Top 30 Places to Visit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Updated on February 1, 2018
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Lady Rain is a daytime stock trader in Australia, likes to travel and has worked in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur | Source

Kuala Lumpur (which means "muddy estuary") is simply known as KL to the locals and frequent visitors. It is the capital and fastest growing city in Malaysia. Located in the state of Selangor, it is the main centre for the country's political, business and economic events. The main population is made up of the Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians. Indigenous tribes from the peninsula and other tribes like the Dayaks, Ibans and Kadazans from East Malaysia made up a small percentage of the population.

The religion embraced by the Malays is Islam, but other religions like Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Hinduism are widely practised by different ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Malaysia, though English is widely used together with different dialects of the Chinese language (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka), Tamil and other Indian languages. The uniqueness of Malaysia is that the people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions live together in harmony. The country is rich in many cultures and the people here are warm and friendly.

Being close to the equator, Kuala Lumpur has a tropical rainforest climate which is warm, humid and sunny the whole year round. It is a paradise for tourists who want to experience the tropical sunshine and equatorial climate. For those who want to escape the heat, they can find comfort in the shopping malls which are equipped with air conditioning systems.

There are many interesting places to see in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas. Public transportation here is very convenient - there are plenty of taxis and buses in the city area. The train system provides a fast and efficient means of transportation for commuters. The KL train system includes the Monorail, Light Rail Transport (LRT), Express Rail Link (ERL), Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and KLIA Ekspres.

The public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is fast and efficient.
The public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is fast and efficient. | Source
A markerKuala Lumpur -
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Petronas Twin Towers at night
Petronas Twin Towers at night | Source

These are the best and must-see places in Kuala Lumpur, and also top places of interest in Malaysia.

1. Petronas Twin Towers

Situated in the heart of the city where large corporate organisations conduct their businesses, the Petronas Twin Towers are known locally as Rocket Twin Towers and Jagung Kembar (meaning Twin Corns). The towers stand at 88 storeys high and have made big impressions on the city's skyline since their existence about two decades ago. The two towers are connected by a double storey Skybridge on the 41st and 42nd floors.

2. Suria KLCC

The Suria KLCC Shopping Complex lies at the feet of the Petronas Towers. (KLCC stands for Kuala Lumpur City Centre). It is one of the largest shopping malls in Malaysia, with many luxury shops, boutiques and food courts. The attractions in this six-storey complex include the Petronas Philharmonic Hall, Petrosains Science Centre, Petronas Art Gallery and the Aquaria Oceanarium.

Hop off at KLCC train station to get here (obvious!).

3. Aquaria KLCC

The Aquaria KLCC has an oceanarium with over 5000 exhibits of animals and marine life. A 90-metre long transparent tunnel showcases a range of sea creatures from sharks, stingrays, turtles to fishes from the tropical waters. An educational place for visitors to learn about the ecosystem and water systems in the environment.

Central Market
Central Market | Source

4. Central Market

The Central Market building was built in 1888 and started off as a wet market. It has been renovated and is now a heritage site and landmark in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Kasturi Walk is the lane next to Central Market, this place is also known as Chinatown. There are many stalls in the area selling a variety of handicrafts, artworks, clothings, shoes, accessories, Malaysian batiks, souvenirs and food stalls.

To get to Central Market, hop on the LRT and alight at Pasar Seni station. The market is just a short walk from the train station.

5. Royal Selangor Visitor Centre

Royal Selangor is the world's largest maker of pewter. Visitors can find precious pewter items, gifts, tablewares and souvenirs at Royal Selangor which is renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and designs in pewter.

Kasturi Walk is next to Central Market is an open-air flea market.
Kasturi Walk is next to Central Market is an open-air flea market. | Source

6. Bukit Bintang

Before the KLCC and Petronas Twin Towers were built, Bukit Bintang was the main shopping hub in Kuala Lumpur a couple of decades ago. Now, the Bukit Bintang district has expanded immensely with the development of many shopping malls around it, including Bukit Bintang Plaza, Lot 10, Pavilion, Sungei Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square. Each mall has its own group of retail shops attracting both the local shoppers and tourists.

