48 HOURS IN KUALA LUMPUR
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Arriving at Kuala Lumpur
You will most probably arrive to the Malay capital by air, as KL is connected to many Asian cities with direct flights. Airfares between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with low budget airlines like Air Asia and Scoot start from as low as 15 € and the journey lasts a bit more than an hour.
Other cities you can start your trip to KL from on a budget are Bangkok, Jakarta, HCMC, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and more.
Kuala Lumpur's airport is located a good 50km outside of the city, so it might take you up to an hour to get to your hotel, if you choose to drive or take a taxi. The high speed train ride though only lasts 30 minutes and the one way ticket will cost you around 12€ .
Unlike many chaotic cities in SE Asia, KL is easier to be explored on foot as distances are rather short. However, using the public transport, and especially the railway system, still remains the best way to get around. Renting a scooter doesn't seem to be an option for some reason, but you can still rent a bike or a car, if you wish.
9 am: Masjid Jamek
Have a good breakfast at your hotel to gain some strenght for your explorations and start your day early in the morning to make the most out of it, with a visit one of the city's oldest mosques, Masjid Jamek. Its location right at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River make it one of the most photogenic sites in the city.
The closest metro station is LRT Masjid Jamek.
10 am: Merdeka Square
On a short walking distance from Masjid Jamek (almost 10 minutes), you'll find Merdeka Suare, the place where Malaysians declared their independence from Great Britain, back in 1957. The square is surrounded by beautiful heritage colonial style buildings, Sultan Abdul Samad building, being the most popular and maybe the prettiest one among them.
11 am: KL Central Market
Another 5-7 minute walk and you'll arrive at Kuala Lumpur's Central Market, a great place where you can shop, eat and relax. Inside the market you'll find a huge range of stalls, selling handmade souvenirs, Malay snacks and traditional art pieces. It's also a great spot to take a break at. We'd suggest Precious Old China and Old Town White Coffee ,for your lunch or coffee break.
The closest metro station is MRT Pasar Seni.
12.00: Petaling Street
This is where you'll find Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. From food stalls and fresh fruit to faux jwelery, accessories and gadgets, Chinatown has it all and it's a great place to spend some of your time (and ringgits) and get a dose the city's vibe. You'll reach it on foot within 5 minutes max, from KL Central Market.
1 pm: Menara KL or KL Tower
Take a taxi or a Grab (aka Ubers' little cousin in SE Asia) and head to KL Tower. Also known as Menara KL, this is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. It is a communication tower, which also has a sky deck, a glass made sky box , a revolving restaurant and an observation deck, making it the best view point in the Malay capital. Check their website to learn more about the tower and see how you can book your tickets online.
2-3 pm: Break time / Jalan Alor
You can then get back to your hotel and take a break during the hottest hours of the day. Have some sleep ot take a shower to fuel up, before heading back to the city in early afternoon.
If your stomach calls for lunch, head over to Jalan Alor street also known as KL's food street! This is where you'll find delicious Malay, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese dishes , as well as fruit and sreet food stalls.
4 pm: KLCC Park
While the sun is still up, make your way to Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, located right in front of the iconic Petronas Towers. Lush greenary, jogging trails, numerous fountains and children friendly amenities are some of the park's features, which make it a must visit sight in the city.
The closest metro station is LRT KLCC.
5-6 pm : Suria KLCC
Located at the bottom of The Petronas, is the Suria KLCC , a luxurious shopping mall housing plenty of stores, beauty salons and restaurants. It is the ideal place to spoil yourself and also a great choice if you're visiting KL during the high humidity season and crave for a cool space.
7 pm: The Petronas Towers
You have admired them as part of the city's skyline, taken pictures of them while hanging out at the KLCC Park, so now it's time you climbed them up. Book your tickets to the Skybridge and the Observation Deck online, for 85 MYR/adult (almost 18 € ) so that you don't have to wait in long queues, and enjoy stunning views over the city.
