Taking a cultural tour in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown areas
While Kuala Lumpur is known to be one of the most advanced and modern cities in the world, it is also home to some of the most cultural and traditional sites which often brings about millions of tourists every year. Here is where you will be welcomed by the rich heritage and multicultural society and communities of Malaysia living in peace and harmony amidst some of the architectural wonders of the world.
When travelling in Kuala Lumpur, which is also the capital of Malaysia, you will be able to join some of the cultural tours which can be completed within a day. Most of the agencies here would readily available to assist you in charting out a day trip into the heart of KL and its culture. Whether it is for shopping or for photography, you will be able to experience some of the most inspiring and amazing sights found only around this part of the world.
Taking a cultural tour around KL would involve quite a lot of walking and hence you are encouraged to dress light although not overly exposing. This is because the weather can sometimes be very warm but you will also be entering into some house of worship where dress code is very important. First, you would go towards Petaling Street, the widely popular Chinatown. This is where you will find some of the cheapest and interesting goods because it is typically a street made up of stalls that sell bags, clothes, souvenirs and many more. You should visit this place around the evenings when the road is closed to vehicles and replaced by countless stalls. Remember that you need to haggle and bargain or you might be paying too much.
From here, you can then head out to one of the oldest and historical Hindu temples in Malaysia which is the Sri Mahamariamman Temple which is reported to have been built back in 1873. The temple sits majestically along the street adjacent to Chinatown and is one of the most colourful buildings. If you are here during a ceremony, you will be able to experience one of the most interesting practices here. Once you are done here, you can then head out toward Central Market for some souvenir shopping and around the later evenings will have some cultural performances.
After that, you can walk towards the Sze Ya Temple located at the opposite road of Central Market. This is known to be the oldest Taoist temple in Kuala Lumpur where it was built in 1864 by the popular Kapitan Yap-Ah Loy who is known to be one of the founding fathers of Kuala Lumpur. This tour will not require any payment as the sites are located within walking distance and they are open to the public.
Kuala Lumpur Photography Tour
There are several options if you are travelling around Kuala Lumpur (KL). You can either take the KL Hop-On-Hop-Off bus service or you can go around at your own pace. Depending on the time of the day you are going around, you need to be appropriately dressed. If you are going around in the day, dress lightly as the weather can be quite hot at times. It is better to travel at your own pace if you are here to take the delightful sights of Kuala Lumpur where you can actually take your time and wait for the right moment instead of following a schedule.
Most of the main attractions in KL are perfect for you to linger and take photographs. So, bring your cameras and start snapping away. The best place to start is in KLCC or the Petronas Twin Tower. This is where you will be able to visit the Skybridge which operates from 10am to 12.45pm and then at 3pm to 4.45pm daily. Entrance fee to the bridge is RM8 for adults and RM4 for children while foreigners pay RM2 more. Once you are done there, you can then head downstairs to Suria KLCC where you can do some shopping. From there, you can go towards the LRT station and go towards Masjid Jamek stop which will cost you only RM1.60.
Once you are there, you will then come out to the mosque which is one of the oldest structures here. The mosque was designed by Arthur Benson Hubback and was officially opened in 1909 which was the built over the first Malay burial ground here. This was the main mosque her before the National Mosque was built almost half a decade later which is about 10 minutes walk from here. Known as Masjid Negara, you will be able to visit one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. You have to ensure that you wear appropriate clothing when entering this place or you will be denied entry.
Located not far from here is the famed Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka where it is considered to be one of the most historic places in Malaysia. It was here that the shouts of ‘Merdeka!’ was proclaimed on 31 August 1957 when the country achieved its independence. This historic day is commemorated each year with a full-fledged march past at the ground. Right behind the square is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which used to house the federal courts of Malaysia. The backdrop is ideal for photography and this recommended tour will not require any payment for entrance. While payment for train transport and snacks along the way are very minimal and can be completed within half a day.
Kuala Selangor Fire Flies Tour
One of the most interesting places to visit around Kuala Lumpur is to go towards Kuala Selangor to watch the fireflies. Known locally as the Kelip-Kelip, most travel agencies will offer these packages which usually involve only half a day, which will take place during the evenings to the night. If you are not the adventurous type and would like to have everything taken care for you, the best thing is to engage an agency who will make all necessary arrangements for you. This tour has become one of the most popular tours that has saw hundreds coming to the swamps each month to experience one of the most amazing sights in the world.
