When you’re in Malaysia, you simply can’t miss Kuala Lumpur! Like most of Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur has its authentic markets, city skyline views, temples, and some iconic landmarks recognized globally. Keep a couple of days aside on your Malaysia trip to Kuala Lumpur.
I visited Kuala Lumpur as a kid and I wished I had visited more places. If you have more time to stay in Kuala Lumpur longer, there are a good number of places to check out. But for those visiting for just 2 days, here’s my itinerary to Kuala Lumpur. There’s no hard and fast that you visit all of them. But don’t miss out on the must-visits like Petronas Tower and Batu Caves.
Essentials to Keep in Mind in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia is a mix of metropolitan and diverse cultures. Though Kuala Lumpur is the hot metropolitan capital of Malaysia, there are some things you may not expect beforehand.
- Keep your clothes light for the hot weather and others for the temples and mosques. Most religious attractions don’t allow shorts above the knee or sleeveless bodywear. Some do provide the sarong to cover your legs but take precautions.
- Keep some cash apart from the cards. Kuala Lumpur sure has no trouble with online payments and cards in most places. But carry some cash when getting around street shops, and hawkers at spots like Chinatown or Brickfield. You’ll need it.
- Street food is cheap, do NOT miss it! Food is one of Malaysia’s highlights. But partying is expensive. Alcohol is expensive for the high taxes levied on it.
- Malaysia is diverse with Bumiputra Malays (Indigenous Malays), Malay Indians, and Chinese. They’re all Malays and have their own beliefs, traditions, and customs. Respect everyone around when visiting places.
- Don’t worry about not knowing Bahasa Malay. Bahasa Malay, similar to Indonesian, is very easy to learn and you might even catch some phrases. But don’t worry about communicating in English. Malaysia is a tourist hub and most can understand it!
- Keep your things safe and close to you. Theft and robbery are often in Kuala Lumpur. A close friend of mine himself was robbed when visiting KL including their passports. Keep on alert, especially when visiting crowded areas.
This should give an idea of what to expect when you land in Kuala Lumpur. One of the best-recommended spots to stay in is Bukit Bintang for tourists. I’d recommend the same as it’s better than most isolated areas. A lot of tourists visit Malaysia every single day. Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful spot to visit and a must in Malaysia. Stay safe and here’s how you can plan your 2 days itinerary to Kuala Lumpur!
2 Days Itinerary to Kuala Lumpur
Markets are a must-do. Places like the colorful street markets – Petaling Street or Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur are more alive at night. But some temples and places like the KL Eco Park are sweeter to visit in the morning to avoid crowds.
It’s best to grab breakfast at your accommodation so that you have more time to get around. Try out street food for lunch and Bukit Bintang’s fancy resto bars for dinner. There’s no other spot as we’re talking about only staying one night in Kuala Lumpur.
That being said, here’s my 2 Days Itinerary to Kuala Lumpur:
Day 1: Thean Hou Temple
Thean How Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kuala Lumpur. Its 6-tiered structure, the vibrant red, architecture, and of course its location stowed away on a hill make it all the more attractive.
Though the Chinese temple is a contemporary build that dates back to 1987, it’s got all the classical features. From the top floors, you get a better view of the city skyline. While it’s sweet to visit in the morning before 9, some people prefer to visit in the evening as it’s one of the attractions that stay up late (till 10 pm).
It lights up with masses at night and there isn’t any entry cost to the temple.
Before the Thean Hou Temple gets too crowded, take advantage of the early traffic and get to Brickfield (about 2 km away), Little India. Brickfield is a color marketplace with small restaurants, jewelry shops, and a couple of times. While you take a stroll here, I suggest having breakfast (or heavy brunch if you wish). You’ll find aromas of masala dosa,
If you’ve been to Little India in Singapore, you’ll know when you get to Brickfields – they’re very similar! The complex buildings and narrow pathways themselves are painted in vibrant colors, posing beautifully for natural photography. I put this spot early on the itinerary though the place gets more lively in the evening.
The daytime is amazing for the colorful photography and enjoying budget-friendly delicacies like masala dosa without the bustling crowds.
Feeling tipsy from all the food at Brickfield? Great! Take a walk around National Mosque (3 km from Brickfield). Masjid Negara or the National Mosque of Malaysia is by far one of the most popular spots to visit in Malaysia.
And yes, everyone is allowed inside the mosque and most areas of the mosque except the main prayer hall. As long as one has an appropriate dress code. Robes are provided free otherwise. Keep in mind, visitors aren’t allowed on Friday prayer timing.
Masjid Negara can house upto 15,000 people and the main features here to see are the interior designs (photography is allowed), the 16-pointed star concrete ceiling (open umbrella), and of course the 73-meter high minaret.
I couldn’t wait to get this part of the article – the Merdeka Square. Merdeka means ‘Independent’ in Malay as well as Bahasa Indonesia. It looks like something out of a James Bond movie with the atmosphere, historical buildings, and the green square – the Independence Square itself.
