Top 31 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

A Comprehensive Guide to the Top Kuala Lumpur Attractions and Activities

Kuala Lumpur at a Glance

A city famous for its rich food culture, modern skyline and being home to the King’s residence, Kuala Lumpur, more affectionately known by the locals as ‘KL’ is a city on the rise. The capital of Malaysia’s name literally translates to mean “muddy confluence” to mark the spot where the Gombak and Klang Rivers join, but the city today is far more than a geological landmark as it’s home to the world’s tallest twin towers; Petronas Towers.

With delicacies including endless curry dishes, BBQ satay, fresh glass noodles and grilled vegetables served on a banana leaf the culinary delights of Kuala Lumpur are endless. But, put the food aside for a second, and there’s plenty of culture and history to indulge in too. Family’s, friends and backpackers can enjoy many a museum, bustling colonial squares and rolling green parks not to mention the abundance of wildlife to be seen in the rainforest surrounding this magical city.

How Much Time Do You Need to See Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur is a relatively large city and many hours can be whiled away in the museums, parks and shopping malls so to ensure you scratch the service we’d advise spending 2-5 days here in total where possible. If you’re strapped for time, worry not as below in this article we’ve provided some shorter stay itineraries for your perusal.

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Free Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

There’s plenty of free activities and attractions in and around Kuala Lumpur so if you’re looking to save a little bit of money, keep on reading as below we’ve listed eight totally free things to do in the city.

Conley Road

Conley Road runs through the heart of the city and boasts a market come craft complex. Head here early to watch the locals setting up their stalls of batik clothes, crafts and jewelry. For a small cost, you can enjoy an engaging batik lesson with a local vendor.

KLCC Park
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This 50-acre green oasis might be Kuala Lumpur’s most visited public park. Its popularity is no surprise as the park boasts a kids swimming pool, silver statutes and lush green trees. This is the perfect hang out for families and friends alike looking to relax a little.

KL City Gallery
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Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is the quickest way to learn the history and future plans of this incredible city. Though not strictly free, we think the $1 entry fee is close enough. There’s a KL city model to help you get your bearings, plenty of cultural exhibits and a gift-making workshop.

Chinatown
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In the heart of central KL sits Chinatown, an area packed with color and always on the go. During the day Petaling Street is full of locals hunting for a bargain and come evening the street turns into a night market, and the aroma of Chinese cuisine is deliciously overpowering. Don’t forget to visit the Chinese and Indian temples located here.

Hilton Kuala Lumpur
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A night at the Hilton Hotel might set you back a pretty penny, but entry to the hotel's bar is totally free. If you want a quick dance with KL’s rich and famous, then head to Zeta Bar come evening to enjoy the live band and vibrant atmosphere. We can’t promise that you won't be tempted to get a round in.

Merdeka Square

As KL’s most famous landmark Merdeka Square sits proudly in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and is home to remnants of the British Empire. History buffs will love the British Colonial architecture of the surrounding buildings.

Petronas Towers
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The world's tallest twin towers are quite a spectacle inside and out. Ticket prices to climb to the top start at $20 but a view from the outside is breathtaking enough alone when you’re strapped for cash. Arguably, the Sky Bar at the Traders Hotel offers the best view so pack your camera but be prepared to buy a cocktail or two.

Galeri Petronas
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This contemporary, circular, art gallery is a culture vulture’s paradise with many Malaysian art works on display. Located in the Petronas Towers, head here early to beat the crowds.

Map of Free Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
Map of free things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Ready to go? Read about the best neighborhoods to stay in Kuala Lumpur.

1-Day Itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

If you find yourself with just a day in the city, don’t fear as below we’ve provided our ultimate one-day itinerary of things to see and do in Kuala Lumpur. Get ready for an action packed day of temple visits, park strolls, and market lunches.

Islamic Art Museum
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Home to one of the best collections of Islamic art in the world, this museum houses more than 10,000 artefacts. Located next to Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens a visit to the museum is a must to learn about the history of Islam as a religion.

Lake Garden Park
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This botanical garden is a green paradise in the heart of the city. Perfect for picnics, a runaround or a romantic stroll the park is inviting to all. If you’re feeling active, hire a Segway and zip around the paths exploring on two wheels.

Thean Hou Temple
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Thean Hou Temple is an impressive six tired Chinese temple located south of the city. Thanks to its elevated position the temple offers magnificent views back over Kuala Lumpur. Watch locals and visitors alike burning joss sticks or kneeling in prayer or perhaps you’ll land on a local wedding ceremony.

Kampung Baru
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This foodie village in downtown KL is a walkable area that’s managed to slip the noose of re-development. Head to his old-world part of town to wander the food markets, picking up tasty local snacks as you go

Sri Mahamariamman Temple
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On a history tour around this beautiful Hindu temple learn of it’s construction in the 19th century, its restoration and why it’s decorated in such an elaborate manner. Ensure you dress appropriately and keep your arms covered.

Central Market
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This craft, food and fares market is a bustling event located in central KL. Suitable for the whole family enjoy wandering amongst the stalls admiring local batik prints, elaborate paintings and plenty of delicious food. This is the perfect spot for a bit of souvenir shopping.