Price would usually range around RM150 to RM200 for adults while kids below 12 will be around RM100 to RM150 which will include a meal and transport. The whole trip will take about 6 hours and you will begin your journey at around 4pm. Located along the mangrove swamps of Kuala Selangor, you will embark from a starting point within the city where you will be visiting the swamp area as well as having a meal there.
Once everyone is on-board, the bus will head out to Kuala Selangor through Kampung Kuantan, which is a sleepy town and is the main set out point to the natural habitat of this species. Take note that you should wear thick clothes if possible as there might be other insects like mosquitoes which will leave you scratching among one of the largest firefly colonies in the world today.
Before embarking to the swamps, you will first visit fort Altingsburg or known locally as Kota Melawati. This is where you will be brought towards Melawati Hill which is a scenic site that offers you a view of the town as well as the Malacca straits out there. The fort was built during the rule of Sultan Ibrahim in the 1780s where it is a 3 storey structure that includes a lighthouse which was enacted in 1907. From here, you might be able to see some of the rare animal species like the Silver-Leaf Monkeys and the Long-Tailed Macaques who are friendly if you give them peanuts.
After that, you will then be brought towards the highlight of your trip. You will be taking the tongkang here which typically is an un-motorised boat where you will head to the trees where the fireflies roam freely. This would be one of the most spectacular display of lights made up of thousands of fireflies that form a Christmas tree. After that, the guide will bring you for a meal nearby for a taste of the local seafood and cuisine before heading back to the city centre.
A Day at the National Lake Gardens
Kuala Lumpur is very popular to be one of the most modern cities in the world. It is where you will find some of the best local food as well as modern structures while you can also indulge into history as well as the natural attractions here. Located not far from the National Mosque is the National Lake Gardens where you can practically be one with nature and enjoy a walk in the park. The gardens is located within the heart of the city while it is also isolated away from the maddening crowd of people and traffic jams and such. This makes it an ideal place to go where you can spend a whole day wandering into the various gardens and parks while enjoying the green and lush landscapes.
The park is one of the oldest ones in the country where it was established in 1888 and sits atop 91.6 hectare of land here. There are many gardens and places to go around here. You can come to Lake Gardens by taxi while if you want to take the public transport you can alight at the Masjid Jamek LRT station and then walk here which is about 10 minutes away. Entry into the park is free while there are minimal charges to the other parks inside.
Once you reach the park, you will be welcomed by the monumental trees as well as the lake and the children playground. Wear light clothing as it can be quite hot during the day. From here, you can go jogging, trekking or just wander around, taking photos and mingling with the locals. From here, you can then head towards the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park which is the largest free-flight walk-in aviary park in the world. The park is open from 9am to 6pm daily where foreigners have to pay RM48 per entry while children pay RM38 per entry.
From here, you can then go to the Butterfly Park which is home to over 6,000 butterflies that come from 120 unique species. There are more than 15,000 plants here which are brought in to emulate the natural habitat of the butterflies here which opens from 9am to 5pm and entrance to the park will be RM4 for adults and RM2 for children.
And then, there is the Deer Park where you will be able to see and almost mingle with the deer here. There is no admission fee to the park but you are advised to be careful and you are allowed to feed the deer here. For those of you who like flowers, you can visit the Orchid Garden which is the highest point of the park as well as the Hibiscus Garden not far away.
Watching the beautiful animals in Kuala Lumpur
While Kuala Lumpur is a modern city with state-of-the-art facilities and structures, if you are one who like animals and would like to learn more about them here, there are several choices that you can choose from. Here is where you will be able to plan a trip which will take you to some of the most amazing places to get close to animals and other species.
You can start by heading towards the Petronas Twin Tower where located just beside this monumental structure is the Aquaria KLCC. This oceanarium is the best place for you to be part of an experience where you can see more than 5,000 exhibits in its realms which span across 60,000 square foot of space. Located just beneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, this place began operations in 2002 and has become a haven for tourists. Here, you will be walking along a 90 meter transparent tunnel which will take you across the waters along with Marine Turtles, Sand Tiger Sharks, stingrays and many more. There are feeding sessions that you can watch while there is also a Dive with Sharks package for those who are brave. The Aquaria is opened daily and last entry is at 7pm. Entrance fee here is RM 35 for Malaysians and RM 45 for non-Malaysians while kids pay RM 25 and RM 35 respectively.
