We spent a weekend exploring the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur, known as KL. Over a jam-packed three days we took in the sights, smells and sounds of the city.
We woke early on Saturday to take a 7am flight from Singapore to KL. The flight is just an hour, so by 8am we were whizzing our way from the KLIA 2 airport to KL Sentral station via the KL Express (pricey but speedy). From KL Sentral we hopped on a KL Komuter train to Batu Caves.
By 10am we arrived at the fantastic Batu Caves, greeted by the sight of the Lord Murugan Statue towering over the square. This is the largest Hindu deity statue in Malaysia, second largest in the world!
After walking up the 272 steps, and meeting many monkeys along the way, we entered the giant limestone caves, and of course the Temple Cave.
We caught the train back to KL and went in search of lunch. Bakti Woodland caught our eye, where we both demolished a fantastic banana leaf thali.
In the afternoon we wandered around Petaling Street Market where there is counterfeit goods galore. Practising our bartering skills, we waded through a sea of Mulberry, Chanel and Michael Kors. It’s slightly overwhelming, but fun nonetheless.
A visit to The Central Market is a must for tourists. Built in 1928 as a wet market, the Art Deco building now houses an enticing mix of handicrafts. It’s the perfect spot for gift shopping, full of beautiful local fabrics, wood carvings and souvenirs. Be sure to pick up some vibrant batik fabric.
Our day ended in Chinatown, where we were mesmerised by the claypot rice stall.
No rest for the wicked. We rose early and headed to KL City Centre. After a tasty breakfast overlooking KLCC Park, we walked to the Petronas Towers. The towers were completed in 1996, at which time they were the highest building in the world. They’ve since been overtaken many times over, but at 452 metres high, they’re darn impressive.
In the afternoon we were in need of a little green space, so we strolled over to the Perdana Botanical Garden. It’s an eclectic mix of wild space, perfectly groomed topiary, bird-filled lake and orchid garden. A lovely escape from the hectic city.
All refreshed, we head to the famous Jalan Alor for dinner. In the evenings, the entire street turns into one big open food market, hosting KL’s biggest collection of roadside restaurants. The atmosphere is buzzing, and made better by some pretty talented buskers.
Our night ended with cocktails at the Luna Bar, a rooftop poolside bar which conveniently happened to be on the top floor of our hotel. I’d recommend a visit for a nightcap with fantastic views over the city.
Time for a history lesson. Visit KL runs free walking tours around the city that come highly recommended. We chose to join one around Dataran Merdeka, the old colonial part of KL. Our guide, Jasmine, was bubbly, friendly and extremely knowledgable. We had a great time with the seven nationality group on the tour of the historical enclave.
The tour ended at the Royal Selangor Club, founded by the British in 1884 as a meeting point for high-ranking British colonials. These days, membership is open to all at the upper-end of Malaysian society. Even women are now allowed in, but, no jokes, are still not allowed to enter the bar.
Before our flight back to Singapore, we headed over to Brickfields. This is KL’s Little India, and began as the centre of brick-making in the late 19th century. After exploring the Indian shops, we filled our bellies one last time with a banana leaf curry from Vishal Food & Catering.
I’m sure there’s plenty we missed during our three days. I’d love recommendations for future trips to KL.