I have been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia many times. In the past, I was there as a young boy with my family. Then I traveled often for work. My latest adventure was for a fun and exciting holiday. All these travels are shared in this article about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide?
In my latest adventure, my Malaysian friend and I decided to go on a road trip along the west coast of West Malaysia. I would arrive in Kuala Lumpur where he resided.
He showed me around Kuala Lumpur. Then we got in his car, and rode all the way to Ipoh, and stayed there for a few days. After a nice and relaxing time in Ipoh, we traveled to Penang.
It was really nice to visit all three cities. And even nicer to be shown the sight by a local. He shared with me a lot of local information about popular places, and introduced me to all the best places to eat.
It was a really great holiday. And I share the experience here with you.
In this article, I will provide as much information as I can. Some information would be from research. And some would be from experience.
You will learn about where Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is? Who are the people living there? The culture and religion in this town. The language spoken. The dress code to follow. Where to stay? What good food to enjoy? What are the things to see and do? And many more.
Where is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
As the capital of Malaysia, it is interesting to me that Kuala Lumpur is along the west coast of West Malaysia. And especially interesting that it is situated somewhere in the middle of the peninsula along that coast.
It does make Kuala Lumpur strategically located so that it is within reach, by land, of both Singapore and Thailand. And also easy access by sea to Sumatra.
Who are the People in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
While Malaysia is multi-racial, the majority of the people in Kuala Lumpur is Malay. Chinese, Indian, Indigenous Tribes and other races are minorities.
While in Kuala Lumpur, I did find that most of the people are Malay. There are Chinese but not as many as in other towns like Ipoh and Penang.
What is the Culture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
It is evident that the strongest cultural influence are from the Malay and the religion, Islam. Everywhere you go, you will see strong impact on almost any aspect of their lives.
At the same time, because of the other races and religions, there are subtle cultural influences from them. But these are mostly found at certain areas and sites.
Nevetheless, there is a level of tolerance in this country. And as such, each race and religion does celebrate their respective practices and festivals. This creates a colorful range of activities. See Festivals section further down for more information.
Travel Tip: Please respect their culture.
What are the Religions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
In Malaysia, there are many people with different beliefs. Some believe in Buddhism. Some in Hinduism. Some are Sikhs. And some are Christians. The majority in Malaysia follow their main religion, which is Islam. In Kuala Lumpur, the same can be said to be true.
What is the Common Language Spoken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
I would say the language to be Malay. In fact, I had a rather unpleasant experience in a shopping mall.
My friend and I were looking for the men’s clothing department. We asked a sales lady for directions in English. She smiled cheekily and answered in Malay. It was obvious she was doing it on purpose to force us to speak in Malay.
But we did not know the language. And we found it to be very rude of her to do that to a tourist. After all, the large departmental store was in the tourist hub. How can she not know how to speak English? Or is it that English is saved for people who only show white skin?
So, from that experience, I concluded that the common language spoken would be Malay. Or rather they expect you to learn and speak Malay. Strange thing was that in hotels and restaurants, they speak English.
Still, I did ask directions a few times on the streets. And most times, I would approach a Chinese or any other race rather than Malay. Because I did not wish to be caught in that same situation mentioned above.
Most times, I found that people were willing to speak in English. If you are fluent in Chinese, you can try to speak it with the local Chinese there. Most would be able to speak Mandarin.
Of course, if you are fluent in Malay, then good for you! You will find it easy to get around, get directions, and get a lot done in this country.
What are the Festivals and Public Holidays in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Here are the public holidays and festivals that are celebrated in Kuala Lumpur. They are basically the same as the national holidays celebrated throughout Malaysia.
- January 1 – New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year
- February 1 – Federal Territory Day
- May 1 – Labour Day
- Vesak Day
- Nuzul Al-Quran Day
- Mother’s Day
- Hari Raya Adilfitri
- June 8 – Birthday of SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong
- Father’s Day
- Hari Raya Haji
- Awal Muharram
- August 31 – National Day
- September 16 – Malaysia Day
- Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
- December 25 – Christmas Day
To learn more about the above public holidays and festivals, please do visit my article about Malaysia. I cover it in more depth there.
Below are some of the festivals unique to Kuala Lumpur.
Thaipusam in Batu Caves
This is a festival in honor of the Hindu god of war, Lord Murugan. It is an annual celebration that is colorful and lively.
Held at Batu caves annually, the Hindu community gathers to shower gifts of gratitude for prayers answered. This vibrant festival is best celebrated personally at Batu Caves. For now, watch this video to see what to expect.
