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


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
2 Jalan Stonor
T: (03) 2144 9273

Just a 15 minute walk from one of KL’s glitziest malls you can enjoy a glimpse into Malaysia’s more traditional way of life at the beautiful Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman within the grounds of Badan Warisan Malaysia (The Heritage ... Read more about Heritage Centre .

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 .

Top of page

Temples


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 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 .

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 .

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 .

Top of page

Interesting buildings


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

Completed in 1996, the Petronas Twin Towers are arguably Kuala Lumpur’s most recognisable landmark and a visit to the viewing deck is a highlight for many first-time visitors to the ... Read more about Petronas Twin Towers .

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 .

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
Jalan Parlimem, near Perdana Botanical Gardens

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 .

Top of page

Art galleries or venues


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) .

Top of page

Mosques


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 .

Top of page

Public parks and zoos


KLCC Park
Ringed in by Jalan Ampang to the north and Jalan Pinang to the south

Sitting at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC Park is a pleasant airy green resource right in the commercial heart of Kuala Lumpur. ... Read more about KLCC Park .

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 .

Perdana Botanical Gardens

The largest and most pleasant of Kuala Lumpur’s public green spaces, Perdana Botanical Gardens sprawls out behind the National Museum, offering a limited escape from the big ... Read more about Perdana Botanical Gardens .

Top of page

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 .

KL Bird Park
920 Jalan Cenderawasih
T: (03) 2272 1010

If you have kids in tow (or are a kid at heart), there are few better ways to lose half a day in Kuala Lumpur than by spending it wandering the sprawling KL Bird Park and the adjoining Perdana Botanical ... Read more about KL Bird Park .

Top of page

Shopping


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 .

Chow Kit Market
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman just south of UO Superstore

Chow Kit Market is Kuala Lumpur’s largest wet market and while you can see small wet markets scattered across the city, if you want to see the real deal, head straight to Chow Kit. ... Read more about Chow Kit Market .

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 .

General 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 General shopping in KL .

Top of page

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 .

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 .

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 .

Top of page

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 .

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 .

Top of page

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 .

Top of page




Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.



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.


Top of page