The train station that is closest to this shopping hub is the Bukit Bintang station on the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line.

7. Pavilion

The Pavilion is one of the new shopping malls situated in the entertainment and shopping district of Bukit Bintang. This multi-storey complex has over 450 retail outlets offering the latest fashion labels, entertainment, home furnishings, a fitness centre, food courts, cafes, a karaoke centre and cinema.

Other shopping centres worth visiting include Sunway Velocity Mall (alight at Maluri MRT station), Mytown Shopping Centre (alight at Cochrane MRT station), NU Sentral (KL Sentral LRT station) and Melawati Shopping Centre. Kuala Lumpur has a vast network of public transportation that is fast and reliable. Most shopping centres are located within the vicinity of the train stations and bus terminals.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The prestigious Pavilion Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur comes alive with decorations during festive seasons. Sunway Velocity Mall is a shopping hub that caters to most international brands and fashions.Petaling Street is like a flea market with many stalls selling accessories, gadgets, fake fashion brands and food items.
The prestigious Pavilion Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur comes alive with decorations during festive seasons.
The prestigious Pavilion Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur comes alive with decorations during festive seasons. | Source
Sunway Velocity Mall is a shopping hub that caters to most international brands and fashions.
Sunway Velocity Mall is a shopping hub that caters to most international brands and fashions. | Source
Petaling Street is like a flea market with many stalls selling accessories, gadgets, fake fashion brands and food items.
Petaling Street is like a flea market with many stalls selling accessories, gadgets, fake fashion brands and food items. | Source

8. Petaling Street

Many tourists make their way to Petaling Street to experience the traditional and local foods that are available here. Even the locals are attracted to Petaling Street which seems to draw crowds of people especially in the evenings. Lots of bargains on fake goods, fashion items, accessories, souvenirs and gadgets. This place is also notorious for pickpockets and snatch thieves!

9. Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

Similar to Petaling Street, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Chow Kit areas offer bargain shopping and food. Some of the streets are transformed into night markets on weekends.

10. Chan See Shu Yuen Temple

There is a temple at the end of Petaling Street called Chan See Shu Yuen Temple which was built in the early 1900s. The exterior of the temple is decorated with ceramic sculptures while carvings and paintings can be seen in the interior.

In crowded areas and train stations, public announcements and signs like this helps to remind the people to be mindful of their personal belongings.
In crowded areas and train stations, public announcements and signs like this helps to remind the people to be mindful of their personal belongings. | Source

A word of caution!

Watch out for pickpockets and snatch thieves!

Hold on tight to your wallets, handbags and other personal belongings. It is such a shame that pickpockets are plenty in this beautiful country. They are everywhere especially in crowded places like markets, trains, buses, shopping centres, etc. Pickpocketing is like a national crime here, no kidding!

Snatch thieves are as common as pickpockets. They usually come riding on motorbikes and they choose their victims who are walking casually along the streets/roads. Handbags, laptop bags and necklaces are easy targets for these snatch thieves to grab at and then make a quick getaway with the items.

A durian stall at the Durian Station in Petaling Jaya
A durian stall at the Durian Station in Petaling Jaya | Source

11. Durian Station

The durian fruit, despite its strong odour and rough thorny shell, is still the king of all fruits in Malaysia. Over the years, many varieties of the fruit has emerged in the markets and there is a growing demand for durians from many countries where the fruit is not available.

Durian lovers can find a great selection of the best durians or have a durian buffet at the Durian Station in Petaling Jaya. The best time of the day to visit is in the evening. There are many stalls selling different varieties of durians, from the most popular and highest priced Musang King to Tracka, D24, D101, XO,D88 etc.

The most sought-after Musang King durian, highest in price, all flesh and small seed in the middle.
The most sought-after Musang King durian, highest in price, all flesh and small seed in the middle. | Source

12. National Monument

This bronze monument was built to commemorate those who died for Malaysia during its struggle for freedom, and during World War II and the Malayan Emergency. The monument was sculpted by Felix de Weldon in 1966. A memorial of Malaysia's second Prime Minister, The Tun Razak Memorial, is next to the National Monument.

