Trader's Hotel. Up until 2008, tours to the 41st floor Skybridge, which links the two towers, were free, but getting a ticket was somewhat of a ... Read more about Petronas Twin Towers .
It's named after the Sultan of Selangor at the time of its construction in the late 1890s. Apart from the name though, this structure took its influences from much further afield, mostly from the hybrid architectural style known as Indo-Saracenic. Most of the structure is not open to the public, which is a shame, as its former administrative and judicial functions have for the most part been ... Read more about Sultan Abdul Samad Building .
Given that window shopping is the most popular cultural activity in Kuala Lumpur, it may come as a surprise to visitors that the city has a thriving contemporary art scene. To be honest, it’s probably somewhat of a shock for many residents too. The main problem with seeing contemporary art in Kuala Lumpur is that much of it is so badly publicised. And even when the information is out there, the ... Read more about Where to see contemporary art in Kuala Lumpur .
As well as a permanent display of modern Malaysian art, the gallery also puts on regular special exhibitions. The gallery is open 09:00-17:00 every day, and admission is free. The only real negative about the National Art Gallery is that it's so difficult to get to by public transport. A walk from the nearest LRT (Titiwangsa) station involves dangerous highway crossings. The best option is to ... Read more about National Art Gallery (Balai Seni Lukis Negara) .
As well as offering a showcase for Malaysian and international artists, Galeri Petronas (10:00-18:00, Tues-Sun; free admission) also runs a wide range of educational programmes to boost the understanding and appreciation of art. Owned and managed by Petronas, the cash-rich national oil company, the gallery is also a major buyer of contemporary art, as well a sponsor of local artists. The ... Read more about Petronas Art Gallery (Galeri Petronas) .
KL has an incredible array of private art galleries catering to a full spectrum of artistic tastes. Among the best are the Annexe Gallery and the Wei-Ling Gallery, in a beautifully converted shophouse in Brickfields and Art Seni, on the Muse Floor at Starhill Gallery shopping centre. Clearly these places exist to sell art, but they all welcome casual browsing. Set in an even more obscure ... Read more about Independent galleries .
No other mosque built since has come close to matching the charm and beauty of Masjid Jamek. The location too, at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, could hardly be bettered. The style of architecture, like much of KL's colonial heritage from the turn of the 20th century, is neither British nor Malay, but a hybrid which developed in India, known as Indo-Saracenic. Masjid Jamek ... Read more about Jamek Mosque (Masjid Jamek) .
With space for 15,000 worshippers, Masjid Negara is certainly very large. It completely dwarfs Masjid Jamek, which it replaced as KL's most important mosque when it opened in 1965. As far as attractiveness goes, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The white walls, and outside water features, are not unpleasing to the eye. But whatever aesthetic virtue the building may have we think is ruined by the ... Read more about National Mosque (Masjid Negara) .
Thean Hou Temple sits on Robson Hill just off Jalan Syed Putra in Kuala Lumpur. One of the largest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia, it is also one of the most elaborately decorated and commands stunning views of the KL ... Read more about Thean Hou Temple .
One of KL's oldest Chinese Buddhist temples, when the Chan See Shu Yuen Temple opened its doors in 1906, its main purpose was to provide help and support for newly arrived immigrants from China, specifically those from the extended Chan (Chen and Tan) clan. Chan See Shu Yuen is best known for its intricate carvings, which show stories from Chinese legends mixed in which some more modern ... Read more about Chan See Shu Yuen Temple .
The Taoist temple was founded in 1864, but only moved to its present site two decades later. It is unique in Malaysia for being primarily dedicated to two local men who were deified after their deaths, rather than traditional gods from China. Sze Ya was established by Yap Ah Loy, the third and most powerful Kapitan Cina -- effectively the head of the Chinese community in KL. He is often ... Read more about Sze Ya (Sin Sze Si Ya) Temple .
