I’ve heard a lot about Kuala Lumpur (KL) but never thought I would ever go. It’s so close to Singapore that it would have been a shame not to include it in our travel plans. We stayed a full week in KL but I feel a long weekend would have been enough. We only visited the capital, we were attracted by its modernity and the famous Twin Towers. I don’t think it represents the rest of Malaysia very well though. To me, there are 3 main attractions not to miss in KL.
1. Petronas Towers
The most iconic attraction is obviously the Petronas Twin Towers. Every article you’ll find online about the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur would mention them. They used to be the tallest building in the world with its 452 metres high but since 2010, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds this title at 829 metres. The Petronas Towers can still claim the title of the world’s tallest twin structures though… This impressive building has 88 floors on each tower, linked together by a double-decker sky bridge on their 41st & 42nd floors.
Yes, it would be a miss to go to KL and not do this attraction (except if you have vertigo) but I wouldn’t say it was the highlight of our week. We queued for a long time and then had a very limited time at the top, everything was a bit too commercial for my liking and at the end they look better from outside than inside. It’s a fun experience to walk on the suspended bridge though, enough to give you a thrill! View of the other tower from the bridge (41st floor):
2. Batu Caves
No lift there, this time we had to climb these 272 colourful steps to access the Batu Caves. That was what I was looking forward to the most and it didn’t disappoint. As far as I remember, it doesn’t require too high a level of fitness. You can take your time when climbing, but looking down can make you lose your balance… Also you can’t always hold the handrail because of the mass of tourists going against you. Monkeys can be quite intimidating too! They’re not afraid of you and can be a bit aggressive (especially if you have food). The temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus, this is why you’ll only find vegetarian food around it.
3. KL Bird Park
In such a tropical climate, you can imagine how beautiful the KL Bird Park is. I would recommend this place to all animal lovers, even if you’re not especially into birds. This massive park is the largest free-flight walk-in aviary in the world. It impressed me a lot because of all the freedom these birds can enjoy. You will find gorgeous peacocks on your path who will serenade you and try to seduce you with their beautiful colours.
Bonus: Malaysian food is amazing
To me, the reason number 1 to visit Malaysia would be the food… Asian markets are amazing, but that’s at Jalan Alor that you will find the best and cheapest food in the city. My favourite meal over there? Roti Canai (see picture below). This flat bread is the best I’ve ever had, their technique is difficult to imitate. It’s served with various spicy sauces, it’s super tasty and you eat it with your fingers… No cutlery needed, obviously (don’t ruin it).
Other random facts about Kuala Lumpur
- The capital can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. You can go there on a budget or you can choose to live the high life, the city offers many possibilities.
- It’s quite difficult to walk when there is no pedestrian access, sometimes you have no choice but to take a taxi. That’s why there are so many of them everywhere (not exactly eco-friendly…).
- The mobile app you need in Malaysia is called Grab, it’s useful to book a taxi or to get food delivered (either option is incredibly cheap).
- Skyscrapers are rising everywhere, it’s a dynamic city under development. Our air bnb was on the 32nd floor and it felt like it was the minimum level to be at, compared to the average height in the surrounding area.
- Shopping centres are very expensive, to a point I have no idea how locals can afford it, compared to the cost of living. The most famous ones are Pavilion and Suria KLCC. If you like Japanese products, you will find an awesome area in Pavilion called Tokyo Street where you can find all sorts of things from Japan (food, accessories, activities etc). Definitely worth a visit.
- The difference of temperature between inside and out can be really big. It’s very warm and humid outside, and the AC is very cold inside big shopping centres so take a jumper with you just in case, even if you already feel too hot wearing just a t-shirt outside.
- If you want a nice view from high up, I suggest going to the Menara KL Tower instead of the Petronas Towers. At least you will have them in the view (which is actually better than being inside them) and there is a nice revolving restaurant serving local food.
To conclude, Kuala Lumpur is a very interesting city but maybe not on its own. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been there and what you liked the most!
Big Girl x