National Monument
National Monument | Source
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple | Source

13. Sri Maha Mariamman Temple

Not far from Petaling Street is an Indian Temple called Sri Maha Mariamman which was built in 1873. Like most Indian temples, the Sri Maha Mariamman is decorated with carvings of Hindu dieties, embellishments, motifs and precious stones. There are many small stalls outside the temple selling sweet smelling garlands and flowers.

14. Muzium Negara

This was the site of the old Selangor Museum which was established in 1898. The Muzium Negara was built after Malaysia gained independence and it was officially opened on 31 August 1963. Exhibits of Malaysia and its historical background are on display at Muzium Negara. A number of attractions can be found in the museum grounds, including Istana Satu which was the palace of one of the sultans of Malaysia, the bust of Sir Francis Light and a pioneer cable car.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Blue MosqueInside the National MosqueSultan Abdul Samad Building
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque | Source
Inside the National Mosque
Inside the National Mosque | Source
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad Building | Source

15. Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque in Shah Alam is one of the most spectacular structures in Malaysia. Its real name is Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque but is often referred to as the Blue Mosque because of its blue dome. The main prayer hall and dome is decorated with Islamic calligraphy and ethnic designs.

16. National Mosque

The National Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the region, with a capacity of 15,000 people. It was built in 1965 and underwent major renovations in 1987 to include claddings on the concrete roof. The mosque is well decorated with Islamic calligraphy, traditional artwork and ornaments.

17. Jamek Mosque

This is the oldest mosque in the city. It was built in 1909 and situated at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers where Kuala Lumpur derived its name.

18. P. Ramlee Memorial

P. Ramlee was a famous Malaysian singer, actor and composer. This former residence of P.Ramlee is now a national heritage and memorial dedicated to him and his late wife, Saloma who was a former singer and actress.

19. KL Tower

The KL Tower stands at 94 metres and is a prominent feature in Kuala Lumpur. It offers a panaromic view of the city and its surroundings. The architectural designs of the building include Arabic and Islamic scripts.

20. Sultan Abdul Samad Building

This building with Moorish designs is located along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Constructed in 1897, it was used by the British administration in Malaya to house government departments. Today, it is used by the Supreme Court and High Court.

The Curve Mall in Petaling Jaya has a night market on weekends. Night markets are popular in Kuala Lumpur. Again: BEWARE of pickpockets!!
The Curve Mall in Petaling Jaya has a night market on weekends. Night markets are popular in Kuala Lumpur. Again: BEWARE of pickpockets!! | Source

21. Little India Brickfields

Brickfields was a brick-making centre in the late nineteenth century. This area is now a busy place rich in Indian culture. There are many buildings for spiritual worship and prayers, like temples, mosques and even churches. The smell of curries makes it a must to stop for lunch in this place.

22. Istana Budaya

Istana Budaya is the national theatre that has the most sophisticated decorations. The interior was made from marble and wood which was handcrafted. The building holds annual events, concerts and performances from both local and international performing groups.

Rhinocerous hornbill at the bird park
Rhinocerous hornbill at the bird park | Source

23. Zoo Negara

The Zoo Negara was opened in 1963 by Malaysia's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Many species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds are displayed at the zoo. There is also a night zoo that operates after sunset.

24. Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

The Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park is the largest landscaped garden in the world that houses over 5,000 butterflies together with exotic plants, turtles, insects and fish. The museum onsite has a large collection of the world's butterflies and insects. This place is definitely worth a visit.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Butterflies at KL Butterfly Park.Hornbill at the KL Bird Park.Orang utan at Zoo Negara.Flamingos at Zoo Negara.
Butterflies at KL Butterfly Park.
Butterflies at KL Butterfly Park. | Source
Hornbill at the KL Bird Park.
Hornbill at the KL Bird Park. | Source
Orang utan at Zoo Negara.
Orang utan at Zoo Negara. | Source
Flamingos at Zoo Negara.
Flamingos at Zoo Negara. | Source

25. KL Bird Park

The KL Bird Park is located in the Perdana Botanical Gardens. There are displays of more than 3,000 birds in the bird park, with exotic species of ducks, eagles and hornbills.

