Kuala Lumpur is one of Malaysia’s most populous cities, and with good reason. Although it’s small, KL is well laid out and meticulously planned, where tall steel skyscrapers sit beside small, busy neighbourhoods and locals and tourists are milling about throughout the year.

KL is very well connected, so you can stay in any area as long as it’s within the city. However, to get the true experience of the city, it’s best to be at the centre of all the action. Here’s a break up of some of the best areas to stay on your holiday.

For Dining, Shopping & Entertainment In One Place: Bukit Bintang

You’ll find most tourists staying in Bukit Bintang, because there’s a little bit of everything here. High-end shopping, budget eateries, modest accommodations and a thriving nightlife make it quite the hub for visitors and residents. The area stays busy well into the night, so the atmosphere is quite youthful and lively.

Why You Should Stay Here

Staying in Bukit Bintang means you don’t have to venture too far from your hotel for shopping and meals. You can also easily make your way back to the hotel after a long night.

Foodie paradise Jalan Alor and Changtak Bukit Bintang street are just a stone’s throw away. The area is great for crowd watching, as you’ll find a mix of people from around the globe here. If being in the epicentre of the action is your thing, Bukit Bintang is the place to be.

What’s The Catch?

If you want a relaxing holiday at a slow pace, Bukit Bintang will seem too loud and demanding. Joining the crowd here can be hectic and you won’t be guaranteed of a leisurely stroll as you make your way around the place.

Recommended Hotels

Value For Money: It’s easy to find budget accommodations in Bukit Bintang. We recommend the KL Journal Hotel for its friendly staff and relatively quiet location, and the quirky Mesui Hotel for its cube-like rooms.

Premium Experience: Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences for luxuriously furnished apartments with one to three bedrooms, or the Wolo for its chic, artsy interiors. You can also opt for chains like the Ritz-Carlton or ParkRoyal.

For Families, & The Best In Luxury: KLCC

The Kuala Lumpur City Centre is a landmark location, especially if you’re a first-time visitor, or are travelling with family. As the name suggests, it’s the commercial heart of the city, but still has malls, restaurants and nightclubs that are frequented by the locals after work. It’s also a popular spot with tourists since the Petronas Towers are situated here, as are the KLCC Suria Mall, KLCC Park and Aquaria KLCC.

Why You Should Stay Here

KLCC is where most sightseeing spots, museums and parks are located, so staying here is a great option if you’re looking for a mix of comfort and luxury. The area is quiet, and offers easy access to buzzing Bukit Bintang, so you can simply walk there to experience a flurry of activity.

What’s The Catch?

The accommodation is not as budget-friendly as some other parts of the city.

Recommended Hotels

Value For Money: Lantern Hotel is minimally designed (and minimally priced!) with a few elegant touches. Le Apple Boutique Hotel makes it to our list for its clean, fuss-free rooms.

Premium Experience: Shangri-La’s Traders Hotel has uninterrupted views of the Petronas Towers, which you can enjoy through floor-to-ceiling windows. Mandarin Oriental is another option, popular for its Malay vibe and no-holds-barred luxury.

For Budget Hustle & Bustle, And Lively Streets: Chinatown

Put yourself in China while in KL, to experience one of the most dominant cultures of the city. Chinatown is one of the cheapest areas to stay in, but that’s not to say that the area isn’t popular. Lively streets lined with eateries and retail stalls selling quirky wares dot almost every part of this area, so you’ll never be bored!

Why You Should Stay Here

It’s steeped in culture, with temples, galleries, handicraft stores and mosques within walking distance of each other. There is also a smattering of modern cafes that have cropped up in recent times. Jalan Petaling, the city’s mainstay for street shopping, is situated here.

What’s The Catch?

The focus on street wares and food stalls means the area is never truly peaceful. Accommodations can sometimes be very poor, so choose carefully. Luxurious hotels are hard to find.

Recommended Hotels

Value For Money: Cosy private and dorm rooms are available at Hotel 1000 Miles and BackHome Hostel.

Premium Experience: The Majestic Hotel is probably the nearest to Chinatown and is every bit as grand as it sounds. The 5 Elements Hotel is a boutique stay with all the comforts of a 5-star hotel.

For A Modern Vibe: Bangsar

Bangsar is a trendy neighbourhood a little further from the centre of the city. This up-and-coming place has always been an upscale residential area, but numerous modern cafes, eateries, malls and shops now call this place home. It’s quiet but posh, with a unique appeal that’s definitely worth experiencing.

Why You Should Stay Here

Since this isn’t considered one of the main tourist spots, even luxurious accommodations tend to be cheaper here than the rest of the city. The area has maintained its peacefulness, even though there are a lot of interesting things to do. It’s also well connected to the rest of the city.

What’s The Catch?

Since it’s more of a residential area, there aren’t a lot of sightseeing spots for tourists. You’ll have to use some form of transport to get to the central zones.

Recommended Hotels

Value For Money: Budget accommodations are hard to find, but the VE Hotel & Residence will give you all the comforts of home.

Premium Experience: The Pullman Bangsar and Hilton Kuala Lumpur offer luxurious amenities and fully stocked rooms.

For A Slice of India: Brickfields

Walking on the streets of Brickfields, or Little India as its popularly referred to, is quite an upheaval of the senses. The heady wave of sights, smells and tastes that inundate you come from the dozens of Indian spice shops, eateries and stores that inhabit the area. A lot of members from the Indian community reside and work here, so you’re likely to interact with a lot of the locals.

Why You Should Stay Here

Brickfields is a vibrant meld of old and new KL with many shopping and dining options. There’s always something to see and do here. Although it’s a little far from the main city centre, you can easily hop onto a train from the station nearby. The KL Sentral transportion hub is quite close, as is the Nu Sentral Shopping Mall.

What’s The Catch?

There is a very strong Indian influence here, so you may not be able to experience other cultures and foods. It’s not very easy for cars to manoeuvre through the busy streets, so you have to go to most places on foot.

Recommended Hotels

Value For Money: Hotel Summer View for clean, comfortable rooms and the NU Hotel for simple, pristine interiors and cosy rooms.

Premium Experience: Aloft Hotel for its trendy rooms and rooftop pool, or the Ascott Hotel for extravagant serviced apartments.