Travel Guide to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL-1The energetic city of Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur popularly referred to, as ‘KL’ is a vivacious city, which is home to a vibrant, multi-cultural population.

Often used by visitors as a gateway to other destinations on the Malaysian peninsula, KL, whose name translates as ‘muddy estuary,’ is located at the meeting point of the Kelang and Gombak Rivers. A bustling metropolis, KL offers a landscape that features modern skyscrapers that stand beside magnificent, grand colonial buildings.

Best Time to Visit Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is bestowed with an equatorial climate pattern and the city is hot, humid and steamy all year round. Daytime temperatures in Kuala Lumpur regularly reach highs of 35° C (95° F). However like most cities located near the equator, Kuala Lumpur often experiences thundery, rain showers during the afternoons, which help to cool down things a bit.

The best time to visit Kuala Lumpur, however is during November to February, when the weather is drier and a bit more pleasant, and is thus conducive to much sightseeing.

Visas for Malaysia

Citizens of the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland do not require a visa for Malaysia. Citizens of these countries can enter Malaysia and stay visa free for up to three months, provided their passports are valid for at least six months, beyond the date of their arrival in Malaysia

Citizens of various other countries are required to obtain a visa for their visit to Malaysia from the Malaysian consulate or mission located in their home.

Details about requirements and the types of visas issued can be found on the website of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Getting to and around Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is usually accessed via the Kuala Lumpur International airport, situated in the city’s suburb of Sepang. Sepang lies at a  distance of approximately fifty kilometers from KL’s city center. KLIA which is constantly ranked amongst the world’s best airports welcomes a whole host of full-service and budget carriers, from all parts of the globe.

The fastest way to get to the city center from the airport is via the KLIA Ekspres, a non-stop express train, which has a terminal in the airport. This express train connects Kuala Lumpur’s airport with its central station, KL Sentral which is a major transport hub in the city. KLIA is also served by a second high speed train, the KLIA transit which makes three quick stops on its way to KL Sentral. Both these trains can easily accommodate passengers traveling with luggage. An express coach service and the city’s abundant fleet of regular taxis also serve the KL airport.

KL is a perennially busy city and the roads are often gridlocked with traffic. In recent years however the city has developed alternates modes of transport like the Light Rail, the Monorail, the Rapid Transit and commuter rail, all of which have helped ease mobility within the city greatly.  These four modes of transport provide connections to most of the tourist hotspots in the city.

The public transport network in Kuala Lumpur also includes the Rapid City shuttle buses; and a convoy of inexpensive taxis.

Family-Friendly Hotels in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a big, bustling metropolis that is a popular business and leisure destination. It is accordingly equipped with a wide range of hotels, some of which are more family-friendly than others. Some of the most family-friendly hotels in Kuala Lumpur include the establishments listed below: -


Swiss Garden Hotel

The Swiss Garden Hotel is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur near the popular shopping destinations of Sungei Wai Plaza, Low Yat Plaza, and Berjaya Times Square. The hotel offers facilities like a full-service spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. It is also equipped with a restaurant and bar and offers 24-hr room service. The hotels well-outfitted guestrooms feature TVs with premium cable channels, coffee/tea makers and more. Wireless Internet access and rollaway beds are available for a fee.


Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel 

The Sheraton Imperial hotel is located within Kuala Lumpur’s famous Golden Triangle an area bound by the streets; Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, and Jalan Imbi. The Golden Triangle is a prime location for dining and shopping in the city. The hotel is equipped with facilities like an outdoor pool, a spa, a fitness facility and four restaurants. The hotel’s guestrooms feature amenities like flat screen TVs with satellite TV and premium TV channels, an in-room safe that can hold a laptop, coffee/tea makers, plush bedding and more. High-speed Internet access is available for a fee.

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur 

The Grand Millennium is a luxurious hotel property that is also located within the city’s Golden Triangle area, close to attractions like the dining enclave of Asian Heritage Row and the outdoor promenade of Bintang Walk.  

The hotel offers facilities like a full-service spa, a state of the art fitness facility and a swimming pool. The Millennium Kuala Lumpur further offers four restaurants and a nightclub. Services offered at this hotel include limo service, dry-cleaning and laundry, child-care services and 24-hr room service. The hotels 468 well-appointed rooms are outfitted with popular modern-day conveniences and also offer wireless Internet access for a fee.

Family-friendly attractions in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has a wide array of cultural and historical attractions that provide a valuable insight into its rich history.

The Petronas Towers

Kuala Lumpur’s 88-storey Petronas towers (also known as KLCC) were until recently the tallest buildings in the world. These sky-touching towers are located on Jalan Ampang in the heart of the city.

Located at the base of these towers, is the upscale Suria shopping mall along with other attractions like the KLCC Park, the Petronas Philharmonic Hall, the Petronas Art Gallery and the Aquaria Oceanarium. The towers and their observation decks are open to the public for viewings every day except Monday. Entry to the observation decks is free but limited to the first 1200 visitors.

The KL Tower

The sky-touching KL tower is also known as Menara KL. This telecommunications tower rises to a height of 421m (1,381 ft.) and is located atop a forest reserve known as Bukit Nanas.

