Many visitors come to Kuala Lumpur and quickly run out of ideas of what to do. Expats who temporarily work or permanently live in KL don't give a lot of praise except to the social scene and food.
The reality is that Kuala Lumpur is a large city with overwhelming diversity. The main problem is spending minimal funds to travel around the big city. Besides walking, the Hop-on and Hop-off bus is the most cost-efficient and encompassing means of seeing the highlights of KL. These include the Petronas Towers, the KL Tower, Chinatown near the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and the KL Bird Aviary. The wait between buses can be longer than the 20-30 minutes depending on traffic, so it's wise to combine the bus with walking or the metro if you want to see more sites. It's best to ride before 4pm. Most locals are fluent in English as well as Bahasa Malaysia and maybe even a third or fourth language.
For nightlife, the Skybar offers more expensive drinks in exchange for indoor pools and spectacular views of the Petronas Towers in the evening. For those who want to try the local mamaks, they can find the mid-low prices available on Jalan Alor near Changkat. The dining experience in Kuala Lumpur provides an eclectic selection from all around the globe--it's rare to find such an authentic culinary experience in one city. Whether it's curry, hummus, pasta, sashimi, or local nasi goreng, try various restaurants and food stalls for a rich foodie experience.
For those less interested in food or popular landmarks, buses and trains are cost-effective means of reaching neighboring cities and, further away, the jungles, beaches, and highlands for nature lovers.
Highlights from Kuala Lumpur
- Meet international expats and locals on Changkat Street in Bukit Bintang
- Go shopping at the extravagant KLCC Mall or check out the indoor amusement park at Times Square
- For diversity, you can visit China Town for frog legs and more affordable shopping
- Visit Little India in Brickfields for colorful temples and every type curry imaginable
- Two of the most popular landmarks are the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower, but if you find time try to visit the Batu Caves, Selangor to the North
Hints and Tips for Kuala Lumpur
- Make sure you know whether you are arriving/departing from KLIA or LCCT airport as there are many stories of travellers missing flights because they go to the wrong terminal.
- Taxi's increase in cost in the evening by 50%. If the daytime cost for a fare was 10RM, the evening time cost will be 10+5=15RM. Try to get drivers to use the meter to receive a fair price.
- Petty theft does occur. Common recommendations are for women to hold purses on the shoulder facing away from main roads, leaving passports and valuables safely locked away back at your accommodation, and being extra aware near motor bicyclists and crowds. Many travelers will keep a copy of their passport on their person.
- Rain makes the streets (and especially the tiled sidewalks) slick. Sneakers tend to be the best footwear in wet weather.
- If you are visiting temples or mosques, make sure to dress appropriately (long sleeves and pants/skirts suffice) and taking off shoes at some locations.