I have lived in Kuala Lumpur for more than 50 years, visited most of the places in Kuala Lumpur. So here are my recommendations for the places to visit in Kuala Lumpur from the perspective of a local guy.
Kuala Lumpur has a rich and diverse culture, and there are countless things to see and do. Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that offers a unique blend of traditional and modern attractions. From iconic landmarks like the Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower to vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown and Petaling Street Market, there is something for everyone in KL.
When finding the best places to visit, relying on guidebooks or online travel articles can be tempting. However, there’s nothing quite like getting recommendations from a local guy.
15 Best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur
I have listed 15 places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. It is not an exhaustive list, but most people will not have time to visit more places than 15 unless they decide to stay in Kuala Lumpur longer.
The list below includes some well-known attractions, plus some hidden gems don’t you that you may not find in other articles.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia. There are hotels and homestays at various price ranges.
Here are the fifteen places you should visit in Kuala Lumpur:
1. Petronas Twin Towers – The iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Twin Towers are iconic and should be on top of the list of places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Standing at a magnificent 452 meters tall, the towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. Even today, they are still the tallest twin towers in the world.
The highlight of visiting the Petronas Twin Towers is the Skybridge, which connects the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors. The panoramic views from this angle in stunning. The towers are also connected to the Suria KLCC, one of the largest shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur.
Be sure to purchase the ticket in advance as they limit the number of people going to the towers.
Petronas Twin Towers are a testament to Malaysia’s modernization and earn her a place on the world stage. Therefore, it is highly recommended to put the Petronas twin tower on top of the list, even if you only want to experience the beauty and grandeur of this incredible landmark.
Further reading: Petronas Twin Towers – The iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur
2. Batu Caves
I placed Batu Caves on the second spot on my list because it is one of the most important Hindu shrines outside India.
It was built on a limestone hill with caves and cave temples. The main attraction at Batu Caves is the Temple Cave, which you need to climb a steep flight of 272 steps. Besides the main cave, several smaller caves have unique features and religious significance. One of them is the Ramayana Cave.
Ramayana cave is at the end of the main cave, about 100 meters away. You will see a 50 meters tall Hanuman statue in front of the entrance guarding the cave. There are beautiful statues in the Ramayana Cave. Take time to learn about Indian mythology and appreciate the psychedelic dioramas in Ramayana Cave.
Batu Caves are a popular place for Hindus to pray and make offerings. If you come to Kuala Lumpur at the right time, that is when Thaipusum falls; you will witness the celebrations over here in remembrance of Lord Murugan.
Batu Caves is also a stunning and picturesque location. The limestone hills and caves offer a dramatic and majestic backdrop for photography.
Further reading: Batu Caves at Kuala Lumpur Malaysia- the comprehensive visiting guide
3. Kuala Lumpur Tower
Kuala Lumpur Tower is also called Menara Kuala Lumpur. It is a communications tower in the city’s heart. Standing at 421 meters tall, it is the seventh tallest tower in the world.
You should not miss the visit to Kuala Lumpur tower, as it offers breathtaking views of the city and beyond from the observation deck.
Located on the 276th floor, the Sky Deck is located at the roof level. It is 300 meters above ground level, with no rooftop or obstruction. It has a 360-degree view of the city and is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur. If you are lucky, you can see as far as Genting Highlands on a clear day.
There are two glass boxes jut out from the tower’s edge at the Sky Deck. While you may know they are safe, your eyes may trick you. So be brave and take a deep breath before stepping onto the glass boxes.
The revolving restaurant on the top floor offers a unique dining experience and more city views. However, I find that it is a little pricey. There is also a souvenir shop and a theater where cultural performances are held.
Further reading: KL Tower – Top attraction in Kuala Lumpur
4. Petaling Street
Petaling Street is where the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur is situated. It is a bustling and vibrant neighborhood with rows of old shophouses. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs, try local food, and experience the city’s energy. Most traditional stores here sell a wide range of goods, such as clothing, electronic gadgets, and souvenirs.
Next to Petaling Street are home to several temples, including the Chinese-style Sin Sze Si Ya Temple and the colorful Sri Mahamariamman Temple. You will experience different cultures and religions all in one place in Chinatown.
It is also a haven for street food. If you are a foodie, don’t miss out on some traditional stores operated by the same family for generations. I’d recommend you try the local specialty 碗仔糕 ‘cake in a small bowl, the famous soybean store patronage by high-ranking officials, including the former prime minister, and the famous Hokkian mee store Kim Lian Kee.
Further reading: Petaling Street KL- A New Experience After The Makeover
5. National Museum
The National Museum of Malaysia is the place to visit in Kuala Lumpur, especially for anyone interested in learning about the history and culture of Malaysia.
The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s past, from prehistoric times to the present. It has four main galleries: Gallery A – Early History (prehistoric times), Gallery B: Malay Governments, Gallery C: Colonial Era, and Gallery D: New Malaysia.
