Kuala Lumpur, the largest city in Malaysia is located in Southern Asia and can serve as an amazing spot to transition for travel–for example, a lot of flights between Europe and Australia/New Zealand have longer stop-overs or layovers due to location convenience
For me, I had about 15 hours in Kuala Lumpur for a layover from Singapore to Seoul. There’s SO much to do in Malaysia and I’m sad I only got a few hours in this beautiful country, but I tried to get my times worth!
As it is the capital, Kuala Lumpur is a very international city, so to truly experience Malaysian culture, you’ll definitely have to dedicate more time in the country! “Malaysian” or not, for a 12 hour layover, it was well worth a neat trip out of the airport! There’s plenty of options, but here are just a few:
So, this seems silly, but I’ve never been in an airport where it took me soo long to get out the the street levels. The airport leads you through a mall in order to get to the taxis, which was clever, but it was actually a pretty neat way to grab a few Malaysian snacks and trinkets as there were many grocery stores and food stops that weren’t only duty free so we could take them with us.
As soon as we landed, we made a beeline for the Batu Caves. If nothing else, you should come here. If you have around 5 hours of a layover, you would be able to do this and get back. With the newly painted staircase, it’s gorgeous! They did not disappoint, but a few things to note: the steps were really the best part because the views from the top are incredible. Also, wild monkeys roam the premises so beware of your belongings!
After the Batu caves, we went to Heli Lounge to view the sunset view of the Petronas and Menara KL Towers over the city skyline. You don’t necessarily have to go to this one, but I definitely recommend getting a rooftop view of the city. Beware that you should expect a lot of Australian backpackers and iphones, so you’d come for the views, not for the culture.
After this, we finally checked into the hotel and freshened up. We were staying near the towers so we went to go see a street level view before dinner. The Petronas Towers offer observatory decks, tours, restaurants as well as the badge of being the tallest twin towers in the world. By the time we got there, the actual inside was closed but the view from the outside was honestly incredible and definitely worth a closer look!
Because we didn’t have too much time, we walked to grab some food and ended up in this food truck park called Tapak Urban Street Dining. Although slightly “western,” it was a good experience to people watch and sit/chat with others. I think some type of reality show was being filmed here or something. If you’re traveling in a small group and exhausted, this would definitely be a great solution, although obviously not very authentically Malaysian.
Although that’s really all I personally did, there are soo many more options. Here are just a few more suggestions:
- Thean Hou Buddhist Temple
- Chinatown & Little India
- The Royal Palace (Istana Negara)
- Merdeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad building
- The Lake Gardens
- & if you’re still not pleased, there’s tons of shopping with megamalls and street markets where you can find Malaysian textiles as souvenirs!
So, next time you’re booking a flight across the world, consider stopping in Kuala Lumpur. Thanks for reading and happy traveling!
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