What To Do For A Short Stay In Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a city rising out of the jungle. From the outside, it looks like any other collection of skyscrapers but once you are inside, it has so many fantastic restaurants and wonderful sights that make it worth the trip.
In my short visit there I managed to do and see a lot as I started early in the morning and finished late in the evening. This being said I would recommend a 4-day trip giving yourself enough time to see it all. So below is my list of things that you MUST do if you are in Kuala Lumpur, whether you are there for four days or ten.
This shopping destination is a short walk away from the Petronas Towers and is perfect to shop the day away. With designer centres and huge malls you can quite easily spend hours exploring the avenues. At its centre is the up and coming avenue Changkat Bukit Bintang which has been compared to London's Piccadilly Circus and is great for a good old-fashioned pub crawl through the trendy bars and restaurants.
Thean Hou Temple
At the top of Robson Heights, just outside of KL's centre is the Thean Hou Temple. This 6-tiered temple to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu is quite beautiful and totally worth a visit. Inside you can explore the Chinese medicinal herb garden, have your fortune told or just sit in the peaceful courtyard and enjoy the blissfully calm surroundings. If you want your fortune to be told, head to the main prayer hall, find the prayer sticks, lift them out and drop them back into the pot. Whatever the number is on the stick left jutting out, corresponds to a numbered drawer. Inside you will find your fortune on a small slip of pink paper. This stunning temple with its ornate dragons and colours tiers is not to be missed.
KL Bird Park
The worlds largest free-flight walk-in aviary is worth the visit if you have a spare hour in the day. With hundreds of species of birds, you can interact with parrots and walk among peacocks. It wasn't my favourite thing to do in Kuala Lumpur but I enjoyed the experience and took some cool close up photos of the exotic birds.
The Petronas Towers
One of Kuala Lumpur's most famous landmarks is the Petronas Towers, looming over the KLCC park. To see the towers at their best I would recommend going at sunset or at night when they are lit up, as that is when they look the most impressive. If you choose to go in the day, make sure you also see them from the park behind the Suria mall. The contrast between city and green landscape is really what Kuala Lumpur is all about.
Situated approximately 25 minutes outside of KL's centre are the famous Batu Caves. Cut into the limestone cliffs, the caves are filled with Hindu temples that are ready to be explored. A huge gold statue welcomes you at the base of the incredibly steep steps and prepares you for the climb which is a killer on the legs. You can help the restoration efforts by taking up bricks and building supplies with you which although weigh you down, make a big difference to all the workers dedicating their time to improving the cave and its temples. Beware of the monkeys on your way up as they are a mischievous bunch. As I climbed I watched as a monkey stole a tourist's mobile and ran off into the undergrowth with it. I wonder how many valuables they have accumulated over the years?
You must wander around the colourful streets of Chinatown. During the day there isn't much to write home about but as soon as the afternoon settles in, stalls begin to open where you can buy anything from food and souvenirs to handbags and jewellery. Be ready to haggle though as the prices are usually set high by the sellers. Make your first offer half of theirs to get an idea of what you should be paying.
KL Tower/Menara Tower
The other distinctive building in the Kuala Lumpur skyline is the KL tower. Standing 420 meters off the ground it is the 7th tallest (freestanding) tower in the world. There are many viewing points in the tower which offer 360-degree views of the city and beyond, however, I recommend only doing one. The open deck and skybox are worth the RM 105 so that you are not stuck behind a glass window as opposed to the observation deck where your photos will get that annoying 'window glare'. The other option is the rotating restaurant at the top of the tower, however, personally, this was a huge waste of time and money. The novelty wore off quickly, leaving the dodgy buffet and outdated decor as my lasting impression.
I could double the length of this post by mentioning all of the amazing restaurants I visited in KL but I will save that for another day. Kuala Lumpur is a mish-mash of old and new, jungle and city. It wasn't what I expected and I'm not sure I would go back but it is definitely worth visiting at least once.
"When you visit religious sites and witness religious events you allow the country and culture to communicate with you. Listen." - Anje, Going Somewhere Slowly.
All opinions in this blog are my own