Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and its largest city. Kuala Lumpur is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia, and it’s a city you shouldn’t miss during your Asia trip. There are lots of things to do in Kuala Lumpur and in this blog, we share our complete Kuala Lumpur sightseeing guide.
Kuala Lumpur is not a city with a long history. It is generally believed that Kuala Lumpur became established as a town around 1857. When the British colonial administration moved the state capital of Selangor to Kuala Lumpur in 1880, Kuala Lumpur began to improve after almost being destroyed by various fires and floods. Kuala Lumpur grew rapidly in the 20th century and has a population of 1.768 million in 2015. The population of Kuala Lumpur is a mix of Malay (44.7%), Chinese (43.7%) and Indian (10.3%) ethnicities, resulting in a diverse and multi-cultural population.
Petronas Twin Towers
You haven’t been to Kuala Lumpur if you haven’t seen the Petronas Twin Towers with your own eyes. The Petronas Twin Towers are a must visit attraction in Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Towers are the most iconic landmarks of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. Although the towers are gorgeous at night (the lighting is perfect), they are definitely worth a visit during the day as well. No matter what time of the day you get there, you’ll always see other tourists taking photos. Both towers have 88 floors with a connecting sky bridge at levels 41 and 42. There is an observation platform on level 86 which is open to the public. It’s also possible to visit the sky bridge on level 41. We didn’t go up the towers as we think it’s the most beautiful structure of Kuala Lumpur and the view is not so good without the Petronas Towers in it.
RM 85 (adult)
Check this website for current ticket prices.
(Closed between 13:00-14:30 on Fridays)
KLCC Park is a public park located behind the Petronas Twin Towers, and it’s a nice place to stroll around. KLCC Park offers a beautiful view of the Towers, with signs indicating the perfect photo spots. As the park generally isn’t very crowded, it’s possible to take a photo with the Towers without people in the background. KLCC Park is absolutely one of the most Instagrammable places in Kuala Lumpur, and it should be on everyone’s Kuala Lumpur itinerary!
No entrance fee
How to get to the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park
The Petronas Towers and KLCC Park are both located in the city center of Kuala Lumpur. The nearest LRT station is KLCC and is located right across the street, as well as KLCC bus station. The nearest monorail station is Bukit Nanas, a 15-minute walk from the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park.
Kuala Lumpur Tower
Besides the Petronas Twin Towers, the Kuala Lumpur Tower is the other iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. The KL Tower is the seventh tallest telecommunication tower in the world. With its 421 meters, it’s impressively large standing at its feet. The Kuala Lumpur Tower has two observation decks. There’s a windowed observation deck located at 276 meters and an open-aired Sky Deck located at 300 meters above ground. At the Sky Deck, there are two Sky Boxes which are extended glass boxes in which you can see the ground below you. A picture of you will be taken in the Sky Box looking out over the Petronas Towers. After having your picture taken by the KL Tower photographer, it’s also possible to shoot your own pictures. The Sky Box is one of the most Instagrammable places in Kuala Lumpur, so don’t forget to bring your camera (or phone). We definitely recommend going up the KL Tower as the views over the Kuala Lumpur skyline are amazing. The Sky Deck on top of the KL Tower is Kuala Lumpur’s main attraction and you shouldn’t miss it!
RM 105 (Adult Sky Deck ticket, includes Sky Box and Observation Deck)
Check this website for current ticket prices. Combination tickets with other attractions are available as well.
How to get to Kuala Lumpur Tower
The nearest monorail station is Bukit Nanas which is a 25-minute walk away from the KL Tower. The nearest LRT station is Masjid Jamek and is half an hour away from the Tower by foot. It’s a 30-minute walk from the Petronas Towers to the KL Tower.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a must visit place in Kuala Lumpur as it’s one of the few old buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The building was originally built to house offices of the British colonial administration. Ironically, every 31st of August, the official annual celebration of the Malaysian independence is being held at the square in front of the building, the Merdeka, or Independence Square. The architectural style of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is variously described as Indo-Saracenic, Neo-Mughal or Moorish. The Building is not open to the public, but we loved strolling around the area and taking pictures of the building.
Nearby the Sultan Abdul Samad Building you’ll find the Jamek Mosque, which is officially named the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque. The Jamek Mosque is the oldest, still standing mosque of Kuala Lumpur which makes it a loved tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. The architectural design of the Mosque is similar to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Until 1965, the Jamek Mosque served as Kuala Lumpur’s main mosque. You can walk around the mosque to soak in its beauty, but the mosque is also open to the public after prayer times (apart from Fridays). Make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing when you’re visiting the Mosque, ensuring your shoulders and knees are covered. Headscarves can be borrowed at the Mosque’s entrance.
Saturday-Thursday: 9:00-12:00 & 14:30-16:00
No entrance fee
How to get to Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Masjid Jamek
The easiest way to get there is by going to the nearest LRT station: Masjid Jamek. This station is right across the street of the Mosque. It’s a 3-minute walk from the Mosque to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.
Perdana Botanical Garden
The Perdana Botanical Garden, also known as Lake Gardens, is a huge park in the heart of the city. The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Hibiscus Garden and Orchid Garden tourist attractions are all located in the Botanical Garden. We just explored the park for a while but didn’t go to any of these tourist attractions. We didn’t even know where they were as the Botanical Garden is so huge. We felt like we’ve only seen 10% of the place! Make sure you check out the Canopy at the Main Square of the Perdana Botanical Garden, it’s the perfect spot for some (Instagram) photos!
