Do you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur? Not sure what to do in Kuala Lumpur in such a short amount of time? Don’t worry. We are here to help.
As the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is filled with some of the best attractions in the country. Unfortunately, not all of Kuala Lumpur’s attractions are concentrated in a single area. That is why we have crafted the following 1-day Kuala Lumpur itinerary to help travelers experience as much as possible.
Is 1 Day In Kuala Lumpur Enough?
Anyone planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur must wonder if one day in KL is enough to see all the main sightseeing spots. The answer is… Yes.
In fact, I would recommend you to spend one day, at most, 2 days in Kuala Lumpur. Why? Because it is a huge metropolitan city that is filled with noise, pollution, and traffic. Combined with the debilitating heat, it is not the ideal place for a nice vacation.
Wouldn’t you rather spend your time relaxing on the beach in Langkawi or exploring some of the best attractions in Ipoh such as cave temples?
If you don’t mind the cons that come with Kuala Lumpur, there are many enjoyable aspects as well, such as cheap prices, good food, and easy accessibility. However, the cons outweigh the pros personally.
Now that we have set the duration of our trip, we can get into the details of our 1-day Kuala Lumpur itinerary. We have organized each attraction in a specific way to maximize your time in Kuala Lumpur.
What To Do In Kuala Lumpur in 1 Day: The Perfect KL itinerary
1. Batu Caves
To start off our day, we will visit one of the most beautiful places in Kuala Lumpur: Batu Caves. The word “batu” translates into “rock” in Malay so Batu Caves simply mean rock caves. However, as mundane as the name sounds, Batu Caves is one of the most visited places by locals and travelers. Why? Because it is a unique place of worship and a photographer’s paradise.
Batu Caves consist of 3 massive caves and numerous small ones. When one talks about the Batu Caves, he or she is usually referring to the Cathedral Cave, which is the main cave. Locating the entrance of the Cathedral Cave is an easy task, as it is where a 42.7-meter tall Hindu Statue situates. However, to enter the cave temple itself, you must first climb 272 steps to reach a giant opening in the limestone hill.
Though the climb is difficult (especially in the Malaysian heat), you are accompanied by wild monkeys that will guide your way to the top. The steps are also colorfully painted, making Batu Caves one of the top Instagram spots in Kuala Lumpur. When you reach the top of the steps you are rewarded with a stunning view of the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur.
Insider Tip: The monkeys are not your best friends. In fact, they are the opposite. If some of them are purposely getting close to you, they are trying to snatch something from you. Carefully guard your items when visiting Batu Caves.
Once you have climbed the steps and entered the cave, you will encounter one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. Surprisingly, Batu Caves are some of the most visited places of worship in Malaysia. During the annual festival of Thaipusam, Batu Caves can attract up to more than one million pilgrims!
Another great thing about the Batu Caves is that they are completely free to enter!
To learn more about the religious influences of the Batu Caves, it is highly recommended that you visit with a local tour guide.
In the area, there is another cave worth noticing, the Ramayana Cave. Its depiction of Hinduism and the statues of various deities are stunning, given that they are in a massive cave! The Ramayana Cave costs 5 Malaysian Ringgit to enter.
Though Batu caves are located on the perimeter of Kuala Lumpur, it is quite accessible thanks to KL’s incredibly massive transportation system. Simply take the KLM Komuter Line from any of the stops heading towards Batu Caves. You won’t forget where to get off before Batu Caves is the final stop.
2. Chinatown and Petaling Street
After you are done exploring the geological and religious wonder, it is time to head back to the city center. If you can endure the debilitating heat that is Malaysia’s weather, then head to Chinatown at Petaling Street. If you need to take a break, you can head back to your accommodation or chill out at one of Kuala Lumpur’s air-conditioned malls.
Kuala Lumpur is a huge melting pot, featuring different ethnic groups and cultures. We have seen the prominence of Hinduism at Batu Caves, now we will see Chinese culture and religion at Petaling Street.
Chinatown is an area in Kuala Lumpur and contains many amazing attractions. The one you must not miss is the Petaling Street Market.
Petaling Street Market is the epitome of a street market in Southeast Asia.
Counterfeits, street food, ridiculously low prices, sweaty tourists, annoying hustlers, the Petaling Street Market seems like it has a bit of everything. It is as authentic as a street market can get. Spend some time wandering up and down the narrow pathways nestled between stalls.
If you happen to stumble upon a foul-smelling fruit known as durian, don’t hesitate to give it a try. Though the smell is absolutely repugnant, the taste is quite the opposite. Sweet and soft, it is one of the most popular fruits in Southeast Asia. In fact, durian is the national fruit in Singapore, a neighboring country of Malaysia.