The Merdeka Square is only a 15-minute walk away from the National Mosque. But I’d recommend getting a taxi as the heat gets unbearable here. Oh, and don’t miss it, it’s a must-visit! The place, as you find it in the pictures, is no doubt photogenic for the ‘gram. Walk past the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the main highlight before Merdeka Square.
I assume it’s late afternoon or falling into the evening as you make it here to the Petronas Tower. It’s another must-visit on the list – something on top of the list actually, something like the Eiffel Tower to France. Now, how you visit completely depends on you.
Back as a kid, I’ve been to the sky bridge connecting the towers at levels 41, and 42. Though young then, I can vividly remember catching the view beneath – it’s worth the long queue and the money. It costs RM80 (SGD 25) for adults as a Non-Malaysian almost half the price for kids and senior citizens.
Book your tickets a few days before the specific time slot. The evening slots especially get filled out faster. The last entry is usually around 5, so don’t be late.
Now, the other option is to simply enjoy the view of the towers. There are a variety of chik bars available on the high-rise buildings around the towers that offer a view of it. One is the Skybar on the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel. This no doubt, is a more lavish option.
Remember the Traders Hotel, Skybar I mentioned? Well, that chik bar is along with the whole area known for malls, fashion boutiques, live music clubs, bars, and authentic seafood spots for Clam Soup and prawns. That’s Bukit Bintang. I recommend staying here for the night as well.
Bukit Bintang is the most popular spot for accommodation. The best part is though it is pricey compared to budget solo travelers hostels, some luxury hotels aren’t overpriced. Some places like the Mercure KL Shaw Parade cost around SGD 85 per night. A pretty reasonable price for the luxury hotel if you ask me!
Day 2: KL Forest Eco Park
Some places are best when it’s bustling with people. Others are better to experience with its quietness. KL Forest Eco Park is one of them. Begin your day 2 itinerary of Kuala Lumpur with this forest Eco Park.
A fun fact’s that this is one of the last remaining patches of the rainforest with varieties of plants and animals. It stands at the heart of Kuala Lumpur and every traveler’s itinerary’s classic stop. Walk around till 9 or 10 am before the crowd bubbles up here. It takes a couple of hours to get around and it’s free to enter, including the canopy walks.
Guan Di Temple
Guan Di Temple in Chinatown is just a 15 minutes drive away from KL Forest Eco Park. It’s also called the Kuala Lumpur Ti Temple. This is a very popular Taoist temple among the Chinese. People who belong to the Chinese Heritage know about Guan Di.
Weapons and artifacts like the replicas of the guan dao spear and guan Jie sword are the specialties of the temple that can’t be found elsewhere. While visitors aren’t allowed near them, they are kept for display on special occasions where people can touch them. Though most visitors here are the elderly pray, the temple does get a variety of visitors from everywhere – it’s Kuala Lumpur and a famed spot after all.
Old Chinatown Street food
It’s noon again and lunchtime! This time, with Chinatown just a skip’s range from Guan Di Temple, try out street delicacies here. The whole neighborhood bustles with colors throughout with tiny shops and vendors selling almost everything.
Back to the street food. With the Chinese making a large population in Malaysia, families moved here and sold their cultural cuisines generations ago. Now those family generations still run all the business here instead of large commercial estates overtaking the place. That’s what makes Chinatown sweet.
It’s unlike Chinatown in Singapore where you mostly get Hainanese Chicken Rice and Dim Sum. Here you get varieties of delicacies… and it’s not just Chinese cuisines! Some things to try are Song Kee’s Beef Noodles, spicy curry laksa and Yong tau foo on Madras Lane, da bao at the Da Bao Restobar, and Madam Tang’s famous Muah Chee (Rice balls).
Most dishes are cheap here, but it’s obvious to not be able to try everything, but give a couple of dishes a shot! Fill your stomach with the variety – Batu Caves is a long drive away.
Batu Caves is another iconic spot in Kuala Lumpur. It’s also the farthest from the city’s center a 30-minute drive from Chinatown. But it’s a must-visit especially if this is your first time in Malaysia. The 43-meter Arul Murugan Statue, the vibrant hues of steps, and the caves themselves.
I still remember the sky-high walls of the caves above and the water droplets taking a minute to reach the cave grounds from the cave ceiling. The caves are completely free to visit and it’s worth the drive. However, there are multiple caves here – Temple Cave (the free one), Cave Villa (RM15 for foreigners), and Ramayana Cave (RM5 for everyone).
Batu Caves has a fascinating history and facts, so get yourself a guided tour if you wish. Either way should be fine.
Masjid Wilayah Mosque
Call it an extra if you wish, but if you have time left and if you can squeeze it in, visit the Masjid Wilayah Mosque. It’s said to be one of the largest mosques in the country and I assure you, it’s elegant, very elegant.
Both the insides and outsides of the mosque are ultimately photogenic with its mix of marble architecture. The makrana marble with its ceilings, wall carvings, and floor design resembles the Taj Mahal in India.
The only downside is that the Mosque closes at 4 pm. So if you really wish to visit it, jumble your itinerary a bit to fit it in. The best idea would be to visit the Mosque first and then Batu Caves. But that’s again if your flight from Kuala Lumpur isn’t early.