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.


Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Jalan Lembah Perdana
T: (03) 2274 2020

While we try not to be too prone to hyperbole, if you have time for just a single museum in Kuala Lumpur, then the city’s undoubted star of the show, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, should be it. ... Read more about Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia .

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

Split into three main groups, the Orang Asli are the original people of West Malaysia. 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 ... Read more about Orang Asli Museum (Muzium Orang Asli) .

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

Housed in a restored 1920s colonial bungalow, Badan Warisan is one of Malaysia's most worthwhile, and unusual organisations. 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 ... Read more about Heritage Centre (Badan Warisan) .

National Museum
Jalan Damansara
T: (03) 2267 1111

As Malaysia’s National Museum, the large collection on display manages to be at times fascinating, frustrating and infuriating, but is certainly still worth the visit for those with an interest in the story behind modern-day ... Read more about National Museum .

National Textile Museum
26 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
T: (03) 2694 3457

For the textile and fabric aficionado, the National Textile Museum should be considered a must see, but even for those who can’t tell songket from batik, this museum is worth a wander through—and admission is ... Read more about National Textile Museum .

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

Who would have thought that science could be fun? Well, that's the stated aim of Petrosains, and it does a reasonable job of pulling off the trick. 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 ... Read more about Petrosains Discovery Centre .

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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 .

Guan Di Temple
168 Jalan HS Tun Lee, Chinatown

Walking down Jalan HS Tun Lee from Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, just before you reach Sri Maha Mariamman temple, on your left you’ll spy the deep red facade of Guan Di Temple—one of our favourite temples in Kuala ... Read more about Guan Di Temple .

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple
113A Jalan Tun HS Lee, near junction with Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Chinatown

Set through a fairly low-key temple gateway on Jalan Tun HS Lee, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest houses of ... Read more about Sin Sze Si Ya Temple .

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

Tucked away on a back street in Brickfields is one of KL's oldest and most characterful places of worship. 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 ... Read more about Sri Kandaswamy Kovil .

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Jalan HS Tun Lee, Chinatown

The largest and oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is surprisingly located on the western edge of Chinatown rather than say Little India or Brickfields and it is well worth setting aside some time to visit. ... Read more about Sri Maha Mariamman Temple .

Guan Yin temple
10 Jalan Maharajalela, Chinatown
T: (03) 2070 8650

In a built up city like Kuala Lumpur you can feel under siege and roped in by the racket and traffic, so it can be pleasant to find a place where you can step into a realm of serenity surrounded by the hubbub of a modern city: Guan Yin temple is such a ... Read more about Guan Yin temple .

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

Once known as the “Green Temple” thanks to a mint green paint job the temple once had, Chan See Shu Yuen Temple will need to shake that moniker as a recent renovation has tossed all the green charm out the window for a modern grey and black matt ... Read more about Chan See Shu Yuen Temple .

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Historic attractions

Merdeka Square
Jalan Raya, Kuala Lumpur

Merdeka Square (or, as it is now officially known, Dataran Merdeka) is a breath of fresh air and offers not just the opportunity to lay about in the sunshine but also to observe a bit about the history of ... Read more about Merdeka Square .

National Monument

History and military buffs, and those who don’t mind a walk in the park shouldn’t miss Malaysia’s National Monument (Tugu Negara) set by Jalan Parlimen, just to the north of the Perdana Botanical ... Read more about National Monument .

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Interesting buildings

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

One of the tallest free-standing towers in the world, KL Tower is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most recognisable landmarks, particularly when it is lit up at night. ... Read more about KL Tower .

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur)

Say what you like about British colonials, but they certainly knew a thing or two about building train stations. 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 ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur) .

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

The city's most recognisable landmark, no photo album of KL is complete with at least one picture of the Twin Towers. 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 ... Read more about Petronas Twin Towers .

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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

The building may look like it's falling to pieces from the outside, but the quality of the artwork on the inside is anything but shoddy. 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 ... 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

After the National Gallery, this is the best place to see contemporary art in KL. 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 ... 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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Jamek Mosque
Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur

Set at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, Jamek Mosque is the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur and if you have time for just the one mosque during your visit, this should be ... Read more about Jamek Mosque .

National Mosque
Jalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur

While Masjid Jamek is a far more interesting mosque and certainly more pleasing to the eye, Kuala Lumpur’s National Mosque (Masjid Negara), is worth a look if you’re planning on a visit to the nearby Islamic Arts ... Read more about National Mosque .

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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 ... Read more about Markets in Kuala Lumpur: The Curve's street market .

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

KL's largest wet market, Chow Kit is a veritable warren of stalls, selling everything from fresh food to cheap clothes. 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 ... Read more about Chow Kit Market (Bazaar Baru Chow Kit) .

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

The Craft Complex has a rather sad air about it, as befits any grandiose project that only attracts a trickle of visitors each day. 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 ... Read more about Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur) .

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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. ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur's best public parks .

KL Forest Eco Park
Bukit Nanas, accessed via Jalan Raja Chulan or KL Tower

Previously known as Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, KL Forest Eco Park encompasses a section of a slowly-reducing-in-size patch of rainforest in the centre of Kuala ... Read more about KL Forest Eco Park .


KLCC Park is a pleasant resource right in the commercial heart of the city. 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 ... Read more about KLCC Park .

KL Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana)

The largest and most pleasant of the city's public open spaces is KL Lake Gardens. 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 ... Read more about KL Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana) .

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

It may have a funny name, but Titiwangsa is well worth a visit, especially if you are travelling with kids. 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 ... 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

Housed in a former railway warehouse, it is hard to find fault with this superb venue. 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 ... 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

Officially opened in 1998, this is KL's leading venue for classical music, built with money from the national oil corporation, Petronas. 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 ... Read more about Petronas Philharmonic Hall (Dewan Filharmonik Petronas) .

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

An odd name perhaps, but this is the best venue to see classical Indian performing arts in KL. 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 ... Read more about Temple of Fine Arts .

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Cinema in KL

For the most part, KL provides rather slim pickings for film buffs, despite having a huge number of cinemas. 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 ... Read more about Cinema in KL .

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General activities

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 .

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 .

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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 ... Read more about Kuala Lumpur for book lovers .

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

Central Market (also known as Pasar Seni) has been through a few personality changes over the years but today is one of the best spots in Kuala Lumpur for a heady bout of last-minute souvenir ... Read more about Central Market .

Shopping in KL

Roughly a quarter of all the money tourists spend in Malaysia every year goes on shopping -- that's second only to accommodation. 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 ... Read more about Shopping in KL .

Petaling Street Market
Jalan Petaling, Chinatown

People still buy fake Rolexes? Who knew?! Petaling Street Market is your classic tourist tat and counterfeit goods market, with stall after stall selling swag and each seemingly with a team of two or three touts to call for your ... Read more about Petaling Street Market .

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Day trips

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) .

Batu Caves

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 .

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) .

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 .


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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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 ... Read more about Best beach break destinations from Kuala Lumpur .

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Natural attractions

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. ... 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. ... 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 ... Read more about Walking in Kuala Lumpur: Are you mad? .

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Festivals and events

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. ... Read more about 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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