Kuala Lumpur is a big travel hub in Southeast Asia. It’s the entrance door for tourists that come to discover the beautiful Malaysia or are connecting flights to other countries in Asia. What most of the people don’t know is that this interesting city should be more than a place to connect flights. Plan your trip and leave at least one day to visit KL, believe me, it’s possible. To make the most of you time in town, follow our travel guide to spend one day in Kuala Lumpur, itinerary and travel tips to the main attractions in KL.
The first thing you need to organize is accommodation! If you gonna spend one day in Kuala Lumpur, or better say, 24 hours, your hotel needs to be well located, even better if it’s close to one of the monorail/train stations. Before we list the places to visit in Kuala Lumpur in one day, we need to talk about some practical travel information.
Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
There are hotels in Kuala Lumpur for all budgets and tastes, from top international hotel chains to hostels. If you are looking for a fancy stopover in Kuala Lumpur you should stay in one of the hotels around the Petronas Towers. For a truly lavish experience, Traders Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental are great options.
For those traveling to Kuala Lumpur on a budget, the hostel Back Home KL has good reviews and the location is great.
How to Get Around Kuala Lumpur in one day
If you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur don’t waste time in traffic, the public transportation is efficient and the 9 trains/metro lines can’t take you almost everywhere in town. On My Rapid KL you can check all the lines and connections, it will help you to get around Kuala Lumpur easily and fast.
If your hotel or a place you want to visit in KL is far from the train station, then you will need a taxi. Many taxi drivers speak English, but the language barrier is always an issue, especially you are going to a not so touristy place. Uber works perfectly in Kuala Lumpur, you avoid the language problem and can also pay with your credit card. Sign up now and get a discount for your next ride.
Places to visit in Kuala Lumpur in One Day
There are many things to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day. So don’t be lazy, get out of the bed, have a delicious breakfast, and be ready to explore this multicultural city. Here it goes, our lists of what to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day:
The Batu Caves are one of the most famous attractions in Kuala Lumpur, and even if you only have one day in KL, you must visit it. I recommend you to go there early in the morning. Put the Batu Caves on the top of your KL itinerary, so you won’t miss it.
The 400 million years old cave is located outside of town and you can go there using public transportation. The KTM Blue Line leaves from KL Sentral station and the last stop is the Batu Caves. Don’t forget to dress respectfully as the Caves are a complex of Hindu temples and people from all around the world go there to visit and pray.
The Batu Caves are famous for its natural beauty and for the Lord Murugan, a statue with 42.70 meters height that stands beside the huge staircase (272 steps) that leads inside the cave. Be careful with the little nasty monkeys that will follow you climbing the stairs. They are looking for food, and they will steal everything that looks like a bottle of water or plastic bags. Please, don’t feed them!! Their bad behavior is a consequence of irresponsible tourists that feed and try to pet them.
Once you finish visiting the Batu Caves jump on the train and go back to town, there are more great things to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building & Merdeka Square
Your second stop on our Kuala Lumpur itinerary is the historical and beautiful Merdeka Square and the stunning Sultan Abdul Samad building. Stroll around, snap some photos and enjoy the scenery.
Surrounding the square you find the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the National Textile Museum, but as you only have one day in Kuala Lumpur, I suggest you skip the visit and head to the next attraction.
Kuala Lumpur Central Market
By this time you might be hungry, so before getting inside the Central Market grab a fruit, a juice or a local snack while walking through the pedestrian street beside the market building. Built in 1928 the Central Market is also called as Pasar Seni, in the past, it was a wet market, but on 1980’s change to a crafts and souvenirs. Inside you will find beautiful wooden work, traditional Batik painting, silk scarves and much more.
Petaling Street, the Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur
A day trip to Kuala Lumpur won’t be complete without a stop at the busy Petaling Street, the heart of Chinese community in KL. It’s one of the most visited places in Kuala Lumpur and the reason is simple: good street food, cheap stuff and a fun atmosphere. If you decided to buy something don’t forget to bargain.
When you get tired of haggling and eat Chinese delights catch the LRT Line 5 and stop at KCLL. Mind your time and try to leave the Chinatown before 4 PM, so you have time enough to visit a few other attractions before the sunset.
