While coming to Kuala Lumpur for the first time – I must admit I had zero expectations. Yes, Petronas Towers sounded vaguely familiar to me, but to be honest – my knowledge about this city was almost non-existent. However, it was on my way to New Zealand, so I decided to spend a few days in KL (as it’s known), especially since I had a friend there. I haven’t regretted this decision even once… My weekend in Kuala Lumpur was truly epic!KL is the most populous and culturally-diverse city in Malaysia with over 8 million people. It is a hub bustling with life, quite a crazy traffic, numerous huge shopping malls, and really delicious cuisine.
First of all, this trip has proved me one more time that the fewer expectations you have, the more fun you experience. Well, of course, my friend was one of the reasons I enjoyed my trip so much. We met 5 years ago during the business forum in Mexico City, where we were representing our universities. We haven’t seen each other ever since that event. But thanks to social media, we kept in touch. So once I knew I’d be in KL, I couldn’t really believe we would see each other again. But there we were, together in KL. I got to explore the city with a local while learning about new culture and cuisine at the same time. The memories of this trip I will cherish forever.
Here are my top things to do for an epic weekend in Kuala Lumpur:
Batu Caves is a very special place that you cannot miss. Just 30 mins train ride from KL’s city center will take you to a whole different world of caves and Hindu temples. You would need at least half of the day to explore this sacred site.
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The heavenly ambiance at the top of 272 colorful stairs is mixed with the crazy monkeys, ready to snatch everything you have. But as long as you’re cautious and you don’t eat any food, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just dive into this serene world of temples away from the hustle of the big city life.
2. Petronas Towers
The tallest twin towers in the world are nothing short of impressive, no matter from what point in the city you look at them. What’s even more important is Petronas Towers were designed to represent the Islamic art and culture (as Islam is Malaysia’s national religion) as well as the modernization of Malaysia. If you look at the building from the top, you will notice that the cross-section of the towers forms the eight-pointed star, which symbolizes the Islamic culture.
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There’s a high-end shopping mall inside and an observatory, but I personally preferred KL Tower views. However, the Petronas Towers are especially majestic at night when they lit up and you can spot them even from the farthest place in the city. So much magic about that Petronas’ glow!
3. KL Tower
For the best views of the city head to KL Tower, also known as Menara Kuala Lumpur. It is 421 meters high with various options to enjoy the panorama of KL. You can have dinner in the revolving restaurant or you can walk on the observation deck for a clearer understanding of the city and its limits. Just breathe in and enjoy the view.
4. Central Market
It’s not just a tourist trap, even though many tourists visit Central Market. It’s a place for everyone, whether you’re local or you’re coming from far away. You can find anything you need there, from souvenirs and jewelry to art pieces and local food. You don’t need to buy anything, you can just look around and learn something new about Malaysian culture.
5. Pavilion Shopping Mall
My friend has explained to me that the reason behind so many malls in KL is because those are not just the places to shop. It’s where Malaysians spend a lot of their free time with friends and family. Also, it’s a good place to hide from the heat, so people do spend a lot of time there. One of the most famous shopping malls is the Pavilion. It has over 550 stores, so you can imagine its size. If you have an unlimited bank account, then this is the place to shop till you drop. Fun fact: every year the mall is beautifully decorated for Chinese New Year, and it’s worth checking out.
6. Alor Street Food Market
It opens every day after 5 pm and it is a must stop for everyone who wants to try the amazing local cuisine. Street food is the best way to eat in KL, it gives you the real taste of the city. Malaysian cuisine is influenced by many cultures (i.e. Arab, Indian, Chinese, etc). You can experience it all at the Alor Street Food Market. Be ready, it can get really finger-licking.
KL is a very international and diverse city, whether it comes to its people, its culture, or its cuisine. If you’re looking for an entertaining weekend filled with a lot of shopping and sightseeing, then KL is the perfect place to be.
What place are you most excited to visit in KL?
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