You will most likely spend about half a day at the Aquaria and from there you can then have your lunch at the Suria KLCC Shopping Centre. After that, go to the KLCC LRT station where you need to board the train to Masjid Jamek which will cost you RM1.60. Once you reach the station, you can then walk towards Lake Gardens where you will come to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park which is the world’s largest “” walk-in Free Flight Aviary “”. The entrance fee here is RM20 for Malaysians and RM48 for foreigners and RM10 and RM38 for kids respectively but you will find that it will be a truly rewarding experience where you will be in the natural habitat of more than 3,000 birds here.
After that, you can then take a taxi to the National Zoo where it is located in Ulu Kelang in Taman Melawati just around the outskirts of KL. This would be the biggest zoo in the country that hosues more than 5,000 animals of 459 species. 90% of the animals in the zoo here are kept in the open spaces which are designed to emulate their natural habitat instead of cages and enclosed areas. There is also an insect zoo here if you are in for the creepy crawlies. Entrance fee to the zoo is RM25 for both the zoo and RM20 for adults. Kids pay RM9 for both zoos and RM6 for the main zoo.
A day trip to the outskirts of KL
One thing for sure when visiting Malaysia is that you will be welcomed into Kuala Lumpur, the capital which is where most of the attractions are located. Here is where you will be going around the temples, mosques, historical sites as well as modern architectural buildings located around the city. However, there are also many things to see if you would like to get away for a day or two. You will find that located towards the outskirts of KL are some of the most amazing sites that you will ever come across.
Planning such trips would usually require you to engage a travel agent which would help you to make any arrangements necessary. However, you can also make your own arrangements where you can rent a vehicle or take public transportation although these are meant for the more adventurous.
First of all, you can head out to Batu Caves which is located towards the outskirts of Taman Melawati and Wangsa Maju area. If you are unfamiliar, it is best to taka a taxi here where you will be visiting the temple which brings about millions of Hindu devotees during the annual Thaipusam celebrations. It is located in the cave made up of 3 caverns and a few smaller caves for Lord Murugah. From the bottom, you will need to climb up the 272 steps before your reach the temple. There are no entrance fees needed to enter the cave but you are welcomed to offer your own donations here.
After that, you can instruct your taxi to bring you towards FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia) where you will be along the wonders of nature. This is the site which is the main forestry research centre of the country where it sits on a 486 hectare land in Kepong located not far from Batu Caves. It is surrounded by the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve where there are thousands of trees and vegetations to see.
If you are a nature lover, then you must visit FRIM where you will be able to learn more about the 15,000 species of plants and vegetation here. There are many activities that you can do here like jungle trekking, birdwatching, picnicking or visiting the waterfall, while photography would be a perfect activity to do here. There is also a canpy walkway here where you will be elevated 30m above the ground and walk along the trees and looking down. The park is opened from 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm from Mondays to Thursdays while Fridays are from 8am to 12.15pm and 2.45pm to 4.30pm. If you are keen on the canopy walk, it is opened only from 9am to 1.30pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
KL’s best food in a day
One of the most popular attractions in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia is the food. Here is where you will be welcomed by a variety of different cuisine that ranges from Malay, Indian, Chinese, Peranakan and western variety like Italian, Spanish as well as many others. If you are travelling to KL and would like to try a bit of everything, then you will surely be spoilt for choice. The following is a non-Halal food trail which will allow you to savour almost every type of cuisine among the best around KL.
You can start your breakfast by having a roti canai and nasi lemak. Depending on where you are staying, you will find that there are bound to be ‘Mamak’ stalls which naturally are Indian Muslim shops. They are known for their roti canai which is usually served with curry while you can also order Nasi Lemak, which is fragrant rice served with anchovies, cucumber and peanut as well as the spicy sambal. You can also order Teh Tarik or Pull tea which is typically milk tea.
After breakfast, you can then head out to Chinatown where you can do a bit of shopping and such. You can linger there until about lunch time when you can head towards Jalan Silang. Here you will must try out the original Soong Kee Beef Noodle where it is one of the most authentic beef noodles served with mince pork around. The shop has been operating for many decades where it is said to be in its third generation now. A bowl of beef noodle will cost you around RM6 without the drink. Take the chance to try the herbal tea here.
After that, you can take a break by heading towards Sungei Wang Plaza which is located beside the Lot 10 Shopping Centre. Spend some time there where you can have a cup of coffee at the numerous cafes located around the mall. As dinner time approaches, you should hail a taxi to take you to Queen’s coffeeshop in Jalan Peel. Here, you must try out the Satay which is very popular. This is a dish of chicken or beef barbecued and taken with rice and cucumber dipped into spicy, peanut sauce.
