Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Itineraries for Your Trip to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Kuala Lumpur for First Timers

Curated by Jade Harveywho explored every corner of Asia for 12 months.

Before stepping off the plane and into the familiar wall of humidity on my first visit to Kuala Lumpur, I was expecting to enter a typical Asian metropolis—but KL offers something entirely different. Just like the country’s rich culture, Malaysia’s capital city is a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, British, and Malay heritage. You can expect to smell heady incense followed by the rich aroma of traditional Malay laksa and see the towering minarets of a mosque alongside typically British tea houses.

Kuala Lumpur might be sprawling, but it’s a city that’s easy to get to know. Here’s how to experience the best of Asia’s most manageable metropolis in just three days.

The city is hot, humid, and prone to sudden downpours, so carry ample water and an umbrella.

If you only have time for one thing, make it Central Market, which brings together all of KL’s cultural influences through food, crafts, and collectibles.

Day 1

Dedicate this morning to the city’s top sights. Start off at the National Mosque of Malaysia, the headquarters of the country’s Muslim faith. Admire the soaring, richly-decorated minarets before wandering over to the art deco Central Market, which has Malay, Chinese, and Indian stalls reflecting the country’s diverse culture.

Walk 10 minutes to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple to admire the colorful depiction of Hindu gods and mythological beings on its towering exterior. From here, you’re a 10-minute stroll to Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, where vibrant stalls and restaurants sit beneath illuminated red lanterns.

Day 2

No visit to Malaysia would be complete without visiting the country’s most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, so spend your second morning at the Batu Caves—a giant Hindu shrine complex only 40 minutes from KL Sentral Station by train. If you want to skip the stress of navigating public transportation, most tours include round-trip transfers and a stop at a batik textile factory.

After building up an appetite climbing the 272 steps at the Batu Caves, head straight to Bukit Bintang, a bustling district home to lively bars and some of the city’s best street food. Feast on buttered prawns at a sidewalk restaurant or enjoy a pick-n-mix of meat, fish, and vegetable skewers at one of the many satay stalls.

Day 3

After two jam-packed days of sightseeing, spend this morning experiencing the serenity of the natural world at KL Bird Park. Walk among more than 3,000 different species of birds and admire butterflies and blooms from around the world in the Orchid and Hibiscus Garden.

Top off your time in Malaysia’s capital in style with a visit to two of the city’s highest buildings. Soar to the top of the iconic Petronas Towers in a high-speed elevator to watch the sunset, then dine on Malay classics at the revolving restaurant at the top of the KL Tower.

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