25 Top Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is not often considered as an amazing place to vacation but there is actually a surprising number of things to do in Kuala Lumpur that will have you wishing you planned more days in the city.

It is a city with a magical essence that will leave you wanting to visit again. No it’s not Bangkok or Singapore, but KL offers its own set of wonders that are uniquely Malaysian.

We’ve been to the city three times, and while we do have a love hate relationship with it, the fact that we’ve returned should tell you it’s worth the stop on your Malaysia itinerary.

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Malaysia travel guide.


25 Top Things to do in Kuala Lumpur


1. Enjoy the Views From Menara TV Tower

Downtown Kuala Lumpur

While most travelers head straight to the Petronas Towers for their bird’s eye view over the city, one of the best alternative things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the viewing deck of the Menara TV Tower. 

While it’s not quite as famous, it gives you a superb view of the city, including the Petronas Twin Towers – which, after all, are the most iconic buildings in KL.

At 420 meters in height, the Menara TV Tower is the 7th tallest building in the world, which is quite something!

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

2. Visit Merdeka Square 

Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur

One of the most important places to visit in KL is the central Merdeka Square.

Merdeka means freedom or independence in Malay, and this grassy field is surrounded by some of Kuala Lumpur’s most iconic colonial buildings. 

When the British ruled Malaysia, this was the local cricket club, but today, it’s a very different story.

Merdeka Square is located in the older part of KL, and there are some lovely historic mosques, buildings, and museums in the vicinity. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

3. Marvel at the National Mosque 

Malaysia’s National Mosque (or Masjid Negara, as the locals call it)

Malaysia’s National Mosque (or Masjid Negara, as the locals call it), is one of the capital’s most impressive religious buildings.  

Surrounded by lovely gardens that make for a peaceful escape from the city, the mosque was built in the 1960s right after independence; for that reason, it holds a special place in the country’s Islamic history. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

4. Get Cultural at the Islamic Arts Museum 

Islamic Arts Museum

Just a short walk away from the National Mosque, you can learn more about Islamic culture at the excellent Islamic Arts Museum. 

A visit here is one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur; you’ll be able to delve deep into the unique world of local artists and artists from across the Islamic world.

It’s the largest Islamic art museum in Southeast Asia, so save plenty of time if you want to see all 7000 exhibits!

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

5. Explore the National Museum of Malaysia 

Kuala Lumpur skyline. Located in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

To learn more about Malaysia’s unique, multicultural history, one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to explore the National Museum of Malaysia. 

Designed in a traditional Malay style of architecture, this grand museum will take you on a journey.

From the prehistoric era through the many different waves of human migrations and colonization that ultimately led to the creation of the modern Malaysian state in the 1950s.

Prepare to be both amazed and shocked by the history.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

6. Walk Through Kampung Baru

Kampung Baru

Before Kuala Lumpur grew into the Malaysian capital in the 20th century, it was a simple fishing village along the river.

The small village was built on stilts in traditional Malay style but was surrounded first by colonial developments, then by the modern infrastructure you find today.

One of the most fascinating things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to stroll through Kampung Baru, which is all that remains of the original Malay villages the city was built around. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

7. Learn About Indigenous Culture at the Orang Asli Craft Museum 

Culture at the Orang Asli Craft Museum

While Malays make up the largest proportion of the Malaysian population, the Malays weren’t actually the first people to arrive in what is now called Malaysia.

Thousands of years before Malay culture began to arrive, indigenous populations flourished. 

Today they are known as the Orang Asli (the original people), and they generally only remain in isolated areas of jungle and the highlands.

You can learn more about their arts, crafts, and culture at the intriguing Orang Asli Crafts Museum in KL. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

8. Delve into Chinatown

Jalan Alor Night Market

Malaysia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and the second-largest population in the country goes to people of Chinese ancestry. 

Their culture (and food) is centered around Chinatown, and one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to take a walk along Petaling street. 

This is Chinatown’s most famous walking street, where you can find exceptional food, cheap drinks, and lots of bargain buys at the market stalls!

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

9. Visit Thean Hou Temple

Exterior of a Chinese Temple - Namely Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur.

For a deeper insight into the local Chinese culture and community, head to the fascinating Thean Hou Temple. This vast temple complex blends elements of Chinese religion and history, with a distinctly Malay appeal.

