3 day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary
Kuala Lumpur is a much bigger city than I thought, although smaller than cities like London and Bangkok. I had heard a few people say that it was a bit of a ‘meh’ City but I totally disagree. It had character, charm and a real buzz to it.
The main centre is situated around a one hour drive from the airport. A taxi from the airport with GRAB (South East Asia’s Uber) is approximately 60MYR / £12. The airport has a civilised queuing system where you wait inside the terminal until you have a notification that your GRAB has arrived. You then show your notification to the staff and get your GRAB taxi outside.
Day 1 of 3 day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary
Kwai Chai Hong
We spent day 1 in Kuala Lumpur eating and shopping – unsurprisingly it was a very good day! We ordered a GRAB taxi from our hotel to Mingle Cafe on Petaling Street for breakfast. The cafe has a vintage-esque style with reused furniture, mirrors and lots of plants dotted around. They serve a mixture of local and Western food and a large selection of hot and cold drinks. We loved the Hainanese toast with butter and Pandan Kaya (a topping of sugar, coconut milk and butter) with boiled eggs.
From there, we walked to Kwai Chai Hong, an area which their website says takes visitors back in time to the 1960s golden era of KL Chinatown. This area was recently part of a project involving 10 restored shophouses — six on Jalan Petaling and four along Lorong Panggung, as well as a laneway between the two.
The new murals were painted by five local artists: Khek Shin Nam, Chan Kok Sing, Chok Fook Yong, Chew Weng Yeow and Wong Leck Min. Kwai Chai Hong reminded me of the incredible street art in George Town Penang.
You can’t help but be amazed at the murals and obviously take a snap or two, particularly as some are designed to be interactive.
As we were wandering down this arty street, we stumbled upon the back entrance of Hawker Chan, originally a Singapore food hawker stall now with outlets in Malaysia and Singapore offering extremely affordable Michelin star chicken and rice! The Soya Sauce Chicken Rice is just RM8.8 (£1.5).
Next stop was shopping at Petaling Street Market which is a bargain hunter’s idea of paradise! The entrance is marked by a Oriental-style archway spelling out Petaling Street.
There are so many stalls down the whole stretch of the market with various other stalls down side alleys. You can find all sorts at Petaling Market including many ‘designer’ items. Be prepared to haggle but don’t be rude about it and shop around as many stalls offer similar products.
If you get peckish like we did then pop along to Tang Cuty Food Court. It is slightly hidden by all the stalls so look up for the signs. There were around 10 vendors selling local food. We opted for a beef noodle dish which was RM10 (£2) and very delicious.
The other nearby places to shop are Central Market and Kasturi Walk. For me, they were nowhere near as good as Petaling. There weren’t as many stalls and they were very similar.
We were so caught up with shopping that we forgot to visit the temples in Chinatown – Guan Di Temple and Sri Mahamariamman Temple – even though they were on my list!
Our final stop on our busy but fun day was Merdeka Square, a 10 minute walk from Kasturi Walk. The square is a 200m square green where Malaysia proclaimed merdeka (freedom or independence) on August 31st, 1957.
Within the vicinity are the Jamel Mosque and Sultan Abdul Samad Building, The latter is a stunning building named after Sultan Abdul Samadand and is the backdrop of the grandstands for Independence Day parades and other celebratory events.
Day 2 of 3 day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary
Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia also known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven. It is situated southwest of the city located along Jalan Klang Lama, a 20 minute GRAB ride / £3 from our hotel.
The temple is open from 9am – 6pm and entrance is free, although donations are always welcomed. There is no enforceable dress like there is for the Batu Caves (see below). However, it is still respectable to cover your knees and shoulders.
Thean Hou Temple was built in 1894 set high on a hill giving wonderful views of the city. It is dedicated to Tian Hou, the Chinese goodness of the sea.
It is a gorgeous and expansive temple where you could spend a couple of hours. The front entrance has a multi-arched gateway with red pillars which symbolises prosperity and good fortune. There are various dragon-inspired columns and pagoda rooftops and a large number of lanterns (although some of these would have been for Chinese New Year).
After the temple we caught a GRAB 10 minutes to Lot 10 Hutong Food Court for lunch. Situated in the basement of Lot 10 shopping centre, it is a casual food court offering some of KL’s best eateries which have been serving their dishes for 2/3 generations! Think Hainan Chicken Rice, Soong Kee Beef Noodles and Kong Tai Singapore Prawn Mee all for £2-4!
We tucked into Xiao Long Bao, Pork Dumpling, BBQ Pork with rice and Curry Mee which were all very delicious!
After lunch, we walked to Bukit Bintang to view the street art at Jalan Alor. The Google map links are Jalan Alor Street Art 1 and Jalan Alor Street Art 2. It is certainly a very vibrant and colourful area and well worth a wander around.
There are fun rainbow coloured streets, lots of wildlife painted on the walls and just a pretty ‘cool’ vibe.
We had a few drinks in the area followed by dinner at Jalan Alor Night Market which has a whole array of street food stalls and restaurants. There are actually more restaurants than I thought (casual ones with plastic chairs) but we stuck to the stalls and had a selection of satay dishes.
Day 3 of 3 day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary
Our third day in KL started with a trip 25 minutes north of the City to the Batu Caves which is around £5 in a GRAB. It has become a very popular tourist attraction so if you want to avoid the crowds and the coach tours, I would advise going as early as possible. Make sure you cover your knees and shoulders – this is strictly enforced.
Named after the Batu river that runs through the area, the Batu Caves is a limestone hill with three major caves and several smaller ones. For over 100 years it has been one of the major pilgrimage sites for Hindus all around the world. The Batu Caves feature idols, statues, shrines and paintings erected inside and outside the main caves and around it.
In 2006, a 140 feet tall golden painted statue of Lord Murugan was erected, a Hindu tribute situated at foot of the divine steps leading to the main cave. The steps were repainted recently in vibrant bright colours, which brings even more life to the Batu Caves.
You could easily spend a few hours immersing yourself in the area. There are also hundreds of monkeys wandering the caves which can be aggressive at times. There are a few small stalls for food but nothing really took our fancy.
In the afternoon, we headed back towards our hotel to visit the Petronas Towers. I wish we had visited KL Eco Park which is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in Malaysia. With free entrance and swing-bridges, it sounded like a great way to spend a hour or two!
Instead we had lunch at BBQ Nights which serves a delicious and affordable Chicken Sheesh Kebab and Chicken Tikka dish followed by a trip to the Petronas Towers.
The twin towers are just over 450 metres and 88 stories. They are known as Kuala Lumpur’s crown jewel and were inspired by the vision for Malaysia to be a global player. Entrance is RM80 / £15 and the towers are not open on Mondays. You can get amazing views of the towers from KLCC Park.
If you want to visit the Petronas for sunset I highly recommend booking in advance on their website. When we tried to book 5-7pm slots a week in advance, they were unavailable.
There is a strict colour coding system for entering and moving around the Petronas Towers. The tour begins with a visit to the Skybridge which is a connecting structure between the towers and the world’s highest 2-storey bridge. We then moved up to the highest point at level 86. You can see incredible views of the City and the other Petronas tower!
East London Girl: 3 day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary
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