Kuala Lumpur

City Guide

Kuala Lumpur

Founded in the late 1850s at the confluence of two rivers by tin-mining prospectors, Malaysia’s capital is most recognisable today by its iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Look beyond them, though, and you’ll see that Kuala Lumpur is a city that clings to its heritage as much as it sheds it. It runs on tradition and nostalgia even as it pulses closely with fresh energy from global trends. The city’s quaint kampung houses and faded colonial buildings complement its gleaming high-rises with mosques, churches and temples in close proximity. Its generations-old hawker stalls hustle alongside trendy new cafés. And at the heart of it all are the people who call the city home – mostly local Malays, Chinese and Indians, but also immigrants from Europe, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal and the Philippines. Travellers tend to stay in the city centre where the main sights are, but there’s a growing crop of creative dining and drinking venues in other neighbourhoods that are worth a visit too.

When to go:
Any time is a good time. It’s generally hot and humid all year round in Kuala Lumpur, with occasional rains. But rainy spells don’t last long here, and there’s always somewhere you can duck in to escape and wait it out.

How to get around:
You can buy a KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus pass to visit Kuala Lumpur’s main tourist attractions, or ride the free Go KL buses along four different routes. For other parts of the city, the LRT and MRT trains and RapidKL buses are available at most locations. As for ride-hailing apps, download Grab.

Where To Stay In Kuala Lumpur

Alila Bangsar

Alila Hotels & Resorts has adapted the ethos of its destination resorts to Kuala Lumpur’s city setting

Sekeping Tenggiri

One of a collection of Sekeping urban retreats around Malaysia, designed by local landscape architect Ng Seksan

Where To Eat In Kuala Lumpur

Kenny Hills Bakers

This artisan bakery in a green neighbourhood is a great spot to grab a cup of coffee

Dewakan

Dewakan champions the use of local ingredients to create a new kind of Malaysian cuisine

The Ganga Cafe

This mom-and-pop restaurant serving Indian vegetarian food in Bangsar is a great spot for breakfast

Where To Drink In Kuala Lumpur

Bar Trigona

An upscale bar serving fine cocktails at Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

PS150

A pioneer of the speakeasy bar movement in Kuala Lumpur

Pahit

A specialty gin joint that specialises in cocktails with unique local flavours

What To Do In Kuala Lumpur

Kampung Baru

Within downtown Kuala Lumpur lies this reminder of traditional life

Chinatown

Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown neighbourhood is the perfect place for a morning stroll

Where To Shop In Kuala Lumpur

KitaKita

This charming gift shop specialises in women’s clothing and accessories

LORD’s 1974

This bespoke tailoring business has clothed celebrities including Muhammad Ali

Khoon Hooi

The award-winning Khoon Hooi is a household name in luxury women's fashion

Joe Chia

A modern Malaysian label that features striking monochrome designs

Nala Designs

Nala Designs feature patterns inspired by Malaysia’s cultural heritage