From there, it would be nightfall. Go towards Bukit Bintang to Changkat Raja Chulan and you will be among the night crowd amidst the rows of cafes and pubs. Have a drink there and mingle while allowing the food to digest. Around midnight, it is time for supper. Take a taxi (or walk if you prefer) to Petaling Street and go to Kim Lian Kee where you must order the Hokkien Mee or the claypot Loh Sue Fun. Take them with Chinese tea and you will have one of the most delicious meals ever and surely one of the most satisfying days in your travels.
A day of shopping in KL
Apart from offering you with the most complete attractions and places to visit, Kuala Lumpur or KL is also a very popular shopping destination. Depending on what type of shopper you are, there are all types of everything to buy here. There are the branded goods like Louis Vutton, Prada and Coach available in the major malls while you can also opt to hunt for bargains at night markets, bazaars and flea markets located around town.
How do you stretch your spending and to ensure that you get the best of your shopping hunger in KL? Here’s what we recommend. First you must plan your trip. Keep the daytime for shopping malls while the night time for markets.
The best place to start is to go to Bukit Bintang. Here you will be accorded with almost every brand you are looking for. From the tip of the street, you can begin with Bukit Bintang Plaza which is connected to Sungei Wang Plaza. These malls are known for the more affordable goods where you can very much find bargains for clothes which are not branded. However, there are also the more renowned goods here where if it is an ideal place to shop for gadgets like mobile phones and such. From there, you can take the bridge towards Lot 10 Shopping Centre. There are more upmarket brands here where you can shop at the Isetan Department Store. When you are done, take lunch at the food court located in the basement level.
After that, go towards Pavilion Shopping Centre where you will find more branded stores like Coach, Monaco and such. Here is where you will find more retail stores but the prices here are higher than the previous malls. There are also eateries here that you can have tea or an afternoon snack before you head out away. Try not to overspend here as there are still other interesting places to shop.
By now, it would be around evening and now you should go to the city centre. Take a monorail from Bukit Bintang station to Maharajalela station for RM1.60. This is where you will come to Petaling Street which is the Chinatown of Malaysia. Take a walk from the station towards Chinatown and you will be welcomed by the sounds and chatter of bargaining and such. Here, there are countless shops and stalls that sell all types of goods ranging from wallets, shirts, bags and many more. Be aware that branded goods here are imitation and everything you buy here must be bargained or you would be overpaying for the goods. In between your shopping you can also stop by any of the hawker stalls here where you can have your dinner with some of the best local dishes around.
Waterparks in Kuala Lumpur
If you would like to spend a day at the waterparks around Kuala Lumpur (KL), then there are 2 main choices for you. Take note that you will be spending a full day at these places and that is where you need to decide which one to go before embarking. The most popular waterpark around KL is the Sunway Lagoon while there is also another not far from the city centre which is the Desa Waterpark.
At Sunway Lagoon, you will be accorded with 5 different parks which are designed in separate themes. Here you will be visiting one of the most popular parks which has won awards including the Asia’s Best Attraction from 2007 to 2010 and is recognized by the IAAPA (International Assocation of Amusement Parks and Attractions). There is the Scream Park, the Amusement Park where most of the rollercoasters are located, the Extreme Park for the adventure seekers, the Wildlife Park which typically is a mini zoo as well as the pools at the Water Park. Apart from that, there are also occasional events being held here that include concerts and live soccer matches at the Amphitheatre. All in all there are more than 80 rides and attractions here where you can arrive by taxi which is about half an hour away from the city centre.
Entrance fees into the park is by day where for all parks, you will have to pay RM100 while kids pay RM80. For 3 parks which are the Water Park, Amusement Park and Wildlife Park it would be RM80 and RM65 for kids.
At Desa Waterpark, you will be able to enjoy the waters within the heart of the city. Located in Taman Desa, it is about 15 minutes away from the city centre where you will able to enjoy the longest uphill water coasters in Asia known as the Thunderbolt. The Supertube is another ride that will give you the thrills and spills too. For those who like the waters, go to the Splash-Out activity pool where you will be hung on a rope and then jumping from one floatable to another while the Shock Wave is typically a wave pool. There is also the Ultimate Water Factory where you get to shoot water from jet sprays and showers. The Bubble pool is a pool filled with bubbles and other rides and attractions here include Ripple Bay and Surf Shack. For the kids, the Baby Wave, Water Factory and Pink Slides are readily available. This park operates from noon until 6 pm on weekdays while on public holidays and weekends you can start at 10am to 6.30pm. Entrance fees are at RM17 for adults while children below 12 are RM10 per entry.