Cultured Modernity | Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia

A couple of years ago, a group of friends of mine were planning a trip to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and they asked me if I would be interested in joining them. It took me all of three seconds to say yes. I didn’t have leave, permission or even a suitcase but that didn’t hinder me. This would be my first trip abroad and I wasn’t about to let logistics stand in the way of this first time experience. The world was waiting for me and I was already too many years behind on my travels.

Since we had all just started working, we needed an affordable hotel in the center of the city so that we wouldn’t have to spend too much money on taxis. In most cities, staying in a prime location meant you incurred higher expenses; your budget would have to be stretched. When we began our search for hotels, however, we were thrilled to learn that Kuala Lumpur was filled with budget friendly accommodation at every corner of the city. We found the perfect little hotel that was a stone’s throw away from Chinatown that was not only inexpensive but also a walk-able distance away from countless street food joints that were open round the clock (this made the foodie in me jump for joy!).

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur. Chinatown

On our first day there, we hit the streets of Chinatown and stopped at a tiny two table restaurant and ordered what seemed like every item on the menu- it was A LOT. The fact that not a single morsel of food was wasted was a clear testament to how good the food was! While wobbling back to our hotel after filling our bellies, we picked up some questionable-looking smoked meat from a food hawker for our inevitable midnight snacking which ended up tasting so amazing that we went back for more the next day!

(TIP: there are no trial rooms at most malls so try and carry an extra outfit to compare sizes with).

The next morning we woke up with the intent to shop and shopped, we did! The malls are huge, the clothes are cheap and the shop owners are friendly- i.e. easy to haggle with. The massive malls are  jam packed with stores offering all the latest trends for half what it would cost in Tibetan Plaza on Brigade road.

Day three involved the must-do-activity for all tourists in the city- a visit to the Petronas Towers. While I was expecting the Towers to be all hype and nothing more, I can humbly say that I was very wrong. The illuminated Towers look majestic as you strain your neck to watch it pierce the skies. This architectural beauty not only dazzles because of its steel and glass façade but also because of its dizzying height of 1483 feet making it the world’s tallest twin towers. When I think back to this moment I realize that this was the exact moment I was bitten by the travel bug. It was then that I knew that seeing the world through someone else’s eyes would no longer cut it for me.

We followed up our trip to the towers with our much awaited trip to Aquaria where we were taken on a journey through the tunnel aquarium on a conveyor belt which was a welcome respite to our overworked legs. We ended the day with our favorite cheeseburgers from Burger King (this was before they were available in India) coupled with refreshing ice cold Milo- a staple in Malaysia.

While our trip was too short to take in all that Kuala Lumpur has to offer, the other must-see places in KL are the magnificent Batu caves, the art museum and the revolving restaurant at the KL Tower. If you’re more into adventure and activity, Genting Highlands is the place for you!

We loved our trip to Kuala Lumpur because it was a great get away from our monotonous lives. We had a lovely first time experience and more importantly, we had a blast without spending a fortune. I can’t wait to return to Malaysia and I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful city.


  1. Wish I’d read your article before I went to Malaysia! Feels like I missed out on so much. Definitely going back there! Thanks Jovina!

  2. You summed it up well. Petronas towers are truly majestic and a must see if you go to KL .. Hope you keep travelling 🙂

  3. KL – Look forward to reading your travel articles – always some new facts to learn about each city you cover. Keep the articles rolling Jovi !!

  4. The beauty about traveling to KL is that it makes accessible so many gorgeous places around. Enjoyed the article. The twin towers are mesmerising indeed.


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