The Malaysian capital has always been a hot spot for a short getaway. It is well loved for its delish street food, plethora of shopping malls, charming landmarks and fun attractions.
Here are eight of our favourite things to do in the lively city of Kuala Lumpur (KL).
1. Catch breathtaking views at Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 9am to 9pm (closed on Monday unless it is a public holiday)
No visit to KL would be complete without a visit to Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s tallest twin towers and the city’s crown jewel. This iconic 88-floor landmark stands tall as the symbol of Malaysia’s modernity while still paying homage to the country’s Muslim heritage, as seen in the towers’ Islamic architectural influences and motifs.
Soak up stunning panoramic views of the city from the two-storey Skybridge that connects both towers at a lofty height of 170m above the ground. Thereafter, head up to the Observatory Deck on the 86th floor of Tower 2 where you’ll get to look through a telescope to marvel at the cityscape while also learning about the building’s history and architecture through state-of-the-art visual displays.
While you’re in the area, pop by Marini’s On 57, a rooftop bar and Italian restaurant located on the 57th floor of Menara 3 Petronas. Sip on cocktails and dig into its signature pizzas and pastas while enjoying an unbeatable bird’s-eye view of the KL city centre.
2. Get up close to majestic marine life at Aquaria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Open daily from 10am to 8pm
Ranked as one of the top five aquariums in Asia, the state-of-the-art Aquaria KLCC is home to 5,000 land bound and aquatic creatures.
Explore the aquarium on a 90m-long underwater walkway and admire marine creatures such as Sand Tiger Sharks, lethal Sea Snakes, Blue Rays, bright Coral Fish, Giant Groupers, Green Sea Turtles, Seahorses and more.
Take your time to explore the exhibits such as Touch Zone, Evolution Zone, Flooded Forest, Jewels of Jungle, Living Ocean, Shipwreck, Station Aquarius, and Weird and Wonderful.
Take note of the daily feeding sessions where professional aquarists hand-feed sharks, electric eels and Japanese spider crabs.
3. Shop all day at Mid Valley Megamall
Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City
Open daily from 10am to 10pm
It’s possible to spend an entire day at this 1.7-million-square-feet shopping mall which houses over 400 retailers offering everything from fashion, lifestyle, cosmetics and healthcare to home furnishings, wines, food and entertainment.
Shop at anchor tenants AEON, AEON Big and Metrojaya, or stores of high fashion international brands like H&M, Bershka, Uniqlo, Swarovski, Timberland, Aape and Zara and local brands such as Padini Concept Store. You can also catch a movie at Golden Screen Cinemas.
After all that shopping, fuel up at eateries like Amarin Heavenly Thai, Bushido Modern Yakitori Bar, Grand Taipei, Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar, Madam Kwan’s, Nando’s, Santan Café, Sushi Zanmai and 4FINGERS Crispy Chicken. Or enjoy a cuppa and light bites at GIGI Coffee, Jamaica Blue Fine Coffees, Kedai Kopi Malaya and Zus Coffee.
4. Have supper at Jalan Alor Food Street
Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang
Most stalls open from 5pm till past midnight; some open 24 hours a day
Glorious street food awaits at every corner of KL but real foodies make a beeline for this famous stretch of road in the Bukit Bintang area where dozens of hawker stalls and seafood restaurants stay open till the wee hours of the morning.
For folks who’ve never been there, get ready to be overwhelmed by the blinding lights and sumptuous aromas of dishes. Be sure to order a platter of freshly barbecued chicken wings from Wong Ah Wah Restaurant before heading to Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish for oyster omelette and char kway teow.
Feast on a variety of seafood dishes like Grilled Stingray, Grilled Fish, Salted Egg Yolk Crab, Chilli Crab, Stir-Fried Squid and Barbecue Baked King Prawns, as well as Satay, Fried Mee Mamak and Hokkien Fried Noodles at Restoran Sai Woo.
5. Tucking into curries and sambals at Restoran Kudu Bin Abdul
335 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit
Open daily from 10am to 10pm
Long queues are the norm at this restaurant which has been serving nasi kandar since the 1960s.
Must-order meat and seafood dishes include Ayam Sambal Bawang, Ayam Madu, Squid Sambal and Fish Curry, eaten with lots of steamed rice covered in its signature Kuah Campur (mixed gravy). Add on some cabbage, okra, omelette, half a salted egg or papadam for a deeply satisfying meal.
For the best nasi kandar experience, eat it with your hands – it just tastes better licking the rich curries off your fingers!
6. Explore Muzium Negara and Perdana Botanical Garden
Jalan Damansara • Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana
Museum opens daily from 9am to 5pm
Garden opens daily from 7am to 8pm
Muzium Negara (National Museum) is home to an impressive collection of exhibits dedicated to Malaysian history and culture stored across four main galleries. Learn about the country’s traditional weapons, musical instruments, ancient history, cultural arts and more in a museum designed in the style of a Malay palace.
After immersing in Malaysia’s rich culture, take a walk to the Perdana Botanical Garden, a peaceful park that was established in 1888 by British colonists. A serene lake is located in the centre of the park, surrounded by multiple curated gardens, including the Hibiscus Garden (where Malaysia’s national flower gets the spotlight) and the Sunken Garden (where shrubbery and petunias dot the French-style parterre).
An Instagram hotspot is Laman Perdana, a magnificent square of towering sculptures where events and activities are held. There’s also a Deer Park where you can spot Fallow deer (aka Dama Dama deer) from Holland in a 2-hectare enclosure.
7. Hang out at Petaling Street
Open daily from 10am to 9.30pm; some stalls open from 5pm till past midnight
Petaling Street is the place to experience KL street market culture. The landing point of many Cantonese and Hakka settlers centuries ago is now a pedestrian shopping arcade. Some historic influences remain such as the Chinese-style arches at both ends of the street and various places of worship.
This famous street in KL’s Chinatown is packed with open-air roadside stalls that sell unique gifts, cheap off-brand wares and street snacks. It is also home to a myriad of trendy cafes, hip bars, artsy murals and boutique hotels.
Indulge in some muah chee from Madam Tang Machi PoPo, which is known for its unique flavours like Ribena, pandan and green tea. Then cool down with a cup of cold Air Mata Kucing (longan, winter melon and monkfruit drink) or some Tau Foo Fah (soy bean pudding). Alternatively, kick back with some beer and snacks at a stall while people watching.
8. Have a blast at Sunway Lagoon
3 Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday – 10am to 6pm & 6pm to 11pm (closed on Tuesdays except on Malaysian school & public holidays)
This theme park’s five adventure zones – Water Park, Amusement Park, Wildlife Park, Extreme Park and Scream Park – will guarantee a full day of thrills and spills.
Thrillseekers will want to dive into the belly of Vuvuzela, the world’s largest vortex ride, at the Water Park, and see the world upside down on the Tomahawk and Pirate’s Revenge at the Amusement Park. More thrills await adrenaline junkies at the Bungy Jump, G-Force X and Go Kart at the Extreme Park.
Animal lovers can get up close to over 150 species of animals including white tigers, white lions, otters, sun bears, meerkats, ostriches and hornbills at the Wildlife Park.
*This article has been edited and adapted from Now Boarding by Changi Airport’s “8 things to do in Kuala Lumpur you truly missed”