It was founded just after the turn of the 20th century to serve the local community of Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Tamil Hindus. It is dedicated primarily to Lord Murugan, the most popular deity among Tamils, but falls within the broad Shaiva tradition. Although it takes a bit of effort to get to -- the nearest public transport, Tun Sambanthan Monorail Station, is a 10-minute walk away -- Sri ... Read more about Sri Kandaswamy Kovil .
A temple of the same name has stood on this site since 1883, but the current structure dates largely from the late 1960s. It was a private family shrine until the 1920s, when it opened its doors to the public. Sri Maha Mariamman's most impressive feature is its five-tier gopura (tower), carved in the south Indian style, with 228 brightly coloured figures from the Indian epic, the Ramayana. It ... Read more about Sri Maha Mariamman Temple .
After humble beginnings, serving a small congregation, over the years it has grown to be the seat of the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to its elegant, understated architecture, this whitewashed church is among the most beautiful buildings in KL. Making it even more special is that outside of Sunday mass you can often have the place to yourself. The closest public transport is ... Read more about St John's Cathedral .
Designed in the early Gothic style, it would not look out of place as a modest parish church in England. However, set on the edge of Merdeka Square, and flanked by traffic-clogged highways, St Mary's looks somewhat incongruous these days. The architecture may not set any pulses racing, but it does have a certain nostalgic charm, an echo of a world gone by. If all this sounds a bit sad, St ... Read more about St Mary's Cathedral .
Amcorp Mall started hosting its flea market in 1998, making it supposedly the first mall to start hosting flea markets in Malaysia. With the growing number of malls in the city, this one is largely deserted on weekdays; but don’t let that throw you off as shoppers are still drawn to stalls that set up shop here on the weekends. Arguably, they remain truest to the spirit of a flea market in the ... Read more about Markets in Kuala Lumpur: Amcorp Mall's Flea Market .
Whether it’s unearthing a one-off antique or making a fashion find at half the price you’d expect to pay elsewhere, browsing markets can earn excellent ... Read more about Markets in Kuala Lumpur: The Curve's street market .
It now houses a whole range of shops, offering a range of items such as antiques, Nyonya food, secondhand books and Kashmiri handicrafts. Central Market also hosts a number of free cultural and artistic events during the year, but whatever its attractions as an entertainment, shopping and eating venue, the real star of the show is the building itself. The highlights include its beautiful art ... Read more about Central Market (Pasar Seni) .
For anyone who enjoys the sights and sounds of a busy bazaar, Chow Kit is a real blast. Just watch your feet on the slippery floors -- it's called a wet market for a reason. Much of the clientele at the market is Malay or Indonesian, a reflection of how the area has become much less Chinese over the years. What has not changed is Chow Kit's reputation as a red light district, although ... Read more about Chow Kit Market (Bazaar Baru Chow Kit) .
Whatever you may want, from the latest Hollywood blockbusters on DVD, to fake designer handbags, this is the place to go. All that piracy comes at a price though -- the highest hassle factor in all of KL. Although the market looks distinctly shabby, the current covered structure was only built in 2003, at a cost of more than 11 million ringgit. It's hard to believe the money could not ... Read more about Petaling Street Market (Pasar Jalan Petaling) .
In this case, a massive site has been turned over to the production and promotion of Malaysian handicrafts (for which read Malay). As well as various shops and boutiques, the complex has a museum, a craft village where interactive demonstrations are held, and most interestingly, an artists' colony. It's certainly not an unpleasant place to potter round for an hour or two -- for any more ... Read more about Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur) .
Popular with both expats and Malaysians, the stalls offer a whole range of goods, such as fresh and cooked food, clothing and electrical products. The advantage of being in Bangsar too, is that if you get bored of the market, you have a whole host of great eating and drinking spots close by. The disadvantage is that it's not the easiest place to get to by public transport -- Bangsar LRT ... Read more about Bangsar Night Market (Pasar Malam Bangsar) .
For a city so in love with new high-rise buildings, not to mention motor vehicles, Kuala Lumpur is surprisingly green. ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's best public parks .
One of the first things about Kuala Lumpur that will strike many visitors is how green the city is. Shiny new buildings abound, but so do beautiful old ... Read more about Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve .
