Kuala Lumpur

Insider's Guide - What to do and Where to go in Kuala Lumpur

If you’re looking for a place to relax, learn more about Asian culture, indulge in some amazing dishes and enjoy some drinks on rooftop bars, you need to visit Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s capital! 

Malaysia is a beautiful country that hasn’t yet been overrun by tourists and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The intriguing combination of Malay, Indian, and Chinese culture blended together makes it one of the most interesting places in Southeast Asia and this is reflected in the city’s history and landmarks. While there is a lot of interesting history to explore, the future looks just as bright! 

Kuala Lumpur is very much plugged into the modern world, and this shows in a creative contemporary art and design scene, an ambitious riverbank regeneration project and new, dynamic architecture popping up all over the city. 

Sightseeing & Attractions

KL TV Tower Kuala Lumpur Communications Tower

The Kuala Lumpur Communications Tower was built in 1995. Ever since then, it has fascinated people for its impressive height of 421 meters with an antenna. 

Also known as the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower, it is situated atop the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, and it was made sure that the construction of the tower would keep the nature here intact. 

In fact, the builders managed to preserve a 100-year-old Jelutong tree by building a protective wall around it. What makes this tower remarkable is the fact that it’s the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world. Initially, it was built to increase the quality of broadcasting. 

However, today, the KL Tower is a popular tourist attraction. Enjoy the stunning views from the 360 degree observation deck or even treat yourself to dinner in the revolving restaurant(see the 'Atmosphere 360' in the 'Food' section for more info on this)! 

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers KL

The Petronas Twin Towers are two buildings with 88 floors, which were considered the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. The building name is short for Petroliam Nasional Bhd, the local petroleum corporation. 

The towers have a bridge between the 41st and 42nd floors known as the double-decker Sky Bridge, featuring a glass platform that gives you a great view of the surroundings. 

Tickets include going up the towers, stopping at the Sky Bridge, and then heading up to the 88th floor where you can view the entire city from the observation deck. 

The Petronas Twin Towers not only offer a great view of the city, but also have a mall right below the building, as well as Petronas Art Gallery and Petrosains Science Center which is an interactive science discovery center. 

Tickets to go up the towers are limited as only 1,000 people per day can enter. So, the earlier you get there, the better! 

The ticket office opens at 8.30am, but do keep in mind many people get there as early as 6.30am to wait in line to get tickets.

Merdeka Square 

Merdeka Square KL

Merdeka Square is undoubtedly KL’s best known landmark. It has great symbolic meaning as this is where Malaysia proclaimed its independence (merdeka) in 1957. 

Also called Dataran Merdeka, the square is surrounded by heritage buildings including the magnificent Sultan Abdul Samad Building and St Mary's Anglican Cathedral, both designed by A. C. Norman. 

Merdeka Square boasts perfectly manicured green lawns and a centrepiece of the tallest flagpole in the world (95 meters) proudly displaying the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian flag). 

Come here to relax and take in the amazing architecture and colonial history of the city! 

Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple, Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur is a melting pot of cultures, with a large number of religious sites to explore. From Buddhist temples and mosques to Hindu temples, there are so many to visit.

But, even if religious sites aren’t really your thing, there’s one temple that you should add to your bucket list, and that’s Thean Hou.

This is one of the largest and oldest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia. It’s a six-tiered Buddhist temple that was constructed between 1981 and 1987. 

The structural design represents a successful combination of contemporary architectural style and traditional designs with complex finishings and ornate carvings. 

The intricate detail is incredible. Explore the different levels of the temple, wander round the shops and even grab some lunch in the food court. 

The temple also features stunning gardens for you to relax in. Entrance is free but a small donation is expected. To beat the crowds I’d definitely get there as early as possible (opening hours are 9am - 6pm every day).


Batu Caves 

Batu Caves KL

You can’t go to Kuala Lumpur and leave without visiting the Batu Caves. Found just outside the city center in the suburb of Selangor, the Batu Caves are one of the biggest tourist attractions. 

The caves are a national treasure, and they make for some really cool photos on Instagram! Rising hundreds of meters above the ground, the monument is basically a series of caves and cave temples that were discovered within a huge limestone hill. 

