A Kuala Lumpur Quick Guide – For Your Travel Considerations
Kuala Lumpur, turns out it is a rather large place to summarise. I will attempt to make this a Kuala Lumpur quick guide to avoid bombarding you with useless information.
To further help with bypassing useless information, use the table of contents to jump to the sections of the Kuala Lumpur quick guide that are relevant to you. In essence, you can make the Kuala Lumpur quick guide even quicker!
Kuala Lumpur Activities Video
I have also cut together this quick Kuala Lumpur quick guide video/tour. It will show you a few of the main activities in KL and just how close together the m ajority of them are to each other!
Kuala Lumpur Quick Guide Part 1 – Things To Know Before You Go
What is a Kuala Lumpur?
The name Kuala Lumpur comes from the native language, Kuala meaning “the point where two rivers merge”, and Lumpur meaning “mud”. There are various other theories on the etymology of the city name, but the above is the most accepted.
Kuala Lumpur is a relatively new city, first being thought to officially be a town in the 1850’s. The point where the two rivers meet was as far up river as the tin miners could bring their resources, and thus it became an offloading and collection point for the tin mines.
It remained an important strategic position as well as the base for politicians for years to come. Eventually when the Malaysians gained independence, the British flag was lowered and the Malayan flag was raised in what is now called Merdaka Square, right here in Kuala Lumpur, at midnight on the 30th of August 1957.
These days it is considered a power city, it is an economic, fashion, shopping, real estate, and business hub. It still houses foreign dignitaries and embassies despite it no longer being the home of the Malaysian government since 1999.
It is also believed by me to be the original homeland of the Oompa Loompa people, before they were stolen by Willy Wonka to work as slaves in his factories.
66 metres above sea level.
Where is Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala lumpur is located towards the south-west of Malaysia, it is 40km inland from the western coastline and 315km as the dodo flies to the north-west of Singapore.
What’s The Weather Like in Kuala Lumpur?
Southeast Asia is largely consistent in its weather patterns, which tend to be similar throughout the whole region. It is hot, humid, and it can rain on any given day. For a rough guide of all the months combined;
Average Rainy Days:
October and November average the most rainy days with 20.
July averages the least amount of rainy days with 12.
How Long Should I Stay in Kuala Lumpur?
Malaysia has some of the most lax and liberal visa restrictions amongst all of the countries in Southeast Asia, offering 90 days visa free. So although you’ll never feel the need to rush through the city, a lot of people seem to anyway.
A lot of people that I meet only really use Kuala Lumpur as a point of transit, given how large the airport is it is a logical decision. However, I think the city is actually really cool, and 90% of the activities that you can do will be walking distance if you are an active person.
I would recommend a minimum of 3 nights, but that’s only if you really want to breeze through and see one or two attractions and then leave.
For a better idea of Kuala Lumpur and what it has to offer, I’d suggest for most people that they stay 5 nights, thus allowing 4 full days to explore the city and all of its delights.
How Do You Get to Kuala Lumpur?
A very common way to enter Kuala Lumpur. The airport is the 23rd busiest airport in the world, based off passenger traffic, and one of the main transfer hubs in Southeast Asia along with Bangkok and Singapore.
I’m not even going to list the places in the world that fly to Kuala Lumpur, chances are most places in the world have a way of getting to Kuala Lumpur.
The bus is also a popular means for those travellers who are working their way up from Singapore, or who are going to Singapore to catch a flight.
THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS – KL;
($10.50 US, $15.50 AUD, £8, €9.50).*
PENANG – KL;
($8.50 US, $12.50 AUD, £6.50, €7.50)*
SINGAPORE – KL;
($12 US, $18 AUD, £9.50, €11)*
*Price and conversions are done at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
BOOK A TICKET TO KUALA LUMPUR HERE
How Expensive is Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur is a large city, it’s as developed as you can get. There are heaps of opportunities to spend big here, especially in the shopping malls with all the designer brands.
