There are lots of amazing things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, and it seems like we’re discovering more every time we visit.
Not only is Kuala Lumpur the biggest city in Malaysia, but it’s also the 6th most-visited city in the world. If you take any regional flights in Southeast Asia, chances are you’ll transit in KL at some point.
It’s a fun city for families and couples, and it’s pretty easy to get around. The cherry on top is that it’s also very affordable. We’ve stayed in Kuala Lumpur many times over the years, and we always love to go back.
Three of the world’s 10 biggest malls are in KL, and it’s an all-around exciting city for shopping, food, zoos, museums, architecture, and everything else there is to enjoy in a city.
Without further ado, here’s our Kuala Lumpur travel guide, with a complete list of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur city!
Where To Stay
Best Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
1. See The Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are Kuala Lumpur’s most famous landmark, and they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 (when they were bumped off by Taipei 101). They’re still the tallest ‘twin’ towers in the world.
The towers are equally impressive when they’re lit up at night. You can admire them from below, or take a lift up to the top for views of KL city. Either way, good photo ops abound!
If you plan to go to the top of the towers, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance. There can be long queues for tickets sometimes.
Book Now: Petronas Towers Tickets
2. Shop At Suria KLCC Mall
Suria is a fancy mall on the ground floor of the Petronas Towers. With more than 300 stores, it’s one of the biggest shopping malls in Malaysia.
A lot of stores in this mall cater to the luxury crowd, but you don’t have to be rich to shop here. There’s something for everyone.
We usually come here to eat. There’s a good mix of street food type restaurants, dessert shops, western fast food, and more.
3. Visit Aquaria KLCC
This is a state of the art 5,500 square meter aquarium below KLCC that opened in 2005. If you’re scuba certified, you can even dive with sharks here.
Aquaria has over 250 different species and more than 5,000 land and aquatic animals from Malaysia and around the world.
Book Now: Aquaria KLCC Tickets
4. Explore Merdeka Square
This is a historical square with some interesting buildings related to Malaysia’s colonial period and independence. The name means Independence Square.
As a photographer, the highlight of this place would have to be the 19th century Sultan Abdul Samad Building, with its clock tower and copper domes.
5. Visit Thean Hou Temple
This is a Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur with some awesome architecture, and it’s free to visit.
It’s a contemporary building (1980s), but it has all of the classic features that make Chinese cultural objects so cool.
We’ve been to Thean Hou Temple a bunch of times over the years, and it’s always fun to explore.
Read More: Thean Hou Temple
6. Wander Bukit Bintang
Bukit is the shopping and entertainment district of KL, and it’s loaded with malls, clubs, night markets, and more. There’s a wide range of Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese restaurants, along with other eats for just about every nationality.
Major shopping malls here include Pavilion KL, Fahrenheit 88, Starhill Gallery, and Berjaya Times Square. Some of these malls have more than 500 shops each!
Bukit Bintang also has a bunch of neat entertainment museums like MinNature Malaysia, the Museum of Illusions, and the Selfie Museum.
7. Stroll Jalan Alor Street
This street is part of the Bukit Bintang district and it’s popular for having lots of street food and colorful street art. It’s a fun place to take photos.
There are bright murals of waterfalls, jungles, animals and people, garden scenes, and more. These are marked on Google Maps as Lane 1 and Lane 2, but if you look around in the side streets you might find others!
Book Now: Kuala Lumpur Instagram Tour
8. Climb The KL Tower
The KL Tower is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world, and it’s a great place to get a 360-degree view of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia!
You can take an elevator to the top of the building and walk the observation deck that wraps around the tower, and there’s even a glass cube called the Sky Box where you can get your picture taken while sitting on glass panels above the city.
The ground floor of KL Tower has restaurants, souvenir shops, and a mini zoo.
9. Visit KL Bird Park
This bird park is home to almost 3,000 local and foreign birds of more than 200 different species.
We didn’t think this park was as good as the Bali Bird Park in Indonesia, but it’s still worth a visit.
