How Long Should I Spend in Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, is an international hub for flights heading to/from Asia and the Southern Hemisphere and is therefore a fantastic place to visit both as a stopover and as a destination in its own right. The city is packed full of things to see and do, and we’re here to help you figure out how long to spend in Kuala Lumpur and what things are worth adding to your bucket list. Read on to find out everything you need to know about a trip to Kuala Lumpur.
How Long Should I Spend In Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city of 1.8 million residents, with beautiful temples, unique sights and plenty of shopping to keep you entertained. Most people visit Kuala Lumpur for 2 to 3 days, either as a weekend break or as a stopover en route to another Malaysian city, or further afield.
Three days in Kuala Lumpur is a reasonable length of time to see the main sights and get a feel for the city’s culture and cuisine without feeling overwhelmed (or overheated!).
Ideally, you’ll spend more than just one day in Kuala Lumpur (as it’s likely you’ll need to get over your jet lag – depending on where you’re coming from), but if not, there is still time to see some sights.
How to Spend One Day In Kuala Lumpur
If you only have one day in Malaysia, you can still see some of the highlights of Kuala Lumpur by using the hop-on, hop-off bus service or the city’s excellent public transport. You can do a whistle-stop tour of the Twin Towers, Chinatown, Little India and the Central Market, making sure you eat some street food from hawker markets along the way!
Even if you’re just transferring through Kuala Lumpur airport, you may be able to spend a few hours in the city to witness the magnificent Petronas Towers at the very least. The KLIA Express from the airport to the city takes just 28 minutes so you can be out and exploring in no time!
Two or Three Days In Kuala Lumpur
If you can plan a trip to Kuala Lumpur for two or three days, you will be blessed with the opportunity to not only see the city sights but also to head out to the nearby Batu Caves and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. You may not have time for if you are just there for a day. You’ll also be able to spend time shopping in the city’s markets and malls without feeling as though you should be exploring cultural attractions the whole time.
Four or More Days in Kuala Lumpur
If you have plenty of time, you could easily spend days/weeks/months exploring the city in more depth, getting to know the locals, finding your favourite places to eat and visiting some of the lesser-known sights and museums in and around Kuala Lumpur.
A week in Kuala Lumpur allows you to see the main sights while still having time in between to shop, sit, eat or perhaps simply relax in your hotel swimming pool!
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Towers are perhaps the most iconic and famous sight in Kuala Lumpur thanks to their majestic design and the skybridge which offers incredible views over the city. It is worth visiting the Petronas Towers both during the day and at night so that you can see the towers in all their glory both in the sunshine, and when they are lit up in the evening.
The 451m-tall Petronas Towers were inspired by Islamic art which gives them their shape, structure and design. The buildings are used for both business and leisure, with Tower One being occupied by Petronas employees and Tower Two including a range of offices. The Skybridge is, of course, a tourist attraction which sees hundreds of visitors every day.
The outside area around the Petronas Towers includes lakes, water features and green spaces which is a beautiful place to relax. The Petronas race track is also located at the base of the towers.
Below the Petronas Towers lies the Suria KLCC retail and leisure centre. This complex comprises of luxury and high-street shops, an art gallery, science centre, aquarium and the Petronas Philharmonic Hall. The Suria KLCC is one of the largest and most impressive shopping malls in Malaysia and is a great place to cool off and shop (or window shop!) during KL’s afternoon heat!
Another sight of significance is the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower which rises 421 metres above the city (including the antenna).
The KL Tower is home to a revolving restaurant, banquet hall and a Sky Deck which all allow you to witness the sights of Kuala Lumpur spread out below you. Visitors can use binoculars on the observation deck to see the main attractions or can brave a go in the Sky Box, a transparent box that extends out from the Sky Deck hovering over the city below!
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a lively, colourful area of the city that is packed full of interesting cuisine and culture. With galleries, restaurants, markets and temples, you certainly won’t be disappointed by your time in Chinatown. KL’s Chinatown can be reached by taking the metro to Pasar Seni LRT station and merely wandering the streets nearby. Petaling Street is a particular favourite which hosts a vibrant night market selling local wares, souvenirs and foodie treats.
Little India in Kuala Lumpur’s Brickfields district gives visitors a taste of the subcontinent without even leaving the city! This area in Bukit Bintang is filled with Indian shops, markets, restaurants, churches and shrines. This is the place to come if you want to try a sumptuous banana leaf curry or to buy a sari, get a henna tattoo or see flower markets bursting with colour!
The KL Perdana Botanical Gardens is located in Heritage Park and is home to tropical plants and gardens displayed in the most magical way. The park boasts water features, sculptures, manicured gardens and even a herbarium which contains a collection of flowering and fruiting plants. The botanical gardens are a lovely place to spend an afternoon, enjoying a slice of serenity despite being in the centre of the city!
National Mosque (Masjid Negara)
Visiting the National Mosque of Malaysia is an interesting addition to your time in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll need to make sure you’ve dressed appropriately (or wait to borrow a robe when you get there), but once you’re in you’ll be able to explore the modern halls of this peaceful and picturesque mosque. The mosque has a 16-point star roof that sits over the prayer hall along with a 239.5ft minaret, and the prayer hall features simple yet beautiful stained-glass windows.
If you’re staying in Kuala Lumpur for a few days, you might want to check out some of the city’s nightlife, and the best place to go for this is Changkat. This area of the city plays host to live music bars, clubs, dance halls and shisha bars. As there are a variety of clubs located on the same street, you can choose one that suits your style. There’s always something different going on, so head over to Changkat for a night to remember.
The Batu Caves are located around 20-30 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur and are built into the limestone cliffs that are thought to be 400 million years old. These caves feature a grand, gold statue of Lord Murugan at the entrance and are accessed via a set of 272 steep steps. The cave complex is a Tamil shrine and comprises of three separate caves which have become home to spiders, fruit bats and macaques. The caves can be visited as part of a tour or by taking a train from KL Sentral Railway Station to the Batu Caves Station.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
Another exciting outdoor attraction is the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, a tropical paradise home to a whole host of impressive bird species. Whether you want to see birds of prey, water birds, peacock or parakeets, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park has something for every avian lover. The park features birds of all shapes, sizes and species, some of which can be fed by hand – a fun experience for all the family.
So now you know how long you should spend in Kuala Lumpur and what are the top things to see and do in the city, you can start planning your trip to the incredible Malaysian capital!
If you’ve got more than a week to spend in Malaysia, why not head down to Penang or Langkawi for some beach relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city?
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