As well as a paddling pool, a jogging track, water fountain displays and a children's playground, it has a number of shady spots to sit down and chill out. Last but not least, the park has nearly 2,000 trees, breathing valuable oxygen into the city air. The park is busy day and night, proof that even in this air-con obsessed country, spending some time outside can be fun. Of course, its ... Read more about KLCC Park .
The 92-hectare area includes a deer park, a butterfly park and an orchid garden, as well as the attractive lake itself. Although it can get mobbed at weekends, during the week it is a very peaceful spot and one of the few places in KL where you can escape the noise of traffic. Unfortunately, the gardens are difficult to get to by public transport, with the nearest LRT stations (Pasar Seni to ... Read more about KL Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana) .
The gardens boast great views of central KL, as well as having boats for hire and a small equestrian track (Sat-Sun/public holidays only) where you can go horseriding or take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Titiwangsa has both an LRT and Monorail stop, but these are an unpleasant walk to the gardens. Another possibility is RapidKL Bus B103 from KLCC -- the nearest stop is opposite the ... Read more about Titiwangsa Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Titiwangsa) .
A sister organisation to The Actors Studio, the city's artistic life would be infinitely poorer without KLPAC. One of the most refreshing features of the centre is how varied its programme of performance arts is, from challenging political theatre to fluffy musicals. The only problem with KLPAC is its location, which however pretty is hard to get to without your own transport. It's a ... Read more about KLPAC (Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre) .
The 885-seat concert hall is the home of the well-regarded Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Apart from the MPO, the hall also hosts numerous artists and orchestras, both local and international. Although principally a venue for classical music, it also showcases other styles, including chamber music and jazz. One major drawback about the hall is the generally strict dress code. Always ... Read more about Petronas Philharmonic Hall (Dewan Filharmonik Petronas) .
Tucked away on a Brickfields back street, the Temple of Fine Arts puts on a range of shows, focusing primarily on dance, but also concerts and plays. Apart from public performances, TFA runs dance and music classes for young ethnic Indians. The TFA building also houses a pleasant gift shop and one of KL's best vegetarian restaurants, Annalakshmi. It's about a 15-minute walk from KL Sentral ... Read more about Temple of Fine Arts .
It might not look much from the outside, but the Annexe Gallery plays an important role in the fight to make Malaysia a more free, equal and democratic society. As well as putting on political theatre, it stages art exhibitions, shows alternative films and hosts a mini-festival called Arts for Grabs four times a year. The only real problem with the Annexe is the lack of advance notice ... Read more about The Annexe Gallery .
Unless you are happy with the most mainstream of Hollywood fare, and the occasional Asian martial arts movie, the choice on offer at the city's many multiplexes will be deeply disappointing. Golden Screen Cinemas, which has convenient outlets in Pavilion KL and Berjaya Times Square, does at least try to put on the occasional arthouse movie, and gives admirable support to the French Film ... Read more about Cinema in KL .
Seeing a muay Thai tournament is a popular activity for tourists in Bangkok, but its Malaysian equivalent, tomoi, hardly registers on the radar of most visitors to Kuala Lumpur. ... Read more about An introduction to Tomoi (Muay Thai) in Kuala Lumpur .
In world terms, Kuala Lumpur is a relatively affordable place to visit, but compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, with the notable exception of Singapore, it’s expensive. Accommodation is the biggest single outlay, with the cheapest decent rooms costing upwards of 80 ringgit a night. But many tourist attractions too are seriously overpriced, particularly for non-Malaysians. So here are a few ... Read more about The best free stuff in Kuala Lumpur .
While Chinatowns are all round the world, Little Indias are rather rarer. Except in Kuala Lumpur that is, which as of last year, has not one but two of them. Or not, depending on whether the area in central KL, which has been known as Little India for decades, has been officially stripped of its title. If this is the case, it would be a shame, as hardly anybody in the newly-designated Little ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's two Little Indias .
