I’ve always thought of Kuala Lumpur as a bit of a mystery. It always seemed to me that other big Asian cities like Singapore or Shanghai get picked first and KL gets a bit overlooked.
However, I feel like Kuala Lumpur is getting more and more interest now - probably because of being a common stopover for flight paths between Australia, Asia and other places. But also it seems Malaysia has opened itself a lot more to tourists - making it more and more popular to visit.
After spending a week for work in Cherating Beach (pictures coming soon on here) I spent a weekend in Kuala Lumpur travelling solo - it was an interesting place to visit and I didn’t love it but still enjoyed discovering some scenery.
Discover my Kuala Lumpur weekend itinerary below and more about my thoughts on the city at the end of this blog post too!
Day 1 - exploring the city centre and see the Petronas Tower at KLCC
It’s actually super easy to go from the airport to the main city - for about 40 AUD you can get a return ticket from the KLIA Ekspres which is the fast train taking you to the city in about 36 minutes.
Depending on how much time you have, start with the essentials first: the Petronas Towers! Since I saw them at night last time I was in KL (for only 2 hours though…) I saw them during the day this time. And it’s probably more impressive at night but still worth it at any time of the day!
Then you can also check the different malls around the area. At first, I found those huge shopping centres with endless shops amusing but after seeing the 8th one within three hours, I really got sick of it. It seems the centre of Kuala Lumpur is nothing but a massive shopping centre!
However, I think the coolest thing to do - especially if it’s on a nice clear day (good luck!) - is to do sunset drinks at the Heli Lounge. You’ll 100% get the best view of Kuala Lumpur right there. It’s quite hidden, you have to enter through a university and go on the 34th floor. Once up there, you’ll enter the inside part where you’ll purchase your drink (the inside part is a bit funky, don’t stay there long). You can’t go up without purchasing a drink but it’s still probably cheaper than a tower ticket! I got a cocktail for 10 dollars and could enjoy the view. The uniqueness of it is that it’s actually an old helipad. Perfect for a few drinks with friends!
Then see where the night takes you, I haven’t gone out after sunset as I was quite tired and I didn’t feel particularly safe on my own in KL. More on that below.
Take the KLIA Ekspres from the airport straight to KL Sentral. Return ticket of about 100 RM so about 40 AUD.
Afternoon stroll around KLCC to see the tower and the main part of KL. You can also check out all the different malls.
Finish the day with a drink at Heli Lounge, the best view in KL for sunset! Located at the university on the 34th floor you can purchase a drink for about 30 RM (10 dollars) and enjoy the view up there.
Day 2 - Batu Caves & Forest Eco Park
If you’ve explored quite a bit of KL on the first day as I did, I recommend exploring one of the most famous sites near the city: the Batu Caves!
This UNESCO listed site really is quite unique and impressive. I took the direct train from KL Sentral and although it was slower than it should have been - it cost me about 0.8 cents to get there!
Once there I discovered how crowded it was - many people actually go there to simply pray and visit. The painted stairs are quite unique and a great playground for photographers minus the crowd! I also loved seeing the monkeys and observing all that was happening around me. Definitely go earlier than later though.
Then I took the train back to KL Sentral and changed to go to Chinatown and Petaling Street. I was expecting a bit more history and interesting streets to explore but once again it was a big shopping centre - only difference it was set more like a market. I still enjoyed it and purchased a handmade bag but didn’t stay very long.
Finally, my final destination was quite a surprise and a bit of a “breath” - the Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park. It wasn’t easy to find though… I was decided to walk and not sure if I took the right or wrong way but going uphill in 40-degree humidity is definitely NOT fun. It took me a little while but once arrived - there was almost no one and the suspended bridges were absolutely awesome. I did all the bridges and could have explored more but was keen to go back get my bags and get going.
Finally after all that I went back to the airport and was quite happy to be back in a place without humidity and feeling safe too.
Take the train to Buta Caves from KL Sentral. But be aware of times, lots of waiting because of not many trains and a slow train too. Once there you can expect an hour to see it all and go up and down without being too slow. It’s quite interesting and very picturesque with all the colours. There are a lot of people so best to go early or late!
Take the train back to KL Sentral and change to go to Chinatown and Petaling Street! Explore Chinatown
Check the Forest Eco park and walk on suspended bridges in the middle of the city!
My Impressions of Kuala Lumpur
I’m really glad I went through KL and took the time to explore the city. It was quite different culturally and overall from everything else I’ve seen.
However, if I had to go back I’d probably try to get someone living there to show me the city or do more exploring stuff out of the city.
I personally didn’t feel totally safe travelling alone there as a woman - and I generally never encounter troubles. I got followed on the street by a weird guy for about 10 minutes (I yelled at him eventually and he left) and another guy was a bit insistent talking to me. I had a LOT of stares during the whole weekend and overall felt a bit out of place. I think though it is a safe city, the fact that I was being a woman alone didn’t make it easy.
Finally, I was expecting amazing food too and was keen to try Malaysian dishes. But I didn’t find the food incredible and some places were not even open in the early evening.
My tips for you to have a great KL experience:
Research what you’d like to do and if you can get local experience, that’s better!
Choose a hotel near a train station to avoid the sweaty/awkward walk (no ones walks around weirdly)
Definitely check out the caves
So overall it was very interesting and I’m keen to mostly see more of Malaysia outside of KL and explore its jungles and nature.
Have you been to Malaysia? Where do you recommend I should go next in Malaysia?