There are still opportunities to be thrifty though, the hostels are no worse than elsewhere in Malaysia, but I would say more often than not you might need to pay a touch more money for food.
To get anywhere by Grab though and you will be laughing, if you are in central Kuala Lumpur and you want to fo to any of the main tourist attractions then you won’t need to spend anymore than about 8-12 MYR, and that’s without sharing a Grab! Cheap as chips to get around town.
At no point did I feel like I was being ripped off, it is all part of the big city life, you can still eat where the locals eat and you all pay the same prices.
However, avoid Dome Cafe at the KLCC Suria shopping centre, the prices there are extortionate.
What Is The Currency?
The currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM) which is often stylised by “MYR” at the end of the number.
Conversion rates at the time of writing are;
- $0.25 US
- $0.36 AUD
Or alternatively, 1 of each of the above currencies respectively will give you;
- 4.05 MYR
- 2.80 MYR
- 5.50 MYR
- 4.50 MYR
Kuala Lumpur Quick Guide Part 2 – Things To Know Once You Arrive
How to Get Around in Kuala Lumpur?
If you’re coming in by air and it is your first stop in Malaysia then you’ll be wanting to get a SIM card in my opinion (I went with Maxis Hotlink). Then if you don’t already have it, download the ride hailing app Grab.
Don’t link your credit card to Grab, always pay cash. That way if you cancel a ride for the driver not being on time he will not be able to charge you.
Grab is the way you will get around in Southeast Asia, when a scooter is not a viable option. The ability to pay cash helps to split between friends, and having the app also lets you know the price of a journey so that if you do take a taxi you won’t be ripped off.
If you arrive at the airport, a Grab will be 65 MYR to the city centre. But this is not the best way to get into the city centre when arriving by air.
Take the KLIA Express, which as it states is an express train service all the way to KL Sentral station. it will cost you 55 MYR one way, which is cheaper than a Grab, as well as a lot quicker due to there being no traffic. Then catch a Grab from KL Sentral to your final destination.
If you come in by bus you will be dropped at either Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (16 MYR) or if you get the chance get off at KL Sentral (8 MYR). KL Sentral is a lot closer to the city centre and normally the buses stop at both stations, but check with your driver to be sure.
The 3 main ways of getting around once you’re all settled into your accommodation are;
Moat of Kuala Lumpur’s best sites are walking distance, for the active person. I managed to walk all over the city, only catching a Grab when I was running short on time.
A walk from a centrally located hostel to Pavilion Mall, KL Tower, The Petronas Towers or any of the other major attractions is usually 30 minutes one direction at most.
This is the easiest way to get around, because everything is so close together it will be very inexpensive to get around the city with Grab. From a centrally located hostel to the Petronas Towers for example is about 8 MYR one way.
I wouldn’t worry about it too much though in the planning stages of your holiday, it might look overwhelming but it is best figured out once you’re in Kuala Lumpur and have a lay of the land.
Although it is a good way to get around, I was able to walk everywhere I needed to go during my stay, I would have used the line to get to Sunway Lagoon or maybe The Batu Caves had it not been a lot easier to share a Grab with friends.
The metro can mean transferring lines, or waiting for the right train, which can often mean that other methods become much more appealing.
This is a free bus service that loops between all of the major tourist hotspots. There are 4 different colour routes, with shared stops for transferring between the routes.
The buses run frequently depending on the hour of the day either every 5 minutes, of in off-peak every 15 minutes. This is from 06:00 – 23:00 during the week and then to as late as 1am on Friday and Saturday night.
Where To Stay in Kuala Lumpur?
Stay somewhere central, somewhere in the rough area shown below. I can strongly recommend Back Home Hostel, which is a great hostel with great reviews and a great location. I have made a separate post reviewing the hostel, with a video tour inclcuded.
If you look on the map you will see the hostels location, anywhere in this sort of area give or take a few kilometres will leave you with a good central base to be able to walk to all of the major city attractions.
Stay west of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, and east of Dataran Merdaka.