26. Perdana Botanical Gardens

This is the oldest and most popular park in Kuala Lumpur. The old name for Perdana Botanical Gardens was Lake Gardens. The area was used by the British to build their homes during the colonial times. The park is now landscaped and has trails for people who frequent the place for jogging and exercise activities.

27. National Science Centre

Located in Bukit Kiara, the National Science Centre was opened in 1996 to provide hands-on learning for students. It has an underwater walk-through aquarium and several galleries containing different exhibits on scientific themes.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Murugan statue at the entrance to Batu Caves in Gombak.Cars and tourist buses entering the carpark to the Batu Caves. Inside Batu Caves.
Murugan statue at the entrance to Batu Caves in Gombak.
Murugan statue at the entrance to Batu Caves in Gombak. | Source
Cars and tourist buses entering the carpark to the Batu Caves.
Cars and tourist buses entering the carpark to the Batu Caves. | Source
Inside Batu Caves.
Inside Batu Caves. | Source

28. Batu Caves

Take the KTM Komuter Train from KL Sentral station to go to Batu Caves.

The Batu Caves is located in Gombak outside Kuala Lumpur city. This 400 million-year-old limestone hill is a popular attraction in the state of Selangor. At the Batu Caves, there is a series of Hindu cave temples and caves. At the main entrance to the caves is a large statue of the Hindu God. There is a steep climb of 272 steps before one can get to the caves and be greeted by a troop of wild monkeys in the area!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Foggy morning in Genting Highlands.This is what the view looks like in a cable car to Genting Highlands.
Foggy morning in Genting Highlands.
Foggy morning in Genting Highlands. | Source
This is what the view looks like in a cable car to Genting Highlands.
This is what the view looks like in a cable car to Genting Highlands. | Source

29. Genting Highlands

Even though Genting lies in the neighbouring state of Pahang, most visitors in Kuala Lumpur will spend a day or two at this cool highland attraction which sits at an altitude of 2000 metres above sea level. Genting Highlands is about an hour's drive from the city. For a more breathtaking ride over the rainforests and into the clouds, visitors can take the Genting and Awana Skyways cable cars at the foot of the highlands. The main attractions include the casinos, fun rides, theme parks, arcades, restaurants, shopping complexes, cinemas and other entertainment activities.

30. Sepang International Circuit

Another pride of Malaysia is the Sepang International Circuit which began hosting the Formula One in 1999. This Formula One Circuit is not far from the KL International Airport (also known as KLIA).

Shopping complexes are huge in Genting.
Shopping complexes are huge in Genting. | Source

Places to see in Kuala Lumpur

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sunway Lagoon Theme ParkSunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
Sunway Lagoon Theme Park | Source
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall | Source

Bonus Sights Near Kuala Lumpur

Sunway Lagoon

Just 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur is the Sunway Lagoon, an amusement park which was opened in 1993 in Petaling Jaya. There are more than 80 rides and attractions from several different theme parks in the area. Other activities include surfing, bungee jumping, wall climbing and mountain biking.

Sunway Pyramid

For visitors who couldn't get enough of shopping in Kuala Lumpur, head over to the nearby Sunway Pyramid shopping mall in Selangor, which can be easily identified by its Egyptian pyramid shape. The monumental Sphinx welcomes shoppers at the entrance of the mall. There are shops and restaurants at the mall, as well as a bowling alley, an ice-skating rink, a digital centre for electronic savvy shoppers, and much more.

Tea plantations on Cameron Highlands
Tea plantations on Cameron Highlands | Source

Cameron Highlands

Another place of interest in the state of Pahang is the Cameron Highlands which is about 3.5 hours' drive from Kuala Lumpur. This is Malaysia's largest highland resort which offers relaxing activities at 1500 metres above sea level. Holiday makers can visit the little villages, a strawberry farm, a butterfly farm, honey bee farm and tea plantations in this highland region.

