Memos from Asia

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Capital City of Malaysia

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So you’ve just landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and you’ve checked into your hotel. Now what? Where do you go next?

The possibilities are endless in a bustling capital city like Kuala Lumpur! Food, nature, culture, architecture, and theme parks—Kuala Lumpur has it all.

Food tour: Mouth-watering street food at Jalan Alor

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Jalan Alor Street Food Market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia has a very diverse food scene, with fusions of all cultures coming together to make flavorful dishes and snacks.

If there is one thing all Malaysians can agree on, it is that the street food is out of this world. With endless rows of hawker stalls and small restaurants selling delicious food, Jalan Alor is the most famous road for locals to go food-hunting.

Not only is the food cheap, but it is absolutely appetising. You will be able to find all sorts of food here. Malay, Chinese, Indian, snacks, seafood and so much more! We recommend trying out the satay, Malaysia’s version of skewers complemented with a sauce made from peanuts.

A photo of chicken and beef satay being grilled to serve hot to customers

We also love char kuey teow which are fried flat noodles, truly a classic delight!

A photo of char kuey teow which is a popular noodle dish in Malaysia

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try out some coconut ice cream, at a small shop called Sangkaya. It is served in a coconut husk to enhance your experience!

A photo of coconut ice cream, sprinkled with sprinkles and put into a coconut husk

Jalan Alor is located close to Bukit Bintang, the shopping district, so it may be easy to miss in contrast to the busy streets of Bukit Bintang. Once you find it, you will surely be immersed in an unforgettable culinary adventure!

Meet some animal friends: Monkey Hill and KL Bird Park

An Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus) at KL Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

We’ve got one for animal lovers–Monkey Hill and KL Bird Park are the perfect places for you!

Melawati Hill, more famously known as ‘Monkey Hill’ is a historic place with a large lighthouse which was used to watch out for oncoming enemies back in the day.

The best part about Melawati Hill is not only the firefly boat tour at night, but also the friendly, mischievous monkeys waiting to be fed by tourists! You can purchase a bag of fresh food to feed the monkeys around the hill for RM10 (about $2) and watch them eagerly play around with you.

Silver leaf monkey at Melawati Hill (Monkey Hill) in Kuala Lumpur

Another place to visit is the KL Bird Park! It is only a 10-minute drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, and is located in the serene Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens.

KL Bird Park is home to over 200 species of birds, with more than 3,000 birds in total. There are opportunities to feed birds such as ostriches, hornbills and eagles. You can also take pictures with them and watch a bird show, all for a small additional fee.

You can get your tickets to the KL Bird Park here

A blue and yellow macaw performs a trick at the KL Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A photo of tourist feeding a great hornbill at KL Bird Park

Learn the history: National Museum

National Museum in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is a country with a lot of history and culture, so it is a shame to visit Malaysia without stopping by the National Museum. The entry fee is only RM5 (about $1), making it an ideal, cheap destination to occupy your time in Malaysia.

The National Museum is home to many artifacts, and is separated into sections such as the pre-historic section, Malay kingdoms, the colonial era and the ‘Malaysia today’ section, making it easy to navigate the place. Learn about how Malaysia got its name, who founded the country and how the multicultural background was established, all at this museum!

It is open from 9am to 5pm, with free guided tours in English at 10am every day. It is also easily accessible by the MRT, which is connected to the museum at the ‘Muzium Negara’ stop.

For fans of history, the visit to the National Museum will not disappoint you, as each artifact is explained in detail, with skilled tour guides that are well-versed in the history and have good command of English.

Appreciate the diversity of Malaysia: Batu Caves and Thean Hou Temple

The entrance of Batu Caves in Gombak, Selangor

Malaysians come from a variety of ethnicities and religions, each with unique practices, living in harmony. It would be a waste to not try to learn and observe the diversity in person.

Malaysia is home to the eye-catching Batu Caves, a network of caves with shrines, a famous place of worship for Hindus. It is especially busy during the Thaipusam celebration period. It has become a place of worship not only for Malaysian Hindus, but also Hindus worldwide.

Located at the entrance is a 42.7 metre-tall statue of Murugan–an important Hindu deity, colourful stairs with 272 steps and beautiful structures surrounding the entrance. Come and see it for yourself to marvel at the beauty of Batu Caves, located near the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Beautiful view of the structures around the entrance of Batu caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A photo of the inside of the cave

Another place of worship that will catch your attention is Theon Hou Temple, one of the largest temples in Southeast Asia.

A photo of Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur

It is a six-tiered temple of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu, and it is rich with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. The temple structures are stunning, and have spectacular roofs, intricate carvings and are decorated with many lanterns that light up at night.

A photo of Thean Hou Temple at night, during Chinese New Year

Thean Hou is often full of worshippers during celebrations such as Chinese New Year and Wesak Day. The temple is well-kept and allows you to appreciate the cultural aspects behind different religions. Do not miss this place when visiting Malaysia, it is truly a gem!

A photo of the entrance of Thean Hou Temple

Now that we have shown you a few of the many things you can do in Kuala Lumpur, you are on your way to a one-of-a-kind adventure. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle of water and some shades, as adventuring in Malaysia’s hot weather could make you sweat buckets!

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