How to Spend 24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur

KLCC Twin Towers
KLCC Twin Towers | © Sam Bedford
Photo of Sam Bedford
24 July 2018

Kuala Lumpur combines mosques with Chinese and Hindu temples. A central oasis filled with tropical flowers, orchids and monkeys in a busy metropolitan city centre – plus an undisputed reputation for delicious food. Culture Trip finds out how to pack all this into a single day.

Travellers on a short stopover with just 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur need to pack as much into their day as possible. Here’s how to taste their famous food, see monkeys and make your friends jealous with Instagram photos of the illustrious Petronas Towers.

Morning: Chinese-style breakfast and Little India

Start the morning with a steaming bowl of noodle soup at Restoran One Sentral. The Chinese-hawker style restaurant sits in the heart of Brickfields near the neighbourhood’s budget-friendly accommodation. Stroll through Little India along the colourful streets decorated with arches to the sounds and smells of the subcontinent. Check out the 100-year-old Sri Kandaswamy Kovil Tempe on Scott Road and the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple. If you’re peckish, order roti canai from one of the Nasi Kandar shops along Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Pro Tip: KL Sentral’s shopping centre has plenty of cafés, shops and ultra-strong air-conditioning for days that are just too hot.

Little India Brickfields | © gracethang2 / Shutterstock

Afternoon: Chinatown, Lake Gardens and monkeys

The afternoon involves a walk around Chinatown and visiting the Lake Garden’s city oasis. Take the LRT from KL Sentral to Pasar Seni (one stop). Remember to get the token from the machines and keep it in a safe place. Chinatown is east of Pasar Seni. Check out the Central Market, Sri Mahamariamman Temple (KL’s oldest temple) and Petaling Street. Take a taxi or Grab Car to Lake Gardens which houses the Orchid Gardens around a lake. With just 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur, this is your best chance to see wild monkeys.

Evening: Petronas Towers and the KLCC Water Show

Our 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur itinerary reserves the evening for the acclaimed Petronas Towers. From Lake Gardens, take a taxi or Grab to KLCC. Snap a few photographs of the towers in front of the shopping centre (where all the tourists are standing). Next, pass through the mall to KLCC Park. Follow the jogging path to get different perspectives of the Petronas Towers. The bridge directly behind the pond offers the best photographs. Enjoy a cake and iced coffee inside KLCC’s megamall and cool down for an hour. Stick around until the 8pm KLCC Lake Symphony Water Fountain Show. Pro tip: Aim to arrive before 6pm to see the Petronas Towers in daylight and again when they light up after sunset.

musical fountain show KLCC | © Sam Bedford

Night: Unwind in Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant neighbourhood

If you still have any energy after an action-packed 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur, head to Bukit Bintang. The district is a magnet for backpackers and travellers with an array of bars and restaurants. For the not-so-budget conscious tourists, a night at either No Black Tie (jazz bar) or Whiskey Bar makes for a classy night out. Alternatively, order a meal and bottle of beer at one of the plastic-table restaurants spread along Jalan Alor. For a more traditional meal, dine at a banana leaf restaurant.

Street food on Jalan Alor | © Migel / Shutterstock

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