48 Hours In Kuala Lumpur

Landscape of Kuala Lumper (Photo: Zhu Difeng)
Landscape of Kuala Lumper (Photo: Zhu Difeng)

While not as celebrated as other Asian capitals, Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it’s widely referred to) is coming into its own as a must-see spot for more than just backpackers and businessmen. Great food, endless shopping (from mega malls to street stalls) and a diverse array of attractions to suit every type of traveler have made this cosmopolitan hub an ideal spot to spend a few days.

What to see

Start your sightseeing with the 88 storey Petronas Twin Towers. Stunning enough just to peer up at (especially at night when they take on an eerie, ethereal quality), you can also ride up 170 metres to the Sky Bridge, the world’s highest two-storey bridge. Head up even higher to level 86 for phenomenal views of the city. Slightly outside the city lie Batu Caves, a series of natural caverns tucked into a soaring limestone cliff. Climb a heart-stopping 272 steps to the main cave which has been turned into a temple. The caves are also home to a band of mischievous monkeys. They might look cute but they’ll steal your bag of chips or can of pop in a heartbeat so be careful.

What to do

Whether you’re traveling alone, with family or as a couple, finding something to do in KL isn’t hard. Spend a leisurely afternoon in Lake Gardens Park, a calming escape from the city. The park offers manicured paths, pretty gardens as well as two popular KL attractions: The Islamic Arts Museum and Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, known as the world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary. If your trip to Malaysia doesn’t involve any sand and surf, get a dose of sea life at KLCC Aquaria, a large, well-stocked aquarium that includes a glass-encased shark tunnel where you can watch sharks, rays and sea turtles swim above and around you.

Where to eat and drink

You’ll never go hungry in KL and if you don’t have a lot of time to spend here, your best bet for food is along Jalan Alor, a street jam-packed with restaurants and food stalls with seating on both sides of the street. Chairs and tables start getting set up around 4 p.m. and within a couple of hours crowds start to form and tourists and locals jockey for position to peruse menus, nab tables or wait in line for satay (grilled meat or seafood on a stick). No matter what you’re looking for – from Thai to Chinese to ice cream, you’ll find it on Jalan Alor.

If you’re looking for someplace to get a drink either before or after your meal, head to Jalan Changkat, a street lined with bars and pubs, all boasting happy hour specials (happy hour usually goes all day and begins around noon).

Where to shop

Bargain your way to some new kicks, T-shirts and iPad cases, or stock up souvenirs along Chinatown’s chaotic Petaling Street. The semi-covered street is a throng of stalls selling everything from soccer jerseys to knock-off watches and is the place to be if you want to shop. Nearby Central Market is a less hectic (and thankfully air conditioned) spot to shop but mostly offers trinkets, magnets, handicrafts and other souvenir-type items. There is a large food court on the top level offering cuisines from around the world should you need to refuel.

Where to stay

Located in the buzzing Golden Triangle area, PARKROYAL Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur is a great place to base yourself in the city. Just a few minutes’ walk from Raja Chulan Monorail station, getting to many must-see spots from the hotel is a snap and there are several restaurants, shops and bars right across the street. Bright, well-appointed rooms come equipped with a kitchen should you want to save money by cooking a meal or two, and don’t leave without a dip in the gorgeous rooftop pool where you can cool off amidst stunning views of the skyline.

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on Styleathome.com, ElleCanada.com, Slice, Travel + Escape, Thrillist, AmongMen.com and SheKnows.com among others. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula

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