Chinese New Year
In every country that has Chinese community, the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Simply because it is the start of the new year based on the Chinese calendar, or Lunar calendar.
What happens during this celebration? What do the Chinese do? Check out the two videos below for an introduction to this festival.
KL International Jazz Festival
This is an annual event that raises Kuala Lumpur as a centre for stylish live music. The festival attracts world class acts like Incubus, Linkin Park, Jason Mraz, and many more.
Love jazz? Don’t miss this.
1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival
This is one of the biggest sale events in Malaysia. And it is massive in Kuala Lumpur. Lasting for 2 months, you get big discounts on all types of products.
The mid-autumn festival is one of the festivals that I enjoy and love. It is a time for lanterns and mooncakes. The latter which is really yummy and tasty.
Here is a video about mid-autumn festival; how it started, why it started, the origin of mooncakes, and the festivities. Enjoy watching.
Deepavali is also known as Diwali. It is the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus. It signifies the triumph over evil.
During Deepavali, Hindu families light candles and other sources of light to symbolize the dark being overcomed by the light. Families exchange gifts, enjoy feasts, and pray to their deities. Watch the video below for more information.
What is the Dress Code in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
For years, when I visited Kuala Lumpur, I dressed in bermudas or shorts with a light t shirt. My local Malaysian friend wears the same.
So, as a tourist, it is all right for you to wear the same light and casual wear. But do be mindful when you visit religious sites.
Ask the people in charge what is the correct clothing to wear. If required, most religious sites would offer a temporary wrap around the body or at least the lower part of the body.
What is the National Dress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
The National Dress is the same as for the entire country. You can see what it looks like in my Malaysia article.
What is the Popular Sport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Football, or soccer as known in other countries, is the most popular sport in Kuala Lumpur. Other sports like badminton, bowling, tennis, squash, golf, sailing and martial arts do get some attention, too.
What Currency Can I Use in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
All throughout Malaysia, the currency used is the Malaysian Ringgit.
How is the Weather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
I have written in length about the weather in Malaysia. And it is the same weather for Kuala Lumpur. To find out more info, please refer to my Malaysia article.
How is the Haze Situation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Every year, there is haze situation in Southeast Asia. The haze does get worse in Kuala Lumpur. Partly because of it being a city, and has its own pollution issue, too.
The haze has been known to occur during the hot season. This is from May to October.
Travel Tip: Check the haze situation for Kuala Lumpur before traveling to this city.
Which are the Hotels to Stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Kuala Lumpur is a metropolis. And has many hotels and resorts for you to choose from. Here are a few that I have stayed at, and I share my experience with you.
The Face Suites Hotel Review
Looking for a hotel room that is like an apartment? Look no further. The Face Suites may be what you are looking for. And it is also very well situated. Read my review and watch the video walk-through to find out more.
Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur City Centre
I just love staying at large hotel rooms. And better still, those that are like a small apartment. How does Ramada Suites measure up then? Is it near the city centre, according to its namesake? Read my review and watch the video to find out more.
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What are the Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
I have been to Kuala Lumpur many times. But nothing beats seeing the sights with a local friend. Through his eyes and with his explanations of each famous place, I learned more about this fascinating city.
I used to think that Batu Caves was overrated. Then I finally really explored this place thoroughly. And I learned more about this ancient site. It was mind blowing. Click the image below or button further down to check out my story of my visit to Batu Caves.
Getting to Batu Caves
On a budget when visiting Kuala Lumpur? Wonder what is the best way to travel to Batu Caves at a reasonable price? And is this a comfortable ride? You must read about how we got to Batu Caves.
Every traveler to Kuala Lumpur will eventually visit Petaling Street. Why is that so? Click on the image or button below to find out.
Petronas Twin Towers – Icon of Malaysia
This is known as the icon of Malaysia. Not just Kuala Lumpur. But the whole of Malaysia. It has been featured in advertisements, magazines, brochures, TV shows and even top grossing movies. Click the image below to learn more about this amazing sight.
What Food to Eat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
I have always loved the great taste of Kuala Lumpur food. There is so much to try. And so many that are simply scrumptious. While impossible to cover it all, I did my best to feature some of the best here.
DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe and Store
This super heroes theme cafe was eye catching. Nestled inside a shopping mall, it could easily be looked over. But with that awesome, bright and colorful window display, there is no way you would miss it. Come read my experience shopping and eating at this super duper place.
Kinjuku SetiaWalk Mall
Unfortunately, my friend has informed me, that this place has closed down. It served really good Japanese food. It was an all you can eat buffet. Come read and see what you missed.
