Photo: Shiny towers.

Things to see and do

Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Kuala Lumpur.

Museums


Tugu Negara

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 .

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Muzium Kesenian Islam)
Jalan Lembah Perdana
T: (03) 22742020

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) .

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
27 Jalan Raja, Merdeka Square
T: (03) 2698 3333

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 .

Orang Asli Museum (Muzium Orang Asli)
Batu 12, Gombak Utara, Selangor
T: (03) 6189 2122

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) .

Heritage Centre (Badan Warisan)
2 Jalan Stonor
T: (03) 2144 9273

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) .

National Museum (Muzium Negara)
Jabatan Muzium Malaysia, Jalan Damansara
T: (03) 2267 1000

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) .

Petrosains Discovery Centre
Level 4, Suria KLCC, Jalan Ampang
T: (03) 2331 8181

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 .

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Interesting buildings


KL Tower (Menara KL)
2 Jalan Punchak, off Jalan P Ramlee, Bukit Nanas
T: (03) 2020 5444

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) .

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur)

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) .

Petronas Twin Towers
Jalan Ampang, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2331 8080

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 .

Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Jalan Raja, Merdeka Square, Colonial District, Kuala Lumpur

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 .

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Art galleries or venues


Where to see contemporary art in Kuala Lumpur

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 .

National Art Gallery (Balai Seni Lukis Negara)
2 Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak
T: (03) 4025 4990

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) .

Petronas Art Gallery (Galeri Petronas)
Level 3, Suria KLCC, Jalan Ampang, KLCC
T: (03) 2051 7770

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) .

Independent galleries

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 .

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Mosques


Jamek Mosque (Masjid Jamek)
Jalan Tun Perak, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

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) .

National Mosque (Masjid Negara)
Jalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2693 7784

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) .

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Temples


Thean Hou Temple

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 .

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple
Corner of Jalan Petaling and Bulatan Merdeka, Chinatown

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 .

Sze Ya (Sin Sze Si Ya) Temple
Jalan Tun HS Lee, near junction with Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Chinatown

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 .

Sri Kandaswamy Kovil
3 Lorong Scott, off Jalan Scott, Brickfields
T: (03) 2274 2987

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 .

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Jalan HS Tun Lee, Chinatown

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 .

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Churches


St John's Cathedral
5 Jalan Bukit Nanas, Bukit Nanas
T: (03) 2078 1876

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 .

St Mary's Cathedral
Jalan Raja, Merdeka Square, Colonial District
T: (03) 2692 8672

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 .

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Markets


Markets in Kuala Lumpur: Amcorp Mall's Flea Market

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 .

Markets in Kuala Lumpur: The Curve's street 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 dividends. In Kuala Lumpur, the mainstream shopping can get uninteresting fast, with many of the malls carrying the same brands and stores, over and over. For a different experience, head to one of the markets or bazaars that have cropped up ... Read more about Markets in Kuala Lumpur: The Curve's street market .

Central Market (Pasar Seni)
10 Jalan Hang Kasturi, Chinatown
T: (03) 2031 0399

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) .

Chow Kit Market (Bazaar Baru Chow Kit)
Corner of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Chow Kit, Chow Kit

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) .

Petaling Street Market (Pasar Jalan Petaling)
Jalan Petaling, Chinatown

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) .

Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur)
Section 63, Jalan Conlay
T: (03) 2162 7533

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) .

Bangsar Night Market (Pasar Malam Bangsar)
Bangsar

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) .

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Public parks and zoos


Kuala Lumpur's best public parks

For a city so in love with new high-rise buildings, not to mention motor vehicles, Kuala Lumpur is surprisingly green. Not in an eco-friendly sense, although that is improving slowly, but in terms of how much vegetation there is in among all the concrete. It is also well served by public open green spaces, most notably KL Lake Gardens, KLCC Park and Titiwangsa (no smirking at the back of the ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's best public parks .

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve
Lot 240, Bukit Nanas, off Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2230 6342

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 trees. And it is not just vegetation in among the concrete that is thriving; KL also has three large urban parks: KLCC Gardens, Titiwangsa Lake Gardens and KL Lake Gardens. All three merit a visit, especially for those travelling with kids, but ... Read more about Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve .

KLCC Park
KLCC

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 .

KL Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana)

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) .

Titiwangsa Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Titiwangsa)
North of Jalan Tun Razak

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) .

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Performing arts


KLPAC (Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre)
Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, Sentul
T: (03) 4047 0910

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) .

Petronas Philharmonic Hall (Dewan Filharmonik Petronas)
Level Two, Tower Two, Petronas Twin Towers, Jalan Ampang, KLCC

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) .

Temple of Fine Arts
114 & 116 Jalan Berhala, Brickfields
T: (03) 2274 3709

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 .