An important cultural site, the temple often hosts cultural events and is the scene of Chinese-inspired festivals and religious ceremonies throughout the year. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

10. Visit Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Architectural detail of Sri Mahamariamman Temple near Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The temple is the oldest Hindu temple in the city.

Malaysia has a large population of Indian descent, too. One of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the colorful Sri Mahamariamman Temple.

As a sign of how complex yet tolerant the different ethnicities in KL are, this Hindu temple is right in the middle of Chinatown!

Visitors are welcome, and you can also watch out for the lively parades often held. Worshippers fill the streets, chanting and playing music on their way to ceremonies at the temple. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

11. Devour a Nasi Kandar Buffet 

Close up the popular Nasi Kandar or Kandar Rice.

Malaysia is one of the best destinations in the world for foodies, and there’s so much on offer across the capital.

One of the country’s signature dishes is Nasi Kandar, which originated in India and became famous across Malaysia. 

Nasi Kandar is rice and curry. Lots of curries! You can find the best Nasi Kandar in the local food courts, where you can pick and choose your curries buffet style from the selections in front of you.

Wash it down with a hot cup of Teh Tarik (pulled tea with lots of sugar).  

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

 12. Gorge on Food at Jalan Alor Night Market 

Food stand at Jalan Alor Night Market

One of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to eat. This is a city for foodies, and you can’t leave without trying as many different dishes as you possibly can. 

One of the best places to eat is at the Jalan Alor Night Market. This famous street opens in the late afternoon, and the restaurants, food stands, and hawkers serve up delicious dishes until the early hours of the morning. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

13. Explore Bustling Bukit Bintang

View from monorail station at Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. The station is a shopping hub in the Kuala Lumpur Golden Triangle commercial district.

Jalan Alor is located in the busy, bustling Bukit Bintang area of KL. While the night market is rustic and traditional, the rest of Bukit Bintang is flashy and modern. 

Here you can find some of KL’s best mega malls and shopping centers, as well as bars and nightclubs.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

14. Dine Underground at Lot 10 Hutong  

A Higher Class Food Court Experience at Lot 10 Hutong

One of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to dine underground at Lot Hutong 10.

This iconic food center is located beneath a shopping mall in Bukit Bintang and is famed for having some of the best Chinese food in the city. 

Portions are big, and there are a lot of choices, but with low prices, you can try as much as you can handle!

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

15. Have a Drink on a Helicopter Landing Pad

Mojito cocktail and cashews on table in rooftop bar at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL isn’t known for its nightlife (although it’s definitely there if you’re looking for it), but if you’re looking for a great place to have an evening drink with a view, head over to the Heli Lounge Bar.

This unique venue will see you enjoying a cocktail on an old helicopter landing pad on top of a skyscraper. From here, the views of the Petronas Towers are incredible!

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

16. Take a Stroll Around KLCC Park

KLCC park near Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

At the base of the Petronas Towers, you can find the KLCC Park, one of the best places to visit in the city. 

Not only are there exceptional views as the towers rise high above, but you can enjoy the charming gardens, bridges, and ponds, or take a stroll (or a jog) along the running paths.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

17. Shop at the KLCC Shopping Mall 

KLCC Shopping Mall

If you need somewhere to shop, then look no further than the vast KLCC shopping mall. This is KL’s premier mall, and it’s packed full of shops and retail outlets from all over the world. 

There are some great food courts on the top floor if you’re after some great value but excellent quality Chinese, Indian, or Malay specialties. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

18. Ride an Indoor Roller Coaster 

Indoor Roller Coaster at Berjaya Times Square

For a unique experience, why not ride an indoor roller coaster while you’re in Kuala Lumpur?

The huge shopping mall at Berjaya Times Square, just outside of Bukit Bintang, is home to the largest indoor roller coaster in Malaysia. It makes for a fantastic experience if you love a thrill ride. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

19. Enjoy the Delights of KL Butterfly Park 

KL Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur

If you prefer getting out amongst nature rather than staying inside, one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the KL Butterfly Park. 

This fantastic project is home to thousands of different species of butterflies; it’s a truly relaxing and educational experience. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

20. Pay Your Respects at the National Monument

Tugu Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Take a moment to pay your respects at Malaysia’s National Monument (Tugu Negara), located on a hilltop overlooking the city. 

