Whenever I talk to friends travelling around Southeast Asia, I find it strange that most of them won’t include Kuala Lumpur in their itinerary. They all want to spend time in Bangkok to enjoy the culture, the food scene and the nightlife. They also want to visit Singapore for its world-class modern architecture and the whole cosmopolitan feel; and they include Hanoi on their route for its more exotic and rough charm.

For some reason, Kuala Lumpur either stays out or is just seen as a place for a quick stopover. Little do they know that the Malaysian capital is one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Its multicultural nature makes KL the perfect place to enjoy the many aspects of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural heritage. Add to that a sizeable expat community, and you have the best of both worlds. My last trip to the city was also my cousin’s first time there. I was very excited to show her around, so follow in our footsteps, as I let you know what to do in Kuala Lumpur in two days.

WHAT TO DO IN KUALA LUMPUR IN TWO DAYS

Day One

VISIT MERDEKA SQUARE

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in Two Days

We started our walking tour of Kuala Lumpur at Merdeka Square, or Independence Square, the site where Malaysian independence was declared in 1957. This is a great starting point to explore Kuala Lumpur’s historical district. Here, the Malaysian flag stands in a 95-metre flagpole – one of the tallest in the world. Most of the square comprises of a huge empty green area, surrounded by some iconic buildings, like Sultan Abdul Samad Building, once home to the British colonial administration.

There are several museums near Merdeka Square and the National Textile Museum is one that I highly recommend a visit. With free entry, the museum showcases the development of textile in Malaysian society with colourful displays and a multimedia presentation showing different textile techniques around the country.

GO UP KUALA LUMPUR TOWER

From Merdeka Square, we took an Uber to KL Tower, about 1.5 miles away. Before the Petronas were finished, this communications tower was the focal point of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. It’s definitely worth a visit, since it’s viewing pod is higher than that of the Petronas Towers. That’s because Menara Kuala Lumpur (as it’s called in Malay), despite being shorter, is on a higher ground.

KL Tower View from Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

But what we really liked about KL Tower is its Sky Box, a glass box that can get those afraid of heights shivering. One curious fact is that KL Tower is the seventh free-standing structure in the world. We didn’t know that. Did you?

ENJOY A FOOD TOUR & DINNER WITH LOCALS

Next, we took the monorail to the other side of the city, where we met Pearl, our host for the evening. I found her through Withlocals, a new service that connects locals who open their doors to welcome tourists into their home or to show the city. What’s better than getting to know a place through someone who grew up locally, lives locally and… eats locally?

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in Two Days

Since our evening was all about local food, we started with a visit to the market, where she selected some fresh ingredients we would need for the evening. She has a friendly, bubbly personality and explained to us about each product, its texture and the way it should smell. At home, she made us feel very welcome and showed us each step of the cooking process, where she prepared a mix of Chinese and Malay dishes.

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in Two Days

We had some Chinese vegetarian spring roll, chicken satay, chicken rendang and devil’s curry – an extra hot red curry made with red chilli paste, garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass and turmeric. For dessert, we had the tasty and not-so-sugary seri muka, a sweet cake made with glutinous rice, sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves.

One thing I liked is that she was open to personalising the experience 100%. It was such a great and delicious evening that I do hope to repeat the experience when I return to Southeast Asia or somewhere in continental Europe.

Day Two

VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL BATU CAVES

On our second day, we woke up early and took the metro to visit the Batu Caves, just on the edge of the city limits. These caves’ main feature is the impressive golden Hindu statue at the bottom of the steep staircase. If you think you’re fit, well, these stairs are the ultimate test. When you get up to the top, you’ll be glad you did – just like us, despite puffing and huffing!

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in Two Days

The giant Hindu statue by the staircase to the Batu Caves

These limestone caves are also a place of reverence for Hindus, with a temple and several shrines inside.  The visit will take you the best part of your morning, but it’s one of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Watch out for the many monkeys in and outside the cave.

SHOP FOR SOUVENIRS AT KL CENTRAL MARKET

Another of my favourite Kuala Lumpur attractions is the Central Market. About half a mile from Merdeka Square, it is a great place to walk around and buy souvenirs and decoration objects. It was originally founded as a wet market in the 19th century and today some of its areas are dedicated to the three main ethnic communities that form the cultural melting pot that is Malaysia: some areas are dedicated to Malays, others to Indians and another part to the Chinese, selling everything that is typical of each community.

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in 2 Days

Part of the Chinese section at KL Central Market

On the top floor there is a food area, with small restaurants and stalls offering local food. But as good as it is, my cousin was still raving about our food experience the night before.

Outside the Central Market there’s a pedestrian street called Kasturi Walk. It is also packed with stalls selling everything from food, natural juice and clothes. Don’t miss out on the nice old buildings almost hidden behind the stalls.

WALK ALONG PETALING STREET

Petaling Street is the most Chinese of the Chinese streets in Chinatown. Yes, that’s how Chinese it is! During the day it’s fairly busy, but it’s in the evening that it really comes alive. You know that fake item you wanted to buy just because you don’t really don’t want to pay for the real deal? I like to just walk around and feel the vibe, watch some tourists getting a tattoo and haggle here and there just to practise.

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in Two Days

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SERIOUS SHOPPING AT SURIA KLCC

Most locals will tell you that shopping-hopping is one of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur. We certainly enjoyed your time at the Central Market and Petaling Street, now it was time for a different experience. Suria KLCC is my favourite shopping mall out of the dozens around the city and it’s the main focal point in the KLCC area. The abbreviation stands for Kuala Lumpur City Centre, as opposed to Sentral, the original city centre.

Suria KLCC is home to some of the world’s most famous brands and here you will find the real stuff with prices to match.

