In Kuala Lumpur from Bali, there are inexpensive direct flights. And today, this is the most optimal route for crossing borders to renew visas or for a change of scenery on the weekends. Moreover, the Malaysian capital is a unique city where modern futuristic architecture blends with traditional structures of the past. Tiny two-story buildings coexist with skyscrapers, and in proximity to luxury, you can find slums. Kuala Lumpur is often unjustly called the "concrete jungle" – in reality, it is a very green city. In its very center, there is a piece of real jungle where wild monkeys and one-and-a-half-meter-long monitor lizards live.
For tourists visiting Malaysia for a stay of up to 30 days, a visa is not required. The entry stamp is provided at the border upon arrival (free of charge). Your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Currently, it is essential to have a return ticket as proof that you do not intend to stay in the country beyond the allowed period. A COVID-19 vaccination certificate is no longer required.
The official language is Malay (Bahasa Malaysia). English is widely spoken in Kuala Lumpur.
The currency in circulation is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), with 1 Ringgit being divided into 100 cents. In Kuala Lumpur, major credit cards are widely accepted for payment.
Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, there is a vast number of hotels and accommodations to suit every taste and budget. It's best to stay in the city center to avoid wasting time on commuting. Not all areas have a metro, and there are often heavy traffic jams on the roads.
The most popular areas to live
Bukit Bintang is the most popular tourist district in the city. There is a high concentration of five-star and other hotels here, especially around the Pavilion shopping center.
KLCC - The main advantage of staying in hotels in this area is the beautiful view of the Petronas Towers from your room. Additionally, it's a central area that's great for walking.
Chinatown - This is where those who appreciate local culture, enjoy nightlife, and are willing to try Malaysian delicacies tend to stay. There are also many budget boutique hotels in the area.
KL Sentral - This area is primarily convenient for transportation, as it's located near the central train station. Trains from the airport arrive here.
Chow Kit - Here you will find many budget-friendly options. However, it can be somewhat unsafe at night due to a less-than-ideal reputation, with motorcyclists snatching bags from shoulders.
On January 1, 2023, Malaysia returned the tourist tax: paid additionally at the hotel.
You can get from the airport to the city by taxi. And also by bus or by a very convenient special train. The road takes about 40 minutes.
What to see: main sights
From 1998 to 2004, these were the tallest buildings in the world; now, they are only the largest twin towers. The towers have 88 floors, a number considered lucky. There is a glass Skybridge between the 41st and 42nd floors, connecting the two wings of the buildings.
Right below the Towers, there is the luxurious Suria KLCC shopping center, and behind it, there's a park with dancing fountains.
Entrance to the Towers:
- Children under 3 years old - Free
- Children aged 3 to 12 and adults aged 60 and above - 50 Ringgit
- Adults aged 12 and above - 98 Ringgit.
The main square of Malaysia, known as Merdeka Square, translates from Malay to "Independence." In 1957, this is where the national flag was first raised, marking the end of the British colonial era. Merdeka Square is a vast green field where cricket was once played.
On one side of the square, you'll find the Royal Selangor Club building, and on the other, the Moorish façade of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which, unfortunately, is closed to visitors. Nearby is the KL City Gallery, an interactive exhibition that tells the contemporary history of Kuala Lumpur. Admission is 10 Ringgit.
Just a five-minute walk from Merdeka Square is the zero meridian of the capital, known as the "River of Life," where the Klang and Gombak rivers converge. It is believed that the city was founded at this spot in 1857. In the evenings, you can watch a light and fountain show here, and during the day, you can stroll along the beautifully painted facades of the houses and visit the oldest city mosque, Masjid Jamek. Admission is free.
This is the most colorful and well-preserved historic district of the capital. It's a network of bustling streets with small shops and traditional shop-house buildings. Here, you'll also find the popular Petaling Street Market. If you walk through the market, you can reach the Kwai Chai Hong area on foot. It's a trendy location with charming cafes, bars, and a wealth of street art. Admission is free.
The Menara Tower is the seventh-largest television tower in the world, standing at a height of 421 meters. It's slightly shorter than the Petronas Towers, but as it's built on a hill, it becomes the highest point in the city. At the top of the tower, there is an observation deck, a museum, and the popular Sky Box, a glass cube that provides stunning photos with a view of the city. The entrance ticket to the tower is 49 Ringgit.
Next to the tower, you'll find the KL Forest Eco Park, a genuine jungle right in the heart of the metropolis. There's a small entrance fee, and inside, you can take a walk on the canopy walkways amidst the treetops.
The Batu Caves are located in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur and are the most popular of Malaysia's attractions. Within the caves, there is a temple complex, one of the main Hindu shrines outside of India. To reach the temple, you need to climb 272 steps. In 2018, these steps were painted in rainbow colors, making it one of the most photographed places. There are many monkeys around the temple, so be cautious as they can be quite cheeky and even aggressive. Entrance is free.
