Suggested Kuala Lumpur Itineraries

July 31, 2009 by

Asia, Food, Drink & Travel, Suggested Itineraries

So you’ve made it to Kuala Lumpur – the capital of Malaysia and one of the undiscovered gems in southeast Asia. Very few tourists pass through KL, as Kuala Lumpur is universally known. Most favor Thailand or Singapore for their southeast Asian adventures, but not you, because you are looking for something different. And we applaud you for that.

Kuala Lumpur: Get Cultured

Kuala Lumpur (KL) tours - Indiatown

Indiatown in Kuala Lumpur

The first stop to learn about Malaysian culture is the National Museum. After a thorough overview of Malaysian heritage, you may want to visit the Islamic Art Museum and the National Mosque (right across the street from the Islamic Art Museum). Next up: a stop at Merdeka Square, which can be easily combined with a visit to Masjid Jamek, the oldest mosque in KL. Take a break at the Petronas Towers (consider dinner at the Petronas Towers) and you’re well on your way to exploring the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Museums are a fantastic way to experience KL. But even better to experience the diversity here is wandering the street markets and food stalls that dot the city. Taking a walk from Masjid Jamek up to Chinatown takes you through some of the most diverse areas of the city, where you can chat with the locals as they go about their daily business. Don’t be afraid to stroll down the side streets and take a look inside some of the many interesting and unique shops in this downtown area.

To see another side of KL, take a side trip to Indiatown (just north of Chinatown) – a very small, but authentic, section of the city where you can enjoy delicious Indian food from one of the many street vendors, have a sari or Punjabi suit made in a few days, or sing and dance along with the booming Bollywood music streaming from every shop.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

It’s a cliche, but there you have it: KL is a shopper’s paradise. Anything and everything is on sale in the city’s many malls, markets and street-side stalls. From the malls of Bukit Bintang to the splendor of Suria KLCC, you can shop in air-conditioned comfort for hours!

If you’re looking for local souvenirs and crafts head to the Central Market. There are plenty of bargains to be had in bustling Chinatown, which reminds me: in KL the key to a successful shopping experience is to bargain. Prices are never fixed here (unless you’re in an internationally-known chain store), so don’t hesitate to ask for “the best price” whether you’re in an air-conditioned mall, like Low Yat, or out on the street in Chinatown. No matter where you are, keep it light and fun, with a smile on your face – angry bargaining is seen as very rude in this part of the world. And don’t forget, it’s all part of the adventure!

An excellent place to start is Bukit Bintang (Star Hill in Bahasa Malayu), the heart of downtown KL. If you’re looking for the luxury shops, you can find everything from high-end designers like Gucci and Prada at the Star Hill Mall (next door to the Westin Hotel). The lower level also houses a great variety of gourmet restaurants.

Next door to the Star Hill Mall is Lot 10, one of the most popular stops for local fashionistas – great shoes and great bargains can be found in this slightly smaller, mid-priced shopping mall. Further down the street is Low Yat Plaza – electronics is the name of the game here, everything from cell phones to digital cameras to computers to MP3 players (but no clothes, shoes, glasses or books). Don’t forget to bargain hard, though, prices start in the stratosphere, but you can usually get some great deals if you’re willing to try a little banter with the shopkeepers.

Suria KLCC is Malaysia’s premiere shopping outlet – directly underneath the Petronas Towers. The ground level houses designer boutiques, while the upper levels showcase more mid-level shops. Suria has some great restaurants along with an international food court.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) tours - Night Market

Night Market in Kuala Lumpur

Another great shopping stop is the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, specifically Jalan Petaling. Knock-offs of just about everything can be found, along with more traditional Chinese items. Prices are aimed at well-heeled tourists, so don’t forget to negotiate for everything – start at around 1/3rd of the quoted price and work up from there.

If you’re still on your feet by the time the sun goes down, KL has a great selection of Pasar Malam (Kuala Lumpur night markets) all around the city. The Sunday night market in Bangsar is one of the largest, and a frequent favorite of expats living in KL. Fresh fruits and vegetables, along with all sorts of clothes, accessories and souvenirs can be found at any one of these fabulous markets.

Top Places to Eat in Kuala Lumpur

Make sure you come to KL hungry because there is a lot to eat! From a budget meal on the street to a luxury, gourmet experience, there is something for everyone. One of the best places to explore KL’s culinary variety is Bangsar – just 5 minutes outside of the city center.

Those on a budget can feast on Indian, Chinese and Malay at any of the fantastic food stalls for a truly Malaysian dining experience. One of my favorite places to snack is Devi’s Corner in Bangsar (across from Bangsar Village) – start with some chicken satay from the vendor on the corner, add a delicious naan bread or roti Chennai, some Tandori chicken and some nasi goreng; wash it all down with some fresh fruit juice, and you have a meal fit for a king, but priced less than RM50 (US$14).

Kuala Lumpur (KL) tours - Devi's Corner

Devi’s Corner, Kuala Lumpur

For those with slightly deeper pockets, Bangsar is a diner’s delight – restaurants range from Spanish tapas to Italian to Middle Eastern to German. Some favorite expat hangouts are La Bodega for tapas and Sangria; Telawi Street Bistro for Western European fare and great desserts, and Haus Frankfurt for authentic German sausage and schnitzel.

Kuala Lumpur’s Nightlife

Despite being a Muslim country, Malaysia has its fair share of bars and clubs (though alcohol can be quite pricey). A popular stop for tourists is around the corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan P. Ramlee – an area of wall-to-wall bars, clubs and restaurants. Another hot spot, though slightly less noisy, is Bangsar – along with all those tasty restaurants, you can find trendy bars open until the early hours of the morning. A little farther afield is Sri Hartamas, a more local hangout, with a few small clubs and bars, catering more to the expat population.

Kim Cofino


3 Responses to “Suggested Kuala Lumpur Itineraries”

  1. chennaitravels Says:

    ya.. One of the best places to explore KL’s culinary variety is Bangsar – just 5 minutes outside of the city center.

  2. maya Says:

    Hi. Thanks for above. That’s very helpful. However, I appreciate if someone can provide a sample itinerary for one day visit at KL. I know one day is not enough but we want to maximize our time and visit many places and shop as well…Pls. provide where to go, eat, shop and ride at KL. Pls. help. We will be staying near KLLCT and we will start our tour from 6AM onwards….


  3. VisitKualaLumpur Says:

    Besides, you can go to taman connaught pasar malam which is the longest night market in kuala lumpur. It just take 30 minutes from KL city centre.