Glittering Kuala Lumpur is a truly global city; it’s a melting pot of cultures, with influences from countries including Britain, China, and India, but still manages to maintain a distinct Malaysian vibe. Travellers love Kuala Lumpur for its amazing architecture, the abundance of museums, modern attractions and temples, and mosques. Malaysia’s capital is a wealth of culture, and 2 days in Kuala Lumpur is just enough to get a taste of this captivating city.
Kuala Lumpur is often a stopover destination for travelers venturing from destinations in Asia or Australasia to Europe or elsewhere in Asia; but if you have a stopover, why not extend it and make it a 2-day layover to check out some of the best sights that the city has to offer?
How to get to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur airport is incredibly accessible from destinations in Asia, Australasia, and even Europe. Cheap AirAsia flights reach Kuala Lumpur from many destinations around South East Asia and China. The airport is also serviced by many other airlines; it is a hub for Malaysian Airways and is serviced by other national airlines.
It’s easy to reach Kuala Lumpur from the airport. Trains or bus leave, both bound for KL Sentral – the main station. Trains are faster, but the buses are cheaper. Once you reach KL Sentral, you can take the monorail to the station nearest your accommodation.
Alternatively, Grab (a taxi app) is affordable and popular in Kuala Lumpur. There is WiFi in Kuala Lumpur airport, so you can download the Grab app (if you haven’t already!) and order one from there. You can choose to pay the driver in cash.
If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur from elsewhere in Malaysia or Singapore, overland travel is simple. Long distance buses are cheap and readily available – journey time is approximately 7-8 hours from Singapore and 5-6 hours from Penang. Trains also connect the country and reach up to Bangkok in Thailand.
What to do for 2 days in Kuala Lumpur
There are many sites to see within the city itself, plus some very easy trips to nearby destinations or day trips further afield.
Masjid Negara (National Mosque)
The Masjid Negara welcomes visitors at certain times of the day outside of prayer. They provide guests with long robes with a hood for women (if you are female, your hair must be covered) and visitors are welcome to walk around the grand building at their own leisure; of course, being considerate about any signs for areas that are for Muslims only. Sometimes volunteers are within the mosque, and they will tell you all about the history of the building and the significance of Islam in Malaysia.
If you want to purchase any bags, shoes, belts and more, the Central Market is your place. It sells all sorts, from fake designer labels to dried legumes. It’s also a great spot to grab some dinner; there are plenty of restaurants lining the marketplace.
Museum Negara (National Museum)
A fantastic starting point for national history, the Museum Negara discusses the tale of Malaysia; from ancient history to how the modern culture has developed. It’s a great place to get a grounding in Malaysia and learn why it is such an ethnically diverse country, about the natural landscape, and how Islam came to be the dominant religion (but also how other religions are respected and celebrated). For 5 ringgit entrance, it’s an absolute bargain.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Now we’re onto the Hindu temples! Kuala Lumpur has always had a big Indian population, thus the need for Hindu temples is prevalent. Guests are welcome to enter the temple and look around, admiring the statues of Hindu deities. Quite often, music is played and joyous prayers happen – which guests are sometimes invited to watch. Seeing the Hindu temple is another side of Malaysian culture and is a must-visit when in Kuala Lumpur.
Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque)
Situated at the founding place of Kuala Lumpur, where the two rivers meet (Kuala Lumpur actually means ‘muddy place where two rivers meet!), the iconic Masjid Jamek has absolutely breathtaking architecture and is well worth a visit – even if you have already visited the Masjid Negara. The exterior of this mosque is the most impressive – so be sure to take it in from the outside. Similarly to the Masjid Negara, you can enter the mosque and look around outside of prayer time.
If there’s one thing to represent modern-day Kuala Lumpur, it’s the futuristic Petronas Towers. They are an icon of Kuala Lumpur and are one of the most significant landmarks in Malaysia. Visit during the night to see them lit up.
Islamic Arts Museum
If you’re interested in Islamic art and design, this is the place to visit. With various displays – some intertwining together and some as individual pieces – it’s a fantastic place to not only appreciate Islamic art but also learn about Islamic history through artwork.
National Visual Arts Gallery
Containing murals, paintings, and sculptures, the National Visual Arts gallery houses artwork from Malaysia and abroad. It is separated on floors; the ground floor is dedicated to Malaysian art, with contemporary artwork on the second floor and traditional paintings on the top. It’s a wonderful place to visit for any art lovers or anyone wanting a slice of Malaysian culture.
A train ride away from the city, the Batu Caves take about half a day to visit and enjoy properly. It’s an easy journey out there, and entry to most of the caves are free. Here, you can enjoy the spirituality of these caves as well as take part in a cave tour which explains some of the flora and fauna found in tropical caves like these.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Budget: Paper Plane Hostel
This hostel is perfect for the budget traveler; with a social atmosphere, lovely and helpful staff and funky artwork all around the hostel, as well as cute free toiletries and other extras, you’ll feel like you’re in a ‘home away from home’ in Paper Plane Hostel. Choose from a dorm room or a private accommodation. Check rates here.
Mid-Range: Summer Suites Bernice
This aparthotel offers studios with a kitchenette, so you can cater for your own needs. Other facilities are great air conditioning, comfortable beds, clean en-suite bathroom and a swimming pool. It’s in a great location – right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Check rates here.
Luxury: The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur does luxury very well, and the Majestic Hotel is no exception. This world-class hotel offers deluxe en-suite rooms; some with a four-poster bed and a standalone tub in the bathroom. The hotel has a pool, a fitness center and a spa and wellness center. Check rates here.
Day trips from Kuala Lumpur
If you’re looking for a coastal retreat to cool off in Malaysia’s heat, head to Port Dickson for gorgeous beaches, complete with palm trees and glittering blue ocean. Port Dickson is quite touristy, but it’s a welcome respite for anyone after some sea and sand after the urban chaos of Kuala Lumpur. Port Dickson is located 1 hour 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur and can be reached by train or bus.
A two and a half hour drive or bus ride away from Kuala Lumpur, Malacca is a wonderfully historic and quaint city. Visit to enjoy the mosques, local food, and epic viewpoints. Visit museums and enjoy delightful restaurants in the city. There is a strong Portuguese influence in the city, and you can visit the Portuguese Village where descendants of Portuguese colonists still live!
Where to go from Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur airport is a hub, so it’s possible to fly to lots of destinations in Asia, Australasia, and Europe from here. AirAsia has a hub in Kuala Lumpur, with budget flights to locations all over South East Asia and Australia.
You can also venture south towards Singapore or north towards Thailand and South East Asia overland.
Two days in Kuala Lumpur would be just enough to give you a taste of the city, see the main things to do and maybe take a short trip to somewhere nearby!
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