Kuala Lumpur is a glorious mix of cultures and cuisines and a cheap flight away for your next visarun.
Morning Arrival in Modernity
Malaysia is ahead of the game in urban infrastructure with a monorail, subway system and high-speed train which may induce a giddy delight in those of us visiting from Yangon. Getting from the airports KLIA or KLIA2 to the city centre and beyond is easy and you will rarely need a taxi throughout your stay. Take the KLIA Ekpress (RM55) for about 30mins to KL Sentral and then the LRT/MRT to wherever you’re staying.
Afternoon Nature in an Urban Jungle
If you have the time, energy or kids, KL Bird Park is located in the Perdana Botanical Gardens and claims to be the ‘world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary in the world.’ There is also a top-rate aquarium, Aquaria KLCC, close to the Petronas Towers.
Closest train station: KL Bird Park-Kuala Lumpur, Aquaria KLCC – KLCC
Everything is happening right now in Chinatown. Red lanterns flutter over street hawkers and stalls selling knock-off brands and souvenirs; grills are sizzling. It’s time to indulge in Malaysia’s rich street food scene and at the periphery of these busy streets is some of the best food in the city. Chinese-style minced pork noodles (RM7) from the stall in front of the book shop on the corner of Jalan Sultan and Jalan Hang Lekir is a simple yet sublime dish and goes down very well with a cold beer from the convenience shop while you watch the street life bustle on. Claypot chicken rice is another delectable dish available here that you should definitely try. Fun fact: you will probably be served by a Burmese immigrant – ask them where they are from! If you wish to beer on, try The Attic (Third floor, 15, Jalan Balai Polis) or Reggae Bar (158, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee) both located very close by.
Closest train station: Pasar Seni
Morning Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers are the first thing that comes to mind when we think ‘Kuala Lumpur.’ The mighty towers are an 88-storey symbol of Malaysia’s modernity and a major tourist attraction. A tour consists of two sections – time spent at the sky bridge on the 44 level which actually gives the best view of the marvelous architecture of the towers themselves—and time spent at one of the topmost levels with breathtaking views of the city and beyond to the green mountains which seem to surround the city.
It’s advisable to book a ticket online before you get to the Petronas Towers. The visit groups are often full and you may have to come back a few hours later.
Closest train station: KLCC
Afternoon Chomping and shopping
Lunchtime! Good shopping malls have a food court that offers popular street food fare in a more clean and cool environment. The food court in the basement of Lot 10 shopping mall is a favourite and the Macau pork chop noodles are the perfect lunch to set you up for the afternoon. There is also a more upscale Japanese food section that has very fresh sushi and draught beer.
Closest train station: Bukit Bintang
Only second to eating, shopping is what visaruns in KL are all about. There are many shopping options from upscale malls such as Suria KLCC to regular malls with our favourite clothing chains such as the aforementioned Lot 10 or Pavillion Shopping Mall to the street markets like Chinatown’s Petaling Street or the handicrafts and boutique shops in the air-conditioned Central Market which is close by. If you need some IT products go straight for Lowyat Plaza.
Evening Sunset from a sky bar
Heli Lounge is a real, working helicopter landing pad during the day transforming to a popular sky bar in the evening. It has great views over the great urban metropolis and is a great place to see the sun lighting everything up in gold around sunset.
Next, time to grab some dinner and drinks in the lively Changkat Bukit Bintang. Nagaba has a great rooftop space decorated in graffiti with a DJ spinning nightly and cocktails served by the bucket.
Closest train station: Raja Chulan
Morning ‘Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock’ for Malaysian brunch
This small, rough-and-ready place on Jalan Palai Polis in Chinatown seems like nothing from the outside but the weekend mornings see a steady stream of local families packing inside for the glorious Malay food they serve. Nasi goreng ali (RM10), Malaysia’s khao swe kyaw or fried rice is a spicy delight. Get a glass of strong and sweet Kopi-Ice coffee to wash it down and you are being truly Malaysian.
It seems Sunday mornings in KL are for lounging in ultra-cool cafes. There is a great café nearby on Jalan Tun HS Lee called ‘etc’ which is full of photographers and other cool people on a Sunday morning. ‘etc’ also has some of the best coffee in the city – get your fix with a latte(RM8)—and their lemonade is particularly good.
It’s time to head to the airport refreshed, full of good food and with a wardrobe updated. Until next time, Kuala Lumpur.
Where to Stay: There are a variety of types of accommodation for varying budgets but we recommend staying close to the action in the Petaling or Bukit Bintang neighbourhoods.