You have only 1 day in Kuala Lumpur? Relax, I’ve got you covered! This itinerary includes the best sights and things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Enjoy Malaysia’s capital in 24 hours!
There is no other city in Asia that I have visited more often than Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL. Malaysia’s capital is one of the biggest airline hubs in Asia, and home to Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia. Everyone who flies these airlines will most probably stop in KL at some point. Some people might only rush through the airport or stay nearby in a hotel, but I urge you to turn your stopover into a layover and enjoy this fascinating city!
Kuala Lumpur is a Malaysian city on the cutting edge of modernity. With massive skyscrapers, upscale shopping, and a technologically-driven culture, the big city is heaven for trendsetters and trend-seekers.
Yet despite its fast-forward vibe, Kuala Lumper is still very much connected to its roots. The city is made up of many ethnic groups, especially those of Indian, Malay, and Chinese descent. The ethnic neighborhoods, food, and religious centers are all an indication of the people’s love for their past as well as their future.
When you visit the city, you’ll find a place with arms wide open to visitors, and plenty of things to do and places to visit in Kuala Lumpur! Explore historic monuments, taste delicious food from street vendors and gourmet chefs, stare up at the massive towers, and enjoy a picnic in one of the parks.
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day
No matter who you are or what you love, there is definitely something for you in Kuala Lumpur! If you have only one day in Malaysia’s capital, you can still go around and see some of the best sights!
I’ve put together a list of my favorite five things to do in Kuala Lumpur, I also included a map (scroll further down) so you can see where all these places are located. Enjoy!
01 | Visit the Religious Sites in KL.
The city is home to Muslims and people of various Eastern religions, therefore you will see plenty of temples and mosques in Kuala Lumpur.
If you have only one day in KL, try to pay a visit to at least one of them.
The National Mosque, also known as Masjid Negara, is a stunning modern structure decked out in blue and gold. It has the capacity to hold 15,000 people and it is seen as a monument to Malaysian independence.
The Thean Hou Temple (left image) is an Oriental-style monument to the Chinese sea goddess. It encompasses Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in a syncretistic house of worship to this deity.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a Hindu place of worship, built in an impressive Eastern style with rising towers of many colors.
02 | Explore some of the Quirky Neighborhoods in KL.
Bukit Bintang is the place to be if you’re in your twenties. It’s one of the hippest shopping districts in the city, and thousands of locals and tourists stream in daily to browse the malls or visit some bars and nightclubs. Don’t miss Jalan Alor where you can find some of the best street foods in Kuala Lumpur!
For a taste of the other side of Asia, head to Little India, where you’ll be enveloped in Bollywood music, the scent of curry, and the colorful flash of saris and scarves. Eat a Thali at one of the Indian restaurants!
Not far away, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is an entirely different culture. People come here to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and eat some delicious street food.
If you’re into shopping, check out Petaling Street in Chinatown! It’s a bustling place with plenty of stalls where you can bargain for pretty much everything. From colorful fabrics, souvenirs, clothes, hand bags, shoes and even electronic items… Happy shopping!
03 | Relax in the Parks of KL.
If you’re getting tired from visiting places in Kuala Lumpur, slow down and take a rest. The city is filled with fantastic parks and gardens, perfect for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One of my favorite gardens is the KLCC Park, right beside the Petronas Towers. It’s a true oasis in the center of the city, featuring plenty of recreational facilities, including bathing pools to cool down, beautiful fountains and sculptures, indigenous trees and plenty of walking tracks to explore.
Another good place to enjoy is Titiwangsa, a gorgeous park with a large lake where you can do canoeing and boating.
If you’re into flowers, trees and plants, head to Perdana Botanical Garden, one of the most popular parks and favorite weekend spots among the locals. The KL Bird Park is part of the Botanical Garden and might be worth to visit as well.
04 | Take a photo of the majestic Petronas Towers.
One of the most important icons in Malaysia are the majestic Petronas Towers. When you stand below the famous twin towers, it’s hard to believe that they’re not the tallest buildings in the world. Although that title disappeared in 2004, these impressive 88-storey buildings are still a sight to behold.
The design is a modern reworking of traditional Islamic architecture, as can be seen by the shape of the top of the towers. The towers are connected by an enclosed bridge about halfway up.
If you have an hour time to kill, buy a ticket which gives you access to the Sky Bridge on the 41st floor, and the Observation Deck on the 86th floor. There is a limited amount of tickets per day, I suggest to buy yours online here.
