Last August, I spent almost a month in the amazing Kuala Lumpur. It was the second time in the great city, and if I wasn’t in love with it before, I loved it more now.
Thanks to a company goal that we reached earlier this year, the Blvnp Ninjas took over Kuala Lumpur for 23 days. And in those 23 days, I’ve gone through the usual touristy places, as well as discovered a few favorites.
Below are my top recommendations if you’re going to this amazing city, plus a few secret tips to get the best of them:
1. Petronas Tower
This is where all the postcards and keychains from KL come from-and for a good reason.
The Petronas Towers are twin towers located near the center of the city that has multiple things you could do, without even going to the top of the tower. Where the Petronas is located is called the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, where not only can you see these iconic towers, but there’s also a park, an amazing water show, a mall AND an aquarium. So you can keep running around this place and keep finding new things to explore.
If you do decide to go up the Petronas Towers, it’s 85RM, and I advise you go there early or even book your ticket online. The first time I went up I had to wait an hour for our turn, and on my recent visit to KL, the tower viewing was booked for two days. It’s worth going up in the day, as you can see Kuala Lumpur in the light, and even be able to see the golden Hindu god at the entrance of the Batu Caves. The tour will take you to the sky bridge, then to their museum with a view and finally, the highest point of the tower.
If you want to go the aquarium, it’s 73RM. There wasn’t much out of the ordinary from other aquariums but was a fun visit if you love seeing fishes and sea turtles.
The park is free for everyone, where you can go on picnics and even get wet in their little pool.
Below the KLCC Suria Mall, there’s a water show where big fountains will dance to the music with the water changing colors and twisting around each other in a beautifully orchestrated symphony of fun. Just pick your spot to sit/stand, and enjoy the show.
2. Climb the steps up Batu Caves
The Batu Caves is located a few minutes from the center of the city, and we went there through the train stations. You simply have to take any train to the central train station, KL Sentral, then take the KTM Commuter train going directly to Batu Caves. It took us about 30 minutes to get there, with a view of the city.
Once you’re there, you will be treated to different scenes all at once: birds, the beautifully made 272 steps up the cave, multiple vegetarian restaurants, and the big golden statue of Lord Murugan, a Hindu god.
Be sure to avoid wearing shorts/sleeveless shirts/dresses up the caves, as they do not allow it. You can bring your scarf to cover yourself when passing the entrance or rent one for 10RM.
Once you get up there, you’ll be greeted by the limestone cave, with multiple gods carved into the mountain, as well as temples.
3. Bargain at Chinatown
For Filipinos, it’s almost suicide not to bring something home when coming from a different country. So shopping for souvenirs is something we always do and is fun to do when you can bargain for it. Chinatown is near the center of the city, and you can once again take a train there or hop on a taxi. They have a hodgepodge of different things, mostly souvenirs, and clothes.
When you’re there, make sure to bargain. Often when you’re just standing at a shop, looking around, they’ll already start throwing out prices, and the best tactic I’ve done is this: have them say a price, lower it down to 50%, and keep bargaining to a price you’re more comfortable with. If they just won’t budge, walking away actually works as a bargaining tool, since they will sometimes agree to your price.
4. Henna Tattoos
I first noticed the beautiful henna tattoos on the Muslim women as they walked by, and I was intrigued by it. So when the opportunity arrived when I went to History Con Malaysia, I didn’t have second thoughts on getting a henna. They usually do it on the hands and feet, and it takes 10-15 minutes, depending on your design. The cheapest I saw it was was about 5RM, which was a very simple design. The most expensive I saw was about 40RM, but for that price, I’d rather keep looking rather than get the henna done there.
There are multiple places where you can get this done all over KL. One place is the Batu Caves, where multiple tables that are propped up there will offer to do this at a higher price. Other places are the streets of Bukit Bintang, where women set up shop at night, offering henna.
You can also buy a henna ink from Indian shops so that you can decorate your own.
5. Have your palm read
This one was interesting. I had my palm read before in Bali, and since I’m so drawn to all things magic, I wanted to give it a try in Kuala Lumpur too. I had it done at the bottom of the Batu Caves, near the entrance to the train station. An old man was sitting on the floor and offering a palm reading and a numerology reading for 20RM, and after a bit of deliberating if this guy was the real thing, I went for it.
While there wasn’t much gloom and doom from his prediction, it was otherwise fun, with my numerology reading done quickly.
6. Ride the trains
The trains in KL became my instant favorite way to get around the city, especially if I was walking all day and didn’t want to get stuck in traffic in a taxi going home. There was a train station right behind the condo we were living at, which was freaking perfect.
You could ride on the train to get from one part of KL to the other, and even all the way out of the city. You could even ride the train all the way to another part of the country, or even to a whole new country. The trains were clean and mostly not crowded if you don’t get in during the peak hours. It’s also relatively safe, and fast.
7. Explore the food at Jalan Alor
If you’re a foodie, or you just love food, Jalan Alor should be on your list in KL. It used to be the red light district of KL and is now a street food central. It’s near Bukit Bintang, the shopping center of Kuala Lumpur. Once you’re there, your senses would overload by different smells and the bright lights of restaurants.
Multiple chefs would put on a show to attract you to their booth. They’re mostly cheap and yummy, and if you’ve been craving pork because most restaurants in KL don’t allow it, this is the place for you.
8. Bike around the Perdana Botanical Gardens
This was a surprisingly fun afternoon to do. After you browse through the history of Malaysia in the amazing Muzium Negara, cross the overpass to the Perdana Botanical Gardens. Covering 92 hectares of land and featuring four big parks (butterfly park, deer park, orchid garden and bird park), it’ll take you the whole day to go through all the fun things to do in the Gardens, and guaranteed Instagrammable places.
What we did was we rented a bike from a store for 15RM for an hour and rode around the different parks. I recommend this for those who want to feel the wind in their hair and save walking time going around the park.
9. Visit a nearby country
One of the most amazing things I found about Kuala Lumpur was you could take a bus/train that would bring you to a whole new country. My tribe and I went all the way to Singapore on a five-hour bus ride by booking on easybook.com, where you can book which station you want to ride to where you want to be dropped off.
You could also take a bus/train to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, although it’ll take some bus changes. It a great way to get around the country, plus getting a new stamp on your passport can be fun!
10.Bungee jump off Sunway Lagoon Park
This one isn’t in Kuala Lumpur, but the city next to it, Selangor. It’s a huge park, divided into different themes: scream park, amusement park, wildlife park, water park and extreme park. I would recommend grabbing a two-day pass, as you can’t enjoy the whole park on a day pass because it’s so big.
Anyway, at the extreme park is Malaysia’s first bungee jumping platform, and if you love pushing yourself to the limit, I would recommend it. It’s 130RM to jump off to you near death experience, and they even give you a Certificate of Insanity for jumping off. The crew there is so nice, and they even admitted to goofing off and jumping off the platform once the park is closed.
Kuala Lumpur can match almost everything you could be looking for. Whether you’re looking for adventure, something physical to do, to shop or to simply get lost, this city is more than meets the eye.
Have you ever traveled to Kuala Lumpur? If so, do you have anything you want to add to this list?