Sometimes the hardest part about traveling, or having a nice day out, is the cost. With our guide to these free things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you don’t have to worry about budgeting.
Walk in the Park
Enjoy greenery and fresh air in the middle of the urban jungle at some of the city’s large green lung parks. At the base of the Petronas Towers is the gorgeous KLCC Park, where an urban sightseeing trail is surrounded by beautiful skyscrapers.
If you’d prefer a location further from the hustle and bustle of the city, check out Perdana Botanical Gardens, where you can cycle or jog around the pretty fountain lake.
KLCC Park, Jalan Ampang, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur, +60 18-379 5279
Rock-climb the Batu Cave Crags
This activity is free if you bring your own gear. Scaling the simple back wall of the Batu Caves monolith is a favorite activity for many adventurous travelers, who seek more than just an easygoing temple visit. The vertical cliff walls range from kid-friendly to advanced beginners, but overall it is more of a fun climb than a challenge.
Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor +60 1-300-88-5050
Run by a charitable organization, this book exchange is a fun activity that allows you to exchange your old books for second-hand books in good condition. The monthly event is any book-lover’s dream come true. Spend a day in the grassy park picnicking with your new read, or have fun trading titles and recommendations with other book enthusiasts.
Visit Religious Sites
Kuala Lumpur’s many religious sites can be visited for free. Many can be found in the Chinatown area, or make your way to the amazing Batu Cave temples, where a huge statue of Hindu Lord Murugan stands at the entrance.
If something more challenging than a walk in a park calls out to you, then head to the hiking trails of Bukit Gasing or Bukit Nanas. These natural jungle trails will bring you closer to experiencing the tropical Malaysian rain forest. Go early in the morning because it gets hot later in the day. Also bring lots of bug spray, as mosquitoes thrive here.
Visit the Free Museums
Stop by the lesser-known museums that detail Malaysia’s history. The Royal Malaysian Police Museum will take you on a tour of the local police force, from its beginnings in 1807 to its current incarnation, and the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery offers an insight into Malaysia’s financial system, including old Malayan money and educational displays on how money works in the Islamic Shariah system.
Join a free guided tour around some of Kuala Lumpur’s best areas. Hear a local’s take on popular spots, as well as the hidden histories behind such places. Good areas include the Indian-dominated Brickfields, the Chinese-populated Petaling Street, and the historical Malay Village Kampung Baru.
Hang Around in Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square is an historically important place as it is where Malaya’s independence was declared. It is also the front lawn for the erstwhile headquarters of British Colonial rule in Malaya. The area is surrounded by buildings dedicated to Malaysia’s rich history, so join a free tour and learn about the many cultures that have become part of modern Malaysia.
Dataran Merdeka, Jalan Raja, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur, +60 3-2693 7905
Visit the KL City Gallery
The KL City Gallery is an ideal stop for those wanting some backstory on this great city. While there is a small fee to enter, RM5 (US$1) is a small price to pay to learn so much about Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. The ILOVEKL installation outside is free to photograph.
Utilize the Free Public Transport
Hop on the purple Go KL buses, which provide free transport around Kuala Lumpur’s attractions and business centers. They can get crowded during peak hours, however.
Discover Local Literature
Readings is a place where local and foreign literary talent gathers monthly to share their art with fellow lovers of words. It is hosted by Sharon Bakar, editor, writer, and educator. All are welcome to come and hear original short stories, poems, and spoken word performances, as well as musical performances, over light tea.
Seksan Design Sdn. Bhd, 67 Jalan Tempinis 1, Kuala Lumpur, +60 3-2282 4611
Hang long enough around the KLCC Train Station and you’ll encounter some amazing street musicians at the corner, by the exit down to the platform. Buskers usually pick up towards the evening.
Pasar Percuma Goodies
This one-of-a-kind bazaar is unusual in that you can take whatever you like for free. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you too have some items to donate, why not lay them out on a mat and join the crowd? The venue for this event isn’t always fixed, as many organize their own Pasar Percuma, but this is one free event not to be missed.
Free Tree Society KL
Plant trees and encourage the growth of Kuala Lumpur’s greenscape by joining this group of green thumbs for no cost, apart from a little physical labor. Learn tips and tricks to keep a plant alive, as well as the types of conditions tropical plants thrive in. If you live in Kuala Lumpur you can adopt some cute pot plants from the Free Tree Society’s nursery.
Movie Nights at Publika’s The Square
Wind down with a free movie under the stars at the modern and contemporary artistic hub, Publika. Screening local and foreign indie and old movies, this fun event is held every Monday evening. Keep an eye on the weather and feel free to bring your own mat and snacks for a late-night picnic.