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Kuala Lumpur, or commonly known as KL, is the capital city of Malaysia. The city offers beaming skylines, endless shopping, and some of the tastiest food you can eat in Asia. The best part is, many of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur can be done in 3 days or less. Some of the best place to visit in Kuala Lumpur can be done in one day!
KL is a great place to start or end your trip to Asia because the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a major airport in South East Asia and worldwide. You can fly in from your country of origin, spend a few days exploring the city, and then jet off to wherever you want to go next in Asia. As a bonus, many countries don’t need a visa for Malaysia.
Even though I didn’t plan to visit Malaysia on my trip to Asia, I decided to spend a few days there before going to Sri Lanka. I’m so happy that I did because I fell in love with the city. This post will go over the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 3 days. Even if you have less time then that, these are all great suggestions for places to visit in Kuala Lumpur in one day.
Travel Tip: I flew to KL an entrance point for Asia because I found a $390 CAD ticket from Vancouver. Even if you have a specific destination in mind it is not always the best option to fly directly there. In this case a flight from Vancouver to Sri Lanka would have cost me almost $1000. Instead, I flew to Kuala Lumpur for $390 and got another flight from there to Colombo with Malindo Air for an additional $150. Not only did I save hundreds of dollars, but I got to see another country!
How to get from the airport to Kuala Lumpur City Center
The city of Kuala Lumpur is about an hour drive from the airport but there are a number of affordable options for getting into the city.
Train: The KLIA express is a non-stop high-speed train that connects KL international airport and the Kuala Lumpur Airport. It costs 55MR per one-way ticket and takes 33 minutes.
Taxis: Taxis are available from the airport and should cost you 80-100MR to the city center. Be sure to negotiate the price beforehand.
Grab: Uber and other ride-sharing apps work in KL, which are cheaper than taxis. I used Grab during my entire time in KL, as did the other travellers I met there.
The Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 3 days or less
Explore Batu Caves
Batu Caves is a beautiful Hindu Temple inside a cave, just a short distance away from Kuala Lumpur City center. You can either take the train from the city or hire a Grab. I split a grab with two other girls from my hostel and it cost us 20 MYR/$5USD. Make sure to cover up your knees and shoulders when visiting the temple. If you forget there are scarves available to rent at the temple.
After the entrance you will get to this beautiful set of stairs that were recently painted these vibrant colours. The Hindu community painted the stairs with inspiration from the peacock decorations inside the temple, but now UNESCO is threatening to take away the temples World Heritage Site because the renovations did not get approved first. Personally, I think the new colors adds to the beauty of the temple, and we all know the gram loves it.
There are 293 steps to climb up to get to the entrance of the cave. As far as Asian temples go, this isn’t bad, but it can certainly feel grueling with the sun shining on you. The best time to visit Batu Caves is in the early morning or later in the day to avoid direct sun over your head.
Take your time walking up the stairs and enjoy the scenery. On the way you will pass little waterfalls and adorable families of monkeys. Warning: these monkeys are accustomed to humans and will try to steal any food you have.
Once you get to the top of the stairs you can enter the cave which is both gorgeous and a nice escape from the heat outside. Inside the cave you can see locals coming to prayer, and more beautiful and intricate designs of the temples. Batu Caves is one of the more unique temples that I’ve visited.
Whether you are in Kuala Lumpur for one day or one week, Batu Caves is a great addition to any KL itinerary.
Take in the views on the Heli Pad Lounge
Heli Pad Lounge is a bar on top of a helicopter pad in the middle of the city so the views are AMAZING!
The Heli Pad Bar opens at 6 pm, but the lounge below opens at 5pm. It can get busy there so one way to guarantee a seat on top is to arrive at the lounge early. On arrival you will have to buy a drink from the lounge and then you can make your way up to the Heli Pad.
We got there just before 7 and it was completely full. In the end, we got a couple of seats because some people left, but I advise getting there earlier.
While the drinks are expensive by comparison to other bars in the city, it’s actually not that bad considering you don’t have to pay an entrance fee and the experience is unique.
From 6-9pm they have a happy hour special and drinks cost 30RM, which is about $10 CAD/$8 USD. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely paid way more for drinks in Toronto then that and I wasn’t on top of a helicopter pad. They also have a small menu of reasonably priced food items, about 25 RM per item.
If you come before 9 pm the dress code is relaxed but after 9 the bar turns into a club and the dress code becomes enforced (no shorts, sandals, etc). Watching the sunset from the Helicopter Lounge is a great experience. I love seeing the bright lights of the city come to life as the sun sets.
Escape the hustle of bustle of the city in the KL Bird Park/Botanical Gardens
The KL Bird Park is a 20.9-acre public, outdoor aviary in the middle of the city. I’m not a big fan of visiting captive animals but the birds here looked healthy and happy. They have a ton of space to fly around and aren’t afraid to come say hi. It’s a neat way to see some of the expotic birds that live in Malaysia.
Next to the bird park is a beautiful orchid garden which you can walk around, and nearby to that there is a botanical garden. This massive complex of nature is one of the best places to visit in KL if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visit the Selayang Hot springs
Half an hour outside of the city in Selayang there are natural hot springs you can visit for free. They are lovely, but possibly the hottest hot springs I have ever been in. I couldn’t get in for more then a few minutes at a time.
You can see many locals enjoying them, but it seems the best method is to bring a bucket and pour the hot water on you instead of actually getting in. This is a fun and unique thing to do in Kuala Lumpur in 3 days!
The Petronas Twin Towers
The iconic symbols of KL, the Petronas Towers, are the tallest twin towers in the world. Towering above you at 452m, they light up the skyline.
Behind the towers, there is a lovely park to visit during the day, and at night they do water fountain shows in sync with music. Tours of the towers run daily if you want to visit the inside, or you can just enjoy them from the many rooftops of the city.
Shop your heart out
KL has a comprehensive shopping scene for every taste and budget. For high-end fashion, try the Pavilion Mall located in the popular Bukit Bintang area.
There are also a number of street markets to explore which cater to a lower budget. Check out Petsling Street to get a sense of the city’s local shopping scene.
Given the mix of Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian cultures, the food in KL is diverse and delicious. There are a number of high-end restaurants in the KLCC area but some of my favourite food experiences came from the streets. Check out Jalal Alor Food Street where you can sample local favourites.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
I stayed at Mingle Hostel which is a great place to meet other travellers. I love this hostel because true to its name, they make it easy to meet other travelers.
The hostel has no shortage of social places and activities to help guests mingle with each other, including daily tours, events, and activities exclusively for Mingle guests.
The location of the hostel is right in the heart of Chinatown so food and shopping options nearby are excellent. If you want a social place to stay in Kuala Lumpur that’s more then just a party hostel, look no further then Mingle Hostel.
If you don’t want a hostel I recommend booking an airbnb at Regalia Suites. This apartment complex has become a well-known among backpackers due to its legendary rooftop pool, but the apartments themself are lovely too.
It’s a great option to stay if you’re just spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur. Better yet, get your first night free by using my Airbnb Discount code.
I flew to KL because I found a cheap ticket there from Canada, but ended up falling in love with the city. If you are looking for an entrance or exit to Asia I can’t recommend this vibrant multicultural city enough. There are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 3 days!
Wondering where to go after Kuala Lumpur? Head over to Borneo where you can go diving at Sipidan Island, one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.
Another great option is to visit Sri Lanka, a small island full of beauty. Check out my Sri Lanka Posts to get inspired. Just a 3-hour flight away from KL, Sri Lanka is a perfect addition to any South East Asia Itinerary.
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