After having visited the Philippines for one month and seeing many beautiful and amazing places of nature (see summary here), we have moved to a mega city that has been quite a culture shock. Kuala Lumpur is huge, with many skyscrapers, including the tallest twin towers in the world (the Petrona towers) as well as the second tallest building ever built (the Merdeka building).
What to do, where to eat and where to stay the first time in Kuala Lumpur
1. Visit the Batu Caves
We would say the Batu caves are a must if you visit Kuala Lumpur (KL). It’s very easy to access with a fast train (it takes only 30 minutes and costs between 2-3 RM). You just need to plan well since there are trains only every 1h but it works really smoothly. In fact, the metro and train system in KL is super efficient.
Why is it a must? Basically, the main cave with the huge statue (of Lord Murugan, the brother of Ganesha), which is the most famous place, is super beautiful and free of charge. We were also really lucky to be there on the same day as one of the biggest Indian festivals. So many people were following the tradition, painting the head yellow and bringing pots of milk all the way up to the stairs until the little temple on the top in order to pray to the god by pouring that milk on top of the small statue of Lord Murugan inside the cave temple.
The other cave that you can also visit (the Ramayana cave) is not less beautiful and with water flowing inside and a ceiling height of 100m. There you can see the life story of Ramayana that is depicted in colorful statues inside the temple. Moreover, the stalactites and stalagmites formations inside the temple are also breathtaking. For that one you need to pay a small fee of just 5 RM (1€).
Moreover, the rock formations outside of the cave are beautiful and so big that we could see them from our hotel in the center of KL. And between all these rocks and vegetation live many monkeys that go around jumping from temple to temple and climbing the stairs. You have to be careful with these ones since they are always hungry and sometimes they try to steal food from humans. We saw some of them eating apples, bananas, and even drinking milk that was previously used as a donation to the gods.
2. Visit the Petronas twin towers
Of course, you cannot go to KL and miss the Petronas twin towers since they are the tallest twin towers in the world right now. They are beautiful and moreover at night there’s a water and music show everyday from 19h30 to 22h that you can just experience for free at the Petronas shopping mall, from which you have a beautiful view of the Petronas tower together with the water show.
3. Eat and taste the mixture of Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines
By wandering around the busy streets of KL you can also stop at many super tasty restaurants that combine the Indian, the Chinese and the Malay cuisines. We tasted a very nice Indian restaurant at Little India, close to Chinatown. It was really good and very cheap as well. They serve the food really fast and efficiently as well. We would really recommend the dahl and their home-made Chapati. The restaurant is called Santa Chapati.
4. Explore the mixture of cultures and shops in Chinatown
Chinatown is one of the best districts in KL in our opinion. You can see a beautiful mosque at the north part of Chinatown.
You can also see the central market just in the middle of it, it has little India just in the middle of the Chinatown district and therefore it’s also a paradise for food as mentioned above. Close to the central market you can also do some crafting, such as Batik painting. It’s quite prepared for tourists as well but it doesn’t feel overcrowded at all. At least now at the end of January.
Moreover, you have a lot of street art. Not as much as in Penang (see coming post) but also very spectacular and in a nice location directly by the river.
Apart from the mosque, the market and the street art you can also visit one of the colorful Indian temples: the Sri Maha Mariamman. Here also, it was exactly the day of the festival when we were there ^^
5. Go up the Merdeka tower, the second tallest building in the world
The Merdeka tower is the second tallest building in the world and from 2024 on you will be able to go up the tower. It's very impressive to see it from below so we can imagine being one of the best things to do in Malaysia.
6. Do some shopping at the Pavilion shopping center
We needed some clothes for our next country so we decided to give a try to this shopping center and it's basically massive. It has all the brands you can imagine. It has more than 3 buildings with ten floors each. You can get so lost, that they even have an app to navigate inside the mall (I had to download them to find the stores haha).
Insider tip: Apart from the Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures there's also a lot of influence from Arabic countries. There is a hidden gem, which is an Iraquian restaurant with really nice hummus. It's been one of the best hummus we've ever tried. They also use the trick of using ice cubes to make it very tasty and smooth. Actually it was recommended by our Catalan friends Meri and Alex with whom we met in Singapur back in September (see it here).
Where to stay
There are many places to stay but we were staying at a very nice apartment that had views to the Petronas towers from very close as well as a swimming pool with views to the Petronas towers as well. The apartment was beautiful, with air-con and a nice bed, and TV for the price of 12€ per person per night. It was the Legasi Kampung.
We hope you liked this post and you’re looking forward to visiting KL in your next visit to Malaysia.