Allor Street
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If you consider yourself an acclaimed foodie, you can’t leave KL without a visit to Allor Street. Come sundown, the street comes alive with local vendors, and the food is cooked fresh in front of you. Enjoy an array of cuisines including Malay, Chinese, Thai, and Indian.

No Black Tie
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This Kuala Lumpur Jazz Club offers budding nightlife suitable for couples on a romantic night out in the city. On weekdays the bar is less crowded but come weekends the atmosphere is alive, and many organized events run with guest musicians. Check their website in advance to see what’s on the calendar.

Kuala Lumpur’s Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia
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A 30-minute drive north of the city lies this institution. Home to secondary forest and flora and fauna abound, visitors can enjoy canopy walks amidst the rainforest’s tree tops, river walks and waterfall visits.

Map Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur With 1 Day
Map of things to do for a one-day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

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2-Day Itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

Two days in Kuala Lumpur is a nice amount of time to walk at a leisurely pace without feeling rushed. Below we’ve outlined an ideal two-day itinerary for you to follow at your own leisure.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

As the oldest Chinese temple in the city, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is quite an impressive find. Located next to Petaling street in Chinatown the temple boasts a main prayer hall, side halls, and open-air pavilions.

National Museum
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Exhibiting Malaysia’s rich cultural and historical heritage, a visit to the National Museum can’t go a miss. The museum is made up of four galleries in total, and each covers the countries history spanning from the rainforest eras right up to present day. Suitable for families with children over the age of eight and couples alike, the museum provides a fascinating morning out.

Grand Hyatt

When it comes to finding the best rooftop views of Kuala Lumpur, there’s always a few contenders. We’ve managed to whittle them down to just one; Grand Hyatt. Head to the hotels Thiry8 restaurant for a gastronomic experience coupled with magnificent views over the city.

Suria KLCC
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Suitable for shopaholics and shopaholics alone, Suria KLCC shopping mall is bursting with designer brands, boutique stores, and a food hall to re-fuel before more shopping ensues.

Zoo Negara
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Home to giant pandas, roaring lions and docile giraffes, Zoo Negara is fun for all the family. Located just a 40-minutes drive north of the city, spend the morning visiting as many animals as possible and with 400 species of Malaysian and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds on offer you’re going to have your work cut out.

Private Cooking Lessons
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Since you’ve spent the past two days dining on delicious Malaysian cuisine, we think it’s about time you tried your hand at cooking it. Spend the morning on a couples private cooking lesson before taking your newfound culinary skills home and treating your family to a Malaysian dinner party.

Map Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur With 2 Day
Map of things to do for a two-day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

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3+ Day Itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

Three or more days in the city is the ultimate dream. With time to scratch the service and visit more off the grid haunts, you’ll leave having had a real taste of Kuala Lumpur. Read through our three day or more itinerary below.

Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park

Spread out over 173-hectares; this open green area is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perfect for families wanting the kids to run wild and free, or couples on a romantic stroll, the park is a green hideaway for all.

Heli Lounge Bar

For a cocktail with a view head to Heli Lounge Bar for a classic sundowner. Situated on a helipad atop a building, guests enjoy colorful, quirky seating and amazing 360 views. Arrive just before sunset to catch a view of the city before night falls, and the bright lights commence

Raju Restaurant

Raju is a local’s hangout and an award winning eatery set in the heart of KL. Enjoy an array of dishes; all served on banana leafs, including freshly marinated squid and delicious curried rice.

Bird Park
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This family-orientated attraction sits inside Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens and is home to approximately 200 species of foreign birds. Wander around the park spotting different species as you go before winding round to the gift shop to purchase your own feathery friend.

Aquaria KLCC
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Set over two levels, KL’s impressive aquarium boasts multiple exhibits to entertain the whole family. Make your way from the deep forest to the abandoned ship wreck before arriving at the living ocean and the shark tank.

Batu Caves
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Located a 40-minute drive north of the city are the Batu Caves; a limestone hill dotted with cave temples. These impressive geological formations are hundreds of years old and feature delicate statues and idols.

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
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If the heat and humidity gets a little too much then head straight to the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. Inside are multiple rides and activities but the main pull is the outdoor aquatic adventure park. Suitable for the whole family the park is made up of multiple slides varying in difficulty and a super cool surf stimulator for those after a challenge.

Skytrex Adventure

Take to the rainforest and swing through the trees on the outdoor pursuit adventure course. This sky-trekking experience allows you to swing, jump and glide through the trees as you’re suspended above the Malaysian Rainforest in a harness. This activity is great fun for the whole family and shouldn’t be missed.

Map Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur With 3+ Day
Map of things to do for a 3+ day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur

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Parting Words

From bustling food markets to peaceful temples, Kuala Lumpur has a lot to offer for everyone. Whether you’re swinging through the rainforest or marveling at the tallest twin towers you’re bound to fall in love with this ‘not so muddy confluence’ pretty quickly.

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