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Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur: the low-down on KL!

A wonderful mix of old and new, Kuala Lumpur is a high-rise city with its foundations set in tradition. Often called KL by those in the know, here Tripbod local Kelly Opgenoort chooses her top 10 best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

1. Petronas Towers

These towers in Malaysia’s capital are the country’s equivalent to the Burj Khalifa! There’s a colorful fountain show at night which is set to music, and a lovely nearby park that’s very popular with locals and tourists alike, especially selfie-snappers. If you’d like to take a sunset tour of the towers we recommend you book your ticket online as it can get busy, especially on weekends.

Address: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur

Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Towers

2. Ramadan food bazaars

The holy month is one of the best times to enjoy Kuala Lumpur’s street food because the vendors bring out even more wonderful delicacies at this time of year. Lots of bazaars pop up on the streets in Ramadan so head to neighborhoods like TTDI, Kampung Baru and Subang SS18 to find some of the best. The stalls don’t start setting up at around 3 or 4pm so if you’re fasting, you won’t be bombarded with the smells throughout the day.

3. Marini’s on 57

This is one of the most popular places to eat in Kuala Lumpur and serves up incredible Italian cuisine with a lounge/bar at one side and food service on the other. You’ll need to book a table at Marini’s though, because the quality of the food is no secret in KL! It has wonderful views of the Petronas Towers and is on the smarter end of the scale so leave the beach shorts at home.

4. Batu Caves

These massive limestone caves are around 10km north of Kuala Lumpur and are one of the most holy Hindu sites in the country. They can be easily reached by bus or train from KL Central. Its biggest attraction is the giant golden statue and the 272 steps to reach the top (eeek!). The only cave which is free to enter is the Temple Cave which has been a Hindu shrine since the 1890s. You can see and hear the daily prayers here at 8.30am and 4.30pm. You can also take an organized tour of the Dark Cave at step number 204 of the 272 where you should be able to see bats and spiders. The busiest time at the caves is during the Thaipusam Festival when it attracts around one million pilgrims.

Address: Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur: Batu Caves

5. Little India/Brickfields

This is a fun and lively part of Kuala Lumpur, where you can try out numerous curries, dahls and naans to see how good Malaysia does Indian cuisine. Or try on and customize a sari, or visit Vaani’s beauty salon in JI Tun Sambanthan to get decorated in henna. To get the full Brickfields experience, head to KL City Hall and ask about the free guided tour held two weekends every month.

6. Petaling Street/China Town

If you want to see how Kuala Lumpur does Chinese food, then head to the China Town area around Petaling Street (Pasar Seni station on the LRT). You’ll find all the traditional Chinese dishes, including favorites such as roasted duck, noodles with prawns and dark soy sauce, and original clay pot dishes. It’s a good area to practice your haggling skills as well; Petaling Street is known as a shopper’s dream where you’ll find everything from discount clothing to all the trinkets and souvenirs you could ever hope to buy.

Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur: Petaling Street/China Town

7. Dip and Dip

After all that savory food you might be in need of something sweeter! You’ll be in chocolate heaven at Dip and Dip and you need to leave any notions of diet at the door! We recommend the chocolate waffle with fruits. Luckily there are a few branches around KL (Sunway Pyramid Mall, Curve Mall, Bangsar, IOI City Mall) so the lines are usually manageable.

8. Fraser’s Hill

This is one of the best places in or around Kuala Lumpur to experience Malaysia’s splendid scenery. It’s around two hours from the city center in Selangor state but is definitely worth the journey. It was originally a hill station used by the British, selected because of its cooler altitude. It’s now a beautiful nature reserve with some excellent walking and cycling trails. You can also take a (chilly) dip in the Jeriau waterfall or go shopping for locally-grown produce at the Taman Flora Bukit Fraser (the Fraser’s Hill Garden Center).

9. KL Bird Park and Butterfly Park

If you’re traveling with kids, this is one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Handily, they’re very close to each other, on either side of JI Lembah (catch the commuter train to Old Railway Station). The bird park hold regular feedings and activities throughout the day and the birds are tame enough for you to feed yourself (with food bought from the park). To see more flying creatures, head to the KL Butterly Park where the butterflies flutter around the visitors. It makes a great break from the slightly chaotic city center.

10. Hit the malls

You couldn’t really avoid the malls in KL even if you wanted to. The city takes shopping to a whole new level, with its futuristic multi-story complexes, as well as more traditional markets – and lots of bargaining to be done. The Sunway Pyramid Mall is one of the most grandiose, and it’s easily identified by the large sphinx outside the main entrance. Or go and re-enact Tom Hanks’s performance in Big on the giant piano stairs at the Berjaya Times Square.

*Content first written/published February 2018 and adapted from a piece written by Kelly Opgenoort. Information and prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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