Incredibly, it is believed that the limestone formations are about 400 million years old! 

Naturalists and explorers have been fascinated by the sight and written about it since the 1800s. Visiting the Batu Caves is a beautiful and intriguing experience, that is definitely not to be missed!

Perdana Botanical Gardens 

Perdana Botanical Garden

The Perdana Botanical Garden (also known as the Lake Gardens) is a peaceful, green respite hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur city center. Lush, alive, and buzzing with life, the public space contains many interesting and free attractions for escaping the city. 

You can explore landscaped gardens, a lake, even a miniature Stonehenge replica – all for free! Easily accessible by walking, train, or bus, the Perdana Botanical Garden is located just southwest of Chinatown near Merdeka square. 

Spread over 220 acres in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, the Lake Gardens' botanical park feels like an island of green calm, far removed from the city's chaos. Dreamy! 

Forest Eco Park 

KL Forest Eco Park

KL Forest Eco Park is one of the best free activities in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a rainforest oasis right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur city center and the park is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in Malaysia. In order to bring tourism and life to the park, Malaysia installed an amazing 200m canopy walk. 

The aerial canopy walk provides visitors with a great view of Kuala Lumpur and the rainforest. Unfortunately this park is only a fraction of what once was there. 

Due to development of the city, including the KL Tower, the park has reduced in size over the years from 17.5 hectares to only 9 hectares today. 

But the KL Forest Eco Park is still a gorgeous spot for a stroll in the city. It is also one of the best Instagram spots! The park gets quite busy after 10am, so it’s best to get there early to avoid the crowds.

Although it’s a relatively small space there are numerous things to do in the park, including: the canopy walk, hikes and nature trails, the herbal garden and the Timber Product Gallery. 

The park is open from 7am to 7pm daily and it’s completely free!

KL Bird Park

KL Bird Park

The largest walk-in aviary in Asia at 20.9 acres, the KL Bird Park is home to 200 species of birds from all over the world. Its free-flight concept allows the birds to fly around (which they do if the weather isn’t too hot). Favorites include the giant hornbill, dancing flamingos and chattering macaws.



Grandmama's Restaurant KL

Trying out some local food should definitely be on your list of what to do in KL. Local dishes include: Nasi Lemak, one of the most traditional dishes in Malaysia! 

It’s basically rice cooked with coconut milk, usually served with eggs, fried fish, and some kind of curry. Ikan Bakar is grilled fish marinated in local spices, wrapped in banana leaves and left to grill on charcoal. 

Roti Canai is a type of fried bread made with wheat flour, butter, and oil. Cendol is the most typical and popular dessert in KL - it looks like green worms but it’s really sweet noodles made with rice or bean flour mixed with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup, all on top of shaved ice. 

It sounds weird but the combination is amazing! Try all of these dishes and more at Grandmama’s. Grandmama’s is a friendly (and lively) local restaurant found in the Pavilion Mall where you will experience the most traditional flavors of Malaysia and their dishes are only made with the best fresh ingredients.

Plane in the City

Plane in the City KL

Plane In The City is a completely new and unique dining experience on an actual aircraft in the center of KL. You’ve probably never dined like this on a plane before. 

If you happen to see an actual Boeing 737 parked in the middle of Jalan Bukit Bintang, don’t be surprised! By the same people who brought Dinner In The Sky to KL, their latest unique dining experience is Plane In The City. 

Each dinner session can only fit up to 20 guests and diners are served a three-course meal prepared by Le Méridien on the aircraft itself. 

Although the plane doesn’t actually take off during your meal, this exclusive 90-minute experience is guaranteed to be exciting. 

When booking your slot for Plane In The City, you can pick between Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class. The Plane In The City experience even includes a session to walk on the plane’s wings. 

How many people can say that they’ve done that? Throughout the duration of the dinner, you’re also free to hop in and check out the inside of the cockpit. There’s even a pilot hat for you to wear - photo opportunity! 