Where to Eat in Kuala Lumpur?
I can’t help you here. The shopping malls are filled with so much variety, each one has different things available and often the best place to eat is just whatever is closest to you at that particular time of day near the activity that you are doing.
There is Nando’s though, if you are craving it.
Although before I leave this section I will make one recommendation.
ReDynasty is AMAZING!!
I found it almost by accident, I just happened to be walking to the nearby shopping centre and saw a group of people eating inside so thought I would try it. The serving was great, the food is proper quality. It was so good that it was the only place that I actually came back to the whole time I was in KL.
I Love Coffee More Than Life Itself! Where Should I go!?
Luckily Kuala Lumpur is not as bad at making coffee as the rest of Malaysia seems to be. In any of the major shopping malls you will find a place that does a decent coffee.
The best coffee I had was at 8 Oz Coffee in Suria KLCC shopping mall, which is below the Petronas Towers.
If you do stay at Back Home Hostel, then be sure to avoid the coffee at the attached LOKL coffee shop and walk 20 metres down the road to Cottle Coffee. They were cheaper, and also made a better coffee when I was there. LOKL is a ripoff.
Where to do Laundry in Kuala Lumpur?
Depending on where you stay, then I would just go somewhere close to your accommodation that saves you the hassle of carrying all of your laundry around.
I went to Bubble Laundrette, they were located just outside of Sungei Wang Plaza and they allowed me to drop off the laundry. The reason that I chose them is that they offered to hang dry the clothes, which for me is necessary seeing as how many of my shirts are merino wool.
All of my clothes came back dry, smelling nice, and not shrunk by the dryer.
Usually it will cost about 6 or 7 MYR/kg.
If you don’t mind waiting around at laundromats and are able to dry all of your clothes in the dryer then there are cheaper options, visit one of the many automated laundromats around the city.
I Need to Lift Weights, Any Good Gyms?
This is a major city with major infrastructure, so there’s plenty to choose from.
My recommendation is Peak Fitness SOGO KL.
BUT WITH ONE CONDITION!
I only recommend you use them with if you’re going to be in the city long enough to make use of their 99 MYR week long pass, because otherwise the prices are way too expensive.
It is however one of the nicest gyms you will set foot in on your travels and if you manage to go the whole week the value is actually good. They don’t do protein shakes but they are above the food court in the shopping mall so it’s easy to fuel up afterwards.
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
In the interest of keeping this a Kuala Lumpur quick guide, I have made a separate post that details all of the things I did with 4 days in Kuala Lumpur.
I explain which activities are worth doing, which are overrated garbage, and which I regret not doing.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur though;
- KL Tower
- Batu Caves
- Petronas Towers
- KL Eco Park
- Sultan Abdul Samad Building
- Merdaka Square
- KLCC Park
- Sunway Lagoon
- Shopping at Pavilion or KLCC Suria
- KL Bird Park
- Petaling Street Market
Honestly, the list is a lot longer than this when you start including all the popular bars, shops, and other activities available for a city of this size and popularity. Needless to say that there is plenty to do in Kuala Lumpur without getting bored, depending on your budget of course.
- Enjoy the offerings of a major city before you move on in the backpacking circuit to places that might not offer the same options. For example, I bought a pair of Colombia hiking shorts (affiliate link) here, something that would be hard to find for months afterwards in smaller locations.
- Walk as much as possible, it is a free mode of transport, it is healthy, and it is a great way to see the city. Sometimes the best places to eat you will find by pure luck as you walk around. Fuel yourself with smug satisfaction about how good you are at walking.
- Come to KLCC park after dark to view the fountain shows that get put on every night. It is also worth it to see the Petronas Towers lit up at night time.
- Head to the Skybar at night for the best views of the Petronas towers. Go as they open before it gets too busy, otherwise it will be hard to get to the best photo without other people getting in the way.
I think that will just about do for this Kuala Lumpur quick guide, all questions and further information or tips are welcome.
Love The Browne Town xox
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