The museum has many exhibits, including artifacts, artworks, and historical objects from prehistoric times. In addition, you can learn about the country’s indigenous communities, colonial history, and development.
Besides the permanent exhibits, the National Museum hosts temporary exhibitions in the foyer, ranging from archaeology to contemporary art.
Further reading: National Museum of Malaysia- highlights of the interesting attractions
6. KL Bird Park
There’s one place in Kuala Lumpur for all bird lovers – KL Bird Park. It is home to over 3,000 birds from more than 200 different species, making it one of the largest covered bird parks in the world.
The bird park is easily accessible as it is only 10 minutes from the city center. Initially, I was skeptical, but I was amazed by the diverse array of birds and the vast size of the free-flight zone, which is almost like a small zoo.
It is a place for everyone in the family. There are cute little birds for kids and some rare species for adults and bird enthusiasts, including parrots, flamingos, and hornbills. The birds are a collection of native and non-native species. There are great opportunities to take photographs of birds in their natural habitats, as most aviary areas allow birds to fly freely.
KL bird park is a peaceful oasis that provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. For the best experience, arriving early in the morning and planning your visit around the scheduled feeding times is highly recommended.
Further reading: Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
7. Selangor-Japan Friendship Garden
The Selangor-Japan Friendship Garden, also known as the Japanese Garden, is a beautiful and tranquil attraction located in Shah Alam Lake Gardens, just across the Dataran Kemerdekaan.
The Japanese Garden is a well-manicured and meticulously landscaped park with several traditional Japanese elements, including a tea house, bamboo, and Zen garden. There are also some ponds, which are home to various fish and other aquatic life.
You can visit the Japanese Garden to relax and unwind in a peaceful and serene setting. The park is a great place to take a stroll at the Stroll Garden, sit and meditate at the Zen Garden, or enjoy the beauty of nature at the Reflexology Garden.
In addition to its beauty and tranquility, the Japanese Garden is also a great place to learn about Japanese and Malay culture at the Selangor house (Rumah Selangor).
Further reading: Selangor-Japan Friendship Garden- the best Japanese garden in Selangor (latest attraction)
8. 𝐒𝐤𝐲𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐚𝐭 the 𝐊𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐁𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐧
The Skywalk, located at the Kepong Botanical Gardens, about a 30-minute drive from the city center of Kuala Lumpur, has been open to the public since August 31, 2020, when Malaysia celebrated its independence day, known as Merdeka Day.
It is a suspended walkway that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding rainforest and the city skyline.
The Skywalk features a series of stainless steel hanging bridges. While it may be shaky, it’s sturdy enough to take great photos. Visitors often wait their turn to the highest tower, which stands 50 meters tall and allows only two people at once. The view of the forest below from the highest tower is genuinely breathtaking.
The walkway is suspended above the ground and offers a bird’s eye view of the rainforest below. On a clear day, you can see as far as the KL Tower, Petronas Twin Towers, and Tun Razak Exchange Tower.
The Kepong Botanical Gardens is also ideal for a stroll or picnic. There are several benches and rest areas along the way, and the peaceful setting makes it a great place to relax and unwind.
Further reading: 𝐒𝐤𝐲𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐚𝐭 the 𝐊𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐁𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐧s, Malaysia (updated 2022)
9. Sunway Lagoon – Six-In-One Theme Park For The Ultimate Experience
If you are a family with kids, Sunway Lagoon is one of the places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. It is a popular theme park located in the suburb of Petaling Jaya, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is an excellent place for visitors of all ages to have fun and experience a wide range of thrilling rides and attractions.
Upon entering Sunway Lagoon, you’ll notice signs directing you to the various sections of the park: Water Park, Wildlife Park, Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, Extreme Park, and Amusement Park. If you include Scream Park, which is smaller, there are six parks within Sunway Lagoon.
There is something for everyone, from thrill rides and water slides to animal encounters and adventure activities.
Sunway Lagoon offers a range of dining options, including various restaurants and food stores. For those looking for well-known brands, You can find Starbucks at Water Park, and Subway is located right in front of the Zulu Walk entrance.
Further reading: Sunway Lagoon – 6 In-One Theme Park For The Ultimate Experience
10. KLCC Park – The best recreational park in Kuala Lumpur
KLCC Park is a beautifully landscaped park that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The park is at the base of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and offers stunning views of the towers and the city skyline. It is a great place to take photos and admires the beauty of the towers.
The main attraction of KLCC Park is the Lake Symphony water fountain at the esplanade outside Suria KLCC. This artificial lake features a central fountain that can reach heights of up to 42 meters and several smaller dancing fountains that perform synchronized patterns throughout the day.
The esplanade becomes lively every night with musical fountain performances at 8 pm, 9 pm, and 10 pm. These Symphony Lake Water Shows each last around ten minutes and feature programmed animation patterns and colorful lighting that choreograph with the music to create a magical water and music performance.
