This is a guest post from Delilah Hart of Our Travel Mix
Being Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur is a major hub for internal flights, as well as connections between Southeast and Central Asia. This makes it a popular stopover destination. KL is a big city, but you can explore the main attractions in a day or two. In fact, 24 hours is a popular stopover option for many travellers.
With limited time in the city, choosing things to do in Kuala Lumpur may be overwhelming. I’ve shared a one-day itinerary with you, to save you time and take the stress out of planning. The itinerary includes the major attractions such as the Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, and mosques, as well as providing insights into where to eat your meals.
Morning in Kuala Lumpur
Travelling from Kuala Lumpur Airport is really straightforward. Choose from shuttle bus, bus, train, or taxi.
Start your day off bright and early at Batu Caves. Batu Caves has put Kuala Lumpur on the map as an Instagram hotspot. The stairs up to the Hindu temple and the limestone have been recently painted in bright colours.
The best time to visit Batu Caves is just before sunrise. Temperatures are moderate, you’ll get to watch the sunrise, and there are few tourists – only photographers. Don’t make the mistake of many tourists who just walk to the top of the stairs to take photos. The stairs are just one part of the attraction: once you’re at the top, walk into the caves to see the temples.
The drive to Batu is 20 minutes from the city centre. If you’d prefer to go by public transport, the first bus leaves at 7 am. This would get you to Batu caves later than sunrise, but it is the cheapest option.
The National Mosque
The National Mosque is a must-visit in Kuala Lumpur. The modern design of the mosque boasts white and gold pillars, and the mosque itself can accommodate up to 15,000 people. Correct attire will be provided for you at the entrance.
To get to the mosque from Batu Caves, you can either take a Grab (ride-sharing app similar to Uber) or a taxi, or take the KMUTER bus. The earlier you get to the mosque, the fewer tourists you will see.
Next stop on the agenda is Chinatown, located at Petaling Street. It’s a 15-minute walk from the National Mosque, but in the heat, you may prefer to take the 772 or 600 bus, or a short taxi ride.
Chinatown is packed with markets, so be prepared to haggle. Buy your souvenirs here, as well as knock-off products for everything you can imagine – Fjallraven Kanken backpacks, Gucci handbags, Adidas shoes, and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Just be sure to investigate the quality at each stall. Although the products are very similar from stall to stall, the quality may not be.
This is also the perfect place to grab lunch – the food in Chinatown is amazing! Try the Hokkien mee and duck rice.
Afternoon in Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
After you’ve refuelled, walk 10 minutes to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Dataran Merdeka. Dataran Merdeka is the grassy square just opposite the building. Merdeka Square may not be the best place to sit and relax at the height of the sun, but on a cloudy day, bring a picnic or a cold drink along with you.
The architecture of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is exquisite. The 19th-century building features spiralling staircases and is topped with red domes. Spend some time walking around the grounds and relax on the various seats scattered around the place.
Just around the corner from the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is the Masjid Jamek. It’ll only take you five minutes to walk there, so it’s a great idea to visit both places back-to-back.
This mosque is the oldest in KL which contrasts well with the modern design of the National Mosque. Staff are very knowledgeable and will give you an overview of the mosque’s history and Muslimism. As at the National Mosque, attire will be provided as cover-ups.
The Petronas Towers are another iconic attraction in Kuala Lumpur. The towers reach over 450 metres high. The building is located in the city centre, so it’s easy to get there by taking the KJL train from Masjid Jamek to KLCC.
Start at Suria KLCC, the shopping mall at the bottom of the towers. Then visit the Petronas Philharmonic Concert Hall. Before you leave the towers, make your way up to the observation deck, 86 stories high.
Evening in Kuala Lumpur
Rooftop Bar for Sunset
End your day in KL with a cocktail in hand and rooftop sunset views. Rooftop bars are everywhere in the city centre and you’ll be able to find one with only a few minutes of walking. Look out for bars with happy hours to get a great deal. Most rooftop bars will have a restaurant too to dine at. Marini’s on 57 and Heli Lounge Bar are both popular options.
Before you leave KL, take a short Grab or taxi ride to Jalan Alor, also known as food street. Jalan Alor has some of the best food in the city, so even if you’ve eaten dinner at a bar-restaurant, make sure you leave enough space for snacks and dessert! You won’t see much happening here throughout the day, but the street truly comes alive at night. Try the chicken satay, coconut ice cream, and sugar cane juice.
Delilah Hart is a travel blogger for Our Travel Mix. As she travels the world, she loves to photograph the scenery and tick off the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.