Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia‘s effervescent capital, is a dynamic city with state-of-the-art shopping malls, historical colonial-era buildings, picturesque natural scenery, original art and an impressive skyline dominated by the majestic Petronas Twin Towers. Influenced heavily by the Chinese traditions from across the water, Kuala Lumpur is a melting melting pot of Asian cultures, elevating itself as a dynamic and varied place to engage with and explore. From bustling museums to idyllic gardens, here’s 10 of the best things to do and see in Kuala Lumpur.
The Central Market of Kuala Lumpur is a dynamic hub of activity thriving on the streets of the city, a center not only for shopping, but for the arts, culture and handicrafts too. Exuding a unique charm and bustling atmosphere, there is over 100,000 square feet of retail space here, and there is also a large outdoor stage providing a venue for multicultural performances and celebrations. Everything from traditional masks to authentic Malaysian fare can be purchased here, and additionally a number of interesting cultural activities are held monthly, such as the ‘mid-autumn cultural fiesta’ this fall. Visiting the market and taking part in these activities is a great way to get to know Kuala Lumpur’s culture and its people.
Constructed in 1873, the magnificent Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu structure in Malaysia. The gopuram, which is the monumental tower of the Hindu gods, is the first thing which captures a visitor’s eye here, an impressive feature standing at 22.9 meters tall and opulently decorated with depictions of Hindu gods sculpted by southern Indian artisans. Inside there are a series of separated buildings serving different religious purposes, and even if you aren’t particularly spiritual, the richly decorated ceilings, intricate sculptures of goddesses and majestic main prayer hall here all make the site worth visiting.
Opening hours: Daily 6am-8:30pm
Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2078 3467
The iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Twin Towers (KLCC) are the tallest structures of their kind on planet Earth. The 88-storey skyscrapers were built in 1992, and designed by Argentine architect César Pelli in a dinstinctive postmodern style, with the aim of creating an innovative, 21st-century emblem for the city. They house the gigantic shopping mall Suria KLCC, and boast an observation deck, situated on the 86th floor, offering jaw-dropping views of the spirited city.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2331 8080
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, with 60% of its people practising the ancient belief. The Islamic Art Museum gives a fascinating insight into this religion, and offers engaging information on the art which flourishes from it. The museum is the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia, and houses 12 galleries set over two floors dedicated to increasing the engagement between visitors and the Islamic arts. The objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, with the aim of creating a collection which is truly representative of the Islamic world.
Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm
Jalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2274 2020
Ode to Art is a contemporary art gallery which exhibits paintings, photography, sculptures and installation artworks by prominent artists from all around the world. Featured artists include Chen Wen Ling, Lorenzo Quinn, Robert Indiana and Xi-Aige, and there are creative and diverse exhibitions held regularly.
Built in 1888, Perdana Botanical Garden, also known as the Lake Gardens, was the first urban park ever to be constructed in Kuala Lumpur. The beautiful, natural space features picturesque waterfalls and multiple collections of different flower and plant varieties. Take a boat around the idyllic lake here, or rent a bike to really traverse the wonder of nature; this is an unmissable experience transporting visitors to a tropical rainforest location, right in the middle of the Malaysian metropolis.
Opening hours: Daily 7am-8pm
Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2617 6404
Close to the Perdana Botanical Gardens sits the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, a home to more than 3000 birds of 200 different species. A self-proclaimed zoo just for birds, visitors can have fun here taking pictures with the creatures at designated photo booths, and feeding the birds themselves. This is also a popular venue for weddings and birthday parties, with the tropical scenery and colorful critters making for a unique and memorable day.
KL Bird Park, 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2272 1010