It is somewhat hard to appreciate now, but when Kuala Lumpur started life, it was a frontier settlement, deep in the ... Read more about The River of Life .
As recently as 20 years ago, Kuala Lumpur was a predominantly low-rise city, with hardly any buildings more than a few storeys high. Fast forward to today, and the situation could not be more different. KL is awash with shiny new high-rises, and on every street it seems that yet another temple to modernity is taking shape. KL gives a very good impression of being a city that is in love with the ... Read more about Kampung Baru .
With six floors of IT retailers offering the latest technology, the best deals and service centres to fix your computer or mobile woes, Plaza Low Yat is a digital mecca; the plaza is to Malaysia what Sim Lim Square is to ... Read more about Low Yat Plaza .
The Mont Kiara market is a favourite of expats and tourists who are familiar with this flash neighbourhood, a short 15 minutes by taxi from the KL city centre. Known as the Arts, Bric-a-brac and Crafts (ABC) Market, this bazaar is slightly bizarre. While in theory there’s a theme to the ABC Market, in practice you’ll find vendors offering everything under the sun, such as vegetables, car ... Read more about Markets in Kuala Lumpur: Mont Kiara's ABC Market .
One of the curious anomalies about Kuala Lumpur is that while it is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to buy books, you hardly ever see anyone reading in ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur for book lovers .
The vast majority of that cash is spent in KL, which Tourism Malaysia is keen to promote as one of Asia's leading shopping destinations. But however important the tourist dollars are, the retail industry in KL is principally designed to satisfy the Malaysian obsession with (window) shopping. Something that visitors will notice fairly quickly is that prices in KL are not cheap by international ... Read more about Shopping in KL .
Exploring nature outside of the city doesn’t have to take much time or money. Kampung Kuantan, where colonies of fireflies put on a glowing light show almost every night on the banks of the Selangor River, takes you back to a simpler period and lets you experience a sampling of Malaysia’s ecotourism offerings. ... Read more about The Fireflies of Kampung Kuantan .
If I was to say one of the most charming places in the whole Klang Valley is former leper colony, you could be forgiven for thinking I was a bit unhinged. But trust me on this one: what was once the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement is not just a beautiful spot to wander round, it has an uplifting story to go with ... Read more about A day trip to the Valley of Hope (the former Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement) .
It may seem strange to visitors from cooler climes, particularly those escaping from the bleakest months of the European or North American winter, but Malaysians spend much of their time trying to avoid the heat. Increasingly, people work, play and sleep in air-con. This is especially true of urban areas like Kuala Lumpur, where temperatures are hot and humid all year ... Read more about Janda Baik: A back to nature retreat from Kuala Lumpur .
When I wrote some months ago that anyone wanting a chilled-out day trip from Kuala Lumpur could do worse than heading to Kuala Selangor, I had no idea what a throbbing, thrill-packed destination it is compared to Pulau Ketam. But even lovely Ketam gets swamped by visitors at certain times of the year. The same could not be said of Kuala Kubu Baru, one of the most laid-back towns you could hope to ... Read more about Kuala Kubu Baru: One of Malaysia's most laid-back little towns .
One of the quirkiest, and to my mind charming, legacies of the British Empire are the hill stations dotted round South and Southeast Asia. Chosen for their cool climates, and endowed with an architecture redolent of “home”, they provided a welcome respite from the realities of living in the ... Read more about Fraser's Hill .
The almost 43-metre tall statue of Lord Murugan stands by the entrance to the Batu Caves and is one of Malaysia’s iconic images. The epicentre of the annual Thaipusam procession, Batu Caves is famous for the festival, statue and main cavern behind ... Read more about Batu Caves .
Kuala Lumpur is a pleasingly green city, in terms of public open spaces and abundant foliage, if not in genuine eco-friendliness. But you are never far from the noise and air pollution that comes with modern urban life. Fortunately, KL has a great resource on its doorsteps where it is possible to immerse yourself in ... Read more about FRIM (Forestry Research Institute Malaysia) .
