Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and is a unique city to visit in South East Asia. At first glance it is a modern city like any other, filled with skyscrapers and modern buildings.
However, look closer and you will find that it is also home to fascinating colonial architecture, natural parks, and durian…lots of durian.
How To Spend One Day in Kuala Lumpur
If you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur, make sure to visit these key attractions. You can also find some top hotel and hostel picks at the end.
How to get around Kuala Lumpur
If you’re in a rush, the easiest and quickest way to get downtown is via taxi. You can use the Grab app (similar to Uber) then you don’t have to worry about money. The MRT is also an easy way to get around the city, find a complete guide to the MRT and buses here.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is any bird lover’s paradise. Advertised as the world’s largest free-flight aviary, this is truly a great place to see birds from various regions all in one place. There are four zones to explore and the whole thing can take about 2 – 3 hours.
Zone 1 has a lush tropical rainforest and is connected to Zone 2, where the more elusive birds can be found. Zone 3 is known as Hornbill Park, and this is where you will see various Hornbill species. Zone 4 has Oriental birds as well as the education centre and amphitheater.
Although it’s known as an aviary, the park is also home to other animals such as monkeys. They can be seen gleefully diving into the water or swinging from trees. The bird park is open every day, including holidays so it’s always ideal if you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur.
The aviary is beside the Butterfly Park as well as the Orchid Garden. If you have time, you should also visit these attractions.
Petronas Twin Towers
When you think of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, you probably think of the Petronas Towers. No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without passing by this majestic architectural feat located in the heart of downtown.
The Towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 and 2004, and today remain the world’s tallest Twin Towers. Although you can see them during the day, it is much better to enjoy them at night.
Going up the towers, you can see the Skybridge and Observation Deck. This is the best place in the city to view the cityscape. If you’re feeling brave, you can also get your photo taken at the Menara Tower glass floor. Just don’t look down!
There are two boxes located upstairs where you can get your picture taken. The line for these photos gets long during peak hours, so try to avoid weekends or consider if its worth it if you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur.
Because the Towers are located right in the heart of downtown, they are very close to the next popular tourist spot on this list.
The Golden Triangle
Known as Kuala Lumpur’s entertainment and shopping hub, the Golden Triangle got its name because its streets resemble a triangle.
This is home to the most popular tourist attractions. Head to Jalan P. Ramlee if you are looking for bars and entertainment, or Bukit Bintang for shopping. Be sure to bring your wallet as prices in the Golden Triangle are a bit steep!
Thean Hou Buddhist Temple
Thean Hou, also known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven, is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia! Overlooking the Federal Highway, the best way to get to the temple is to drive, a taxi can take you there for a few dollars.
Built in 1894, the first thing you may notice when you enter is the Chinese Zodiac animals prominently displayed in the garden. The temple also features a pond with a well, as well as its own Boddhi tree.
Walk inside and pay your respects to the various gods within the shrines, or simply come to marvel at this archeological beauty. No matter what your religion, you will feel a sense of calm when being here.
The National Mosque of Malaysia
Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, so there are plenty of mosques within the country. However, the National Mosque, also known as Masjid Negara, this is the most popular mosque so its perfect if you only have a day in Kuala Lumpur.
Marked by the strikingly blue roof, this mosque features a main prayer hall as well as 48 smaller domes! Even if you do not make it inside, it is still strikingly beautiful to see the exterior. A must-see if you have ony day in Kuala Lumpur.
If you are a non-Muslim visitor, you are permitted to enter during specific times of the day. As this is a place of worship, be sure to dress accordingly. However, robes are provided for those who are not.
Now that you know where to go, be sure to make the most of your time in this wonderful city. If you are traveling in Indonesia, be sure to visit the charming island of Langkawe or the neighbouring country of Singapore!
Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur?
There are some fantastic (and cheap) options in Kuala Lumpur that are perfect for a short stay. Here are our favourites:
Sky Society: A luxury hostel with beautiful modern decor. You also get to enjoy an infinity pool and the gorgeous view of the city. It’s perfect for photography. There’s also an outdoor pool and a kitchen. The bunks also have a curtain for privacy.
Adya Hotel: If you’re looking for a private room with a low price tag, this is the one for you. Daily room service, free water and coffee. The rooms are exceptionally clean and within walking distance of a subway and a 7/11. It’s within walking distance of China town too.
Oasis Suites: If you’re looking for luxury then Oasis Suites offer a beautiful, relaxing get-away in the heart of the city. Beautiful rooms, rooms service, a great view, and a pool.