Why Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the place with cityscapes and views for miles!
Living in China, we have 3-4 weeks away from work for Spring Festival, this year I chose to escape to Kuala Lumpur with my boyfriend and we loved every minute.
Hotel choice is key and I was in charge of booking 😩!
We ended up actually changing hotel right at the last minute as I realised I had booked us into a terribly reviewed homestay! When we arrived, we were staying in the Ibis Hotel in KLCC. I could not recommend this hotel enough!! It was just a short walk from the subway which we had travelled into from the Airport. The location felt incredibly central and was just 10 minutes away from the Petronas Towers without the huge cost! For 4 nights the hotel cost around £65 for both of us. Plus it had so many features, including a rooftop pool and bar!
This location actually made our adventures easier. We had planned some trips before we arrived but found it so easy to move around KL that in the end we were more relaxed than anything.
I use the Klook app (see below what this offers) to purchase a 7-day data SIM card which I collected at the airport when we first arrived. So easy! This also meant that I could use my phone during the week to check Trip Advisor and Klook. I also would say to download the GRAB app, this is basically UBER but for Malaysia and is really safe. Super easy to use, especially if you have used UBER or DiDi before.
Railway and Subways – we got the KLIA express from the airport into KL Sentral where we could jump onto the subway to KLCC and walk to our hotel. All we needed to do in between was enter the Shopping Mall at KL Sentral and buy a top-up subway card, we paid 30MYR (around £3) and this lasted us the week of jumping on and off the subways and the subway up to Batu Caves.
Things to do:
We started with some ‘walking tours’. I had found these online across a few blogs and was eager to see, they were also in my Kuala Lumpur Lonely Planet guide! When we reached the areas for some of the walking tours, we actually found that they are signposted in the street as well just to ease the experience.
The two walking tours we actually did were:
- Kampung Baru – very Malaysian style, definitely cultural. On this we saw: Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Master Mat’s House, Malay Street food, Rumah Limas, Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa and the street bazaar.
- Little India – There was a recommended restaurant along the way with this one, unfortunately we went at the wrong time of day to actually see it open. (All signposted along the walk).
- Chinatown – Who knew one area could have so many religious places! We saw: Merdeka Square, Masjid Jamek, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, Central Market, Guan Di Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kasturi Walk, Old China Café (food here is great) and the Petaling Street Markets. We spent hours on this walk, there is quite a bit of distance to be covered and in the heat its painful but worth it.
- Lake Gardens Tour – On this we saw: Asean Sculpture Park, Perdana Botanical Gardens, Deer Park, National Monument, Royal Malaysian Police Museum, Hornbill Restaurant, Tun Abdul Razak Memorial House, National Planetarium and the National Museum
- There are so many options if you search through the blogs!
Malaysian Cultural Night:
One website I can absolutely recommend is Klook. This app is amazing and has so much to offer. I booked a cultural night through Klook and we had the most incredible personal tour guide. He collected us from the hotel and drove us to the Hindu Temple (Sri Mahamariamman Temple) just beside Chinatown. From here he gave us 1 hour to explore the Chinatown street markets. He then collected us again and proceeded to take us to the cultural event, this was a buffet style meal with a Malaysian culture show. We really enjoyed this evening, plus our tour guide was able to offer information about the festival happening at the time of us being in KL and how to get the best experience. Bringing me to our next adventure…
Pretty much anyone who has ever heard of Malaysia knows of the Batu Caves. These are a short ride out of Kuala Lumpur but so worth it! Our subway ride there cost around 4MYR (around 40p) each way and was quite comfortable and empty. Entry into the main cave is free! Just climb the steps and in you go, beware of the monkeys though. You can pay extra to enter some other caves around the Batu Caves but for most people just the main one is enough. We were told to go early on in the day so we arrived around 8am, there weren’t many people and the monkeys were mostly still asleep (heads up, I am terrified of evil monkeys)!
Our tour guide from the night before had told us that Thaipusam would be happening on the Saturday (2 days later) but from the Thursday (the day we went to the caves) Hindus would be arriving at the caves to offer their sacrifices dressed in yellow. They would actually walk bare foot from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple to the Batu Caves through the early hours to arrive at the Batu Caves before it became too hot. They would carry offerings on their heads for this journey. He also recommended to go early as there would be less people around and less crowds for the festival.
Thean Hou Temple:
One place that I really wanted to see was Thean Hou Temple. This was in a more out of the way area but I was using the GRAB app during our time there, incredibly easy to use as well! We got our GRAB to the temple and spent the morning wandering around the huge Chinese temple. We had the chance to see Monks during prayer and the gift shop had an extensive collection of traditional Chinese items. Definitely worth a visit!
Malaysian food is amazing! I feel like I may have overused the word ‘amazing’ in this blog but I absolutely loved Kuala Lumpur, the worst part about the trip was leaving!
While there we had Indian, Chinese, Malay and Western food. The flavours were so unique. We would recommend having an Indian meal in the smaller Indian restaurants along Little India, these were sometimes hidden but the spice and the authenticity was all there! For Malay food, the cultural night is ideal to try a variety of foods but there were also many food stands around in the more rural areas which offered true Malay foods.
Now, I am a stickler for Rooftop bars so Kuala Lumpur has probably the best selection, where we actually ran out of evenings to spend in them!
- Marini’s on 57 – right next to the Petronas Towers. View over the city and chance to see the Petronas Towers at dusk as it begins to light up. Also price wise, cheaper than you would expect.
- Mai Bar – a tiki bar on the top floor of Aloft hotel, no need to be staying at the hotel just need to buy a drink or food. The bar also has a pool just outside, as it was the evening we didn’t use this but it looked like a cool day spot, overlooking Little India. Also the cocktails were some of the most unusual styles I’ve seen.
- Ibis Hotel KLCC – so our hotel had a rooftop bar, nothing extraordinary but it did offer an outdoor strip overlooking some parts of the City Centre, Petronas Towers were viewable from here but so too were quieter areas of KL.
- Some that we were looking at visiting but ran out of time were: Traders Bar, Loft and Atmosphere 360.
Drinks courtesy of Mai Bar
I honestly can’t wait to return to KL. There were so many places that we didn’t get to see this time (5 days!) but I would definitely return to the IBIS hotel.