Travelling to Kuala Lumpur and now sure where to start? From booking your airport transfer to the best hotels in Kuala Lumpur with a view, find out here how to plan a trip to Kuala Lumpur and enjoy your stay in Malaysia’s beautiful capital.
How to plan a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
** Guest post by Kaspars from We Are From Latvia
Whenever you’re travelling to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur or KL, as the locals call it, most probably will be your first stop in the country. Don’t skip it as many travellers going to Asia do and give this modern and diverse Asian megalopolis a try. After having been to KL more than 10 times in the last four years alone I can assure you – there are lots of interesting things to do and places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
Why do people skip Kuala Lumpur? Some say it’s a boring city. Others don’t like it because of the lack of nightlife options in the city. Yes, the main religion in Malaysia is Islam. Hence the things here are different. But, seriously, skipping a country only because beer is more expensive there? Don’t do it.
To help you make the most of your trip to Kuala Lumpur I have prepared this list of tips.
Plan your perfect trip to Kuala Lumpur, 10 things to know before you go
1. Do you need a visa for Malaysia?
Do check it before, but most probably you don’t need a visa. Only citizens of very few countries need to obtain a visa in order to travel to Malaysia. However, when planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur, pay attention to the validity of your passport – it should be valid for at least 6 months after your intended date of departure from Malaysia. Also, note that the permitted length of an authorised stay varies from 14 to 90 days at a time, depending on your nationality. Arriving in Malaysia you’ll have to go through immigration check post, where they will check your passport and put an entry stamp.
2. Kuala Lumpur is a modern 21st-century Asian megalopolis
Which means that, as a tourist, most likely you’ll feel like in any other modern city. As a woman, you may want to dress a bit more modestly. If you want to visit some temples as well, you may be asked to cover your shoulders. But at the same time, you’ll see a lot of Chinese women wearing short skirts and shorts and foreigners dress the same way as in Europe. But that’s pretty much it. If somewhere you aren’t sure whether you are allowed to enter the place – ask about it. Because there are such places.
3. There are a lot of prayer rooms everywhere
And that’s where you aren’t allowed to go. Sometimes those are located near the toilets. So don’t worry if you have mistaken one for a toilet. Just leave the room. There are prayer rooms at the airports, in shopping malls and cinemas, at the train stations, most of the gas stations and in office buildings.
4. Kuala Lumpur airport train is fast, but the bus isn’t bad either
Airport express ticket costs MYR 49.50 if booked online and the journey is 28 minutes long. The same journey on a comfortable bus will cost you only MYR 10 and it’s gonna take around 1 hour. Both airport express and airport bus are going to the same place – KL Sentral, which is the main train station in Kuala Lumpur. From there you can travel further by metro or grab a taxi, which would be your next best choice for getting around in KL.
5. Get that Petronas Twin Towers ticket in advance
Being the city’s most popular tourist attraction, Petronas Twin Towers do attract a lot of visitors. Since only a certain number of visitors are allowed per day tickets tend to sell out.
Book your ticket at least 2-3 days in advance. And remember that you’ll also have to choose a particular time slot when you want to go up to the viewing platform. Don’t forget about that later and plan your time accordingly.
What to do if you can’t get a ticket for Petronas Twin Towers? From where else can you have a view similar to the one from Petronas? One of the options would be to go to the KL Tower. But that’s not the only option. See the next two points.
6. There are some very cool rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur
Fancy a drink with a view? Head over to one of the Kuala Lumpur’s coolest rooftop bars. Some of the best include – Marini’s on 57 (just opposite Petronas Twin Towers), Sky Bar, Luna Bar and Troika Sky Dining.
Don’t forget, though, that by far most of the rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur have a strict dress code (smart casual). So, no shorts and flip flops if you want that drink with a view.
7. How to plan a trip to Kuala Lumpur: Rent a condo apartment with a view
One of the things to love about Kuala Lumpur is the large selection of hotel rooms and apartments with a great view. There are just so many condo apartments built in the last years in Kuala Lumpur, that the choice of rentals is very big and the prices rather low.
Rooms in some of the best KL’s condos, when rented via Airbnb, start from as low as 15 USD per night. And it’s not that hard to find a decent studio apartment close to the city centre for about 25 USD. Are you ready to splurge a bit? I have a good news for you. You will not need to spend that much. Because already 100 USD in Kuala Lumpur buys you a room in a place like THE FACE Suites. Trust me, their 51st-floor rooftop infinity pool is awesome. And, by the way, they also have a bar, restaurant and a gym on the same rooftop.
8. Metro is the best mode of transportation during the rush hour in Kuala Lumpur, but…
But it depends on where are you planning to go. Because while the metro in Kuala Lumpur is a modern, fairly cheap and convenient mode of transportation, it doesn’t go everywhere. And it also gets quite packed during the rush hour.
So if you are not that far away, walk. If you can get there with metro, by all means, do so.
However, if you still need to change to a bus or train, think of taking a Grab taxi. Yes, it will most probably cost you a bit more, but not that much, and you’ll have a way more comfortable journey.
9. Grab taxi is cheap. Use it
Don’t know what’s Grab? Do you know Uber? Yes? Grab is Southeast Asia’s Uber. Well, actually in 2018 Grab bought out Uber’s business in Kuala Lumpur, so there is no more Uber in KL. But don’t worry, because Grab is as good, its app is very easy to use and it’s dirt cheap.
If you are 3 or 4 people travelling together, getting around in Kuala Lumpur with Grab will often be even cheaper than taking the metro. If you are two, I would still recommend choosing Grab because of how much easier it makes it the getting around.
10. The culture of Kuala Lumpur is very unique
Kuala Lumpur, same as Malaysia in general, has a multicultural population made up of three main ethnic groups – Malays, Chinese and Indians. Which means that next to a mosque you may see a Hindu shrine and just around the corner may be a Chinese temple, and that’s nothing out of ordinary here. Add to that all these shiny skyscrapers, driverless trains and other modern things and you have a very unique city.
The best part about it – it works and Malaysians are living in peace and harmony.
What it means for you is that in Kuala Lumpur you can experience all of these three cultures in one city. You can have a traditional Malay breakfast of Nasi Lemak in one of the city’s many food stalls maybe at Suria KLCC, a shopping mall located in Petronas Towers. You can visit a mosque afterwards. Then – take a train or taxi for a day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves, one of the most important Hindu temples outside India. Wander around this magnificent place and have a South Indian Masala Dosa for lunch. In the evening? Wander around Chinatown.
11. A couple of hours and 20 dollars later you can be on a tropical island, how does that sound?
Sounds too good to be true? But it is true. Domestic flights in Malaysia are cheap so you can easily go to Langkawi island, Malaysia’s most popular beach destination, located 1-hour flight away from Kuala Lumpur. Air Asia, Malaysia’s largest airline and one of the largest low-cost airlines in all Asia, has on average at least 8 flights from
Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and back every day. Every. Single. Day. And they aren’t the only ones flying to Langkawi. Yep, getting there really is that easy. And that cheap. What to do in Langkawi? For inspiration, you can check out this list of the best things to do in Langkawi.
Bio: Kaspars is a long-term traveller and a travel blogger from Latvia who loves to share his travel stories and photography on his travel blog We Are From Latvia. Together with his girlfriend they have been travelling and living abroad since 2012.
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