The memorial is primarily dedicated to those who lost their lives fighting the Japanese during World War II and later fighting the communist insurgents until 1960. 

Malaysia’s history isn’t nearly as well-known as other Southeast Asian nations, so this is an excellent opportunity to discover more about the critical geopolitical role the country played in the 20th century. 

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

21. See the Petronas Twin Towers

Top Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Twin Towers

These mirrored twin structures are the world’s tallest set of twin buildings. The Petronas Twin Towers once hailed as being the tallest buildings in the world at 88 stories high.

They were designed by Cesar Pelli and stand 452 meters tall. They were completed in 1998 and at that time surpassed the Willis Tower in Chicago as the world’s tallest building.

However, Petronas lost that title in 2004. There is a sky bridge joining the buildings at the 41st and 42nd floors that is been featured in many movies and is one of the most popular pictures of Kuala Lumpur.

The Petronas Twin Towers is a popular site to visit and house many large companies as well as an upmarket shopping mall that is a huge tourist draw.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

22. Shop at the Central Market

Turkish Mosaic Lamps at the souvenir shop, Kuala Lumpur Central Market, Malaysia.

The bustling and artistic community of Central Market, also known as Pasar Seni, was built in 1928 and was originally a place for locals to exchange and acquire goods from one another.

This modern-day market is now frequented by visitors and travelers as well as the locals. It is a kin to a high-end boutique flea market in any major American city.

The prices are very affordable and the merchandise has a local flair to it, which is a big draw for tourists.

You will be sure to find souvenirs to take back home and probably a few things for yourself while cruising the Central Market.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

23. Climb to the Batu Caves

Top Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves

If you trek a short distance north of Kuala Lumpur you will find a limestone mountain face that houses three major caves and a handful of smaller caves called Batu Caves.

This site boasts as being Kuala Lumpur’s most visited tourist attraction. The temple is 100 years old and features many idols and gold statues that have been erected symbolically in honor of the Hindu religion.

The inner temple, which houses limestone formations that are said to be over 400 million years old, is one of the most important landmarks by Hindus.

Here you can visit Cathedral Cave, which is the largest of the Batu caves and houses several Hindu shrines. This is a site that is rich in history, art, and architecture.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

24. Spend a Day at the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

This very popular theme park is located in Petaling Jaiya which is a thriving town about 15 km southwest of the city center. Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart there is something for everyone in this vast playground.

You will have no trouble spending an entire day here enjoying the activities. You can relax in the man made slow river ride, surf in the huge wave pool, or experience the more harrowing waterslides that aren’t for the faint of heart.

Sunway Lagoon stretches a vast 80 acres and is the home of the world’s largest man made surf beach.

The park is split into five different sections and includes the Water Park, an Amusement Park, an Extreme Park, a Scream Park and a Wildlife Park. There’s something for everyone.

Whether you want to ride the surf simulator and show off your skills in one of the surfing competitions or speed down a six-lane waterslide in the Congo challenge, you’ll find an activity to thrill you.

There are also several places to grab a bite to eat so you won’t go hungry by any means. It’s an interactive and fun way to spend some time on vacation and a stop that is a must when vacationing in Kuala Lumpur.

Top tours you simply can not miss out on when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

25. Visit the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Top Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Exotic Birds

If you’d like to explore some of the local wildlife then a visit to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is the stop that you’ll enjoy thoroughly. It is one of the regions gems and boasts as being the world’s largest covered bird park.

It is home to more than 3000 birds from 200 species that very from local to others from all over the world.

Unlike several smaller bird parks that are close to the region, handling the birds is actually encouraged. In fact, most of the birds in this vast park are very accustomed to human contact and love to be petted and handled.

You are assured an up close and in-depth experience with some of the most intelligent and beautiful birds in the entire world.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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4 thoughts on “25 Top Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Great info.
    Batu Caves is my favorite by the way. Although i have to climb up 272 steps to the caves, but for me it’s really worth it. I love the nature. I can also see mongkeys trying to get food from visitors. It’s fun.

    Reply
  2. KL is one of my favourite cities! A melting pot of Southeast Asia. Can’t say I was overly impressed by the caves. Didn’t even know about the bird park. The Petronas Towers are Epic!

    Reply

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