Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's colourful capital, can often be dismissed as simply a stopover destination when travelling from one corner of the globe to another. This assumption does the magical city a grave injustice considering how much the multicultural metropolis has to offer holidaymakers. Home to one of Southeast Asia's busiest airports, Kuala Lumpur has a lot more to offer than just connecting flights, and with the International Airport only 56 kilometres from the city centre, spending even a brief stopover cooped up in a hotel by the airport would be a crying shame. Built on a collective matrimony of Asian cultures the city is awash with awe-inspiring historical landmarks from Chinese, Indian and Malaysian influences. Throw in the world famous architecture and mouth-watering food offerings, and you have a lengthy list of things to do, see and eat...
TO DO LIST
An underground world of noodles
It seems almost criminal to think the gourmet food halls nestled deep under the city could easily be missed by unknowing tourists. Hidden at the lower ground floor level of several of the city's most lavish shopping malls is some of the very best food Malaysia has to offer, every variety of delicious, authentic Asian cuisine on tap. Head to the Hutong Food Court underneath Lot 10 shopping mall or Food Republic located below the gigantic Pavilion KL mall to find the finest noodle dishes in town.
Rejoice in shoppers' paradise!
Once you have refuelled at one of the many food courts, you will have sufficient energy to shop 'til you drop! Pavilion KL mall, Lot 10 and NUSentral are the three biggest shopping malls in the city. Each and every mall boasts a jaw dropping number of stores from the best in high-street and designer brands, making Kuala Lumpur the shopping mecca of Southeast Asia.
Explore the beautiful Batu Caves
Catching a train from KL Sentral to the breathtaking Batu Caves, a short journey from the city centre, is the most eye-opening and authentic way of grasping the amazing history of Kuala Lumpur. The stunning limestone hill is home to a sacred Hindu temple, which attracts millions of tourists every year, many primarily there to see the sensational 32-metre statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu deity. Wander around the ethereal caves found 272 steps from the bottom, soak in the stunning views from the top and become acquainted with the friendly resident primates.
Set up in 2003, the KL monorail system is both fast and efficient, winding around the whole city with convenient stops at all the must-see tourist spots. Disembark at Bukit Bintang for the main shopping district and infamous beer street, Changkat, or jump off at Maharajalela for a wander around Petaling Street Flea Market and dinner in Chinatown. The monorail operates daily from 6 a.m. to midnight but the free GrabTaxi app, Asia's very own answer to Uber, is definitely worth downloading while in town.
Where to Stay
Located in the most popular tourist district, Bukit Bintang, the JW Marriott hotel has everything any weary traveller could require after a long-haul flight or a day of over-indulging in the food courts. For visitors on a tighter budget and happy to stay in a fun and friendly hostel, the Reggae Mansion is very reasonably priced, clean and an easy 10- minute walk from the city's biggest train station, KL Sentral.
Dinner and Drinks
Street food markets are a staple of the Southeast Asian lifestyle and there is an abundance of markets across the city, enough to dine at a different one every night for a week. However, Jalan Alor Night Market is widely regarded as one of the best places to sample a smorgasbord of Malaysian delicacies. Follow up dinner with a visit to the Traders Hotel 33rd floor SkyBar, in the grounds of the spectacular KLCC park, to marvel at the city's trademark Petronas Towers. Impressive photo opportunities aren't the only reason to visit the SkyBar; the weekly Happy Hour specials include fantastic Ladies Night and Beer Buffet deals too!
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