The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is an interesting medley of culture, art, sightseeing and history, often considered one of the best in Asia. Traditional mosques sit comfortably in the shadows of tall towers, lush green gardens hold their own against urban malls, and the culture and food is a fusion of Indian, Chinese and Malay influences.

Kuala Lumpur is quite the cultural hub of Malaysia, as the resident communities come from different parts of Asia. It’s a small city with a big footprint, so you should definitely put it on your list if you’re headed to Malaysia for your next holiday. Here’s a short, 3-day itinerary to give you the best experience of Kuala Lumpur.

Day 1

Morning

An observatory, tourist hub, communications tower, base jump centre, viewpoint, and city landmark – if this isn’t enough, KL Tower also has a revolving restaurant. The city’s other soaring highlight, besides the Petronas Towers, the KL Tower offers a wide perspective of the metropolis. For an adrenaline rush, walk into the completely transparent glass-walled sky box for a 360-degree look at the city.

Afternoon

Only a few minutes away from KL Tower is the KLCC Park, a green paradise that offers a panoramic vista of the iconic Petronas Towers nearby. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking path dotted with fountains, ponds, waterfalls and uninterrupted green cover. You can relax by the large lake, or watch the fountain show that plays twice daily.

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Find yourself in the midst of hundreds of species of marine life at Aquaria KLCC in the KL Convention Centre. This isn’t just any aquarium; it’s home to all forms of aquatic life and offers a scope into the importance of preservation and conservation of life underwater. A walk through the 300ft tunnel almost feels like a walk on a seabed.

Late Afternoon

At the base of the Petronas Towers is Suria KLCC, a six-storey megastructure with shops, supermarkets and multiple dining options. You can get your shopping fill here, and watch the stylish locals browse through the many stores, before you head up to the Petronas Towers.

Evening

You can’t say you’ve visited KL unless you’ve seen the Petronas Towers. The twin towers, as they’re often referred to, are a symbol of the city and you’ll practically spot them looming over you wherever you go. Look up at the towers from the base for a dizzying sight of one of the world’s top 20 skyscrapers. You can also ride the elevator up to the observation deck and sky bridge for a view from the top. At dusk, you can catch a dazzling sight as the city lights up and darkness falls right before your eyes.

You’re likely to spot miniatures of the iconic landmark everywhere in the city, in the form of souvenirs like fridge magnets, tissue holders and even bottle openers. Take one home, for memory’s sake.

Quick Tip: You can switch up your schedule and visit the KL Tower at dusk as well. Grab day views of the city at Petronas Towers instead.

Night

Watch Kuala Lumpur come alive in the dark at Bukit Bintang, a prominent lifestyle hub. Fashion, entertainment, music, shopping and nightlife come together as you take the ‘Bintang Walk’ past high-end hotels, restaurants and pulsating nightclubs. Just pick a pub that takes your fancy and head on in.

Day 2

Morning

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Spend a sunny morning in the cool caverns of the Batu Caves, a popular tourist attraction. Millions of years old, these limestone cliffs are dotted with many caves and cave temples. Inside, you can trudge up 272 steps leading to the massive gold statue of the Hindu god, Lord Murugan. The enclosures welcome tourists all year-long for rock climbing, and during the annual Thaipusam celebrations in January.

Quick Tip: The steps were recently repainted in bright hues, making them quite a sight for photographs.

Afternoon

Situated in the renowned Merdeka Square, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one of the oldest, most historic structures in the city. The grand red and white architectural structure is a ministerial building, but you can tour the manicured grounds and arched corridors.

Late Afternoon To Evening

Reserve the rest of your day for the narrow streets of Chinatown and its burst of culture and food. Begin with the Central Market, a hotspot for local arts, crafts and trinkets. Since this area is ethnically Chinese, you can also find tons of shopping stalls with Chinese wares and quiet temples, where you can spend some quality time in the evening.

Night

Wrap up your night in Chinatown’s Petaling Street, packed to the brim with easy cocktail bars, rooftop venues and hole-in-the-wall eateries. You can spend a relaxed evening with a drink and close ones for company.

Day 3

Morning To Afternoon

Take a family trip to the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, located just 30 minutes away from the city centre. Experience thrilling rides in the adventure zone, get drenched in the water park, or learn about Malaysia’s wildlife at the zoo. Dining and shopping options are also available inside the park limits. A highlight is the long suspension bridge that connects two sections and offers a precarious aerial view of the park.

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Take in the sights and sounds of the city’s largest green cover at the Lake Gardens. Though it isn’t situated too far from the city, this area manages to transport you to a rainforest-like ambience. Throughout the year, you can find varied types of blooming flowers and thriving fauna in different sections of the park, like the Perdana Botanical Garden, Hibiscus (the national flower of Malaysia) Garden, Orchid Garden, Bird Park and Butterfly Park. Plan a small afternoon picnic to enjoy the site to its fullest.

Evening To Night

All that exploring can make you hungry, so join the throng of locals headed to Jalan Alor for some local delicacies. The street is home to countless Chinese food restaurants serving delectable seafood and hawkers selling dishes that you can enjoy by the roadside. A jumble of plastic tables and chairs line the street, as people mill about trying to make their dinner choices. The energy is great even late into the night, when revellers from nightclubs in the nearby Bukit Bintang spill onto the street.

Ithaka Pro Tips

  • Kuala Lumpur can be hot and humid, and it rains frequently. Carry sunscreen, a hat and an umbrella.
  • Some days of sightseeing can be hectic and involve a lot of walking. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for long days out.
  • Public transport is the easiest way to get around the city, as it’s very well connected. Taxis can be slightly expensive, so use trains and buses to get around.
  • Follow the rules everywhere you go. Don’t flout them, as you’re likely to pay a heavy fine if you do.
  • Respect the local traditions, people and way of life. You’ll get the best out of the city if you do.