City Guide


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Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur © Mike Butler

Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide

From the top of the world's tallest twin towers, to the bustling alleyways of Chinatown and Little India, a holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's soaring city, is breathtaking: 

Malaysia's capital and largest city, Kuala Lumpur is a major trading and business hub in Southeast Asia and has developed an aura of affluent glamour and technical savvy which draws visitors to its glittering skyscrapers and culturally diverse streets. Perhaps the most popular tourist pastime in Kuala Lumpur is shopping, with well over 60 malls catering to all tastes and budgets, and a cutting-edge fashion scene which delights those seeking out new trends. Amazing restaurants and very inexpensive luxury hotels round out the city's appeal, and the cultural diversity ensures plenty of traditional holiday sightseeing, with tranquil temples, lovely green spaces, and numerous street markets to explore.

Essentially a holiday in Kuala Lumpur is for shopaholics, who will relish the fantastic malls and street markets. Families can also have a great deal of fun in the city. While the city is not generally touted as a family destination, it is nevertheless home to a well-loved indoor theme park and pristine nature reserves on its outskirts which will thrill kids. Others will just enjoy wandering the streets between the towering skyscrapers and eating as often as possible at the city's legendary restaurants.

Best time to visit Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid all year round, and rain can be expected at any time. The city is a year-round travel destination, but it is best to check which conferences, festivals and cultural events are on before you travel to Kuala Lumpur, partly because an event may interest you, and partly because the crowds attracted by some of the big events make it better to avoid these occasions if you are not involved. Read more on Kuala Lumpur's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Kuala Lumpur

- Stroll around Merdeka Square, the heart of Malaysian nationalism.

- Visit the Friday Mosque and the National Mosque for a taste of Islamic Kuala Lumpur.

- Learn about Malaysia's fascinating history and culture at the National Museum.

- Marvel at the palatial architecture of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.

What to do in Kuala Lumpur

- Take a tour of the iconic Petronas Towers and marvel at the cityscape from the 82nd floor.

- Shop and eat your way through the vibrant China Town markets.

- Enjoy a picnic in the refreshingly cool and shady Perdana Botanical Gardens.

- Take an excursion to the Hindu shrines of the impressive Batu Caves.

Beyond Kuala Lumpur

There are many rewarding daytrips from Kuala Lumpur, including a jaunt to the incredible old seaside city of Melaka, which has many historical attractions. The Taman Negara National Park, housing one of the oldest rainforests in the world, offers endless jungle trails and activities, and is conveniently close to Kuala Lumpur.

Getting there

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in Southeast Asia, is located in Sepang, 31 miles (50km) south of the city. There is an Express Rail Link which makes getting into the city easy and quick. Get more information on Kuala Lumpur's airport here.

Did you know?

- Chinese tin miners founded the city of Kuala Lumpur in 1857.

- The Petronas Towers took six years to build.

- Kuala Lumpur is a city of many religions, including Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism.


Kuala Lumpur is the bustling capital city of Malaysia and its showpiece of prosperity and grandeur. Unromantically, Kuala Lumpur means 'muddy estuary', a name coined by the original tin prospectors who arrived at the confluence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers in 1860. The city has progressed considerably since then, and now the river water reflects the glittering skyscrapers that rise elegantly, competing for dominance of the skyline.

This city is a blend of old and new worlds, a melting pot of the diverse influences of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, making exploring Kuala Lumpur a fascinating experience. An exploration of Kuala Lumpur is best begun from Merdeka Square, the heart of the city. To the southeast of the square is the modern business centre and the bustling, colourful streets of Chinatown. The picturesque National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and impressive Railway Station can be located to the south, and beyond them to the west is the city's green belt. The tranquil and lush Perdana Botanical Gardens provide some respite from the frenetic activity of the city. The National Museum (Muzim Negara), the National Monument, and the Malaysian Parliament are also found on this stretch. Kuala Lumpur's most famous landmark, however, is the stunning Petronas Towers, which afford visitors phenomenal views of the city.

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