Things to do in Kuala Lumpur: A Complete City Guide

What to do in KL

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is home to beautiful skyscrapers, religious history and mind blowing parks! This destination is a must visit while traveling through Southeast Asia and is the perfect gateway to Malaysia’s coastline. Since Kuala Lumpur airport is one of the biggest airports in Asia, you will likely have a layover here making this an easy city to add to your travel itinerary. Here is a complete guide on the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

Best time to visit Kuala Lumpur

May – September is the best time of year to visit Kuala Lumpur as this is considered the dry season. We visited Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of May and luckily only had one day with any rain. The driest month of the year is June, which makes it the most popular month amongst tourists. If you go during the peak summer months, you may pay more for your visit and it will be more crowded.

How to get to Kuala Lumpur

KL International Airport (KUL) is the closest airport to the city center and is one of the largest airports in all of Asia. When we were traveling throughout Southeast Asia, we had several layovers in the KL airport!

Do you need a visa to visit Malaysia?

You do not need a visa to visit Malaysia if you are staying for business or tourism for less than 90 days.

Currency and Tipping

Kuala Lumpur uses the Malaysian Ringgit for currency. Kuala Lumpur is known for its city parks that feel as if you are out in the jungle, its beautiful mosques and the Petronas Towers. Drinking alcohol is not necessarily common among locals in Malaysia. In places where you can find it, it is typically 20 ringgit for a beer whereas a local meal will run you even less at 18 ringgit.

Tipping is not expected in Malaysia however there may be a 10% service charge added to your meal.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia tends to be one of the more expensive countries in Southeast Asia however the cost of living is significantly cheaper than Europe or the USA. It is possible to find affordable housing even if you are traveling on a budget!

Homestays and Rental Options

There are tons of rental properties available on Airbnb within the city center for less than $80. Depending on your budget and group size, this may be a better option than a hotel or hostel. Explore those options here!

Boutique hotels

Tian Jing Hotel

MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur

Budget hostels

PODs The Backpackers Home and Cafe

Step-Inn Too Guest House

What to eat in Kuala Lumpur

Where to eat: The best restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian cuisine is known for being strong, spicy and for its rich tastes. A blend of the different cuisines across Southeast Asia with a heavy influence from China and India.

TG’s Bistro

Typical Indian roadside eatery with a very budget friendly menu and central location.

Sarang Cookery

Affordable restaurant with a very homey vibe. If the owner is working she is known to come out and explain the history of each dish to you.

Sin Kiew Yee Shin Kee Beef Noodles

Located 3 minutes from the central market, this is the perfect spot to try some authentic chinese noodles.

Paradise Restaurant

Located in the Bukit Bintang area this is one of the best cheap Pakistani restaurants in KL.

Central Market

A great way to taste local cuisine is to try some of the street food around the central market.

Where to drink in Kuala Lumpur

Where to drink: The best bars in Kuala Lumpur

While Malaysia is an Islamic country with strong government control over alcohol and tobacco sales, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good watering holes. Golden Triangle is an area of KL famous for its nightlife, however it’s not the only area to go out in. Below are some of our favorite bars.

Pisco Bar

This Spanish and Peruvian tapas bar features live music and DJs.

The Roof

This 50,000 sqft space has something for everyone. From signature cocktails to EDM DJs to the first grassed rooftop Champagne bar take in the 360 views of KL while enjoying a drink.

Whipped into Place

A great spot for a relaxing night out styled after a coastal resort bar.

Reggae Bar

A favorite amongst backpackers, this is a bar to dive into nightlife and meet other travelers!

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur: The best sites and museums

Kuala Lumpur City Guide cover

Visit the Petronas Towers

These famous identical towers have a bridge that connects them halfway to the top. They are stunning to look at from the ground and are the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers. Buy a ticket to the top to see a full view of Kuala Lumpur!

Forest Eco Park

what to do in Kuala Lumpur

This is a unique forest park with rope bridges as walkways. While walking through the park, you will forget that you are in the middle of a city!

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The Bird Park spans over 20 acres and is home to 3,000 birds. While in the park, you’ll learn about the local flora and fauna with the majority of birds and plants being native to Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

Located next to the Bird Park, this park is modeled after a jungle forest and contains over 120 species of butterflies.

Kuala Lumpur Orchid Gardens

These gardens are another beautiful park filled with different orchids to observe!

Pro-tip: Save and buy a bundle pass to explore the Orchid Gardens, Bird Park and Butterfly park!

Aquaria KLCC

Aquarium in Kuala Lumpur

The Aquarium is in the center of Kuala Lumpur and features a variety of fish and animals. Walk through a submerged tunnel between sharks!

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Learn culture and history of Malaysia through three floors of this famous museum.

National Mosque

Dive into the Islamic culture and walk through this historic mosque. Make sure to always be respectful of the dress code and rules.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

This temple is located at the edge of Chinatown and is the oldest Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur.

Thean Hou Temple

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

This is one of the most beautiful temples in Malaysia and also has epic views of the city!

Explore the Central Market

Markets in Southeast Asia are always an experience to walk through. The central market in KL is no different!

Eat some street food at Hutong

Malaysia is known for cooking up some of the best street food in the world. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Experience the all glass top floor of Kuala Lumpur Tower

See the city from the sky with the all glass floor. This is one of the most instagrammable spots in Kuala Lumpur!

Jamek Mosque

This is a gorgeous mosque with flowing water located in the middle of the city.

Use code JLJ10 for 10% off all eSIM purchases.

The best day trips from Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves

Easily accessible from the city by car or train, these caves are home to many Hindu shrines. It is 272 steps to the cave entrance so be prepared for a little exercise!

Kuala Selangor

This coastal town is home to the largest firefly colonies in the world. Take a relaxing boat tour up the river at night to enjoy the views.

Cameron Highlands

This three hour drive to the highlands from Kuala Lumpur is worth the time. The drive will take you through the beautiful green forests of Malaysia!


Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once the home to Dutch and Portuguese settlers. If you happen to visit here on the weekend, there is a market on Jonker Street for some great eating and shopping.

KL City Guide

Transportation in Kuala Lumpur

Airport Transportation

The Ekspres (express) train is the fastest train that will take you to and from the airport to KL Sentral station. If you are not walking distance to this train station, you will need to transfer to get to other areas of the city.

Grab is a very affordable rideshare app in Kuala Lumpur. It may be worth the cost to simply order a car from the airport rather than taking the train.

Public transposition

Kuala Lumpur features a comprehensive network of buses, taxis, monorail, light rail transit and commuter trains.


A lot of the sights in Kuala Lumpur are grouped into areas together. You can take a quick Grab ride and then walk between a few sights to better experience the city.

Rideshare Apps

There are several rideshare apps in Kuala Lumpur however, we recommend Grab as the safest and most easy to use.

Safety in Kuala Lumpur

Typical crimes against tourists are theft and pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist areas. Always stay alert when walking and keep your belongings safely zipped on your body. For example, never put your phone or wallet in your pocket without a zipper or flash expensive jewelry.

Make sure to purchase travel insurance with World Nomads before your trip to cover any incidents.

Additional resources:

Here are 10 items that every backpacker needs.
Read 40 tips to travel on a budget.
Learn how to pack light for long term travel.

There is so much to explore and experience in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Let us know in the comments your favorite activity in KL.

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