KLCC Park is an excellent place for a morning jog or workout. Its 1.3km paved jogging track and multiple shorter interconnecting walkways are often packed with the locals in the morning.
Further reading: KLCC Park – Best recreational park in Kuala Lumpur
11. Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple (also known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven) is perhaps the only Chinese temple you should visit if you are short of time. Why? Because this temple combines elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, the three most important religions among the Chinese. It was built in 1981 by the Malaysian Hainanese community and officially opened in 1989. The temple is built on a hilltop, offering a stunning city view.
Thean Hou Temple is dedicated to the goddess Thean Hou and is a popular place for tourists and locals alike to pray and make offerings, and is also a popular place for wedding photographs since there is a wedding registrar within the temple.
Thean Hou Temple’s unique architectural style combines Chinese temple design elements with a contemporary aesthetic. The temple has six levels, with grand staircases and ornate roofs. The main entrance and the corridor are adorned with intricate carvings and statues. , The interior features colorful frescoes depicting scenes from Chinese mythology.
The shrine of the main temple is located on the second floor. The architecture inside the shrine is breathtaking, with elaborate pillar covering and intricate embellishments on the beam. The ceiling art is also spectacular.
Outside the temple are Chinese gardens and courtyards, which add to its serene and peaceful atmosphere, creating a visually striking and harmonious atmosphere.
Further reading: Thean Hou Temple
12. Central Market Kuala Lumpur
The Central Market is just located 5 minute walk from Petaling Street. Initially, the Central Market was built in 1988 as a wet market. Then, in 1937, the building was rebuilt in Art Deco style. Today, the Central Market is a melting pot of Malaysian culture and heritage.
The interior of this historic building is a great place to shop for souvenirs, try the unfamiliar local street food, and immerse into the vibes of the local culture. The ground floor of the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur has three side lanes: Malay Street, Straits Chinese, and Little India. These lanes are the best place to find handcrafted goods made by the major ethnic groups in Malaysia.
A wide range of stalls hawking various goods, including traditional crafts, clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. There are also food stalls and restaurants that offer diverse local and international cuisine.
Further reading: Central Market Kuala Lumpur
13. Kwai Chai Hong
Kwai Chai Hong (also known as Ghost Alley) is a tourist attraction within Chinatown. It is located behind Petaling Street, with colorful murals depicting daily life in the bygone era. The lane has been around for nearly a century and was lovingly refurbished after falling into disrepair. Many tourists visit Kwai Chai Hong to admire the mural art and experience the unique cultural atmosphere of Chinatown.
The murals inside Kwai Chai Hong depict daily life in the 1960s of Kuala Lumpur. You can have a glimpse of the past of this lively neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur through these lively murals,
There is a lamp post located about 15 steps after crossing the red bridge near the entrance of Kwai Chai Hong. Lamp posts were installed around 1903 when electricity became available in Kuala Lumpur. This is the only surviving one from the first set of lamp posts installed in the city. It is a historical relic that is now become a popular tourist attraction.
Further reading: Kwai Chai Hong – attractive murals reminiscent of the ’60s
14. Gasing Hill (Bukit Gasing)- The best place for hiking in Kuala Lumpur
Gasing Hill, also known as Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve or Hutan Pendidikan Bukit Gasing, is a secondary forest between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. It stretched over 100 hectares and was once an abandoned rubber plantation. However, over the past 60 years, nature has restored the area into a sanctuary for various plants and animals, becoming a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.
Bukit Gasing is in Petaling District of Selangor, Malaysia. It is situated in the western part of Kuala Lumpur and crosses over the state of Selangor.
Bukit Gasing is crowded with city dwellers who want to connect with nature every weekend. It has trails suitable for hikers of all skill levels, making it an accessible and enjoyable outdoor activity.
Further reading: Gasing Hill (Bukit Gasing)- The best place for hiking in Kuala Lumpur
15. Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park – One of the largest in the world
Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park is a world-renowned butterfly sanctuary known for its extensive collection of butterflies. The park covers an area of 80,000 square feet and is home to over 5,000 butterflies. According to the park’s official website, the Discovery Channel has commented that it is the best butterfly park in the world. Visitors can marvel at the beauty and diversity of these delicate creatures as they fly freely throughout the park’s lush gardens.
The indoor area of the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park has a distinct atmosphere, with a collection of beetles and other insects on display. Some insects are beautifully camouflaged, while others, such as scorpions and centipedes, may be considered creepy by some visitors. All of the insects are safely contained in glass display areas.
Further reading: Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park – One of the largest in the world
Monday 16th of January 2023
I am heading back to KL this year and was looking to discover some more attractions I could visit. I am definitely going to visit the skywalk as it wasn't around the last time I was there in 2018. Also Petaling street for the wall murals and the Thean Hou Temple.
Tuesday 17th of January 2023
Great to know that you will be back :)