Kuala Lumpur, fondly called KL, is the capital city of Malaysia. A glittering city that has its skyline punctuated by minarets, Mogul-inspired domes and skyscrapers. Some of the streets are lined with colourful food-stalls sheltered by a leafy awning of banyan trees. KL is a popular transit point to a lot of places. Chances are you might have a long layover or just a day in Kuala Lumpur before catching your next flight. There are lots of things to do in Kuala Lumpur. So whether you are there for long or just one day, we will help you plan various things to do in Kuala Lumpur so you don’t need to loiter about the airport.

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur – Let’s get Started!

There are a few formalities you have to get out of the way before you begin your day in KL; please read about getting a visa or transit pass, how to reach KL city from the airport and more at the end of the article.

Although it is not limited to a day, those who can stay longer are welcome to explore these places in leisure. Whoever you are or whatever you love to do, there is certainly something for you in Kuala Lumpur!

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas twin towers lit up at dusk - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
The iconic Petronas Twin Towers, KL
Visit Duration: 1 hour

The iconic Petronas Twin Towers are recognised by almost anyone. Of the many things to do in Kuala Lumpur, this one tops the list – simply because! The towers stand at an impressive height of 452 meters plus are linked by the 58-meter long Sky Bridge. Having been featured in numerous movies, the towers provide a feeling of immense familiarity – but there is nothing quite like standing at a lofty height on the SkyBridge or the Observation Deck and looking at the expanse of the city below you.

Entry Price: Charges for an adult without MyKad (Malaysian ID card) is RM 80 per adult, RM 33 per child aged 3 – 11 years, and RM 42 per senior citizen. Infants below 2 years can enter free of cost.

Visiting hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays and between 1:00 to 2:30 pm on Fridays and during public holidays of Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Aidiladha). Last entry is at 8:30 pm.

Tickets: From 8:30 am tickets will be issued on a first come, first serve basis. Advance purchase is possible through online ticketing. Please note – MyKad/MyKid card discounts won’t be applicable upon online ticketing, to avail the discount, please visit the ticket counter at the Towers.

Getting there: It is about 5 – 7km away from KL Sentral (depending on the route you take). It takes approx 20-30 mins to get there from KL Sentral.

Aquaria KLCC

Colourful fish and corals in an aquarium - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
A variety of colourful fish and coral at the Aquaria
Visit Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

It is an Oceanarium exhibiting more than 5,000 diverse exhibits of various species over an extensive 60,000 square foot space. This is one of the fun and educative things to do in Kuala Lumpur. They also house events, activities for kids, you can witness hand-feeding of the fish, and they help organise birthday parties and marriage proposals. Merchandise is available if you wish to take a souvenir back to someone.

Entry Price: RM 65 for adults RM 56 for children and RM 46 for senior citizens.

Visiting hours: Open daily 10:00 am to 8:00 pm including weekends and public holidays. Last entry at 7:00 pm.

Tickets: Buy your tickets at the main entrance or purchase it online through their website. Tickets are valid for single entry on the day of purchase only.

Getting there: It is barely a minute away from the Petronas Twin Towers by walk. You get a covered walking access to and from the Towers.

Traveller tip: You can also visit the Suria KLCC Shopping Centre or the Pavilion KL Shopping Centre, both of which are accessible by walk, through covered pedestrian walkways.

Petaling Street

Petaling Street, KL - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Petaling Street, KL
Visit Duration: 1 hour

Petaling Stree, the Chinatown of KL, maintains a lot of its customary ambience, mainly at night when sellers sell their goods on the street. You can buy anything from jewellery and incense to play things and t-shirts, the true attraction is in wandering about and spending time taking in the sights and sounds of Kuala Lumpur. For shopaholics, this has to be ticked off in your checklist of things to do in Kuala Lumpur.

Getting there: It is roughly 3-4 km from both Petronas Twin Towers and KL Sentral. So plan your trip based on which direction you are heading from.