The Perdana Botanical Gardens is the greenest area in the city. Within its grounds, you can find several parks, including the free Orchid Park and Deer Park. Additionally, you can encounter wild monkeys, turtles, various unique insects, and butterflies here. The park is very enjoyable for children who may want to play on the giant playgrounds. Adults will be interested in the futuristic Canopy structure, a popular spot for wedding photoshoots. Entrance is free.
Within the Perdana Botanical Gardens, you'll find the famous Bird Park. It's best known for having the world's largest walk-in aviary, allowing visitors to enter and observe the birds in free flight. Birds also freely roam the park's pathways. Don't miss the shows featuring trained parrots and birds of prey. The entrance ticket is 75 Ringgit.
The history of Kuala Lumpur is closely linked to tin mining. At the Tin Museum, you can enjoy a free guided tour in English. They will not only tell you about the company but also about the history of money, showcasing exhibits that have become legendary. You can also purchase unique souvenir items here. Before entering the museum, don't forget to take a photo with the enormous tin mug, which is listed in the Guinness World Records. Entrance is free.
This is the main mosque of Malaysia. It was constructed relatively recently, with its opening taking place in the year 2000. The prayer hall can accommodate approximately 17,000 people simultaneously. Free guided tours are offered to tourists, and entrance is free.
The most popular Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur among tourists is very colorful and vibrant. The square in front of the main entrance is adorned with a thousand golden or red (depending on the festival) lanterns. The temple was built at the end of the last century and is dedicated to the goddess Mazu, the protector of sailors and fishermen. Entrance is free.
Where to eat
Kuala Lumpur, like the rest of Malaysia, is a food lover's paradise, and you won't go hungry here! Tourists will find numerous restaurants and cafes to suit every taste and budget. Here are some of the most famous and tried-and-true options:
- Atmosphere 360 ($$$) - A revolving restaurant in the Telekom Tower that offers the best view of the city.
- Open House ($$$) - A restaurant with rich interiors and traditional Malay cuisine. You can try rare delicacies here, such as sturgeon caviar.
- Le Petit Chef ($$$) - While it may seem strange to recommend French cuisine in Malaysia, this place offers a unique experience with an animated chef on your plate.
- Light Capture Cafe ($) - Loved for its extraordinary design, this semi-ruined building offers a spacious, brick-walled space and is perfect for a light snack.
- Hungry Tapir ($) - A small fusion restaurant in Chinatown with beautiful food presentation.
- Dining in the Dark ($$) - A restaurant where you dine in complete darkness, served by visually impaired waitstaff. Prices are surprising compared to similar concepts in other countries.
- Khan Indian Cuisine ($$) - Ideal for Indian cuisine enthusiasts, offering spicy and hearty dishes with excellent service.
- BBQ Lamb ($) - A unique restaurant with tables set in a fast-flowing river. The menu is simple but features fresh items cooked on the grill.
- Heli Lounge Bar ($$$) - A trendy high-rise bar located on a helipad. It's not just for food; people come for cocktails, a great view of the city, and to mingle with the fashionable crowd.
- Jalan Alor Street ($) - In the evenings, this street transforms into an open-air food court. It's the best place to experience the diversity of local cuisine.
Enjoy your culinary adventures in Kuala Lumpur!
Despite Kuala Lumpur being the capital of a Muslim-majority country, it offers an excellent selection of nightclubs, bars, and pubs. After sunset, the city comes to life with vibrant nightlife. Clubs are spread throughout different parts of the city, but among the most popular nightlife areas, you can find:
- Changkat Bukit Bintang- This area is teeming with bars and clubs. The diversity in music, ambiance, and clientele is astonishing. It's hard to pinpoint the absolute favorites, but places like Pisco, Pincho's, and Rabbit Hole are consistently lively with crowds. Prices range from cheap to moderate.
- Chinatown - Chinatown boasts a high concentration of "hidden" clubs that you'll need to discover. Some of the well-known establishments include PS150, Concubine, XOKL, Her House, and Crane. Prices here are in the moderate range.
TREC KL is a standalone zone that's currently surrounded by construction. It's home to the largest dance club in the capital (TREC) and the trendy club called The Iron Fairies. The secret of this club, known to only a few, is that it hides another secret club inside! Prices here are in the moderate range. Additionally, the area features rooftop bars with panoramic views, often overlooking the Petronas Towers. It's difficult to determine the absolute best, but in terms of ambiance and drink quality, you can consider Marini's, Wet Deck, EQ, and Vertigo. These places are in the expensive category.
Bangsar is another neighborhood popular among expatriates living in the capital. There are many pubs and bars here, although they are typically smaller in size, there are plenty of them. You can engage in a popular activity known as a "pub crawl," which involves going from one bar to another until you can't walk or drink anymore. One of the sought-after places where people gather is The Social. Prices here are in the cheaper category.