When I landed in Kuala Lumpur I had absolutely no plans because I actually had no idea that my flight was headed to Malaysia. The good thing about this being sprung on me is that I had absolutely no expectations for KL.
Once my friend and I arrived at the airport we pulled out or Lonely Planet travel guide to look up a hostel and then jumped in a cab. We stayed at the Birdnest Guesthouse. To this day this is still one of my favourite hostels that I have ever stayed at.
The first night that we were there Willy, the owner, treated us and a few other guests to a delicious Indian dinner. Then we all jumped in his car and he took us for a drive. At one point, he stopped the car, told us to get out and close our eyes. This clearly sounds like a sketchy situation but he was a very genuine guy.
So we all got out of the car, closed our eyes and held hands as we walked faithfully up a hill. When he told us to open our eyes we were overlooking a stunning night view of the entire city. Kuala Lumpar was sparkling in the dark and with the lights of skyrise buildings.
Staying at Bird Nest Hostel definitely made my time in KL a thousand times more memorable. As amazing as the hostel was I did in fact venture out and explore the city. The following is a list of what I thought were the other highlights of KL:
1. Explore China Town/Central Market
This was the area that I stayed in – and I loved it. This area is bustling with activity. Don’t worry you will have plenty of time to relax elsewhere in Malaysia- KL is all about stimulation.
Chinatown is one of the oldest and most colourful parts of the city- but by no means is it glamorous. It is filled with vendors selling clothes and accessories and a lot of knockoffs. It is a fun area to practice your bargaining skills because if you don’t get a price that you want you will most likely see the same thing for sale a few stalls down.
Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing anything it is still fun to walk through the market and be part of all the activity- just be prepared for people trying to sell you things. This area also has a lot of delicious and cheap food.
Note: Taxi cabs hate coming to China town and often will charge more. When catching a cab walk a few streets away from Chinatown for better luck.
2. Head to the Batu Caves
Just outside of the big city is a town called Batu where you can find the famous limestone caves. The main draw of these caves are the many hindu shrines that you can find within. They make sure you earn your way first though by making you climb 272 steps to enter the cave.
Outside of the cave is also a beautiful golden statue of Lord Hanuman- a Hindu deity. This apparently is the largest statue in the world of Lord Hanuman.
You can reach the caves by train from Kuala Lumpur’s Sentral Railway Station.
3. Visit Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
This temple is the oldest temple in Malaysia. even though it is old it almost feels new with all of it’s vibrant colours and energy that it radiates. I actually wasn’t even looking for this temple when I came across it- but it’s hard to ignore the exterior tower with it’s beautiful and colourful designs. The outside is cool but make sure to take off your shoes and go inside. The interior is just as colourful and beautiful. It is located on the edge of Chinatown so make sure to check it out when you are in the area.
4. Petronas Towers
The Petronas towers/ The Twin Towers were the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004. You can go inside the tower and look out from
the observation deck for about $20 but must buy your ticket in advance here.
I was traveling on a budget and since I had already seen a great view of the city decided to save my money and not go up the towers. However, it’s definitely worth going downtown to check them out from below. To be honest- it’s hard to visit KL and not noticing these giant towers. My favourite was seeing them lit up at night.
5. Eat Delicious food!
This is not just specific to KL it attains to all of Malaysia. The food in this country is delicious. Besides Malay food you will find an abundance of Indian and Chinese cuisine. I pretty much opted for Indian everytime. Malaysia is on my list of countries with the best food.
My favorite is Rotti bread. It’s like Naan bread but softer and more buttery. I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To find a good restaurant in Malaysia don’t judge it by how nice or clean it looks- often the best food is found at holes-in-the-walls. Also, if you see a lot of locals eating somewhere then you know it’s good.
6. Let Loose at Luna Bar
This rooftop bar is so cool! It is in the heart of KL and offers a fantastic view of the city from above. There is no roof since you are at the top of the building and the walls are glass. It actually makes more sense to view the city from here than from the Petronas towers because instead of looking out from the towers and can look at them. The petronas towers are lit beautifully at night and Luna Bar is the perfect place to enjoy some drinks in the evening.
What makes this bar super cool is that there is actually a swimming pool in the middle. Since I was there at night-time there was no one actually swimming in it. I asked security if we were allowed to swim in it and they told me no. However, near the end of the night with a little more liquid courage I ended up jumping into the pool- cloths on and everything. Next thing I knew everyone else from my hostel started jumping in too- it was like a scene from a movie!
According to their facebook page they are moving so make sure you have the correct address if you plan on having a fun night here.
7. Head to the Mall
Entering a shopping mall may seem like the worst idea ever while traveling but the malls in KL offer much more than just shopping. You can ride a roller coaster, visit an aquarium or see an orchestra concert. You can even go for a walk in the park in Suria KLCC Mall!
Plus the mall gives you an excuse to get out of the heat. You can read more about the top ten malls in Kuala Lumpar here.