Jamek Mosque

A view of Jamek Mosque and its fountain - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Jamek Mosque, KL
Visit Duration: 30 minutes

The Jamek Mosque (also referred to as Friday Mosque) is located at the convention point of the Klang and Gombak rivers and this is also one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. This has to be on the list of things to do in Kuala Lumpur for the cultural, religious and architecturally inclined. Its structural design is stimulated by Mogul influences of north India. This mosque was officially declared as the National Mosque in 1965 (not to be confused with the actual National Mosque, mentioned below).

Entry Price and Ticket: You need not spend any money to visit this place other than travel expenses.

Visiting Hours: Saturday to Thursday from 08:30 to 12:30 and 14:30 to 16:30

Getting there: It is barely a kilometre from Petaling Street and you can walk it there.

Traveller tip: Please dress conservatively and wear easy to remove shoes.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Sultan Abdul Samad Building, KL - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building, KL
Visit Duration: 30 minutes

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one among Kuala Lumpur’s most historic landmarks with influences of Gothic, Moorish and western styles in the architecture. It is a beautiful building to behold with an imposing clock tower and gorgeous archways. It is located to the east of Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka as well as the Royal Selangor Club, crosswise from Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin.

Entry Price and Ticket: You need not spend any money to visit this place other than travel expenses.

Getting there: It is less than 500 meters from Jamek Mosque and you can walk it there.

Merdeka Square

Aerial view of Merdeka Square in KL - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Merdeka Square, KL
Visit Duration: 30 minutes

Merdeka Square is a central location in KL, surrounded by historic buildings and the iconic flagpole. Also known as Dataran Merdeka, it is located in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Around here you will also find the Royal Selangor Club, the National Museum, National Mosque and St. Mary’s Church.

Entry Price and Ticket: You need not spend any money to visit this place other than travel expenses.

Getting there: It is barely a 3-minute walk from the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

National Mosque and Museum

A view of the National Mosque in KL from outside - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
National Mosque, KL
Visit Duration: 45 minutes

The National Mosque or Masjid Negara is spread across 13 acres. This Mosque is capable of accommodating up to 15,000 people and is remindful of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The mosque features conceptual shapes as well as a geometric network integrated into its roofing with ironworks. The Grand Hall is unquestionably the most elaborate part of the mosque. The walls are decorated with verses from the Koran.

Entry Price: You need not spend any money to visit this place other than travel expenses.

Getting there: It is about a kilometre from Merdeka Square and you can walk for approx 15 mins or take a cab.

Traveller Tips:

  • You can also visit the nearby National Museum and the Perdana Botanical Gardens, within the vicinity of the Mosque.
  • Please dress conservatively and wear easy to remove shoes.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Peacocks strutting in bird park - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Peacocks at the bird park, KL
Visit Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Take a long stroll and enjoy watching different colours and sizes of birds at one of the best attractions in Kuala Lumpur. Various attractions here include the education centre, the world of parrots, the egg incubation area, the flamingo pond, the bird gallery as well as the Hornbill park.

Entry Price: RM 50 per person for Adults and RM 41 for one child (3-11 years)

Getting there: It is less than a kilometre from the National Mosque area and you can walk there in about 10-15 mins.

Batu Caves

Entrance to Batu caves with the statue of Murugan - things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves, KL
Visit Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours

Located in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia, Batu Caves is a popular tourist spot noted for its limestone hills, the cave temples and the huge gold Murugan statue at its entrance. It is a popular Hindu shrine that attracts a lot of Indian visitors.

The climb up the 272 steps to the main temple will give you quite the workout. Once up there you will be inside the cool cave temples. There are other caves at the bottom of the hill – the art gallery and museum caves that house paintings, statues and other artefacts. There is also a Ramayana cave that depicts the story of the Ramayana on the walls of the cave in a chronological order.

Entry Price: Entry to the main cave is free of cost. A fee of RM 5 will be charged for entering the Ramayana Caves.

Getting there: You can get a direct train from KL Sentral. One way journey will take approximately 30 – 35 minutes.

Traveller tip: Watch out for the bats and mischievous monkeys! Keep your sunglasses, hats etc safe, the monkeys are prone to snatch things. They are unaggressive and otherwise harmless.

