What are the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Emma Johnston

1. Heritage walk through the old city
Kuala Lumpur is home to some beautiful architecture that is slowly falling apart due to lack of government interest in restoration. But you can still see some incredible examples of Art Deco, Moorish-inspired facades and colonial vestiges from the British occupation. Join a walking tour like Rakan KL that will take you through the old business district of KL, and point out historical landmarks and heritage sites.

2. Hike through the quartz ridge at Bukit Tabur
Bukit Tabur is a long stretch of mountain that features possibly the world’s longest outcrop of quartz. From a distance, it’s absolutely beautiful – you can see it shimmering in the sunlight. Up close, it’s even more spectacular, though also slightly hazardous. If you’re a seasoned hiker, the trail across the quartz ridge is a challenging, but enjoyable, route. If you’re more of a walker, there are gentler paths to follow, that will still afford an excellent view of the surrounding forest and the city in the distance.

3. Visit the city’s night markets
The pasar malam ("night market") is an idiosyncratically Malaysian institution. Each suburb has its weekly night market on a different day of the week, at which time fruit and vegetable sellers set up camp on a certain road, together with butchers and fishmongers, sellers of local snacks, cakes, drinks and desserts. Sometimes you can even find replica football jerseys or universal TV remotes. It’s a bit like a farmer’s market, but a whole lot noisier. Try the market at Bangsar, one of KL’s most stylish suburbs. It’s on every Sunday, from 4 p.m. until very late.

4. Shape some pewter at the Royal Selangor School of Hard Knocks
Royal Selangor pewter is a fairly ubiquitous Malaysian souvenir – chances are you’ll pick up at least one thing from one of their stores scattered generously across KL’s malls. If you fancy a more unusual day out (and this is great for those traveling with kids), you can easily catch a bus to their workshop and visitor centre out in Setapak. Here you’ll find an even wider array of pewter goods, and you’ll be able to peer through glass windows at craftsmen moulding, shaping and carving it. The more interesting part of this exercise is the chance to make your own pewter bowl – in a sound-proofed room, you’ll be coached through the whole process which, essentially, involves hammering a sheet of pewter with a mallet. Good for those with stress issues.

5. Eat your way through Chinatown
Petaling Street, or Chinatown, on first sight is not so different from any Chinatown you could find across the world. There’s plenty of shouting, counterfeit goods and a whole lot of roast duck. But if you can ignore the trays of "Rolex" watches and racks of "LV" bags, you’ll find hidden behind them food stalls that have been operating for decades. Try the famous frog leg porridge at Hon Kee, or dim sum at Yook Woo Hin. If you’re early enough, you’ll be able to buy some of the city’s best roast duck by the parcel at Sze Ngan Chye and eat it as you walk down the street.

Related Questions