Cameron Highlands

© 2012 lady rain

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    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 weeks ago from Mississauga, ON

      Wow! One of the best articles on Malaysia.

      When my family and I (4 in numbers) visited Kuala Lumpur, it felt like second home. It was a first world countries with eastern hospitality. We were there for 10 days and explored Selangor like crazy. We may end up visiting it again soon.

    • profile image

      Juan Carlos 2 years ago

      Thank you for your lovely comments the best night life is along Bukit Bintang

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 3 years ago from Australia

      Thish, you should be able to find nori seaweed in all major supermarkets in Malaysia.

    • Thish profile image

      Ohla 3 years ago

      what is the best place to buy nori/seaweed?

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 4 years ago from Australia

      jun, Sabah is part of Malaysia so you should have no problem going there if your tourist visa allows you to visit Malaysia. If in doubt, you can also check with the passport office or your travel agent before you book your ticket.

    • profile image

      jun 4 years ago

      i want to visit KL with my brother this holiday season after maybe christmas day here in d philipines.. we're still waiting for our tourist passport for releasing. i want to visit beautiful places of KL. i hav relatives in sadakan, sabah,malaysia but my question is if im in kualalumpur can i visit also sandakan using my tourist passport? pls reply.. thank u

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 4 years ago from Australia

      Iammattdoran, it's great to hear you have been to KL before. I hope you'll get the chance to visit the place again and do more of the other activities. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

    • Iammattdoran profile image

      Matt Doran 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

      I could have done with reading this hub before I went to KL last summer. I had a great time but didn't do many of the things on your list. My highlight was Petronas Towers but was a bit disappointed with the Batu Caves

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 4 years ago from Australia

      Anna, it's nice to know you live in KL. I love the food there, too! Thank you for commenting :)

    • Anna Evanswood profile image

      Anna Evanswood 4 years ago from Malaysia

      I live in Kl and you have mentioned some great places to visit:) thank you.

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      Glass-Jewelry, multiculturalism plays an important part in Malaysia. The people from different ethnic backgrounds learn to respect each other and at the same time, they practice their own cultures while they open up to western influences. Thank you for stopping by and leaving comment here. Much appreciated!

    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 5 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      This is a very charming place, very different from what we are used to live us Westerners.

      It is interesting to note that although Eastern cities such as Kuala Lumpur have been developed trying to imitate the Western model, however, they have maintained their typical essence of the manners and customs of the worlds of the Far East.

      Beautiful article!

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      nikhilchandra, thank you for your kind comment :)

    • nikhilchandra profile image

      Nikhil Chandra 5 years ago from New Delhi

      Now this will indeed come handy to anyone making their travel plan. Nicely done.

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      holidaytodubai - no, I didn't miss the Sepang International Circuit, it's halfway down the page after the paragraph on Batu Caves.

    • holidaytodubai profile image

      Kevin Bryan 5 years ago from Dubai

      No doubt KL is the amazing multi cultural destination. I have been there many times in the past and now it is like a home for me. I think you missed the Formula 1 Track which is also known as Sepang International Circuit.

      In Sepang International Circuit, Go Kart is open for public and the track is designed by renowned F1 Track designer, Hermann Tilk. You can experience the thrill by driving on this track.

      Btw, it is not FREE!

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      lelaiskandar, the local people are right - the towers do look like huge corns! Thank you for stopping by to leave comment :)

    • lelaiskandar profile image

      Iskandar Suhaimi 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Wow! Awesome recommendations there. Didn't know that some people call the KLCC Towers as the twin corns.

    • lady rain profile image
      Author

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      travel man, I hope you'll be able to visit Kuala Lumpur some day. Thank you for your lovely comment.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I've never been to Malaysia, although our ship (tanker or cargo) usually anchor near its waterways for our bunkering operation in Singapore.

      Thanks for a first-rate info regarding Kuala Lumpur. :)

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