Preparations Before Entering Malaysia

Before you plan your day in KL, you must ensure that either your country is eligible for a transit pass or if you need to apply for a visa.

Visa Requirements and information

Transit Pass to Malaysia

As per current rules (August 2018), Malaysia offers a transit permit to passport holders of just 4 countries – People’s Republic of China, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan. Indian passport holders are eligible for the transit pass only if they have a valid single entry or multiple entry visa, student pass, expatriate pass, or permanent residency to countries like Australia, USA, Canada, UK and Schengen States.

Please note: This facility is only available in KLIA2 Airport.

Single or multiple entry Visa

If you are not eligible for a transit pass. The next best thing to do is get an E-visa single entry or multiple entry visa or an ENTRI pass. The ENTRI pass is issued instantaneously while the E-visa will take up to 48 hours to be issued, hence plan accordingly. Malaysian visa is extremely simple to procure. Please visit the official online visa application website and fill in the required details.

Visa Requirements

To fill the online application via the website provided above, you need to create a login account and follow the instructions. It will be helpful to keep the following ready:

  • A clear scanned copy of the front and back pages of your passport (ensure it is not tilted)
  • Flight ticket copies
  • Copy of accommodation confirmation
  • A scanned copy of your passport page that shows the stamp of the last place visited
  • Additional documents – such a letter of invitation (optional)
  • Passport size photographs with white background, not older than 3 months (please visit a photo studio that is aware of Malaysia visa specifications)

Tha application is very simple to fill and the website is helpful in letting you know if the specifications of the photo and your scanned documents are correct or not. It takes hardly 10 minutes to complete this procedure and finish payments as long as you have all of the above ready.

Best part: Malaysian visa is extremely quick to process and you usually get your visa status within 48 hours. And ENTRI visa is provided instantaneously.

Disclaimer: Visa rules and regulations are constantly subject to change. While we aim to periodically update the data provided, please check with an official or authorised visa regulation centre to get the latest updates.

Currency

Malaysia only accepts its own currency the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). You can find money exchange centres and ATMs all over KLIA airport.

Pro tip: If you have an international debit card it would be better to draw money directly from the ATM. You will get the exact exchange rate for the day and there will only be a minor transaction charge from your bank (however, please check the transaction charges in advance with your respective bank). In the long run, it helps you save more, as money exchange places in airports rarely offer good rates of exchange and you will lose money each time you keep exchanging different currencies.

Getting to KL from the airport

KLIA airport has shuttle bus services as well as the KLIA express. You can go directly to KL Sentral from the airport.

Cost: It will cost RM 100 for a round trip to KL Sentral and back to the airport. RM 55 for a single trip.

Duration: It takes roughly 30 minutes one way from KLIA to KL Sentral.

Pro tip: Buy a round-trip ticket instead of a single ticket as it will be more cost effective and has a long validity. If you wish to travel beyond Sentral opt for a day pass. Malaysians are helpful and speak good English, you can always ask them at the counter for the best option as well as details of your ticket or pass such as duration and validity.

Other Traveller Tips

Mitsui Shopping Mall

You might not have the longest layover in KL but it might still be too long to spend whiling away at the airport. In such a case, you can take a free shuttle bus from the airport to Mitsui Shopping Mall (about 10 mins away). Browse the shops there, get some discounts, eat some food and then come back to the airport. You will have to go to Level 1 at KIAL2 and take the exit to catch the bus, there will be helpful signs pointing to this exit.

Get Maps Offline

It would help to download offline maps to get to places that are reachable by foot. Or opt for international roaming for a day if the charges by your operator are reasonable. Or you can get a local sim at the airport, Maxis is a preferred connection in Malaysia.

Grab Taxis

Malaysia uses the Grab Taxi service (similar to Uber). You can download the app and call a grab taxi instead of a local taxi to save on money as the app shows charges in advance and the driver cannot ask you for more than what is shown.

If you have more than a day you can explore all these places with a lot more leisure. Get some shopping done, eat some yummy local food. All in all, have a great time in KL!

Read more: Staying in Malaysia long? You have to visit Sabah!

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