48 hours in Kuala Lumpur for free!
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is an exotic mix of modern and ancient. A fascinating city that blends Malay, Chinese, and Indian heritage in its temples, markets and colonial architecture. We could wander round its parks for hours taking in the lush plants. Luckily, the main sights and parks have no admission fee. Here’s our guide of what to see in 48 hours in KL, for free:
For many, the Petronas Twin Towers are the must see sight of KL. Admission to the observation platforms isn’t free (get there early), but we think the best view is actually from below, as any instagram search will testify. The phenomenal towers were the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004 and feature motifs from Islamic art.
The towers complex is also home to the Esplanade with its 10,000 sq ft man-made Lake Symphony and its famous fountains. Don’t miss the nightly light and music show against the towering backdrop of the Towers. The fountain shows run for most of the evening alternating between light only and sound and light displays.
One of Malaysia’s top tourist sights, Batu Caves is a complex of caves and temples set in a steep limestone hill. All the main caves are free and feature idols, statues and 400 million year old limestone formations. The shrine is one of the most important Hindu temples in the world with 272 neon, rainbow steps (beware fearless, stealing monkeys); and a massive golden statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan. Remember to cover up and respect temple dress codes.
Go early to avoid the heat and tour bus crowds. Batu Caves are 11 km north of KL and easy and cheap to get to by bus or train. If you don’t fancy public transport, we suggest you avoid an expensive tour and travel by Grab – the local taxi app.
Merdeka Square is the historic, colonial centre of the city. The iconic square is significant for Malays as the site where they gained independence from Britain. Dominated by the moorish Sultan Abdul Samad building the square is flanked by museums and galleries and it surrounds the still active colonial cricket ground.
Central Market and Petaling Street:
Don’t miss exploring two of KL’s landmark markets. The pale blue Art Deco Central Market is a now a heritage sight and home to handicraft shops, art galleries and boutique stalls – plus the inescapable souvenir stands. Nearby is the more lively Petaling St. It’s a bargain hunter’s paradise and the place to browse fake designer goods whilst sampling delicious street food.
Petaling Street is more atmospheric at night and be prepared to haggle.
KL is home to several important temples. Many of which are in Chinatown. All of the following are free: Guan Di Temple and Sin Sze Si Ya – both Chinese, with the Taoist Sin Sze Si Ya dating back to 1864; and the 19th century Sri Mahamariamman Temple – the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur with stunning, colourful carvings of deities. Tean Hou Temple is further out it. Built in the 80s’s in the classical style is has 6 spectacular tiers. It’s one of the largest temples in Malaysia and stunning inside and out.
Whilst temple visits are free, donations are always welcome.