Kuala Lumpur literally translated means "muddy confluence". Not the most attractive name for a city. Its name derives from the fact that this incredibly modern metropolis is born among wild forests and often the air is humid and heavy.
Ultra-modern, dizzying, breathtaking: the capital of Malaysia holds many surprises: a vibrant heart of markets and street food kiosks, luxury shopping malls, five-star resorts, futuristic buildings, parks and skybars with spectacular views over the city !
KL, as it is also called by its inhabitants, offers a great variety of attractions and activities. You can indulge in the wildest shopping in Bukit Bintang, admire the city from the top of the Petronas Towers or relax in the city parks.
Here we will give some suggestions on what to do to fully experience it:
The Petronas Towers, the twin towers, you can see them everywhere, on blog articles, on google and on all social networks. You can't not know them, even if you've never been to Kuala Lumpur: their image is practically everywhere.
With their 450 meters high, these incredible twin towers represent the undisputed symbol of the city. The 2-storey skybridge connecting the 2 buildings on the 41st and 42nd floors is 170 meters high.
Go to KLCC Park: a 50 acre garden around the luxurious Suria Mall KLCC and is one of the best places to see and photograph the Petronas Towers…
The Sultan Abdul Samad Palace, which dominates Independence Square, is characterized by the influences of Mughal architecture and a fascinating combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic design.
Just 20 minutes walk from KLCC is Bukit Bintang, the liveliest and most modern area of Kuala, where you can find clubs and shopping centers, among which the Pavilion, the most luxurious shopping center in the whole city, certainly deserves mention.
The main street Jalan Bukit Bintang, is part of the so-called Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur, the center of entertainment and the commercial soul of the city (and which extends in the areas between precisely Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Ampang, the northern part of Jalan Pudu and Jalan Tun Razak).
Not surprisingly, someone has nicknamed it the 5th avenue of Malaysia.
Bukit Bintang is the trendiest neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur, the one that locals frequent on weekends to shop in its modern and luxurious malls and then indulge in eating in one of the many food-courts it hosts.
Finally, take the opportunity to order traditional food at Lot 10 Hutong Food Court (the most renowned food square in town) or in the crowded Jalan Alor is the best way to approach the complex Malaysian cuisine, an interesting mix of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian.
Istana Negara is the Royal Palace and also the official residence of the head of the Melese state. Its new headquarters, opened in 2012, is located in Jalan Duta, north of the city and is a fixed stop on organized tours to discover the city. Take a trip around here too and don't miss a photo in front of one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in the whole country.
The city is also home to a giant botanical garden. Not far from Merdeka, the central square, there are 92 hectares of greenery in which to walk, among fountains, ponds and bridges. The park is divided into several areas, including the orchid garden, the deer park and the bird park.
The most famous and evocative, however, remains that of butterflies, in which hundreds of species are kept. Stroll along its paths, touched by hundreds and hundreds of butterflies, this will make you feel like in a fairy tale. Over 5000 butterflies, turtles, carp, for a place of serenity in the middle of the metropolis!
Admire the striking panorama of Kuala Lumpur's sparkling lights from the top of this communications tower, perhaps while enjoying a fine dinner in its revolving restaurant, located 274 meters above the hustle and bustle of the city
The Menara Tower is among the tallest buildings in the city and dominates the Kuala Lumpur skyline wherever you look. Completed in 1994, the tower has a height of 421 meters, slightly lower than the Petronas, but boasts the highest observation platform in Kuala Lumpur. Located in the middle of a green park on top of a hill, it has several attractions: a path through the rainforest, a formula one simulator, a small zoo with snakes and monkeys.
Practical information: the combined ticket, RM 40, includes admission to all these attractions, as well as, of course, the ascent to the viewing platform.
Deep in a limestone mountain, just outside the city of Kuala Lumpur, there is a cave. In reality it is an immense natural cathedral with walls that extend almost to the sky, with birds flying high and wild monkeys running up and down the cliffs.
