Kuala Lumpur Attractions
The real attraction of Kuala Lumpur is the pleasure of wandering randomly around the city shopping and eating, and simply seeing everything it has to offer. As a tourist, you must of course explore the fascinating narrow streets of Chinatown, with its many Chinese shops and eateries.
- See AbbreviationFinder for commonly used abbreviation of city Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Also includes meanings of the same acronym.
KL is hot, humid and sometimes crowded, so put cooling breaks in air-conditioned shopping malls and restaurants. If you want to visit traditional tourist attractions, keep in mind that most are “only” crowded on weekends and holidays, while they can actually be almost deserted on weekdays.
Great architecture in Kuala Lumpur
KL offers a variety of architectural sights. Here you will find, among others, great old British colonial buildings such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Merdeka Square (Independence Square) [see photo first in the article] and old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
Nearby Merdeka class you will also find Masjid Jamek, a mosque made in a charming Moorish style, as well as the 100 meter high flagpole at one end of the square.
In the old (1888) and beautiful Lake Gardens park you will find, among others, Carcosa Seri Negara, the former residence of the British High Commissioner and who now houses an exclusive hotel. We are also reminded that just off Lake Garden you will find the magnificent and huge National Monument (see detail from it in the photo below).
And while some buildings in the Golden Triangle, such as KL Tower, are in fact nothing but replicas of other famous buildings around the world, the much-talked-about Petronas Twin Towers are truly amazing. But the views from KL Tower are cheaper and better than from Petronas Twin Towers.
Petronas Towers is among the tallest buildings in the world, and the tallest twin towers. There is a glass bridge between the towers from 41/42. floor, and these can be visited for free. They receive a maximum of 1400 visitors each day, so come early. But if there are views you are looking for, you might as well visit KL Tower, and actually look down on Petronas Towers, since this tower is built on a hilltop. At the top there is also a popular rotating restaurant, which is only open to paying guests.
Istana Negara (King’s Palace)
It’s definitely worth taking a look at the King’s Palace, or Istana Negara as it’s also called. The palace was built in 1928 and it has a fascinating history. Originally it was the residence of a Chinese millionaire. During World War II it was used by the Japanese Occupation Army. After Japan surrendered, the palace of His Majesty the Sultan of Selangor became. This ceased in 1957 when the authorities in Malaysia bought the palace and turned it into Istana Negara for the Malaysian king.
You come here by driving Syed Putra Road. The easiest way is to take a taxi or possibly buy a ticket on the tourist buses (one that you hop off-and-on as you wish). They stop here. No other public communication exists at the King’s Palace.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
Kuala Lumpur has a really great bird park with many different species, naturally enough with emphasis on Asian birds. The Bird Park guarantees you the opportunity to get some very nice bird pictures.
The address is KL Bird Park, 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Taman Tasik Perdana (near downtown Islamic Art Museum), with opening hours usually ranging from 0900 to 1800.
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium
Near the Petronas Towers and KL Convention Center, Aquaria KLCC houses. The aquarium contains thousands of varieties of tropical fish and other species. Here you will find swordfish and tiger shark.
You can reach the aquarium in Kuala Lumpur by going to the KLCC Suria Shopping Center. There you take the elevator down to the basement. Here, signs will show the way to the Aquarium.
Inside the aquarium, the main attraction is a huge long glass tunnel that really gives you close contact with fish and animals.
Featured museums in Kuala Lumpur
The best museums in the city center are the National Museum, which covers the region’s history, and the reputable Islamic Arts Museum, which houses a small but interesting collection. The National Museum has its address in Jalan Damansara, and is usually open from 0900 to 1800.
The Islamic Art Museum is located in the middle of the tourist belt, within walking distance to and from the Bird Park, the National Museum and the National Mosque. The address is Jalan Lembah Perdana.
The National Mosque
The large national mosque in Kuala Lumpur stands out as unique with an intriguing contemporary architecture based on traditional Islamic art, calligraphy and ornaments. Most notable is the roof of the mosque which can give associations to an umbrella.
It symbolizes the aspirations of Malaysia as an independent nation. The minaret is 73 meters high. You will find the mosque which is considered by many to be the most beautiful in all of South East Asia opposite the old railway station in the center of Kuala Lumpur.
Tourist in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is apparently a liberal city and western clothing will rarely cause problems. But avoid too short mini skirts, and remember that mosques and temples require you to go. In addition, all mosques, and almost all temples, will require you to remove your shoes before entering.
When eating with your hands instead of cutlery, do not eat with your left hand. It is considered rude.
You can drink alcohol in pubs, restaurants and bars, but public drunkenness is not tolerated. Not only will you be more vulnerable to being robbed, you will probably sooner or later find yourself in the back seat of a police car.