8 pm: Traders Hotel
Traders Hotel and most specifically its Skybar, located on the hotel's 33rd floor has the reputation of beeing the best spot where you can enjoy the view of the Petronas from. Apart from its view, it's also famous for its indoor swimming pool and high quality cocktails. No better way to end your first day in Kuala Lumpur than sipping your cocktail and enjoying your dinner with the best view in town!
PS. The Skybar's booking policy has changed quite a few times, so make sure to check their (currently not working) website before you go.
We showed up at the Skybar on a Tuesday evening at around 7pm, without having pre booked our table and were lucky enough to find one with zero waiting time, but we're not sure if that's the rule.
9 am: Botanical Gardens
Start your second day in Kuala Lumpur with a serene visit to its Botanical Gardens, a big part of the city's green lung and also home to several species of tropical plants.
To get there, you can take the RapidKL bus B112 from Pasar Seni LRT station.
11 am: National Mosque
Masjid Negara, as it's called in Malay, is one of the most significant Islam symbols in all of Malaysia. It was built in 1965 and its umbrella looking roof is the most impressive construction of it. Make sure to be dressed respectfully, otherwise you'll need to borrow robes and scarves from the Mosque's reception kiosk.
Visiting hours: Monday-Thursday and weekend: 09.00-12.00, 15.00-16.00, 17.30-18.30
Friday: 09.00-15.00, 16.00-17.30
12: National Museum / Old Railway Station
If you're into history, then you will enjoy visiting the National Museum or Muzium Negara, as the locals call it, which covers all periods of Malaysia's history.
Entrance fee for non-Malay adults is 5 MYR (almost 1 € ).
The closest metro station is MRT Muzium Negara. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the nearby Old Railway Station, which is one of the city's architectural gems. You can roam around the old station and also visit the Railway museum which first opened almost 10 years ago. It is open daily from 9am to 6pm and there is no entrance fee.
1-2 pm: Kampung Baru for lunch
Kampung Baru is a village-in-the-city kinda neighbourhood, popular for its traditional stilt houses made of wood and for its high quality local food. We visited Kampung Baru, in search of the best nasi lemak in KL (Malaysia's traditional dish) and were not dissapointed. The place is called Nasi Lemak Wanjo and apart from the tasty food, you'll also enjoy the intense rural vibe!
To get there you 'll need to get a taxi/Grab to KL Sentral, take the KJL Train with direction to Gombak and get off at Kampung Baru Station.
3 pm: Chow Kit Market
After you're done with your lunch, head over to Chow Kit Market, one of Kuala Lumpur's most popular open air bazaars. Don't miss the chance to bargain hard to get anything you may like from shoes and watches to spices and textiles.
Chow Kit Market is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. To get there you can walk from Kampung Baru for almost 10 minutes.
5-7 pm: Solaris Duatamas shopping complex
You can then head to Publika Shopping Gallery, located at Solaris Dutamas neighbourhood to get a taste of the modern shopping experience in KL. Publika is a large, elegantly designed shopping complex, which houses some of the city's highest quality cafes and restaurants. Our favourite one was Namoo on the Park Bistro, a Korean dessert house, where we had the salted caramel and popcorn ice cream pictured below! The easiest way to get there is by taxi/Grab, as using the public transport will make you lose a lot of time.
8 pm: Tg's Nasi Kandar
If you want your last dinner in Kuala Lumpur to have an extra local-ish vibe, look no further that Tg's eatery. It is open 24h per day and serves some really delicious Malay and Indian dishes. Do not expect to find fine serving manners and gourmet choices though. The waiters will be running around and yelling over your head trying to see who ordered what and the tables will be placed by the road. But as they say, do not judge a book by its cover. We really enjoyed our dinner there, and hope that you will do so too! The place has no website, so here's the address: 3, Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang.
If you have an extra day in Kuala Lumpur, you could visit Batu Caves, one of the country's most important religious sites. The caves are located outside KL and to get there you can get the KTM train line from KL Sentral. The ride lasts 30 minutes and it will only cost you 2 MYR (almost 0.42 € )
Other popular sites to visit inside KL, include Istana Budaya (the National Theatre), Istana Negara (The Palace) and Titiwangsa Park.