The Annexe Gallery
2nd Floor, Central Market Annexe, 10 Jalan Hang Kasturi, Chinatown
T: (016) 489 2603

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 .

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Cinema


Cinema in KL

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 .

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General activities


An introduction to Tomoi (Muay Thai) in Kuala Lumpur

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. This is largely because until relatively recently the sport was barely known in KL, its popularity restricted to its northern (rural Malay) heartland. But that is changing now, with several big tomoi tournaments a year in ... Read more about An introduction to Tomoi (Muay Thai) in Kuala Lumpur .

The best free stuff 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 .

Kuala Lumpur's two Little Indias

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 .

The River of Life

It is somewhat hard to appreciate now, but when Kuala Lumpur started life, it was a frontier settlement, deep in the jungle. Of the original 87 miners who landed at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers in 1857, more than two-thirds died within the first year, principally of malaria. But the fortunes that could be made from tin mining kept wave after wave of settlers coming. Around their ... Read more about The River of Life .

Kampung Baru

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 .

Gyms in Kuala Lumpur

Outlets include Fitness First, which has a convenient outlet in KLCC, and Celebrity Fitness, which has one in Bukit Bintang. The problem is that their whole business model is based around long-term memberships. These gyms do not offer day rates for visitors. If you are someone who wants to go to a gym while in KL, your best option is to book a hotel with decent facilities, which includes all ... Read more about Gyms in Kuala Lumpur .

Swimming in KL

Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to be staying somewhere with a pool, the city has very few public facilities. The most convenient one for travellers is at the historic Chin Woo Stadium, in Chinatown. It's open 14:00-20:00 during the week, and 09:00-20:00 at weekends. Admission is four ringgit. Further afield, but less busy, is the pool at Bangsar Sports Complex. It's open ... Read more about Swimming in KL .

Climbing and martial arts

As with other capital cities, there are a range of other activities available. Rather than heading down into the deep blue, those with loftier aspirations can try their hand at indoor rock climbing at Camp 5 in One Utama shopping centre. This facility offers high standards of safety, and the latest equipment, to recreate the thrill of climbing a mountain, without either the danger or the ... Read more about Climbing and martial arts .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

The problem is it is so expensive and requires jumping through so many hoops that it's not really worth the effort. For golf, almost without exception you need to have your own clubs and shoes, be a guest of a member and have a verifiable handicap. If you really do fancy playing golf in the city, a better bet is to do so virtually at an indoor centre. Both the Golf Club KL City Centre, in the ... Read more about Golf in KL .

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Diving


No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

For the most part, the early practical work is done in the city, in a swimming pool, with the open water elements done in the sea. Two of the most experienced outfits are Planet Scuba in Bangsar, and Scuba Dynamics, in Desa Sri Hartamas. For more operators, have a look at the Dive Courses KL website (http://www.dive-courses-kl.com). Planet Scuba 2A Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar, Kuala ... Read more about Learn to dive in KL .

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Shopping


Low Yat Plaza
7 Jalan Bintang, off Jalan Bukit Bintang Bukit Bintang Central, Kuala Lumpur

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 .

Markets in Kuala Lumpur: Mont Kiara's ABC Market

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 .

Kuala Lumpur for book lovers

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 public. I am beginning to think that every KL home is littered with stacks of unread tomes. Or perhaps I am committing some awful social faux pas by reading in public. Whichever way, enough book-buying takes place KL to sustain a number ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur for book lovers .

Shopping in KL

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 .

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Day trips


Go-karting at Sepang International Circuit
Jalan Pekeliling, KLIA
T: (03) 8778 2225

Famous for hosting the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix and other major motorsports events, Sepang has something for us mere mortals too. After exhausting the endless cultural activities in Kuala Lumpur, indulge your need for speed at the Sepang International Kart ... Read more about Go-karting at Sepang International Circuit .

The Fireflies of Kampung Kuantan

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 .

A day trip to the Valley of Hope (the former Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement)

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) .

Janda Baik: A back to nature retreat from Kuala Lumpur

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 .

A day trip to the Hindu Temple Complex of Batu Caves

Read any Tourism Malaysia publication, or scan its website, and you could be forgiven for thinking Kuala Lumpur has no public transport to speak of. The phrase “taxis are the most convenient mode of transport” appears with alarming regularity, even when Rapid KL buses, or walking, are viable ... Read more about A day trip to the Hindu Temple Complex of Batu Caves .

An introduction to Fraser's Hill

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 An introduction to Fraser's Hill .

Kuala Lumpur: What's not to like?

Falling in love with a city is very much like falling in love with a person: it has very little to do with logic, and everything to do with subjective sentiment. There’s no use trying to explain why one face makes your heart go giddy-up, while another one leaves you cold, that’s just the way life is. When I first came to live in Kuala Lumpur, some four years ago, it was for work, not personal ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur: What's not to like? .