Petronas Twin Tower and KL Tower
The Petronas Towers are the symbol of modern KL and one of the attraction you must visit. The 88 story identical towers were the tallest building in the world until 2004. The Islamic-inspired building has a Sky Bridge on the 41st and 42nd floor where you can go and have a privileged view of Kuala Lumpur skyline. If you don’t feel like going so high, or you are on a tight budget and don’t want to buy the entrance tickets don’t worry, the view you get from the bottom of the towers is incredible too. Inside the building, a huge mall is a truly shopping paradise with international brands and some upscale boutiques.
The Sky Bridge is only one of the great viewpoints in KL, if you want to have a birdseye view of the city you can also visit the Menara KL Towers, a 421m high telecommunications and broadcasting tower that has an observation deck on the top, a restaurant and many other activities for visitors.
Now that you already saw the skyline during daylight, it’s time to be hypnotized by KL’s night skyline, to finish your first day in Kuala Lumpur nothing better than sunset drinks on a rooftop bar.
Sunset and Rooftop Bar in Kuala Lumpur
There are many rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur, the most famous one is the Sky Bar at the 33rd floors of the Traders Hotel. If you have time you can go during the day and enjoy the swimming pool with a great view to the Petronas Towers.
But if you want to have a unique experience, the place you should go to celebrate your one day trip to Kuala Lumpur is the Heli Lounge Bar! This aviation themed bar must be on your Kuala Lumpur itinerary. Located on the 34th floor of Menara BH Building, it has a beautiful view from the Petronas and KL towers. But the greatest thing about this bar is that the tables are set on the helipad of the building. Yes, this is true!! You can sip your cocktail and enjoy the sunset literally from the top of the building, without a roof over you or a wall around. It’s the best 360º Skyview e in KL.
We went to the Heli Lounge Bar for the sunset and to celebrate my birthday, it was magical! To witness the city light up is a great experience, something you should not miss on your day in Kuala Lumpur. If you are afraid of height don’t worry, the bar is actually on the 34th floor with walls and windows, the helipad is one more space of the lounge where you can relax and enjoy the view.
Dinner at Jalan Alor and Bukit Bintang Street
To wrap up your day trip in Kuala Lumpur nothing better than a delicious dinner. Our Kuala Lumpur itinerary finishes at Bukit Bintang area, famous for local food, international restaurants, and trendy bars. Be prepared for a feast of flavors, busy streets and vendors trying to convince you they have the tastiest food, the coldest beers, and best music.
The vibe at Jalan Alor Street is very relaxed and it’s packed with tourists. If you want to try Malaysia traditional food this is the place. There you find Malay recipes, Chinese food, Indian, fresh fruits, and seafood. A great way to learn about Malaysian food and eat well is by joining a tour like Off the “Eaten” track.
If you don’t feel courageous enough to try the street food [what is really good, believe me] head to Changkat Bukit Bintang Street for a big variety of resto-bars. My birthday dinner was at the Pinchos Tapas Bar, so far one of the best Spanish food we had in Southeast Asia, great selection of wines and beers. If you want to add an international touch to your one day visit to Kuala Lumpur go to Pinchos or any other lovely restaurant in that area.
This one day in Kuala Lumpur itinerary is an introduction to KL tourist attractions, to give you a sense of how Kuala Lumpur is a multicultural, modern and at the same time a traditional city. If you still have time, or if you decide to stay one more day in KL, here are some suggestions of what to do in Kuala Lumpur. Attractions that will give you a better understanding of Malaysian history, culture, and religion. More places to visit in Kuala Lumpur:
- National Mosque – Masjid Negara
- Little India
- Thean Hou Temple
- KLCC Park
- Perdana Botanical Garden
- KL Bird Park
- Aquaria – Kuala Lumpur’s Aquarium
If Kuala Lumpur is the start of your trip in Malaysia, check our posts about Langkawi, a stunning island in the Andaman Sea. Green mountains, waterfalls, pristine beaches and adventure. We have been there twice and loved that little paradise.
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