Below is a brief taste of KL attractions for short-stay visitors. But for those who want to get the most out of this fascinating city there is our dedicated 100-page guide which is packed with everything you need to know at 1stopkualalumpur.
Sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur and attractions
Menara KL Tower
Boasting the best aerial vistas of Kuala Lumpur from its elevated 276m viewing platform, the KL Tower is just a few minutes walk south of the Petronas Twin Towers. Come here early to get a good perspective on the city before exploring the ground below. (website: www.kltower.com.my).
Petronas Twin Towers
Until 2004 these were the tallest buildings in the world, and despite their diminished status these iconic towers are still held in high esteem by Malaysians who are understandably proud of their worldwide renown. Indeed, the towers have appeared in may Hollywood films and computer games.
Incorporating Islamic motifs amongst the strikingly contemporary design, the huge concrete structures are best visited early in the morning when 500 tickets are issued to walk across the skybridge which links the towers.
KLCC Mall, Aquarium and Park
Immediately below the Petronas Towers is the enormous KLCC shopping mall, packed full of every high street brand and fashion label imaginable. Hours can be spent wandering in the air conditioned comfort, and below there is an aquarium complete with sharks, rays and more than 5,000 different tropical fish. Stroll outside for a breath of fresh air and relax in manicured KLCC Park which has paddling pools and musical fountains. (website: www.aquariaklcc.com).
Masjid Negara (National Mosque)
No one interested in Islamic culture should miss out on the opportunity to visit KL’s National Mosque. Based upon Mecca’s Grand Mosque, there are 48 small domes encircling one main dome in the centre. Key features include a 73m minaret with 18-pointed star main roof of concrete. Avoid turning up at prayertimes and remember to dress respectfully as this is a highly revered place of worship for Malays. (website: www.masjidnegara.gov.my).
This is where the nation of Malaya (later to become Malaysia) was born and the British finally ceased control of their prized colony. Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) is a large expanse of grass surrounded by impressive colonial buildings including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building as well as the National Museum of History. Located in the historic district just a short walk from Chinatown, it is easy to find by the enormous fluttering Malaysian flag.
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
Although the Malaysian rail network as since moved to KL Sentral station, the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is still an important example of Moorish architecture and contains a small museum which charts the history of the nation’s railway system.
Featuring both local and European architectural aspects, it is considered a lasting testament to British engineering in the East and certainly worth visiting along with Independence Square next door. Malaysia’s railway system was the backbone of the nation’s emergence as a world power. (website: www.klsentral.com.my).
This newly-refurbished National Museum has a wealth of exhibits charting the history of Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian nation from prehistoric times through to the present day. The life of traditional rainforest villages including herbal remedies and hunting tools are on display as well as classic cars, works of art and more. (website: www.muziumnegara.gov.my)
Situated close to Chinatown and the historic quarter, this Art Deco former wet market has become one of the foremost souvenir shopping locations in the city. Hundreds of stalls selling Borneo pearls, jewellery and batik textiles give tourists the best possible quality in air conditioned comfort. True bargain-hunters may find prices a little steeper, but that guarantee of quality is worth that little extra. And there is a brilliant food court on the top floor that sells inexpensive local dishes.
The backpacker haven of KL’s Chinatown is worth visiting even for more affluent tourists due to the lively market, smattering of gaudy temples and delicious restaurants. Practice your haggling skills with the crafty traders and sit back at a streetside bar and watch the bedlam from a safe distance.