24 hours is by no means enough time to explore a new city, but on a long layover on my way to Bali, I gave it a pretty good go. And it went rather well.
So well in fact, that I thought I’d share my itinerary here, to inspire any other passing travellers on their whistle-stop tour of Kuala Lumpur.
Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in the vibrant Malaysian capital.
1) Brunch somewhere fancy
Unfortunately, the least cultural item on this list happens to also be the first (I promise it’s not a trend.) I really enjoyed Malaysian food, but for breakfast I like something a little lighter.
There’s a surprisingly good selection of cafes serving Western-style breakfasts. The one I went to (you can find Feeka Coffee Roasters on Google Maps) was just a 5 minute walk from my hotel. The food is great, and the prices are even better.
Treat yourself. You’ve got a busy day ahead!
2) Venture to the Batu Caves
One of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous tourist hotspots, Batu Caves is an essential stop on a flying visit to the city.
The iconic 100-year-old Hindu temple and shrine is built into a huge limestone hill, and surrounded by colourful and intricate statues. The journey up the seemingly endless stairway is a killer, but it’s worth it for the views at the top.
Another draw to this spot are the small, mischievous monkeys dotted around the monument. They’re very cute and relatively tame as long as you don’t try to touch/feed/cuddle them. These cheeky creatures will certainly make for a memorable trip.
The caves are situated about 13km outside of the city, but the journey there is pretty painless. There’s a direct commuter train from KL Sentral (and it wont break the bank.)
3) Taste an authentic Malay lunch
I’m certainly no Malaysian food expert, but eating a plate of nasi campur at one of the many canteen-style buffets is a sure way to get a taste of the cuisine.
Literally translated as “mixed rice,” nasi campur usually involves receiving a plate of rice and topping it with your choice of the many curries, meats and side dishes at the buffet before you.
I had no idea what I was eating, but I know it tasted good. And I couldn’t move afterwards.
This style of lunch is hugely popular, widely available and incredibly cheap. Pick up a plate and pile it high with Malay deliciousness.
4) Visit the impressive Petronas Towers
No trip to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a trip to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
The towers are a truly awesome sight, and the lush gardens at its base provide an ideal viewpoint to gaze at the impressive skyscrapers.
Though you can pay to go up and walk across the connecting bridge, the view from below is enough to impress anyone.
I recommend going at night, when the towers are at their most impressive.
5) Drink at a rooftop bar
A great way to spend a couple of hours in the evening is at one of the numerous rooftop bars Kuala Lumpur has to offer.
Head up into the clouds at sunset, take in the impressive city skyline, and make the most of all the happy hour deals you can. It’s the perfect way to relax after that long walk to the Petronas Towers – you deserve it.
You can choose your perfect sky-high paradise here.
6) Experience the Alor Street Night Market
Peckish? There’s no better place to pick up a quick meal and soak up the bustling atmosphere than the night market on Jalan Alor.
Jam-packed until the early hours, this lively street is lined on both sides with vendors selling a huge variety of different Asian cuisines. Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai. You name it, it’s there.
This was my favourite stop of the day’s busy itinerary. The food is delicious and the vibe is electric. I can’t recommend a trip here enough.
And with that, 24 hours is up. Exhausted? Time for a nice long rest (until you venture off elsewhere in a few hours.)