The best place to get a shot of the city’s skyline including the Petronas Towers is from the Menara Tower.
05 | Enjoy a drink over KL’s skyline.
If you have only one night in Kuala Lumpur, make sure to finish your day in one of the coolest rooftop bars and restaurants.
A quite impressive concept can be found at the Helipad Lounge Bar (left image), where you can literally drink cocktails on a helicopter landing pad, with a stunning 360° view!
If you’re up for a fancy dinner with wine and Italian cuisine, head over to Troika Sky Dining, where you can taste gourmet delights while looking over the city.
For an awesome nightclub scene, check out Luna Bar (on top of the Pacific Recency Suites), one of Kuala Lumpur’s hippest nightclubs. The rooftop bar features two floors of fun, with swimming pool, lounge and restaurant.
Below is a map with all the places and things to do in Kuala Lumpur. If you have less time, check out Momentum Travel’s article on what to do in Kuala Lumpur if you’ve only got 60 minutes.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?
No matter what your budget is, KL has hotels in all price ranges. You just want to make sure that you’re staying in the city center, so you can easily walk around or take advantage of the public transportation.
I visited Kuala Lumpur plenty of times. In my early visits, I stayed in affordable guest houses, later on I tried several apartments and mid-range hotels, and recently I had a chance to stay in a gorgeous luxury hotel. Needless to say, a beautiful hotel will make your stay even more memorable.
The Sheraton Imperial Hotel Kuala Lumpur
On my last visit to Kuala Lumpur I had the pleasure of staying at the fantastic Sheraton Imperial Hotel. The five-star hotel has been established for almost 2 decades, offering luxury accommodation in the center of the city – conveniently located beside a monorail station and a 15-minute walk to the Petronas Towers.
I was quite impressed when I arrived and saw the four-storey high lobby. While walking through the hotel, I felt like being in an art gallery. With every step I took, I discovered Chinese artefacts, marvelous decor, and exquisite art collections.
Let’s talk about the room. Mine was quite spacious with a size of 42 sqm, with large windows from the floor to the ceiling. Amenities included a 40-inch LCD TV, working desk, a walk-in closet with a safe, and a large bathroom with bathtub and shower. My room was on the 32nd floor and had a panoramic view facing the Menara Tower.
The hotel is perfect for business and leisure, offering top-notch facilities including a Club Lounge on the 38rd floor, Business Center, Gym, Outdoor Swimming Pool, an award-winning Spa and several dining opportunities.
I tried one of the in-house restaurants and had dinner at Villa Danieli, a trattoria which made me feel like I was in Tuscany. The Italian chef prepares traditional Italian cuisine that tastes superb. Try the vegetarian lasagna, and the almond panna cotta, it’s sooo good!
For more info, room rates and availability, check here.
How to get to Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport (also known as KLIA) is connected with most major airlines, there are plenty of direct flights from Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and North America.
Being based in Asia, I use mostly Malaysia Airlines as they’re often similar priced than the budget airlines (AirAsia, Scoot, Tiger Airways), but the service is so much better with Malaysia Airlines. You get free check in baggage, entertainment system on board, plus an inflight meal.
If you’re looking for the cheapest flights to Kuala Lumpur, I recommend Kiwi.com! It’s a brilliant flight search engine that compares all airlines and will find the best deals for you! I use it all the time.
How to get from the International Airport to KL city center?
By Train: The fastest way is the express train to Kuala Lumpur’s city center. It takes about 30 minutes to KL Sentral Station. You can buy the tickets online for MYR55 (US$12).
By Bus: The cheapest way to get from KLIA to the city center is by bus. There are several companies that sell bus tickets for MYR15-18(US$3-4). You will see some stalls that are selling bus tickets, as soon as you enter the arrival hall.
By Taxi: If you are more than 2 people, it’s worth to take a cab – it will be cheaper than the train. A taxi from KLIA to KL city center cost about MYR80-110 (US$18-25). I recommend to use taxi apps and order online, GrabCar offers the cheapest cab fares and are very reliable. There is free WiFi at the airport, you might be able to order a cab without using data.
The International Airport is located about 75 kilometers south of the city centre, a cab or bus ride will take about 1 – 1,5 hours, depending on the traffic.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and have a great time in Malaysia. If you have more ideas about things to do in Kuala Lumpur, please leave them in the comments. Happy travels!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She’s half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe.
She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she’ll switch now. Phew…much better! Let’s restart:
Hi, I’m Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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