Madam Kwan’s at KLCC
This is a well known eatery. Why is that so? And who is Madam Kwan. What food does this place serve that is so popular? Find out when you click on the image or button below.
Where To Go Shopping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Besides all the sightseeing and eating, shopping is the next best and fun activity in Kuala Lumpur. There are so many malls in the city. It is just crazy Watch the video below to help you narrow down to which mall or malls to visit.
Best Time to Visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
There are high season and low season to visit Malaysia. The same goes for visiting Kuala Lumpur. Each season has its pros and cons. For me, I prefer the low season so that I do not jostle with large crowds. Also, the hotel room rates are lower during this season.
To find out more about the two seasons, please go to my Malaysia article.
How To Get To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
When you fly in from another country, you will arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). This is the main international airport that is located in the Sepang district of Selangor.
I know this because I flew in from Singapore, and I arrived at KLIA. One thing to note is that the airport is approximately 45 kilometers from the city centre. I had a choice to take the taxi or call a Grab car. I chose the latter. It was easy and hassle free.
For my latest holiday, I took the AirAsia flight I did not like it as much as JetStar. Next time, I would choose JetStar.
There are many other airlines that fly to Kuala Lumpur. For example, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, China Airlines, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and plenty more.
Travel Tip: Find out if your preferred airline flies to Kuala Lumpur International Airport
You can take a train from Thailand or Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. And vice versa. You go to and from the station called KL Sentral.
You can also take the train to arrive at Kuala Lumpur from the other cities and towns of Malaysia. As long as there is a train line and station to that town or station.
For example, here is my ride experience from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves. I took the same train back to Kuala Lumpur. Watch the video to see how I traveled from Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) to Batu Caves.
There are buses from Singapore or Thailand to Kuala Lumpur. And also from Kuala Lumpur to these countries. Do check for various transport providers for individual pricing and schedule.
It is true that I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur. But we did go on our road trip back from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. And let me tell you that it was a really long journey. It was nearly 6 hours drive, including one refreshment and toilet stop.
It was fun. But after a few hours of nothing but roads and mountains, it was a little boring. So, I had to chat with my friend a lot to keep him awake and alert.
The good news is that there are highways that made it a quicker ride. To go from Penang to Kuala Lumpur, we traveled on the Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/E1. If you are unfamiliar with roads in Malaysia, download an app called Waze. It will help you travel easily from one point to another in Malaysia.
Do You Need a Visa to Go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Visitors from some countries can visit Malaysia, and all her cities without a visa. Some will need a visa. It is best to check the immigration websites to find out if you need a visa to enter.
How To Get Around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Hooray! Kuala Lumpur now has Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). And it is quite easy to get around using this choice of transport. See the above video about getting to Batu Caves? The initial part of the journey was via MRT. Watch to see how easy it was to buy a ticket, and travel on the MRT.
Travel Tip: MRT can take you to many attractions such as KLCC, Central Market and even their National Museum.
If you are mainly traveling within the city, and going to popular places as well as shopping districts, the good news is that there is a free Go KL bus service for you. It is air conditioned and quite comfortable. Best part of this is that it is a free bus service.
If you are traveling further away from the city, and into the various districts, then it is better to go by taxi, Grab or your own transport.
Travel by taxi in Kuala Lumpur is very convenient. There are plenty of taxis. But do take note that it is best to go by meter.
But ultimately, from my experience, most cab drivers haggle for a fixed price. If you are comfortable to pay for the asking price, then agree and get in.
Private Hire Vehicles like Grab is available in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I recommend using this service because it is so convenient. Also, prices are fixed before you confirm the ride. So, there is no problem with haggling or sudden increase in fare.
If you drive in with your own car or rent a car, then this is a good option. This is because you have the freedom to travel wherever you like. Only thing is if you are unfamiliar with Malaysia, you may end up getting lost. Do get the Waze app.
For me, I prefer Grab. Of course, I have a friend in Kuala Lumpur, and he is really nice. Whenever I visit Kuala Lumpur, he would do his best to drive me around. Bless him.
Travel Tip: Rental of cars is quite affordable. Just make sure the rental service is legit, and get insurance.
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If you have ANY questions about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.
Thank you for reading this.
Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,
Hey everyone, I am Timotheus. When I am not giving lectures, I love traveling and visiting cities and towns all over Asia. It is a thrill for me to find and share awesome places to see, great tasting food to eat, and restful rooms to get a good night’s sleep.