Most independent travellers coming to Kuala Lumpur are probably unaware that one of Asia’s largest entertainment and gambling complexes is less than a hour by bus from central KL. Located at about 1,700 metres above sea level, Resorts World Genting is a modern reworking of the colonial hill station ... Read more about Resorts World Genting (Genting Highlands) .
If you are looking for a thrill-a-minute day trip from Kuala Lumpur, then Kuala Selangor is likely to prove a big disappointment. If, however, you just want a pleasant break from modern city life, then this sleepy town by the banks of Sungai Selangor (Selangor River) has a lot going for it. It is relatively simple to visit on public transport, has enough sights to keep you busy for a few hours, ... Read more about Kuala Selangor .
Asked in a pub quiz what the capital of Malaysia is, most people would probably plump for Kuala Lumpur, and they would be half-right. That’s because since 1999, the official administrative centre of the country has been Putrajaya, a planned city 25 kilometres to the south. KL remains the national capital, as well as the commercial and financial hub of ... Read more about Putrajaya .
Kuala Lumpur may be one of the more laid back large cities in Asia, but it’s still a long way from being a stress-free place. When the noise and the sheer crush of people get too much, the obvious option is to head to the countryside. But even there, Malaysia’s love affair with motor vehicles makes true peace and quiet hard to ... Read more about Pulau Ketam .
Whatever the tourism authorities would have you believe, Malaysia does not do beach half as well as Thailand, particularly for the independent ... Read more about Best beach break destinations from Kuala Lumpur .
If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and planning to visit Tugu Negara, make a quick stop at the ASEAN Sculpture ... Read more about ASEAN Sculpture Garden .
No part of Kuala Lumpur retains such a link to colonial times as Merdeka Square, the one-time hub of British ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) .
Anyone wandering round Kuala Lumpur could be forgiven for thinking it’s one big construction site. ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur’s fast disappearing heritage .
Despite the best wishes of Tourism Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur struggles to be a destination in its own right. It’s a city that tourists generally pass through on their way somewhere else, rather than for its own charms. Which is a shame, because although it lacks any blockbuster attractions, and has no deep history or culture to boast of, it is entirely possible to have a pleasant and enjoyable ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's top attractions if you only have 24 hours .
Kuala Lumpur isn’t the most pedestrian friendly city in the region, but that’s not to say you should spend your entire time in taxis, buses and elevated trains. ... Read more about A short walking tour in Kuala Lumpur .
The early story of Kuala Lumpur is essentially the history of the area now known as Chinatown. It was here that a rough-and-ready tin mining settlement gradually became a proper town. Even today, Chinatown retains probably the strongest sense of living history of any district in KL. A great way to get an idea of Chinatown’s past — in addition to staying there (you can see our picks for doing ... Read more about A temple tour of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown .
Some cities in the world are a pleasure to walk in. Others, somewhat less ... Read more about Walking in Kuala Lumpur: Are you mad? .
It’s a bit like waiting for a bus: you hang round for ages for a major festival, and then five come along in quick succession. First up is Deepavali, then Christmas, (Western) New Year, Chinese New Year, and last but not least, Thaipusam. ... Read more about Thaipusam in Malaysia .
No sooner is Christmas over in Kuala Lumpur than preparations start for Chinese New Year (CNY), arguably the city’s most important festival. Also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, it marks the start of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Rotating cycles are used to name the year after an element and an animal — the next one, which starts on January 23, 2012, being the ... Read more about Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur .
Up until a few decades ago, Kuala Lumpur had a Chinese majority, and it was only very recently that Malays became the city’s largest single community. The Chinese presence is still strong, and keenly felt during the second most important Chinese event of the year: the Mid-Autumn ... Read more about The Mid-Autumn Festival .
Well over a thousand years before Islam first came to what is now Malaysia, Hinduism was a well established belief system in the peninsula. Even more than Buddhism, that other great Indian religious export, Hinduism influenced all aspects of life, from marriage ceremonies to concepts of divine ... Read more about Deepavali (Diwali) in Kuala Lumpur .
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