In this guest post Lora Pope from Explore with Lora shares with us her insider knowlage on all things Kuala Lumpa. So if you are traveling solo to Kuala Lumpa and looking for things to do in KL alone, then you are in the right place!
The Solo Girls Guide to Kuala Lumpur
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. 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.
Top things to do in KL alone
Here are my top picks of places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
Batu Caves is a beautiful Hindu Temple inside of a cave. The cave is easy to access from the center of Kuala Lumpur as there is a direct train there. It’s a popular tourist attraction but well worth a visit; go in the early morning or late evening to beat the crowds. Recently, the Hindu community painted the steps to the cave rainbow colors, which makes it even more beautiful.
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 the 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.
Eat your way through the city:
Given the mix of Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian cultures, the food in KL is diverse and delicious, to say the least. There are a number of high-end restaurants in the KLCC area but some of my favorite food experiences came from the streets. Check out Jalal Alor Food Street where you can sample local favorites.
KL Bird Park:
This is a 20.9-acre public, an outdoor aviary in the middle of the city. A great chance to see some of the exotic birds of Malaysia, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Next, to the bird park, there is also a gorgeous botanical garden you can visit to see the local flora and fauna.
Where to go in KL at night
Nightlife experiences in Kuala Lumpur are plentiful as the city is filled with bars, pubs, and clubs on the streets. Bukit Bintang is a narrow street filled with bars and is well known as Kuala Lumpur’s definitive party venue.
There are a number of incredible rooftop bars to visit where you can take in the gorgeous city skyline.
Helicopter Pad Lounge
My favorite! This unique bar is set on a helicopter pad located on a rooftop, offering the best views of the city. The lounge opens at 6 and the rooftop at 7, so get there early to get a seat. After 9, the bar turns into a nightclub and a dress code becomes enforced.
Another great way to experience the culture and food in Kuala Lumpur is at the night markets. Each day of the week, a small section of neighborhoods get closed off from traffic from 6 PM onwards to make room for stalls. Locals go to buy a variety of goods in the evening and visitors can also enjoy authentic local fishes at a cheap price.
All of the above places are populated areas, but if you aren’t comfortable exploring at night alone, most of the hostels run nightly bar crawls you can sign up for. Alternatively, couchsurfing.com now does weekly meet-ups in KL that anyone can join.
How to get from Kuala Lumpur airport to 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.
The KLIA Express is a non-stop high-speed train that connects KL international airport and the Kuala Lumpur Airport. It costs 55MYR per one-way ticket and takes 33 minutes.
Taxis are available from the airport and should cost you 80-100MYR to the city center. Be sure to negotiate the price beforehand.
Uber and other ride-sharing apps work in KL, which are typically cheaper than taxis. I used Grab during my entire time in KL, as did the other travelers I met there.
Your hostel/hotel may also offer transfers for an additional cost, e-mail them before arriving to find out.
What I experienced walking around Kuala Lumpur was that once you are in a popular area you can safely walk around by yourself (for example, Bukit Butang, KL complex, Chinatown), but walking between those areas I did not feel as safe, as the streets were quieter and not pedestrian friendly. Like any big cities, there are good and bad neighborhoods to be in. If you aren’t sure it’s best to take a grab or ask the receptionist if the area is safe to walk around at night.
The best way to get around (especially at night) is to just get a Grab to your destination/area. They are affordable and safe. I did not use taxis while visiting KL, as I heard of several taxi scams in which drivers will not use the meter and then charge the tourist exorbitant sums of money once they arrive. Grab has a set fare that both you and the driver can see on the app.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Mingle Hostel. This Kuala Lumpur hostel comes highly recommended. I started my trip in KL with mingle hostel which is a great place to meet other travelers. They have a social atmosphere and offer daily activities from the hostel. The hostel is next to Chinatown so food and shopping options nearby are great.
Regalia Suites and Residences
This apartment complex has become a well-known AIR BNB option for travelers due to its legendary rooftop pool. Rates vary on AIR BNB depending on the type of room, but I snagged a one-bedroom for $25/night while visiting.
Kuala Lumpur safety tips
Malaysia is a predominately Muslim country so it’s best to be respectful and take dress cues from the locals to be sure to not offend anyone. If you plan to visit any temples, dress conservatively and cover your knees and shoulders. When visiting a mosque, cover your head and limbs with a headscarf’s and sarong (many mosques lend these at the entrance).
After dark, take a grab to your destination and avoid walking alone in quiet or seedy parts of town. If you are walking around, keep your head up and be alert. Don’t walk around looking down at your phone, as someone could grab it from you.
Always be proactive about your safety. Like any big city, treat overly friendly strangers, both male and female, with a good deal of caution and use your judgment when something appears too good to be true.
I flew to KL because I found a cheap ticket there from Canada, but I ended up falling in love with the city and now I’m planning a trip back. If you are planning a trip to Asia I recommend coming to KL and spending at least a few days exploring this wonderful city
Lora Pope is a Canadian travel blogger on a quest to visit every country in the world and discover the best wildlife and nature that the planet has to offer. She has traveled to 47 countries and is currently backpacking through India on as part of a one-year trip around the world. While traveling her favorite things to do are hike, dive, and try to find wildlife. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism and loves to find organizations around the world that are too.
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