TAKE THE LIFT UP THE PETRONAS TOWERS

The Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and it’s one of the main places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. They are still the tallest twin towers in the world and going to the top is a real must. The Petronas Towers are just above Suria KLCC and the entrance is inside the mall.

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in 2 Days

The views from the top of the futuristic towers are incredible, especially at dusk, when the sky changes colour and the city lights are lit. Even if you don’t want to go up there, you won’t resist taking a selfie with them in the background.

HAVE A COCKTAIL AT THE SKYBAR

Right opposite the Petronas Towers is Traders Hotel, which I consider one of the best hotels in Kuala Lumpur. On the 34th floor, you will find the trendy SkyBar. The place is packed with cool locals and tourists listening to the house DJ, sipping some Margarita or Singapore Sling and enjoying the best views of the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park.

Another interesting feature is the 25m long swimming pool right in the middle of the bar. Just make sure you don’t lose your balance!

If you were wondering what to do in Kuala Lumpur in two days, now you have the answer. But truth be said, the city has a lot more to offer. Stay tuned and I will let you know what else awaits you in the Malaysian capital. In the meantime, I’ll also share with you some of the best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur.

Places To Stay in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has an array of accommodation to suit all travel styles and budgets. Having been to the city a number of times, I had the chance to stay in many different places. So, I thought I would be extra nice and share with you some of my favourite places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, with options to suit every pocket.

TRADERS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

I recommend Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur for the spacious rooms with modern decor. This 4-star hotel offers 5-star service from its Shangri-La big brother. Breakfast is served in the downstairs restaurant and has a vast selection.

Stay at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

But the hotel’s main feature is the great location in KLCC, offering the best views of the Petronas Towers that any hotel in KL can offer. Prices are quite affordable, considering what you get. This is where the trendy SkyBar is located, as well.

Check their prices on Booking.com or Agoda. See guest reviews on TripAdvisor.

SHERATON IMPERIAL KUALA LUMPUR

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur offers luxury accommodation at budget hotel prices. From the sumptuous lobby to the rooms and restaurants, everything is about luxury and good taste. But you can stay here for as little as 70USD per night in a spacious room with all facilities you can expect from a modern luxury hotel.

If you pay a little bit extra, you can even have a suite sweeping views over the city and KL Tower. The location is also great, in the business district, not far from Merdeka Square.

Check their prices on Booking.com or Agoda. See guest reviews on TripAdvisor.

ALOFT KUALA LUMPUR SENTRAL

This cool kids hotel is located right by Sentral station, where the airport train arrives and next to a huge shopping mall. The rooms are modern, with bright colours and there’s a very cool vibe around the hotel.

What To Do in Kuala Lumpur in 2 Days

If you didn’t bring your laptop, there are computers to use in the lobby, but the main feature is their rooftop infinity pool, offering views over the city and the surrounding skyscrapers. Prices are also very attractive.

Check their prices on Booking.com or Agoda. See guest reviews on TripAdvisor.

 MARQUEE GUEST HOUZZ

There’s no need to stay in a hostel, when you can have your own double-bedded room for the same price. Marquee Guest Houzz is located on Kasturi Walk, right opposite Central Market, and offers private rooms with fan or air-conditioning. It’s fairly basic, but it’s clean, in a good location and with rooms going for around 12USD, very affordable!

Check their prices on Booking.com or Agoda. See guest reviews on TripAdvisor.

AIRBnB WITH INFINITY POOL

On one of my latest trips, I spent one night at a private apartment about 10 minutes’ drive from Sentral Station. It was a spacious AirBnB apartment in a tall building and the owner was quite nice and pleasant. But the main reason I chose it, is because of their rooftop pool with probably the best views of the KL skyline. With so many tall buildings, it’s understandable that Kuala Lumpur has an obsession for rooftop infinity pools.

Have you been to Kuala Lumpur or want to visit? Leave your comments or questions below!

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19 Responses

  1. Wiebke

    Great list of must-see’s! My favourite is definitely the Batu Caves (went twice), oh and the shopping at the night market 🙂

    Reply
  2. Patricia

    It’s true that I haven’t thought much about traveling to Kuala Lumpur. This post has me adding it to the bucket list, for sure! The food looks amazing! I know my husband would love to explore the Batu Caves, and I’d want to go up in the Tower. Honestly, it all sounds fascinating! Pinned!

    Reply
  3. Rosemary

    You are so right, Kuala Lumpur is overlooked by many travelers, but it is charming in its own right.We spent about two days exploring the city and hit many of the spots you mentioned. Petaling Street was one of my favorite experiences. Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to go up the Petronas Tower, it was sold out and we didn’t know to book in advance. Did you see the views from the top? You’re Airbnb with an infinity pool sounds amazing! Very nice!

    Reply
    • Pedro

      Hi Rosemary, yes, I managed to go up, but not on this trip with my cousin. I was there a few months before and went up there. The views are quite amazing and the tour explaining how it was designed, built and how it works logistically is very interesting.

      Reply
  4. Kim Casey

    Great post Pedro! Batu Caves would be my number one I think. Some great ideas for 2 days in KL, perfect for a stop over next time I’m on my way through 🙂 Will save this this post!

    Reply
  5. Jenna

    It is surprising a lot of people you talk to skip Kuala Lumpur–I’ve always wanted to visit! Looks like such a neat city. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I would really love to check out the Batu Caves and the With Locals dinner experience sounds like a great time. Would love to see the Petronas Towers too, of course!

    Reply
  6. Tami

    Love all the views of the city — amazing! And that infinity pool – just wow! Kuala Lumpur has a lot of variety of things to do and see (and eat!)

    Reply

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