Malaysia was my first stop on a three week trip to South-East Asia. I spent 1 week in Malaysia followed by 2 weeks in the Philippines.
My stay in Malaysia began with 3 days in the famous city of Kuala Lumpur. Let’s get into it…
Popularly known as KL, Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital of Malaysia. KL is a buzzing city filled with skyscrapers and mogul-styled domes. It is a culturally diverse country with an ethnic make-up of mainly Malay, Indian and Chinese.
How I booked:
I booked my flights with British Airways and booked my hotels separately.
Need to Know:
Local Currency – MYR Malaysian Ringgit
Language – Malay – English was widely spoken
Adapter – 3 flat pin – The same as the UK
Transport – Grab which is a cheap and accessible app like Uber. The metro (MRT/LRT) and regular meter taxis
WHERE TO STAY
Bukit Bintang and Brickfields are main areas to stay in KL and recommended for a first-timer to the city.
For a western traveller, hotels in KL are very affordable – even luxury hotel brands such as St Regis, Four Seasons and Shangri-La.
I stayed in two different hotels during my time in KL and for my first hotel, I was interested in a city view.
The first hotel I stayed in was ‘The Face Suites’ situated in Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Region. This hotel was extremely spacious, had a gorgeous rooftop pool terrace which offered stunning views of the Malaysian skyline.
The room was more like an apartment which a huge living room, bathroom and bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe.
The hotel was very central and in the hub of Kuala Lumpur. I would definitely recommend for first-timers.
I opted for the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on my layover in KL on my way back to London. I was looking for a cheap and cheerful hotel for a quick stopover and even better the Doubletree provides guests with amazing warm cookies on check-in (check my New York post lol).
This hotel was also clean and central but gave me business vibes. I would recommend this hotel if you want somewhere nice to stay for a very quick stop in KL.
My KL hotel recommendations are:
- Four Seasons
- The Banyan Tree
- W Kuala Lumpur
WHAT TO DO
We were in KL over the Easter Weekend and wanted a chilled trip before our adventure-packed time in The Philippines so we were mainly focused on relaxing, eating and shopping, with a few stops at popular sites.
Batu Caves is one of KL’s most frequented tourist spots. The Caves are both natural and man-made, situated inside a limestone hill and featuring a gigantic golden statue.
Be warned that you have to climb hundreds of (beautifully coloured) steps to get inside the caves. Whilst you climb the steps make sure you keep your things close as there are loads of little cheeky wild monkeys – one of them stole my friend’s biscuit straight out of her hand.
The caves are free to visit however some sections have a small fee, no more than around £6. If you’re wearing clothes that expose your legs, be prepared to rent a scarf before you can enter, again this was cheap at around £1.
The caves are a must-visit when in Kuala Lumpur.
The Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world; A very popular landmark that always features in pictures of the KL skyline.
During the day you can visit the towers; the KLCC Park sells tickets for a view of the towers. In the night the towers are lit up which is perfect for a photo-op.
The tower lights switch off at midnight, so don’t get caught out like your girl here who wanted to take pictures after dinner and the lights switched off before I had the chance.
The SkyBox at the Menara Tower was one of my favourite activities in KL. The SkyBox offers an unadulterated view of KL from a completely clear glass box.
The downsides were the waiting time and the time limit inside the box. You only get 2 minutes inside the box, which means rushed pictures and not a lot of time to see the view. And make sure you get to the Sky Deck early, we waited for more than an hour despite having tickets.
Also, note that they close the Skydeck whenever there is a risk of lightening due to safety reasons. KL is a tropical climate country, so be sure to check the weather beforehand.
You can also visit:
- National Mosque of Malaysia
- Little India
- KLCC Park
Honestly, Kuala Lumpur was not a food haven for me. Admittedly, due to lack of time I wasn’t able to try many food spots.
I made sure to try the local restaurants for my favourite South-East Asian dish, Nasi Goreng. This local rice did not disappoint, definitely try it if in KL.
Atmosphere 360 at the Menara Tower
As we only had one night to dine out it was between Atmosphere and Dinner in the Sky, but I decided on Atmosphere because how can you come to KL but not visit the world’s only revolving restaurant. The restaurant spins 360 degrees and offers views of the whole of KL.
The cuisine was an unlimited buffet with different cuisines on offer. The food was okay but I wouldn’t visit again. And the décor of the restaurant was very dated.
If I had to choose again, I’d pick dinner in the sky.
Some places that I would have tried if I had the time:
- Dinner in the Sky – A three-course meal dining experience 150 feet up in the sky.
- Sky Bar at Traders Hotel
- Marini’s on 57
- Canopy Lounge – A rooftop shisha lounge under the views of the Petronas towers
- Night Market for a taste of the local food
I didn’t make it to the club in KL but don’t sleep on the Malaysian nightlife. KL apparently has a very good nightlife. Some suggestions below:
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Drop some recommendations in the comments below. And feel free to ask any questions.