I hopped over to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for a few days straight from New Delhi. You can get a direct flight–about a 5 hour trip. We were only there for a weekend, but there are plenty of things to do in Kuala Lumpur that make even that small amount of time worthwhile.
To begin, when you’re planning your trip:
What to keep in mind
The Kuala Lumpur airport is set up to where it goes from the arrival hall to a mall. So whatever wifi you’re able to connect to when you land will no longer be available when you crossover into the mall. We had booked a car to pick us up and it got to be a problem because I lost my ability to communicate.
As a result, I recommend that you just take a taxi into the city. It’ll cut down your complications and it’s easy to get one once you exit the building.
As an FYI, the drive into the city takes about 40 minutes. According to our driver, KL traffic can get really bad during rush hour. So be aware of what your landing time is; I’d try to make sure you avoid those peak traffic times.
It rains almost every day. By rain I mean it pours; think tropical thunderstorm. The advantage is that it occurs in random pockets across the city and doesn’t last very long. But prepared in case you get stuck in it.
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
We did a half-day Kuala Lumpur cultural tour that involved the following:
This was hands down my favorite part of the trip and my favorite thing to do in Kuala Lumpur. I highly recommend it. The caves are millions of years old and the Hindu temple inside is over 100 years old. It’s colorful and beautiful. Not to mention, when you have to climb over 200 steps in that heat and humidity? You get a hell of a work out.
The city is known for its temples, and it’s one of the most unique things to do in Kuala Lumpur. They are gorgeous to see and you get so much learning out of the experience.
Make sure you check the times for this place. At noon they closed off entry to non Muslim visitors. We got lucky and arrived about 5 minutes before so they let us run in and take a look around. I’ve never been inside a mosque before and so felt super lucky that we were able to get in. If this is something that interests you, definitely put it on your list of things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Petronas is an oil company and their twin towers are an iconic part of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Our driver dropped us off here at the end of our tour. There’s a mall inside with a huge food court and tons of shopping of course.
You can also get tickets to go to the observation deck. We were told it was an “ok” thing to do, aka not really worth the price because the observation deck is on the bridge and not at the top. As a result, we opted out. Instead, we took tons of amazing pictures from the outside.
Food in Kuala Lumpur is heavily influenced by Asian culture. There is a night market called Alor Street Food night market. This is THE thing to do in Kuala Lumpur if you want to experience local, authentic cuisine, and get a glimpse of local culture.
As you wander up and down, there are vendors, restaurants with outdoor seating, live music, and souvenir stands.
Speaking of local cuisine and flavor, Pelita Nasi Kandar is a popular spot amongst locals.
A Local Favorite Thing to Do In Kuala Lumpur: Shopping
A lot of fake handbags, so if you’re looking for one, this is the place to be.
This is an indoor/outdoor market in Kuala Lumpur with a food court and shopping stalls selling everything from souvenirs to authentic jewelry, to clothes and accessories. What’s nice is that if it happens to start raining, you’ll have somewhere inside you can easily go.
Some of the outside stalls have interesting fruit and dishes, so don’t forget to try those!
On the left is pink dragonfruit and on the right is lemon flavored finely shaved ice, which was surprisingly creamy; both were amazing! You don’t often find unique fruits and dishes such as these here in the States, so definitely take advantage and add it to the things you’d like to do in Kuala Lumpur1
Costs in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian Currency
I just did the currency exchange at the airport. If you happen to be coming from India, like I did, you can exchange any leftover Indian Rupees you have as well.
At any outdoor market, or shopping stall, feel free to get some practice and learning in how to haggle for lower prices. Generally speaking, though, I found that food and shopping there really wasn’t that expensive.