HIGHLIGHTS YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS
Over the years I have travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia too many times to count. Sometimes it’s been a stopover to, or from, other parts of the world and sometimes on vacation. In recent decades it has become a very popular holiday destination in its own right. So, I’m going to give you 5 Kuala Lumpur highlights that are not to be missed, whether you’re in KL for a couple of days or there for a longer stay. These are the 5 best things to see and do in Kuala Lumpur.
1. Petronas Towers
The first of the Kuala Lumpur highlights that I’m sure you will love is undoubtedly the most popular and iconic attraction here. Tourists don’t want to miss out on visiting the Petronas Twin Towers which are the most recognisable landmarks of the city.
They are super-impressive, modern, architectural structures, towering over 450 metres high. The shiny glass and steel exterior reflects the sun, creating a real wow factor.
Currently they are the tallest twin towers in the world and undoubtedly helped put Malaysia on the world map, as they were the tallest buildings on the planet at one stage.
Built in 1998, and owned by the Malaysian oil and gas company of the same name, the towers are joined by the double-decker Skybridge which is designed to slide in and out of the towers, and also helps stabilise the buildings in extreme wind. Quite amazing.
Beautiful cityscape views can be seen from the bridge half way up the towers, and also from the 86th floor at the Observation Deck, with ticket purchase.
Tip: Get your tickets early if you plan to go, as they sell out fast.
2. KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Central) Suria & Park
After you finish abseiling down the towers (just kidding, please don’t), you can venture down below to relax and shop – my 2 favourite pastimes, other than blogging of course.
Suria KLCC is an up-market shopping paradise for some serious retail therapy, if you are so inclined, which I always am. You will find everything here from Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, to department stores like Marks & Spencer and local retailers. The complex has 6 levels where you can shop-til-you-drop and dine in beautiful air-conditioned bliss.
Malaysia loves big multi-level shopping complexes, I’ve noticed. Not sure why.
While you’re at the towers don’t miss another highlight – the beautiful KLCC park and water features which grace the surrounding area of the Petronas Towers. This green mid-city sanctuary is 50 acres of free recreation and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, it attracts hoards of people escaping the daily grind in the city to enjoy a bit of time-out to admire the gorgeous views and water spectacle.
An added bonus is that you almost have an evaporative cooling effect (yay!) created by the fountains and the breeze, when there is one.
The lake here called Symphony Lake, is a man-made water wonderland with the highlight being the synchronised fountain, light and music show. This is on display every day for your viewing and listening pleasure.
We could see the colourful dancing lights from our Grand Hyatt hotel room, just a short distance from Suria.
Tip: Check the Water Show times. There are afternoon and evening displays.
There is plenty to see and do around the park, including a pool, playground, walking paths, sculptures, bridge, manicured gardens and cafes of course. Be sure to stay a while to soak it all in. I love it here.
By the way, Grand Hyatt is a fabulous 5 star hotel, relatively new, centrally located, and with beautiful suites; I loved the fog over privacy glass bathroom, and the round couch in our room. I can thoroughly recommend it.
3. Batu Caves
Batu Caves is undoubtedly one of the most iconic places in Kuala Lumpur, attracting lots of tourists and locals everyday. Located approximately 13km north of KL, it is a limestone hill with a series of caves which have Hindu temples and shrines in and around them. This is one of my favourite Kuala Lumpur highlights.
Upfront is the gigantic golden statue of the God Murugan, 43 metres tall, which you can probably see from the moon, I’m guessing. It cuts quite a striking figure!
There are 270 colourfully painted steps that lead to the top.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – ‘It’s too bloody hot in this tropical heat for that!’ Right?
I agree, but it’s worth climbing the steps, because you’ll be rewarded at the top, I promise. You see, the caves are considerably cooler and there is also a decent view of the city to enjoy.
These caves have existed for 400 million years! Can you believe that? The original inhabitants were the indigenous Temuan tribe. I love a bit of history on the places I visit; it always makes me appreciate them even more.
Over the years Batu Caves has become a place of worship for many Indians during the various festivals. It has been known to draw some of the largest gatherings in the world with sometimes more than a million worshippers making the pilgrimage here. Many, many, Hindu statues and sculptures are featured here (did I say many?), including a five-legged cow, yep! Multi-coloured lights brighten the caves and alcoves. It is almost like an Indian theme park.
Others who love the caves are the Macaque monkeys that play and ‘perform’ here while harassing visitors for food. They certainly aren’t shy, so just be wary of these cheeky critters. Bats also live in the caves, but they don’t bother you.
If you are planning to visit, you’ll be pleased to know there is no entry fee – thank you very much! Always nice to get something free.
- Be sure to check opening times;
- please dress appropriately for a temple;
- the restaurants here only serve vegetarian food, which I wasn’t aware of prior to going; and
- lastly, I suggest you avoid the Thaipusam festival period in January/February, as you will probably get squashed and may not escape alive!
Another activity that has become popular here in the last 10 years is rock climbing and abseiling on the outside of the caves, if you can brave the heat, that is. I’ll pass, thanks.
Unless you know some locals, as I do, that can show you around, it’s often best to take a tour with the experts. Here are some I recommend.
4. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
I came here when this park first opened in 1992, and there wasn’t a whole lot here other than a few water attractions – pools, slides and a manmade beach.
Now? OMG! If fun in the sun is your thing, then this is definitely the place for you. 88 acres of super fun-filled experiences to be had; from tame to thrill-seeking, from wet to dry adventure activities, from live performances to interactive wildlife.
There is everything you could imagine here to entertain you and keep you cool in the tropics.
Sunway Lagoon has an incredible 6 theme parks, yes 6! including Nickelodeon Land, and 90 different attractions with all manor of pools, water rides, rapids, amusement rides, scream park, jungle, volcano, bungee jumping, go karts, flying fox, zoo, and the list goes on – it’s definitely one of the major Kuala Lumpur highlights for kids and families.
You will need a whole day at least, if not longer. Tickets vary in price and there’s always deals to be found. Here are some I’ve found for you.
5. Petaling Street Market
The final of my Kuala Lumpur highlights is the Chinatown shopping strip, Petaling Street Market. Here you will find a veritable smorgasbord of clothing, bags, shoes, watches, gadgets and lots of different types of street food. This market is very popular with tourists and locals for cheap stuff, designer copy goods and haggling, of course. Many-a-time I’ve had vendors chase me down the street calling out, ‘I do cheaper for you’, not wanting to let me, and my money, get away. It’s hilarious, but I have taken home a bargain, or ten!
Be warned though, it is often crowded and vendors mostly prefer cash (shock!) especially if you intend to haggle. Don’t be scared if they sometimes take you behind the stall to show you other goods, it’s quite ok. They seem to pull stock out of everywhere. Often the good copy stuff, cos there’s different degrees of fake, is in the back. It’s a bit disturbing that I know this, isn’t it?
Let me just mention that Malaysian food is definitely a highlight itself in Kuala Lumpur and worthy of a stopover just to feast on some delicious spicy dishes. You may also enjoy a foodies tour.
Handy site: Official KL Website
Till next time.
Bye for now.