The KL tower is adorned with Arabic scripts, Islamic tiles and classic Islamic floral designs. The tower is an exponent of Islamic architecture and offers fabulous views of the city.

Merdeka Square

Kuala Lumpur’s central Merdeka Square is an attraction that has much historical importance, for it was on this site that the declaration of Malaysian independence was made in 1957 at the green space known as ‘Padang’. The square is home to the tallest flagpole in the world and is surrounded by other prominent historical buildings like the Anglican St Mary’s Cathedral, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Royal Selangor Club.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Sultan Abdul Samad building is yet another prominent historical attraction in Kuala Lumpur which served as the colonial secretariat at the time of the British rule in Malaysia. The building is now home to the city’s courts of law (the Supreme and High courts).  The building is a fine example of the Islamic style of architecture and is equipped with a 40-foot clock tower that is a gathering point for celebrations in the city.

KL-4Masjid Jamek

The Masjid Jamek mosque is the oldest mosque in KL. The mosque is built in a style that was associated with Muslim rulers of India, the Mughals. Masjid Jamek sports three domes and is located in an area which is called the ‘Little India’ of Kuala Lumpur. In fact the entire area surrounding the mosque is known as Masjid Jamek.

KL-3Sri Mahamarriaman Temple

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district is located on the city’s Petaling Street. This area features a network of narrow alleyways that host vendors who sell a wide variety of wares and foods. KL’s Chinatown is a fascinating district that is definitely worth visiting on any trip to Kuala Lumpur.  Also located within KL’s Chinatown, is the city’s famous Hindu temple, the Sri Mahamarriaman temple which was built in 1873.  This temple is built in the style of Southern Indian temples and is topped by an intricately carved Gopuram (tower).

KL-2National Monument 

The National Monument features a massive bronze sculpture that was created by noted sculptor Felix de Weldon, creator of the Iwo Jima monument in Washington DC. This landmark which is located the city’s Lake Gardens commemorates the Malay soldier who laid down his life as a supreme sacrifice for the country. The monument features seven bronze human figures atop an oblong base. Each of these figures signifies qualities like courage, sacrifice, leadership, strength, unity, vigilance and suffering.

Family-friendly activities in Kuala Lumpur

Busy, bustling Kuala Lumpur, surprisingly offers several opportunities for family-friendly recreation, which are perfect for when you want to take a break from hectic sightseeing expeditions around the city.

Pay a visit to the National Zoo and Aquarium

The National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur is also known as Zoo Negara Malaysia. This zoo which extends over 110 kms is managed by the Malaysian Zoological Society, a non-governmental organization. The zoo is located at a distance of 5kms from the city at Ulu Klang. This open-concept zoo hosts 476 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, many of which hail from the Malaysian peninsula and from around the world. The zoo’s inhabitants are housed in spacious enclosures that resemble their natural habitats.

Visit a Kuala Lumpur theme park

Kuala Lumpur is equipped with several theme parks which offer much entertainment for all ages. Some of the popular theme parks in the Malaysian capital include establishments like Sunway Lagoon in Petaling Jaya, Wet World in Shah Alam and Cosmo’s Theme Park in Berjaya Times square.

Go shopping

Kuala Lumpur is often described as a shopper’s paradise. The city’s Golden Triangle area hosts various large malls like Lot 10, Berjaya Times Square, Sungai Wan Plaza, Starhill Gallery, all of which host numerous stores. Aside from these various city-center malls, KL’s suburbs also host popular shopping destinations like One Utama, Sunway Pyramid, Mid-Valley Mega Mall and the Gardens, which are definitely worth visiting if all of the family enjoys shopping while on holiday.

Take a break at the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur’s lush Lake Gardens are built around an artificial lake and extend over 227 verdant acres in the heart of the city. The Lake Gardens encompass several attractions like the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, which offers landscaped gardens and a walk-in aviary which hosts 3000 birds belonging to various species. The KL bird park offers regular bird shows and offers opportunities to feed the birds as well. Also located at the Lake Gardens, is the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park which is home to over 6000 beautiful butterflies and which also hosts an insectarium. The Kuala Lumpur Orchid Garden is yet another attraction of the Lake Gardens, which offers displays of a large collection of blooms from Malaysia and around the world.

Useful contacts for Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Tourist Information Centre, Ampang

109 Jalan Ampang, Ampang 50450
Contact: +60(0) 3 9235 4848
Open Hours: 10am-5pm Mon-Sat

Kuala Lumpur Tourist Information Centre

Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station,
Lot 21, Tingkat 2, Balai Ketibaan,
Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal,
Stesen KL Sentral, 50050, Kuala Lumpur

Phone: +603-2272 5823

Kuala Lumpur Tourist Information Centre 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport,
Visitor Service Centre,
International Arrival Hall, KLIA, 64000,
Sepang, Selangor

Phone: +603-877 656 47 / 51

Emergency contact for Malaysia – 999

Foreign Embassies in Malaysia

United States Embassy, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2168 5000
British High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2170 2200
Canadian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2718 3333
Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2146 5555
South African High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2170 2400
Irish Embassy, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2161 2963
New Zealand High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2078 2533