While Kuala Lumpur is a large, modern metropolis, it is still not too far removed from its rural roots. While it does have glittering shopping malls, monkeys often find their way in. Six-foot snakes slither across its polished sidewalks at times, and crocodiles in the city aren’t unheard of. The rural-urban mix is evident in Kuala Lumpur’s culture too. When this unique mix is put together with the city’s international culture and the country’s moderate Islamic values, Kuala Lumpur becomes a wonderful, energetic place to be in. Here are 10 great ways to have a good time in Kuala Lumpur.
1. The Bird ParkThe vast Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur were established by the British in the 19th century to serve as a refreshing getaway for the city’s residents. Over time, the government has expanded on the idea and improved the gardens. The KL Bird Park, one of the latest additions, is a fascinating place. It’s a walk-in aviary where you get to walk among peacocks, feed parakeets and watch ostriches up close.
2. The Batu CavesThe Batu Caves are a mountain near the Batu River, a short drive outside of Kuala Lumpur. The mountain is famous for two things: the massive Hindu shrine built into the mountain, and the natural, labyrinthine cave system in it. Once you’re done climbing the 272 steps up the mountain to the shrine, you get to explore the caves, too.
3. Bukit CeylonBukit Ceylon is Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife strip; a street full of bars, clubs and restaurants. The entertainment on offer includes jazz bands, funk, and classical piano, among others. You can spend the whole day or/and evening there without getting bored. There’s something for everyone in Bukit Ceylon.
4. Little IndiaIf you’ve never been to India, Kuala Lumpur’s Little India district should be a great introduction to the culture of the subcontinent. Stores selling everything from South Indian food to clothing, spices, flowers and music, fill the market. It’s easy to get hooked to a place so full of sensory stimulation.
5. The Twin TowersFor years, until the Burj-al-Khalifa of Dubai overtook them, the Petronas Twin Towers at 88 stories were the tallest buildings in the world. Clad in shiny stainless steel, the towers are meant to signify the soaring ambitions of the country. While the towers are impressive to look at, you can’t hope for a great view – Kuala Lumpur’s pollution means that all you usually see is haze. The towers have lots of things for you to do, though. From food courts to jogging trails, and even a chance to hear the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in action.
6. The Thean Hou TempleWhile Malaysia is an Islamic country, followers of other religions are free to practice. The Thean Hou Temple atop Robson Heights is a Chinese Buddhist shrine dedicated to the goddess Tian Tou. The temple lights up with activity during the Buddhist festival season.
7. Petaling Street
Petaling Street at the center of old Kuala Lumpur is home to the city’s Chinatown. The neighborhood’s Chinese restaurants, medicine men, temples and markets can be a fascinating look into Malaysia’s Chinese culture. If you like shopping for handicrafts, Petaling market gives you a great selection. Be ready for the hustle and bustle, as well as for spending some cash.
8. Catching a few bazaars at RamadanRamadan, an important Islamic festival, is one of the best times possible to be in Kuala Lumpur. You get to sample festive Malaysian dishes and look at the city’s special Ramadan bazaars. You don’t have to spend lots of money, don’t worry. I highly recommend visiting Ramadan bazaars in Kuala Lumpur; you won’t see such wonderful bazaars in any other modern cities.
9. Fraser’s HillThe Selangor district, a 2-hour drive outside of Kuala Lumpur, is home to the nature reserve of Fraser’s Hill. You get to hike up the hill, ride rented mountain bikes and have fun in general. Fraser’s Hill is also the perfect place for golfers, nature lovers and birdwatchers. There are more than 270 species of local and migratory birds to watch, not to mention the breathtaking scenery.
10. Bangsar Village I and IIBangsar Village is a set of two high-end shopping malls that deal in expensive fashion. Spas, restaurants and play centers for children round out the offerings at these malls.
The Royal Selangor Visitor Center routinely makes it to the top of places to look up in Kuala Lumpur. The free guided tour on offer is one reason it gets included. Apart from the complementary guided tour, the place, a famous pewter workshop, is worth a visit in its own right.
Kuala Lumpur has a great number of beautiful sights and interesting attractions. If you are planning a family vacation, Kuala Lumpur may be the best choice. This family-friendly city has something to offer to both adults and children. If you’ve ever visited Kuala Lumpur, alone or with family, please share your favorite places and overall experience with us.