Batu Caves

The first sight that hits you when you approach the site (07:00-21:00, free admission) is the massive statue of Lord Murugan, a particularly important deity for Malaysia's Hindu community. Next to the statue are the 272 steps leading up to main caves of the temple complex. After the ordeal by steps, you are faced with the 100-metre high Cathedral or Temple Cave. After another set of steps is a ... Read more about Batu Caves .

Fraser's Hill

Fraser's Hill (Bukit Fraser) was officially opened to visitors in 1922. It was never meant to be a huge attraction, and outside public holidays, the tourists still come in trickles, not hordes. Its principal attraction is the cool, albeit rainy, climate which comes from having an elevation of about 1,500 metres. Fraser's can also boast several well-marked walking trails, abundant bird-life, ... Read more about Fraser's Hill .

FRIM (Forestry Research Institute Malaysia)

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) .

Kuala Kubu Baru

Many people died in the tragedy, including the British district officer, Cecil Ranking. Virtually the only surviving building from the original town is a Buddhist temple, which was refurbished in the 1980s. It all sounds very dramatic, but KKB is anything but these days, which is not to suggest the town is deadly dull or anything. It may not have any must-see sights, but it is a perfect place ... Read more about Kuala Kubu Baru .

Resorts World Genting (Genting Highlands)

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) .

National Zoo (Zoo Negara)
Hulu Kelang, Ampang, Selangor
T: (03) 4108 3422

The zoo was established in 1963, just six years after Malaysian independence, and soon became one of the country's biggest tourist attractions. The large site houses a whole range of creatures -- nearly 500 species in all -- from bees to Asian elephants. While some of the creatures naturally call Malaysia home, such as the Malayan tigers and orang utans, others like the wallabies and giraffes ... Read more about National Zoo (Zoo Negara) .

Kuala Selangor

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 .

Putrajaya

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 .

Pulau Ketam

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 .

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Beaches


Best beach break destinations from Kuala Lumpur

Whatever the tourism authorities would have you believe, Malaysia does not do beach half as well as Thailand, particularly for the independent traveller. But the country does have some very attractive beach destinations, such as tiny Pulau Rawa, part of the same chain of east coast islands as Pulau ... Read more about Best beach break destinations from Kuala Lumpur .

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Caves


Batu Caves' Dark Cave

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 it, but a far lesser known and arguably more interesting point of interest lays hidden to the side of the main affair. And you’ll only have to ... Read more about Batu Caves' Dark Cave .

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Natural attractions


ASEAN Sculpture Garden

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and planning to visit Tugu Negara, make a quick stop at the ASEAN Sculpture Garden. Located in the gardens about 100 metres before you enter Tugu Negara or the National Monument, the landscape features the work of some of Southeast Asia’s most respected sculptors. While the garden on its own may not be worth going out of your way for, it’s worth a walk through if ... Read more about ASEAN Sculpture Garden .

Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)

No part of Kuala Lumpur retains such a link to colonial times as Merdeka Square, the one-time hub of British Malaya. Unlike much of the city, where heritage has lost out to development over recent decades, the square is still ringed by historic ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) .

Kuala Kubu Baru: One of Malaysia's most laid-back little towns

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 .

Kuala Lumpur’s fast disappearing heritage
2 Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2144 9273

Anyone wandering round Kuala Lumpur could be forgiven for thinking it’s one big construction site. Everywhere you look, a new shopping centre or high-rise building is taking shape. A good deal of this frenetic building activity is understandable, as KL’s growing population needs places to live, work and shop. Unfortunately, much of the city’s remaining heritage is being trashed in the name ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur’s fast disappearing heritage .

Kuala Lumpur's top attractions if you only have 24 hours

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 .

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Hiking, walking tours and itineraries


A short walking tour in Kuala Lumpur

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. Bukit Bintang is our favourite area for flashpacker digs in Kuala Lumpur and while it isn’t home to much in the way of tourist sights itself (unless department stores count), it’s within walking distance of some interesting ... Read more about A short walking tour in Kuala Lumpur .

A temple tour of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown

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 .

Walking in Kuala Lumpur: Are you mad?

Some cities in the world are a pleasure to walk in. Others, somewhat less so. Kuala Lumpur, with its energy-sapping climate, would be a tough place to be a pedestrian at the best of times. But combined with inadequate pavements, dangerous road crossings, and drivers who never, ever, stop for you, it can often be a complete nightmare to walk in the Malaysian ... Read more about Walking in Kuala Lumpur: Are you mad? .

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Festivals and events


The Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia

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. The latter may not be well known outside southern India, but for the Tamil community of Malaysia and Singapore, it is hugely ... Read more about The Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia .

Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur

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 .

The Mid-Autumn Festival

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 .

Deepavali (Diwali) in Kuala Lumpur

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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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kuala Lumpur? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.


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