One of the most culturally rich and vibrant capitals I’ve ever been too. Prior to my visit, I heard surprisingly bad reviews from other travelers so my expectations were not high. I’m glad I still came here to experience it myself.
Where to stay
Most of the sightseeing are centrally located around Chinatown. If location is important to you I would suggest staying in this area. However, Chinatown itself is not an impressive place. Streets are dirty and smelly. It’s is a busy area with an open market, street food, and bunch of small business selling everything from groceries to clothes. Nothing to see here except few temples.
Street art in Chinatown
How long to stay
From my own experience, two full days were enough. As I mentioned before all main attractions are centered so you don’t need to travel far from a place to place. Outskirts of the city are only sleeping areas without the touristic attractions.
Kuala Lumpur has a wide variety of Chinese, Indian and Thai food. I didn’t find much of Malaysian only food, mostly a mix of all kinds of Asian cuisines. I did try the famous desert – durian puffs. This fruit is known for a very strong specific smell but tastes pretty good. This fruit is so popular, you will see it everywhere including the street art.
Food, in general, did not impress me but I loved the fruits selection: affordable and fresh.
Malaysia is very backpacker friendly in terms of prices. Accommodations vary from super cheap: hostels (4-5 USD), guests house 10-13 and upscale hotels (50 USD and up).
As for the transportation, you can choose between buses, metro to taxi. You can also use Uber or Grab which is not costly at all.
Food prices are somewhat in between 3 to 10 USD if you eat at more western restaurants. Kuala Lumpur has plenty of food chains like KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc in case you’ve missed it.
If you only have few days I would recommend to visit Merdeka Square, go on the top of Menara KL Tower, definitely take a look at Petronas Towers at both day and night and check out few temples. I enjoyed just walking on the streets because the city itself has tons of small and beautiful infamous buildings you won’t find in any tour guides. Kuala Lumpur is very walkable and great for exploring by feet. It does get very hot during the day so plan some indoor sightseeing to cool off.
Menara KL Towers
Malaysia is a melting pot of many cultures. However, it is heavily influenced by Muslim traditions. Get ready to see many people in hijab around you. Make sure to dress appropriately to respect the local traditions. You will notice signs of no PDA and too revealing outfits even in public transportation. I wore the Asian style pants all the time and it served the purpose of appropriate clothing and covering my skin from burning sun.
Most of the people do speak some English so communication should not be a problem. Locals are very friendly and willing to help you.
Hope you will enjoy Malaysia’s busy and beautiful capital as much as I did. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will be happy to reply to all of them.