The locals are welcoming to tourists, and many in Kuala Lumpur speak English. Communication with locals is almost as easy as in Singapore and significantly better than in Bangkok and Thailand. Greet people with a warm smile and they will be happy to show you around. Please: if you have passed away, just ask anyone on the street.
Although many people in Malaysia speak English, you will quickly receive acclaimed nods and smiles if you can speak a few words of the most important local languages, namely Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese (especially Cantonese) and Tamil.
The ubiquitous Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing buses take you to all the well-known tourist attractions and sights of Kuala Lumpur. And there is free Wi-Fi on board. As usual with this type of sightseeing services, you buy (quite expensive) tickets that are valid for 24 or 48 hours and that provide unlimited use.
Stay healthy in Kuala Lumpur
The water in the tap is fed with chlorine, but we still recommend that you avoid using it. Most residents boil or filter the water before using it. Then it is easier for tourists to use bottled water that is both cheap and ubiquitous.
Kuala Lumpur is malaria-free, but in theory, dengue fever can be a problem. The most important rule is to take precautions against mosquitoes.
Between May and October, Kuala Lumpur may occasionally be shrouded in dense fog due to forest fires in Sumatra and Borneo. This meant as a small health warning to asthmatics. The situation was terrible in 2006, but non-existent in 2007. As of 2009 there have been no significant problems so far.
Stay safe in Kuala Lumpur
Police in Malaysia have managed to significantly reduce crime in and around central Kuala Lumpur. Reports of violent crime against foreigners are uncommon, but cases of pocket theft and purse seizure exist. Our impression is that Kuala Lumpur is generally very safe for travelers. It is the locals who are most often exposed.
The police presence, especially around the tourist areas and at night has increased in recent years. Our warning is first and foremost not to be too naive. The overly friendly man might be trying to fool you?
It is okay to walk alone around the city, but as everywhere else, caution must be exercised. A good advice is to keep the bag away from the side that faces the street. And it’s not wise to dress up with their most expensive jewelry either.
Malaysian law requires visitors to wear their passports at all times, and both police and “civilian volunteers” carry out random checks on illegal immigrants. However, there is very little likelihood of Nordic-looking tourists being exposed to such.
The “fake cop scam” is not uncommon in Asia and the Middle East. This is done by being stopped by an ordinary dressed “police officer” under the pretext of having them check your travel documents. You will be taken to a remote area and asked to hand over your wallet. Remember that if you were to be stopped then you have the right to insist on being taken to the nearest police station before you say or show anything.
Watch out for fake notes, (like RM50). The easiest way to check the banknote is to hold it up to the light to see a easily visible silver strip that runs across the banknote. If in doubt, ask for a new banknote!
For other and larger events you should know that the Norwegian Embassy is located in 53F, Empire Tower,
Jalan Tun Razak. The phone number is +60 3 2175 0300.
Internet in Kuala Lumpur
Internet cafes are quite common in Kuala Lumpur and you can find them in most malls. Many hotels offer free internet access and connections. Free Wi-Fi is also available in many restaurants and shopping malls, and the Starbucks, Coffeebean, Burger King and MacDonalds chains have almost always free Wi-Fi.
Communication in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has an ambitious public transport system that can be both efficient and practical, namely monorail. Where this has lanes, it is preferable, since Kuala Lumpur suffers from crippling traffic jams almost 24 hours a day.
During rush hour, you must strictly consider combining different methods of transportation. Use Monorail where possible, then end your taxi journey. The Monorail course circles in the Golden Triangle district.
By taxi in Kuala Lumpur
Taxi is generally safe in Kuala Lumpur and there are several taxi companies. The most common taxis are red and white. These are also the most affordable. Alternatively, you can take the blue taxis, but be sure to use the tachometer. Often, they refuse to use roof trams. If this happens, then take a taxi that by law says they are required to use the roof tachometer. They have documentation on the car route.
When demand exceeds supply, for example during rush hour or when it rains, you will notice that taxis want less to use the tariff meter, and rather agree on a fixed (high) price. This is illegal, but the only thing you can do in practice is go away and find another car. If you do not have an option then the tip is to negotiate hard. RM5 should cover most trips with an estimated driving time of about 15 min.
Another tip is that if you are staying at an expensive hotel, you should rather mention a nearby mall or landmark as a stopover. This way you do not have to be extremely rich for the driver. After midnight it is common for prices to increase by 50%.
If you need to call for a taxi then you have some telephone numbers here:
+60 3 6259 2020 +60 3 6259 2020
+60 3 6253 1313 +60 3 6253 1313
Sun Light Taxi Unicablink
1300 800 222 (www.sunlighttaxi.com)
+60 3 9283 2333 +60 3 9283 2333
Keeganlam executive Taxis
60 17 6632696 +60 17 6632696