Kuala Lumpur is one of the major airlines hubs in Asia and home to the budget airline Air Asia. Because of this, most travelers visiting Southeast Asia will probably stop in Malaysia’s capital at some point. If this is your case, I urge you to get out of the airport and stay in KL for at least 48 hours. In this post, you will find some ideas of things you can do in this fantastic city.
The only reason I visited Kuala Lumpur, back in 2015, was because I needed to travel back to the Philippines from Cambodia; it was cheaper doing via KL than buying a direct flight. So, I decided to stop over in Malaysia and, while I was at it, have a look to its cosmopolitan capital. To be honest, having hated almost every big city I had visited in Southeast Asia (Manila, Cebu, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City…), I did not have huge expectations about Kuala Lumpur. However, since the moment I landed in Malaysia, I knew it would be different with KL… I was meant to love this city! And indeed, after two exciting days in Kuala Lumpur, I went back to the Philippines regretting not having spent more time in Malaysia and knowing I would come back someday.
48 hours in Kuala Lumpur – Top 5 things to do
01 |Enjoy the views from Regalia’s infinity pool.
The truth is, during my three months backpacking Southeast Asia, I tried to spend as little as possible on accommodation but, after weeks staying in dorms in Vietnam and Thailand (almost always sticking to a budget of less than $10 per night), I decided it was about time to treat myself a little bit in Kuala Lumpur!
Here is the link to the Airbnb listing, in case you want to stay here too! Rooms are around $50 / €40 a night, very good value for such a fantastic place! If you are not an Airbnb user yet, remember I have a voucher for you: sign up using this link to get a $25 discount on your first reservation. If this is not enough to persuade you, check the amazing sunrise I got to see from the pool…
As you can imagine, I spent most of my time in Kuala Lumpur swimming and hanging out in this pool. It was so hard to leave! And anyway, there was no need to because I had the very best views from the city. Apart from that, it was also a great place to hang out and meet new friends. One of the things I liked most about Kuala Lumpur was indeed that, it is such a multicultural, cosmopolitan and open city! In the 48 hours I spent there, I met people from all over the world (Spain, Nigeria, Iran, China, Egypt…) and had a great time.
Getting there: if coming from the airport, get the Klia ekspres train. A one way ticket costs 35MYR (around 10$) and will take you to KL Sentral station in 33 minutes. From KL Sentral station, you can get the KTM Komuter train to Putra (you will see Regalia Building right outside Putra station).
02 | Take a selfie under the Petronas Twin Towers
You can not visit KL withouth seeing the Petronas twin towers, Kuala Lumpur’s top tourist draw. Visible from nearly every corner of the city, they are almost impossible to miss! The 88-floor twin structure were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2003 and still retain the title of the world’s tallest twin towers.
You can go up inside the towers for 84 MYR ($23 / €20) to see amazing views of the city. Issuing of tickets starts from 8.30am on a first come, first served basis.
Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit the inside of the towers but, of course, got to see them from many different viewpoints throughout the city.
I did visit the Suria KLCC, a fancy mall underneath the towers. The surrounding parks are also beautiful and the perfect place to take tons of touristy selfies with the towers as backdrop.
03 | Visit the Batu Caves
Another must-see in Kuala Lumpur is the impressive Batu Caves, a limestone hill comprising three major caves, featuring temples and Hindu shrines. Guarded by an impressive 43 meter high statue of Lord Murugan, Batu Caves complex is the most important Hindu temple outside of India and has become a pilgrimage site for Hindus from all over the world.
The good news is that admission is free and the bad news is that you will need to climb 272 steep steps to access the caves and explore the colourful Hindu temples and shrines inside.
Something you need to consider is there are lots of not-very-friendly monkeys living inside and around the caves, and apparently, they love chocolate! For your own safety, make sure not to bring any food with you.
Getting there: The Batu Caves are located thirteen kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur and you can easily get there by public transport. The KTM komuter train runs every 30 minutes from KL Sentral train station straight to the Batu Caves. Return ticket costs only 4MYR (1$).
04 | Eat new foods!
Food in Kuala Lumpur is tasty and varied due to all the different cultures that make up Malaysia. Specially, if you are a vegetarian, you will be delighted in KL! Since there are lots of Hindus living in Malaysia, you will find yummy vegetarian Indian food everywhere!
Don’t forget to check out Jalan Alor Street in Bukit Bintang for cheap and tasty street food and the neighborhoods of China Town and Little India.
Getting there: To go to Jalan Alor, take the monorail 8 from KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang.
05 | Buy all the things in China Town
If you’re into shopping, you are going to love Petaling Street in Chinatown! It’s a bustling place with lots of stalls where you can find pretty much everything: souvenirs, clothes, shoes, bags, electronics, etc… Learn to bargain and get the best deals!
Getting there: Take the pink line (5 Kelana Jaya) to Pasar Seni and walk from there.
In short, there are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur that 48 hours really won’t be enough! The city was one of the biggest surprises of my trip and my favorite big city in Southeast Asia so far. The good new is, that being Kuala Lumpur’s airport one of the major airline hubs in Southeast Asia, flying to the capital of Malaysia is usually cheaper than to any other city in the neighbouring countries (except for possibly Singapore). If you happen to stop over in Kuala Lumpur, get out of the airport and explore! If you like multicultural, cosmopolitan and modern cities where you can enjoy of high living standards on a budget and great food, I promise you will love Kuala Lumpur as much as I did!