Kuala Lumpur, or KL for short, is the capital city of Malaysia. This city has evolved tremendously through the years with mega structures such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower adorning the skyline of the metropolitan city. In fact, the Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world between 1998 and 2004, only to lose its title in 2005 after the completion of Taipei 101 in Taiwan. However, KL is more than that; it is a city rich in heritage and diversity. National monuments like the Dataran Merdeka speak volumes on the country’s road to independence from colonial rule. We have compiled 10 exciting and unique places to make you feel compelled to visit this beautiful city.
Situated a few kilometeres outside of the city lies the famous Hindu Shrine which is also known as Temple Cave. The best time to visit Batu Caves is somewhere in January or February depending on when the Thaipusam Festival will be held based on the Tamil Calendar. The procession and celebration of Thaipusam will certainly be something new to experience. Do not be intimidated with the long stretch of stairs leading to the Temple entrance. It may be long and steep but once you reach the entrance you will be amazed with the spectacular view and the limestone caves.
The Masjid Negara is regarded as the biggest in South-East Asia and one of the oldest too. Masjid Negara not only serves as a place of prayer and worship but is a place for knowledge and community service. It is definitely a go-to place for the Muslim community in KL with the services offered by the Masjid Negara. Free guided tours are also available for tourists who interested to have a look at the grand mosque. Photo taking are allowed in the premises so feel free to take photos of the modern and elegant architecture of the mosque. The designs are detailed and feel free to ask the meaning of certain aspects of the mosque. Just remember to dress appropriately when visiting the Masjid Negara.
Built in 1907, Jamek Mosque served as Kuala Lumpur’s main mosque before the Masjid Negara. It is the oldest standing mosque to date in Kuala Lumpur. The architecture of the mosque provides visitors with a sense of nostalgia with its ancient design and the combination of different cultures which was designed by the late Arthur Benison Hubback. Like the Masjid Negara, Jamek Mosque also provides free guided tours for visitors and also a deeper insight to the rich history of the mosque.
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Located about five minutes away from the Masjid Negara, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is often mistaken to be just another mosque. It is in fact home to extensive collections of Islamic decorative arts from all over the world which includes magnificent textiles, carpets, jewellery and calligraphy-inscribed pottery. With over 7000 artifacts on display, the IAMM is Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. Visiting the IAMM is highly recommended as it offers a stunningly unique insight to the Islamic world through art and design.
Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is one of the oldest temples in Southeast Asia, located along Jalan Klang Lama. The temple is set on a hill and offers wonderful views of the city for visitors. The temple’s structural design combines both traditional and modern contemporary elements which make it a marvel to look at especially how the bright colours are used on the designs and murals.
Kampung Kuantan (Fireflies Sanctuary)
Kampung Kelip-Kelip or Kampung Kuantan is located outside of KL. It is about a two-hour drive from the city. Visitors can then take a night river ride tour to see fireflies, twinkling on the mangrove trees and lighting up the atmosphere. There are not many places in the world that offers this experience and that is why it is one of the leading tourist attractions in Malaysia. After the river ride tour, visitors can dine in at the several seafood restaurants available along the river.
Bukit Nanas Forest
Sitting at the base of the Menara KL or KL Tower, Bukit Nanas Forest seems really out of place with it being surrounded by tall buildings and modern structures. Bukit Nanas Forest is the remains of the rainforest that was once Kuala Lumpur. It is now a nature park reserve where it is home to several wildlife species, century-old trees, flora and fauna. There are nature-trails for visitors and a really perfect place to get away from the busy city and enjoy the serenity. It is almost like a step back in time to Kuala Lumpur before its modern makeover.
This hiking spot is located about 20 kilometres from the city which makes it one of the popular choices by the visitors or hiking enthusiasts. Complete the hike and you will be rewarded with a breath-taking view of the KL skyline. You will be amazed to see the urban and natural world which is separated by a ridge when you reach the top. You can even catch the sunrise or sunset if you time the start of your hike correctly. Just make sure not to hike up the hill all by yourself due to safety reasons.
Publika is an upscale shopping mall located in the neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur. What sets Publika apart from the other shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur is how it gives off an artsy and creative vibe. Very often artists in Malaysia are given the opportunity to showcase their artwork or host art events in Publika. Publika also has a mixture of establishments from famous brands to local independent boutiques. There are also tons of concept cafes and bars for your entertainment and dining options. The Bee Publika, for example serves good food which is accompanied by live acoustic performances.
The street food haven of Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Alor serves all local delicacies and dishes at affordable prices. Visitors will be spoilt for choices due to the sheer numbers of street stalls and restaurants along the narrow roads of Jalan Alor. The best time to visit is at midnight as that is when the roads are closed and most of the shops are opened. The most important thing is to go there with an empty stomach and get ready for a street food fiesta!