Kuala Lumpur, a metropolis renown for its cultural diversity, is worth exploring due to the enthralling assortment of sights it provides. For those who will find themselves in this big city in future, I’ve created a short itinerary for two days based on the experiences of my recent visit. 🙂
Start your day with a visit to the splendid Thean Hou Temple, a building which boasts of Chinese architectural grandeur. The temple is dedicated to the heavenly mother, Thean Hou, whose statue you can find at the center stage in the main hall. From the temple’s upper deck you can have a breathtaking view of the Kuala Lumpur city. Soak it all in, before you head to the temple base for breakfast.
Opening hours: Daily; 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Entrance fee: None
How to get there: If you are taking a taxi, it’s approximately 3km south of the center of Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, you can either take the monorail to Tun Sambanthan station, cross Jin Syed Putra and walk up the hill, or take minibus #27 from the Klang bus terminal to Jin Syed Putra and do the same.
Next, head back to the city to visit Merdeka Square, an open ground where Malaysian independence was declared in 1957. During the British era, the square had been used as a cricket pitch, and you can still see the stadium in the vicinity. To the opposite of the square, you will find Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a colonial building which is a blend of Victorian, Moorish and Moghul architecture, that served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration.
How to get there: Take the light rail to Masjid Jamek station. From there, Merdeka Square is 10 minutes on foot and there will be plenty of signs to guide you. Keep an eye out for a towering flagpole hoisting a Malaysian flag.
You can go to Petaling Street in Chinatown to enjoy a lunch full of regional specialties and do a bit of souvenir shopping. In this street you will find anything from cheap clothes and accessories to knockoff handbags and watches. Expect to bargain!
How to get there: Chinatown is within the walking distance of Masjid Jamek station. You could also take a bus headed to Kotaraya and get down near Petaling Street.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu shrine in Malaysia, is not far from Chinatown. 22.9m high South Indian style temple tower at the entrance covered with statues of Hindu deities serve as the main attraction here.
How to get there: Temple is located at the edge of Chinatown. Walk to Tun HS Lee Street. Temple is by the side of Tun HS Lee Street.
Before dusk falls, get to the Menara KL Tower and head to the observation deck. With a height of 421m, this tower is currently the world’s seventh tallest. Observation deck at 276m will let you have a spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur and you can watch the city as it begins to sparkle at night. You can also enjoy high tea or a fancy meal at Atmosphere 360, the revolving restaurant at Menara KL Tower.
Opening hours: Daily; 9.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
Entrance fee: Adult; RM52, Child; RM31 (as of March 2016)
How to get there: Take a taxi to Punchak Street. There is a free shuttle bus that runs from the gate on Punchak Street to the tower, every 15 minutes.
If you prefer to have dinner while enjoying traditional and multicultural performances, Saloma Theatre Restaurant is the place for you. Here, you will be severed a local dinner buffet, and a group of 18 members will perform Minangkabau, Chinese, Indian, Portuguese dances on stage in vibrant costumes. At the end of the show, you might also get invited on to the stage to learn few steps of traditional dances, to end the day merrily. 😉
Opening hours: Dinner; 7.00 p.m. to 10.30 p.m., Culture Show; 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
Entrance fee: Dinner with cultural show; RM100, Dinner only; RM85
How to get there: From Menara KL Tower, it is approximately 2km. You can either walk or take a taxi to Malaysia Tourism Centre. Saloma Theatre Restaurant is in the same building.
If you are traveling with kids, a trip to Aquaria KLCC might be worthwhile, so kick off the day from there. Aquaria KLCC is home to various freshwater and marine creatures including red bellied piranhas, jelly fish, otters, seahorses, sea turtles, and coral fish. It also has a 90 metre underwater tunnel with a moving travelator, where you will be surrounded by tiger sharks, stingrays, giant groupers and many more!
You can catch feeding sessions every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Please note that no flash is allowed inside the aquarium.
Opening hours: Daily; 10.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. (Final admission at 7.00 p.m.)
Entrance fee: Adult; RM64, Child; RM53 (as of March 2016)
How to get there: Take ‘KL Hop On – Hop Off’ shuttle and get down at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. Aquaria KLCC is in the basement.
A trip to Kuala Lumpur would be incomplete without making a pit stop at its shopping malls. If you are a fan of international luxury labels, Pavilion KL is not a place you should miss. The shopping mall has over 450 snazzy stores, which are mostly targeted towards high end customers. If that description doesn’t fit you, you will find Berjaya Times Square not far from Pavilion KL, that has over 1,000 stores which sell most of it’s products at affordable prices. There are plenty of food outlets inside these shopping malls, so you’ll easily be able to grab a snack or a meal of a cuisine of your choice and spend the rest of your afternoon exploring to your hearts content.
Opening hours: Daily; 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
How to get there: Pavilion KL is located right next to Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur. Look out for a crystal fountain featuring a hibiscus flower design on it that marks the entrance to Pavilion KL. Berjaya Times Square is approximately 5 minutes away on foot. To reach there, get to Sultan Ismail Street through Fahrenheit 88 – another trendy shopping mall – walk to your left and keep an eye out for a tall twin building opposite Melia Hotel.
Tip: If you are a bibliophile like myself, you might find yourself a bit out of luck in Kuala Lumpur! Book stores are hard to come by, and finding a decent bookshop that sells English novels is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 'Borders Bookstore' that had once been a mojor player in Berjaya Times Square is closed now. However, fortunately for us, there's a 'times' chain bookshop still at Pavilion KL. Enjoy your book hunt! 😀