Atmosphere 360

Atmosphere 360 KL

Kuala Lumpur’s Atmosphere 360 restaurant has the highest view in town. At 276m, the viewing deck of the KL Tower is about 100m higher than the Petronas Twin Towers’ sky bridge. 

Tables are arranged in a single line around the edge of the restaurant right beside the floor-to-ceiling windows. When you first sit down you don’t notice that the restaurant is moving. 

Then, after a few minutes, you become aware that either the world outside is moving or your table is changing place – one moment you are sitting beside the buffet counter, the next you are beside the grand piano and front entrance. 

It takes more than an hour for the restaurant to do a full circle but you will definitely get to see the Petronas Twin Towers close up during your meal. 

The vibe at Atmosphere 360 is relaxed and sophisticated, and with the intimate table arrangements and romantic, sky-high views, it is a popular place for date nights. 

The buffet spread is set along the walls with three stations and plenty of options to choose from! 


Heli Lounge Bar

Heli Lounge Bar KL

Heli Lounge Bar is a fully functional helipad by day that converts into one of the world’s coolest rooftop bars by night. The complex, located inside the Menara KH building, is made up of two separate levels: a nightclub on the top floor and the helipad bar on the roof above. 

After taking the elevator up to the 34th floor you’ll enter the nightclub area which has a distinctive aviation theme, featuring furniture made from old airplane parts, as well as a bar menu that’s full of creatively named cocktails like the “Fizzy 747” and “Chopper.” 

There’s even an old Boeing 737 side panel that’s been converted into a seating booth and a DJ table made from a turbine engine! 

It's open from 5pm-late every day and at 9pm the party really gets going. Remember a dress code applies here - evening wear and smart casual only, so no flip flops! 

Sky Bar

Sky Bar KL

A glamorous cocktail bar where you’ll find one of the most famous Kuala Lumpur rooftop pools. While the pool is only open to guests at the Traders Hotel, everyone can visit the Sky Bar and enjoy the magical views, fabulous cocktails and lively atmosphere. 

The rooftop bar serves a great range of beer, wines and some really tasty signature cocktails along with both international and local inspired tapas and pizzas. 

It’s open throughout the day, so perfect for both relaxing afternoon cocktails and more nightclub vibes later on, with music from live DJs and a vibrant but still relaxed atmosphere.

Marini’s on 57

Marini's on 57 KL

Marini's on 57 is a fantastic rooftop bar, but also an upscale Italian restaurant and whiskey lounge. All located on the 57th floor of the Petronas Tower 3, where you get some really magical panoramic views of the city skyline, and even cooler up close views of the famous Petronas Towers. 

The rooftop bar is a luxurious spot that usually comes with a chilled out mood along with signature cocktails made by award-winning mixologists and a wide range of Italian bar bites and pizzas. 

Sunset hour is between 5-9pm every night, with some amazing deals on food and drinks.


Central Market

Central Market KL

Central Market is a place you cannot miss. It is actually located in a building called the Pasar Seni which has been around for a very long time. 

The market was first established here in 1888. Only a short walking distance away from the popular Chinatown (Petaling Street), Central Market's location is so strategic that there is no way you can miss it. 

Public transportation here connects the Central Market to all major attractions and hotels in Kuala Lumpur. 

In addition, The KL Sentral rail station is only 1.5 kilometers away from the market, providing easy access to the KL International Airport. 

Central Market started off as a humble wet market in the heart of the city center back in the 1940s. It has evolved a great deal since then and now it stands firm as the landmark which symbolizes all the culture and heritage of KL. 

Embracing its diverse background, you’ll be able to buy pretty much anything at this market! 

Suria KLCC & Pavilion Mall

Pavilion Mall KL

If you love shopping or just like browsing around the stores, you should know that the best Kuala Lumpur shopping malls are Suria KLCC and Pavilion Mall. 

They are both located in the Bukit Bintang area and this is where you will find the fanciest and most chic brands. Pavilion Mall is filled with haute couture shops and the stores are lined with white marble! 

At the entrance you can find the Crystal Fountain - toss your coins for a wish and later these will be collected and donated to charity. Both malls also have a good selection of restaurants, so you can make a day of it!