3. Kwai Chai Hong
After strolling around Petaling Street Market, head over to one of the best hidden gems in Kuala Lumpur, Kwai Chai Hong. Kwai Chai Hong translates to “Ghost Lane” in Chinese, but this place has nothing to do with the supernatural. Once upon a time, Kwai Chai Hong was a deserted street lined with buildings destroyed by the war. After a thorough restoration project, the lane is filled with murals, street arts, and newly restored pre-war buildings. Locals sometimes refer to Kwai Chai Hong as memory lane, as the artwork depicts the lives of the Chinatown residents in the golden era of 1960s.
Spend some time admiring the incredible artwork. Some of these murals are 3D murals, making them the perfect photo opportunity. The restored historic buildings are now eateries and places to grab a drink, so don’t hesitate if you need to rejuvenate yourself to continue on!
4. Petronas Towers
After a visit to Kwai Chai Hong, head over to the most iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur: The Petronas Twin Towers. The Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1998 to 2004, until they were surpassed by Taipei 101 in Taiwan. It still keeps the title of the tallest twin towers in the world. Along with the Kuala Lumpur Tower, these two skyscrapers are the symbols of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia.
No trip to KL would be complete without a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers. And what is a better way to familiarize yourself with the towering giant than going up to its famous two-story Skybridge and observatory deck? At about 170 meters off the ground, the Skybridge sits on the 41st and 42nd floor of the Petrona Towers and connects Tower 1 with Tower 2. Visitors can walk on the Skybridge on the 41st floor, as the 42nd is used by tenants.
After enjoying the views at the Skybridge, you will head up to the 86th floor of the building for the observatory deck. At 370 meters above the ground, the observatory deck in Petronas Towers offers panoramic views as far as your eyes can reach.
Tickets can be purchased at the ticketing counter at the Petronas Towers. However, the ticketing booth opens at 9:30 AM daily (except Monday when they are closed) and tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. On holidays and peak seasons, it is common for the tickets to sell out quickly, as they only allow less than a thousand visitors per day. Tickets can also be purchased on their official website, though the procedure is a little more complicated. I recommend using a third party such as Klook to purchase your tickets, as the entire process is much more convenient and secure.
Watching the sunset from the Petronas Twin Towers is one of the best experiences you can have on your Malaysia trip. Since each tour runs for about 45 minutes, make sure you time your entrance correctly for the sunset!
5. KLCC Park
After the amazing 360-degree views on the Petronas Towers, it is time to admire the towers themselves. To do that, there is only one place you should go to, the KLCC Park. A 50-acre park situated adjacent to the Petronas Towers, the KLCC Park offers an up close and personal view of the iconic landmark of KL.
The amazing green space attracts tourists and locals alike, making KLCC Park an ideal spot to just hang out and people-watch. However, what makes KLCC the perfect spot to admire the Petronas Towers is the daily evening water show. With the luminous Petronas Towers as your background and the well-crafted water show, KLCC Park becomes the picture-perfect location. KLCC Park is also one of the best places to photograph the Petronas Towers.
6. Jalan Alor Night Food Court
The last attraction on our Kuala Lumpur 1 day itinerary is the famous Jalan Alor, a street famous for its delicious and affordable street food. If there is a way to end your day in Kuala Lumpur, it is to stuff yourself with the amazing food Kuala Lumpur has to offer.
The Jalan Alor Night Food Court sits on a narrow street and is filled with local hawker stalls and reputable seafood restaurants. Though the seafood restaurants are good and cheap, you miss the opportunity to try all the different types of food KL has to offer. As an immigrant city, Kuala Lumpur is filled with some of the best cuisines from various parts of the world. As you stroll down the action-packed Jalan Alor, let your nose and curiosity be your tour guide. Who knows? You might stumble upon a dish that you have never tried before.
Sample a little bit from every stall and soon you will have yourself a happy belly (and a happy wallet). If you cannot resist yourself and have to try one of the seafood restaurants, go to Sai Woo. It is one of the most reputable seafood restaurants on Jalan Alor Night Market.
If you still have energy and time after such a long and exhausting day in KL, go check out some of Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife. As a huge metropolitan city in Southeast Asia, the nightlife in KL is exhilarating and affordable! Just be careful not to get too out of control because you are in a foreign country after all. Check out a bar called The Deceased, its spooky atmosphere and chill vibes are the perfect ways to end the day.
This concludes our Kuala Lumpur 1-day itinerary. I hope it has given you a rough idea of the things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 1 day!
Author Bio: Hey, I am Sean of LivingOutLau. I am an Asian American that decided to give it all up in NYC to pursue something I passionate about: travel and photography. I want to inspire other people, especially Asians, to follow what they desire and to travel more! You can find out more about my blog LivingOutLau here.