They have giant walk-in aviaries where the birds are free to fly around in a natural environment.
Book Now: KL Bird Park Tickets + Transfer
10. Explore The Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are a short 20 minute drive from the city, and it can be a refreshing change of scenery from the skyline in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
These are big limestone hills with huge caves to explore via a set of rainbow stairs, and there’s a 40 meter (140 foot) tall golden statue of a Hindu deity.
After climbing the rainbow stairs (272 total), you can look around in the caves and interact with some wild monkeys.
Read More: Batu Caves
Book Now: Batu Caves Half-Day Tour
11. See The Monkeys Of Bukit Melawati
This place is a 1 hour drive from the city, but we’d still rank it as one of the best things to do near Kuala Lumpur! You can go by private taxi, bus, or tour.
It’s a scenic hill overlooking the Malacca Strait, with a colonial fort, old cannons, and a lighthouse built by the Dutch in 1794.
The silver leaf monkeys are the star attraction at Melawati. They’re very friendly and not mischievous at all, unlike the wild long-tailed macaques with the gray fur (which you can also see at this place).
The grownup leaf monkeys are black, but the babies are covered in bright orange fur! These monkeys are incredibly photogenic and you can buy sweet potatoes to feed them.
Book Now: Kuala Selangor Wildlife Tour
12. Swim In A Rooftop Pool
Kuala Lumpur has lots of hotels with spectacular rooftop pools, where you can take a swim while enjoying the skyline and city landmarks like the Petronas Towers and KL Tower.
These hotels are surprisingly affordable, and you can sometimes find rooms for as low as 200 Ringgit ($50 USD) per night. We’ve stayed in a few of these hotels over the years, and it’s always a great experience.
Here are some of our top recommendations, in no particular order:
13. See The Putra Mosque
This is a pink domed mosque in Putrajaya, about 30 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur city. Tourists can go inside for free.
The Persian architecture of this building is beautiful inside and out. It’s great for photos!
14. Day Trip To Malacca
After you get done seeing the best sights in KL city, it’s also worth taking a day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca, the historic coastal city where Malaysia began.
Malacca is only a 2 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, so a day trip gives you enough time to visit sights like St. Peter’s Church, Jonker Street, the Portuguese settlement, and other important places in the port town.
GetYourGuide has Malacca day tours that include hotel pickup and drop-off, free lunch, and a full tour of many of the best sights in Malacca city. Highly recommended!
Book Now: Malacca Day Tour From Kuala Lumpur
15. Day Trip To Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands are another great place you can visit on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur city, although it’s quite a long drive so it will take a full day (12 hours) to see and do everything. That means a morning pickup and evening return.
Aside from enjoying the cool mountain air, which is quite a bit nicer than the hot and humid climate in the city, you can also see a tea plantation, strawberry farm, and the Lata Iskandar waterfall. It’s a good experience.
GetYourGuide has day tours to the Cameron Highlands that include hotel pickup and drop-off, free lunch, and a full tour of many of the best sights in the area. This is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to go there!
Book Now: Cameron Highlands Day Tour
Best Kuala Lumpur Tours
If you want to travel Kuala Lumpur as conveniently as possible and see everything with a vetted tour company, there are plenty of options.
We’ve used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great. Highly recommended!
Kuala Lumpur Hotels
How To Get Around Kuala Lumpur
There are lots of ways to get around Kuala Lumpur city. You can go by train, bus, taxi, tour, self drive, or ride hailing.
When we visit Malaysia, we normally use the Grab ride hailing app for short trips in Kuala Lumpur, and sometimes the train or bus for longer journeys. Grab is the local equivalent of Uber, and it works great for getting around KL.
The trains in the city pass by iconic attractions like KLCC and the Central Market, and there are free purple ‘Go KL’ buses that circle the popular tourist sights and shopping districts.
The Grab app is the easiest transport to use and the fares are surprisingly low compared to what you might pay for a car ride in western countries. It’s also safer than hopping in a random taxi, and you’re less likely to be scammed.