The cafés in the Botanical Garden are daily open from 09:00-18:00. Bicycles are available for rental for 3RM for 30 minutes. Guided walks are provided on Sundays from 8:00-10:00, free of charge. Within the Botanical Garden, a daily shuttle tram is available to take visitors to all the attractions. Tickets cost RM 4 and are valid throughout the day of purchase.
No entrance fee for the Botanical Garden. Entrance fees might apply for other attractions in the Garden.
How to get to Perdana Botanical Garden
The nearest public transport stations are the old railway station Kuala Lumpur (KMUTER line) and KL Sentral station, both within walking distance of the Gardens.
Taman Tasik Titiwangsa
Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, or Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, is a park in Titiwangsa featuring a huge lake. The main reason for us to visit the lake was because of the amazing view over Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. Standing at the northern end of the lake, you can see the whole city including the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower. This makes it a great (Instagrammable) photo spot. You can stroll around the lake by foot or you can rent a bike in the park. There are different stalls around the lake selling food and drinks. Oh, and you can take a helicopter tour if you’re into that!
No entrance fee
How to get to the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens
The closest public transport station to Taman Tasik Titiwangsa is LRT station Titiwangsa which is a 30-minute walk away from the park.
Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Bintang is considered Kuala Lumpur’s shopping and entertainment district. Bukit Bintang includes Jalan Bukit Bintang and its immediate surrounding areas. Jalan Alor is the place to go for Asian street food. It’s often called the cultural heart of Kuala Lumpur’s local cuisine. Here, you can find hawker stalls serving a variety of Asian foods. If you’re looking for bustling night life, you have to go to the Changkat area in Bukit Bintang. You can find many bars and restaurants in this street and the area comes to life after dark.
There are many options for shopping and entertainment in Bukit Bintang. Berjaya Times Square is a mall with over 1000 retail stores and 65 food outlets. The mall is famous for its entertainment: there is a nine-screen cinema, Asia’s largest indoor theme park and a 48-lane bowling alley. Other shopping malls in the area are Pavilion KL, Lot, Starhill Gallery, Fahrenheit 88, Low Yat Plaza and Sungei Wang. If you feel like shopping, you should absolutely go to Bukit Bintang. You could easily spend an entire day in the area as there are so many malls!
How to get to Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Bintang is best reachable by Monorail. The Monorail station closest to Berjaya Times Square is Stesen Monorail Imbi. The station closest to Pavilion is Raja Chulan. From these two station, every place in Bukit Bintang is within 10 minutes walking distance.
Best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is home to many amazing shopping malls. On a rainy day, it’s the perfect activity to head to one or more malls to spend the day shopping. Asian malls are famous for their seasonal decorations, and these malls all no exception. Make sure to snap the Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter or any other decorations while you’re visiting the malls!
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Whenever we’re in Kuala Lumpur, we always return to Pavilion. Pavilion offers a wide-range of brands, both luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, but also international brands like Forever 21 and JD Sports. To fulfill Joop’s electronics needs, there are a few electronics stores as well. There’s a Marché Mövenpick restaurant on the ground bottom floor, which we love going to. We keep returning to Pavilion as the mall is easy to navigate through and we love the stores they’re offering. We also love the seasonal decorations in Pavilion. If you’re going to Pavilion, make sure to get a photo with the iconic fountain in front of the building.
Every time we visit Kuala Lumpur, we make sure to see the iconic Petronas Towers and pay a visit to Suria KLCC, the mall right next to the towers. You can find a wide-range of brands in Suria KLCC, including Vans, Adidas Originals and AW Lab, which are among our favorites. If you’re looking for new gadgets, make sure to stop by the Xiaomi store, the Sony store and the Oppo Store. Every evening, there’s a fountain light show just outside Suria KLCC in KLCC Park, which is absolutely worth checking out!
Mid Valley Megamall and the Gardens Mall
Mid Valley is one of the largest malls in Southeast Asia and you can easily spend an entire day here. The Megamall offers more than 400 stores including a huge cinema. The Gardens Mall is linked to Mid Valley via a pedestrian bridge and houses high-end luxury brands like Gucci, Hermes and Burberry. You can find almost every brand in either Mid Valley Megamall or the Gardens Mall. If you feel like dedicating your day to shopping, it’s a must to head here!
Central Market isn’t really a shopping mall, but it’s more an open-air and indoor market. If you’re looking for (unique) souvenirs then you really have to go here. Central Market is often promoted as a must visit tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur, but we don’t necessarily agree with that. If you’re into these kinds of markets, it’s a fun place to walk around, otherwise you won’t miss anything.
Getting around Kuala Lumpur
Public transport in Kuala Lumpur isn’t as good as in other comparable large cities in Asia. Depending on your location, getting somewhere by public transport can take a while. Furthermore, some tourist attractions are not very easily reachable by public transport, such as the KL Tower and Taman Tasik Titiwangsa. Therefore, it’s sometime easier to take a taxi or a Grab, which aren’t expensive at all. In any case, make sure you always check traffic before taking a taxi, in Google Maps for example. There are huge traffic jams in the afternoon almost every day that last until late in the evening. You might be stuck in traffic for hours when taking a taxi and wished you had walked!
Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever visited any of these places and which ones you’d still want to visit!
Be sure to check out more of our visual experiences on Instagram!