Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and the main gateway to the rest of the country. This “Garden City of Lights” is the home of the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers.
Boasting with gleaming skyscrapers, lush parks, bustling street markets, colonial architecture, and a myriad of natural attractions of old and new can be found in Kuala Lumpur. It might be a big city, but is not as busy as Singapore, Bangkok and Manila. Despite the modernization, Kuala Lumpur has managed to retain its rich heritage of culture and traditions.
Here is the comprehensive guide / itinerary during my three days stay in Kuala Lumpur
PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS
No trip in Kuala Lumpur without a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the most recognised landmarks of Malaysia. The twin towers is the home to Petronas, an oil and gas company.
You need to book your ticket in advance or take a chance in a ridiculously long queue to get a ticket. In my case, I opted to settle for an outside view and enjoy the enormous towers.
EXPLORE SURIA KLCC
Suria KLCC is an upmarket retail center at the feet of the Petronas Towers. It features mostly foreign luxury goods and high-street labels. Boasting about 300 stores, Suria KLCC is touted as one of the largest shopping malls in Malaysia.
EXPLORE KLCC PARK
Located below the building is the KLCC Park. It has a jogging and walking paths, a fountain with an incorporated light show, wading pools and a children’s playground. It is a 50 acre garden set close to Suria KLCC shopping center. It is designed to provide a touch of greenery for the Petronas Twin Towers and the surrounding area.
GO SHOPPING / EXPLORE CHINA TOWN
The lively, colorful, vibrant Chinatown or known as “Chee Cheong Kai” is situated right near the well-known Petaling street. It is filled with an array of markets stalls offering all kinds of goods, a bargain hunter’s paradise. This is a place where you can find all sorts of stuff from Chinese herbs to imitation goods.
VISIT NEARBY TEMPLES
GUAN DI TEMPLE
Guan Di Temple is one of the most impressive Chinese temples in Kuala Lumpur or also known as Kuan Ti Temple. It is easily recognisable because of its vibrant orange facade. The temple is easy to locate as it is parallel to the busy Petaling street.
The origin of this temple comes from one of China’s greatest warriors known as General Kwan, Guan Di or Guan Yu. He was given the title of ” God of War” and many had chosen to worship him due to his excellent fighting war and skills.
Stepping inside the temple you will see a numerous hanging incense that will give you a feeling of serenity and calmness.
SRI MAHAMARIAMMAN TEMPLE
This is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia and is one of the most popular temples among worshippers and visitors alike. It is also reputed to the richest in the country. The temple was originally located somewhere near the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It was then moved to its present location along Jalan Tun H.H. Lee next to KL’s Chinatown and close to Guan Di Temple.
The Sri Mahamariamman temple boasts various intricate architecture of gods and goddess carved against the walls, roofs, and pillars in different size and shapes.
The temple is open daily and open to public. Entrance to the temple is free of charge. Please take note, visitors are not allowed in with their shoes on. Beside the temple is a safe place where you can store your shoes and a minimal ringgit is charged for storing your shoes. Otherwise you may just place it outside at your own risk.
This is a house of worship so please dress properly.
Outside the temple are several kiosks sell saffron-colored marigold flower garlands for worshippers, some Indian food and desserts.
Batu Caves is an iconic and popular attractions in Selangor about 12 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur. This limestone Hindu temples are built in the cave. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance and are reachable by 272 steps where poojan (a prayer ritual performed by Hindus of devotional worship to one or more deities) is performed. It is the focal point of Hindu festival Thaipusam. The Batu Caves is dedicated to Lord Murugan.
Monkeys frolics as you ascend and descend the stairs so be better careful with your bags.
How to get to the Batu Caves.
The Batu Caves are easily reachable from the center of Kuala Lumpur. For RM20 / RM25 you can take a taxi, when the driver is driving on the meter it will be even cheaper. From the bus station Puduraya in Chinatown two buses also have a route to the Batu Caves, 11/11d and U6. The bus will take you to the Batu Caves in about 45 minutes. The easiest way is by taking the KTM Commuter train that goes from KL Sentral to Batu Caves station in less than 20 minutes. A ticket to KL Sentral will only cost a few ringgits.
VISIT AND EXPLORE SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING
Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a home to the Ministry of information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia and sits beside the old Railway Station. Though it is no longer serves an official purpose, it remains one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and a historical landmark of the city.
The building features a strong gothic, western and Moorish style influences. Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building you’ll find the confluence of the Klang River and Gombak River, as well as Masjid Jamek ( Jamek Mosque).
VISIT MASJID JAMEK MOSQUE
One of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia besides being the oldest one in town is that it was built on the first Malay Burial Ground in Kuala Lumpur. It is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River. It is known as the Friday Mosque.
The architecture of the mosque is a combination of Moorish, Islam and Magul. The mosque is always packed with devotees and also tourists. This is one place to visit to appreciate the ancient architecture with a combination design of different cultures.
While Masjid Jamek Mosque is open to public daily ( apart from Fridays), visitors can only enter the mosque after prayer times.
There are robes and headscarves that can be borrowed at the mosque entrance. The mosque encourage visitors to dress conservatively ( sleeveless shirts, shorts or skimpy clothing are prohibited). and wear shoes you can easily removed before entering the prayer halls.
The mosque is easily reached by Star LRT (station Masjid Jamek). Using the KL-Monorail, go Hang Tuah station, transfer to the Star LRT.
VISIT MERDAKA SQUARE
Merdeka Square or formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang or simple the “Padang” ( meaning “field” in Malay) and was used as the cricket green of the Selangor Club ( now the Royal Selangor Club).
Merdeka Square is situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It has a wide-open space with a great view of the city’s most impressive old buildings.
VISIT KUALA LUMPUR NATIONAL GALLERY
National Gallery Kuala Lumpur is an art gallery situated along Jalan Tun Razak across Sultan Abdul Samad Building.
The gallery displays paintings, sculptures, batik and other works done by artists from Malaysia and all over the world.
If you like art, this is a good place to see for yourself.
Guided tours are available at specific time of the day and is free of charge. Tuesdays to Sundays except Fridays: 11:00 am and 2:30pm. Fridays: 10:30 am and 3:00pm.
All you need to do is assembled at the information counter before the tour time and you will be taken on an organized tour of the art gallery.
VISIT THEAN HOU TEMPLE
Thean Hou Temple known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia located along Jalan Klang Lama. The temple is set on a hill and offers a stunning view of the city.
Stepping inside the temple you can see a modern Buddhist pagoda and plenty of Buddha images enshrined in the octagonal hall. It also features a Chinese medicinal herbs garden and tortoise pond along with a well, beside the temple is a sacred Boddhi tree.
Thian Hou Temple is also popular for wedding venue among KL’s Chinese locals and even conducts fortune-telling readings as well as traditional Chinese exercise and martial arts activities.
The temple is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00pm.
Since we opted to stay in Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur I was able to explore and get lost in Shangri-La maze garden before heading back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
There are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur 3 days won’t be enough but hopefully this Kuala Lumpur itinerary will help.