15 Of The Best Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur sets an example of how a city embraces “superdiveristy.” 

Traveling throughout Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful celebration of multiculturalism. From Hindu caves, Buddhist temples, to the National Mosque; Malaysia’s capital city, or KL, as the locals say, is a true melting pot of religions, cultures and ethnicities. The so-called “superdiversity” can be tasted through its food and colorfully painted by artists. Here are some of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur, it’s a great reminder to always keep an open mind.

Batu Caves

Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

The 400 million years old Batu Caves, literally translates to “rock,” and is one of the most popular landmarks in Kuala Lumpur. After climbing 272 steps painted in rainbow colors, visitors will reach a series of three main limestone caves, Hindu temples and shrines. It takes about 10-15 minutes to climb the steps. Beware of monkeys, wet grounds and narrow steps. For Hindus, it has become one of the most significant sites of pilgrimage.

Batu Caves statue
Batu Caves. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Batu Caves.
Batu Caves caves and temples. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Batu Caves.
The caves. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Tower, Lower Ground (Concourse) Level, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The ultimate icon of Kuala Lumpur has to be the Petronas Twin Towers, often also referred to as KLCC Twin Towers. The 88-floor skyscrapers was considered the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2004. At 558 feet tall, Petronas Twin Towers offers a panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur in its entirety. Inside, there are shopping malls, an oceanarium, an urban curated green-lung project and a Symphony Lake. 

Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

Chinatown is a wild circus in Kuala Lumpur but also a delicious place to try local fares and do some shopping during the day! Chinatown centers around Petaling Street, where numerous vendors sell faux designer handbags and clothing, electronic gadgets, spices, fruits and local street foods. At night, there are some fun bars and cafés in this neighborhood.

Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Chinatown Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple

Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. Situated next to Chinatown, the temple features a 5-tiered gopuram (tower) that colorfully depicts 228 Hindu gods sculpted by Southern Indian artisans. For Indian immigrants, the temple has been a sacred place of worship since the beginning despite that today, it has become a touristic stop.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple exterior
Sri Mahamariamman Temple exterior. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Sri Mahamariamman Temple interior
Sri Mahamariamman Temple interior. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Sri Mahamariamman Temple exterior
Sri Mahamariamman Temple exterior. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

National Mosque of Malaysia

Jalan Perdana, Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

National Mosque interior
Inside the National Mosque. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
National Mosque view
Views from the National Mosque. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Before entering the National Mosque of Malaysia, women will be given purple robes to wear. When it was built in 1965, the mosque symbolized elements of modern architecture. The expansive sanctuary can hold up to 15,000 devotees and displays a unique open umbrella dome. The mosque also features several fountains and pool.

National Mosque exterior
National Mosque exterior. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

The Zhongshan Building

Jalan Kampung Attap, 80 - 84, Jalan Rotan, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Zhongshan Building is a great spot for shopping and admiring artisanal arts and crafts. It is “an urban rejuvenation project, energised by a close-knit community of artists, researchers, designers, artisans, and musicians.” There are three floors of research labs, ateliers, vintage music shops, art gallery, independent cafés…and many more. This is the hub of independent artists showcasing their work through music, design and culture.

The Zhongshan Building
The Zhongshan Building. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
The Zhongshan Building
The Zhongshan Building music store. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
The Zhongshan Building
The Zhongshan Building sustainable boutique. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Jalan Alor

One of the best food markets in KL has to be Jalan Alor, even for locals. It’s a 500-meter long street of barbecue, seafood, durian, snacks…and much more. The market is a fine example of multicultural cuisines that exist in Malaysia. One can taste anything from Southeast Asian fruits, Chinese desserts, and Indian quick bites. The night market might be crowded with travelers, but come here at night when it’s lively and tasty.

* I got a “kaya” which is a flaky puff pastry filled with rich and creamy kaya jam made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar.
Jalan Alor market
Jalan Alor market. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Thean Hou Temple

65, Persiaran Endah, Taman Persiaran Desa, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thean Hou Temple is a sprawling beauty on top of Robson Heights, it majestically overlooks Jalan Syed Putra. The six-tiered Buddhist temple pays homage to the Chinese Goddess of the Sea: Mazu. The architectural elements combine symbols from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Lines of lanterns, red pillars and ornate roofs carry traditional meanings for the Chinese communities that immigrated to Malaysia early on.

Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Thean Hou Temple entrance
Thean Hou Temple entrance. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Thean Hou Temple symbols
Thean Hou Temple. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

National Art Gallery

Lembaga Pembangunan Seni Visual Negara, 2, Jalan Temerloh, off, Jln Tun Razak, 53200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The National Art Gallery of Malaysia is a beautiful space spotlighting Malaysian artists that depict life, history, political and social climates in the country. Many artworks narrate the region’s sordid history of colonization and migration, at times, the difficulties of a nation built on “superdiversity.” The building encompasses a circular ramp that connects various floors, allowing visitors to view art from different angles.

National Art Gallery
National Art Gallery. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Ilham Gallery

Levels 3 and 5, Ilham Tower, 8, Lrg Binjai, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ilham Gallery is a stylish but industrial space promoting Malaysian modern and contemporary art. There are numerous exhibitions and events that reveal artists’ perspectives on gender inequality, children during war, female empowerment…just to name a few. In additional to thought-provoking pieces of art displayed throughout a single floor of the building, there’s another wing on a different floor where the gift shop sells charming arts and crafts.

The gift shop showcases a range of souvenirs carefully sourced from artisans, designers and craftspeople from all over the country.

Ilham Gallery
Ilham Gallery. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Sultan Abdul Samad Mosque

Jalan Tun Perak, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Jamek Mosque or Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque