How to spend 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and home to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, world-class shopping malls, and a huge collection of temples and mosques. But for me personally, it’s the delicious food that keeps me coming back! Read on to find out how to experience the best of Kuala Lumpur in 48 hours!

How to get to Kuala Lumpur?

From Singapore

The direct train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur was discontinued a few years back but you can still take the plane or bus. The bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur takes about 4-5 hours depending on traffic. It will only make two stops at the Singapore and Malaysia borders before dropping you off at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). From there, take a taxi or go to level 3 to purchase a train ticket to the city.

From Penang

Once you’re done exploring the street art of Penang, it’s time to jump on a bus to KL. To get to Kuala Lumpur from Penang, take a short ferry ride to Butterworth followed by a bus.

If you’re staying in Georgetown, simply take a direct bus from there. The journey takes about 5 hours.

From Cameron Highlands

The bus journey from Cameron Highlands takes about 4 hours and departs four times a day from Tanah Rata bus terminal.

From Melaka (Malacca)

The UNESCO heritage city of Melaka is located a mere 2-hour bus ride from KL. You will be dropped at TBS and from there, take a taxi or train to the city.

From Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan)

If you’re coming from the tropical rainforest of Taman Negara, you can book tickets for a minivan to KL. The total journey takes on average 7-8 hours.

Kuala Lumpur Itinerary Day 1

Shop ‘til you drop at Bukit Bintang

The shopping district of Bukit Bintang shouldn’t be missed while spending 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur! If you can afford to splash out, head to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, a glitzy shopping mall home to high-end stores. But if you’re on a backpacking budget, you can score some cheap deals at Sungei Wang Plaza or Berjaya Times Square. The latter also features a thrilling roller coaster ride!

Once you’ve built up an appetite, have lunch at the Hutong food court located in the basement of LOT 10 mall.

And don’t forget to check out the back alleys of Bukit Bintang where a plethora of vibrant street arts are hidden away from the crowds. Just open Google Maps and search for Jalan Alor KL Street Art 1 Lane and Jalan Alor KL Street Art 2 Lane for the exact location!

Take a stroll around KLCC Park

After swiping your cards away at Bukit Bintang, head to KLCC park for a respite from the heat and the best views of the Petronas Twin Towers. 

This 50-acre garden has a huge collection of trees, a jogging track, an artificial lake, water fountains and more! There’s even a free swimming pool for kids (or kids at heart)!

Snap a photo with the Petronas Twin Towers

Standing at 452 meters, the Petronas Towers are the world’s tallest twin towers and the most popular attraction in Kuala Lumpur. Did you even go to KL without snapping a photo in front of these two massive structures!?

But the main attractions are the skybridge and observation deck located on the 41st and 86th floors respectively. The admission rate for tourists might seem a bit steep at RM80 (US $18.93) but the view is well worth it! 

Tickets sell fast, so make sure to book at least 1 or 2 days in advance.

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays.

Watch the Lake Symphony Show 

After enjoying the view from the Petronas Twin Towers, head back to KLCC park to watch the Lake Symphony Show. The free light and sound show happens every night at 8 p.m, 9 p.m and 10 p.m.

Find a spot on the steps surrounding the lake to enjoy the light show and stare in awe as each level of the twin towers starts to light up against the night sky.

Eat your weight in local food

Jalan Alor Night Market boasts an impressive amount of local delicacies! It kind of feels chaotic with rows of stalls selling all sorts of local food, plastic tables and chairs scattered literally everywhere and vendors almost shoving their menus in your face. It’s quite touristy but prices are affordable and the food tastes so good! 

If popular tourist markets aren’t your thing, I recommend going to Taman Connaught night market which takes place every Wednesday evening.

Kuala Lumpur Itinerary Day 2

Visit the Batu Caves

The Batu Caves are among the most popular tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur and also an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus. The most notable feature of the Batu Caves used to be the massive golden statue of Lord Murugan until the 272 steps leading up the temple were painted in rainbow colors. Since then it has become an extremely popular Instagram spot but not without its fair share of controversy.

Due to its recent rise in popularity, visiting the Batu Caves requires an early wake-up call. Getting there early also means that you will be able to avoid the scorching heat. 

Entrance is free but donations are welcome.

Experience Chinatown’s cultural melting pot 

Chinatown is the backpackers’ scene of KL and is always hopping at any time of the day and night. Start with Petaling Street where you will find stalls selling souvenirs, knock-off goodies and mouth-watering food. Vendors will be vying for your attention and can sometimes be very persuasive but remember that bargaining is the way of life. 

If you dare, get a taste of the durian fruit or settle for the more traditional dishes such as fried rice or noodles, laksa (noodles drowned in a spicy curry sauce) or lok lok (veggie/meat/seafood skewers). 

Nothing screams Malaysia more than its melting pot of cultures. While in Chinatown, make sure to visit Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, Guan Di Temple and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.

If you’re on a souvenir shopping spree, you can also visit the Central Market and Kasturi Walk.

Explore Little India

Situated about 2 km from Chinatown is Little India, commonly known as Brickfields.

Immerse yourself in Malaysia’s Indian heritage by exploring this lively and colorful district filled with Hindu temples, shops selling Indian clothing, spices and delicious food such as the famous Indian banana leaf. 

Afternoon walk at KL Forest Eco Park (Bukit Nanas)

Escape the hectic city life by going for a walk at the KL Forest Eco Park, the only rainforest reserve left in Kuala Lumpur. There’s an abundance of walking trails to choose from, all of which are suitable for all ages and ability levels. 

Don’t miss the canopy bridge, perched at 200 meters above ground which offers a unique perspective of the lush vegetation with views over the city’s skyline. The park is free to visit and great for those looking for a peaceful oasis in the middle of KL!

Watch the sunset at KL tower (Menara Tower)

Finally, visit the KL Tower just in time for sunset and linger for a while to watch the city light up. It’s the second most popular landmark in Kuala Lumpur, after the Petronas Towers. Although the entrance fee is cheaper at RM49 (US $11.60), the views are more spectacular as the outdoor sky deck offers unobstructed 360-degree views.

If you aren’t afraid of heights, you can even get your picture taken inside the Sky Box, a glass box that extends out of the building. It’s quite nerve-wracking as the floor is completely transparent!

Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily

Now that you know what to do in Kuala Lumpur, it’s time to experience this cultural melting pot for yourself. From the iconic twin towers rising high above the ground to the eclectic neighborhoods, this city packs quite a punch and is definitely a must-visit when in Southeast Asia.

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