These are the Batu Caves, the most important Hindu temple outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan, an Indian deity. To the left of the stairs is the world's tallest statue of Lord Murugan (43 meters tall), which shines so much in the sun that you have to wear glasses to look at it
This place, located 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, is also the focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam, a spectacle that attracts millions of visitors, ready to admire the devotees who pay richly decorated tributes to the huge gold-colored statue. And it is this huge golden statue that will welcome you to the Batu Caves: behind it there is a large colorful staircase with 272 steps that you can walk to the top, thus allowing you to enter the Temple Cave.
Hindu temple with an unpronounceable name, it is the oldest in Kuala Lumpur. It was built in 1873 and opened to the public in the 1920s.
The charming building, characterized by the unmistakable and colorful decorations that rise to the sky, is one of the many testimonies of the cosmopolitan spirit of the city, where ethnic groups and beliefs from all over the world have coexisted for centuries. Take advantage of the visit to this neighborhood to taste the typical food, from naan to curry, and let yourself be pampered in the beauty salons. In fact, the little India of Kuala Lumpur is famous for its beauty centers where you can undergo special treatments or get a henna tattoo.
One of the largest communities in Kuala Lumpur is the Chinese one, so a visit to the colorful Chinatown district is a must, a real paradise for dealers and shopaholics. This neighborhood is full of life and never seems to sleep.
With its colors it is a slice of oriental culture, heritage and history, for this reason it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Malaysia. It is located not far from the more glamorous districts of KLCC and Bukit Bintang, but is characterized by a strongly multi-ethnic and multicultural atmosphere. And the beating heart of the neighborhood is Petaling Street, a market street, narrow, colorful and full of shops, very popular from mid-afternoon until 10 in the evening.
Walkable to Central Market (450m, 6 min) and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (230m, 3 min). Reference Pasar Seni tram stop (KJL and MSBK lines), Kuala Lumpur Station railway station.
Let's turn the page and, after India and China, let's dive into the Middle East!
In the center of Kuala Lumpur is the Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia.
Located on the banks of two rivers, it was opened in 1909 and impresses the visitor with its Moorish Arabian architecture. A series of domes dominate the building, immersed in a tropical garden between green lawns and lush palm trees, the prayer room is a vast space full of columns but rather bare and modern.
Remember that you can enter the mosque with suitable clothing (long dresses are available for women at the entrance).
Located right next to Perdana Botanical Gardens, another wonderful green space in KL, the National Mosque and the Museum of Islamic Arts (IAMM) are a great way to spend a few hours especially when it's raining.
The Museum of Islamic Arts displays stunning examples of Islamic art and crafts, with galleries housing textiles, pottery, armor and weapons, metalwork, and more.
This museum is worth a visit for its splendid architecture, with large bright spaces and for the fact that it is not overrun with tour groups. The entrance is only RM14.
Right next to the Museum you will find the National Mosque, built in 1965 and a real sight with its glistening marble floor, colonnaded foyers and large prayer hall. The main dome of the mosque is shaped like an 18-pointed star to represent the 13 states of Malaysia and the 5 pillars of Islam. The mosque's outdoor spaces also host beautiful gardens and white marble swimming pools.
Admission is free but not allowed during prayer hours - visit in the morning from 9 to 12 to be sure to find it open and avoid Fridays when it is crowded with faithful.
Kuala Lumpur is also famous for its skybars. The most famous is that of the Traders Hotel and is one of the most chic and trendy. It is the ideal place to have a drink and enjoy the spectacular view from the windows, admiring the Petronas towers, the traffic of Jalan Ampang and the Maxis tower.
Time to get out of the city a bit! There are few places in the world where you can experience the magic of synchronous fireflies (these magical insects that glow in unison).
It is such an enchanting sight that takes place just outside Kuala Lumpur, near the seaside village of Kuala Selangor.
The whole experience, by boat, lasts about 20 minutes, and is an excellent excuse to get out of the busy city and see a small local fishing village.
Finally, before leaving, take a leap and try your luck at Genting Highland, a sort of Asian Las Vegas characterized by the presence of numerous hotels and casinos and an amusement park located on the peak of a mountain overlooking the rainforest.