Planning your next overseas escape? I’m always planning mine. With an upcoming overseas trip in February, I’ve got travel on the brain and suddenly realised I didn’t share my photographs from our last trip away in November to Kuala Lumpur! There is something about Asia that I just love. Is it the food? The colour? The amazing culture shock? Whatever it is we just keep on going back.
In the last few years we’ve visited Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia, and KL has always been on the list. It’s the perfect in between trip if you’re looking for culture but still want a relaxed holiday vibe with plenty of shopping and modern foodie options. I thought I’d share some pictures and a mini to-do list from our KL trip for those of you traveling in the near future.
WHERE TO STAY
We checked into the ultra modern, ultra stylish KL Journal in Bukit Bintang for our week away. Only a few years old, the hotel boasts a rooftop infinity pool with city views, multiple bars and restaurants and extremely comfortable, Instagram worthy rooms. The staff were brilliant and extremely attentive and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We spent many an afternoon kicking back by the pool, enjoying the hotel signature cocktail list and bar bites and soaking it all in. We chose the hotel due to location (and the fact it’s only just over a year old). Located in Bukit Bintang (the shopping hub of KL), it was perfect!
The Journal is super modern (that lobby) and the rooms were extremely comfortable and clean. We felt extremely at home and the staff were exceptional, organising transport whenever necessary, assisting us with all of the questions and suggesting places to eat and things to see and do. I was so sad to leave!
The KL Journal also boasts a coffee shop on site with a brilliant buffet all you can eat breakfast menu, a rooftop infinity pool bar and a third bar and restaurant with happy hour every night! Luxe much and under $100AUD per night!
WHERE TO EAT
One of my favourite things about KL are the night food markets that pop up every evening. With something for everyone, you could go every night and not eat the same thing twice! The Jalan Alor Food Street in Bukit Bintang is a nightly market where the streets comes alive with vendors galore. You’ll find everything on this strip, from traditional Malaysian food to Western Cuisine, Indian, Chinese and the rest. Prices are super low and E and I ate for about $10-$13 AUD all up every night, and that included dessert and drinks! You won’t find that in Perth. My picks from Jalan Alor Food Street? I truly cannot choose, but do stop and grab some homemade coconut ice cream (served in a fresh coconut) after you’ve had dinner. Yum!
I’m always on the hunt for good, real coffee overseas (check out my best coffee spots in Singapore here), so whilst in KL I did my research and knew I had to try FEEKA Coffee Roasters in Bukit Bintang. A short walk through the colourful streets and alleyways from The KL Journal, the cafe is minimalist heaven. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus tasty desserts and sweet treats. The coffee is A+ and exactly what I needed after drinking Malaysian coffee for the week. If you’re hungry I highly recommend you try the Duck Sandwich. It blew my mind, and tastebuds.
If you’re looking for something totally traditional I also recommend New Ocean in Imbi. My friend D took me out for dinner whilst we were away and although the restaurant doesn’t look too flash, the food was epic. Try the Tea Smoked Duck, you’ll be in foodie heaven!
WHAT TO SEE
When visiting a new county or city I love to do the tourist thing and check out all the landmarks and places of interest. I AM a tourist thank you very much! We packed in a heap of touristy adventures whilst in KL and it was so cool to experience the traditional culture of the city.
If you’re afraid of heights the KL Tower and Petronas Towers may not be your cup of tea, but the views from the two are worth fighting your fears. We visited the KL Tower during the day, and although E’s fear got the better of her, I made my way to the top of the tower and experienced the most beautiful view of the city and surrounding mountains. It’ll set you back 105MYR ($31AUD) to make your way to the Sky Deck but I believe it was totally worth it. As for the Petronas Towers, we visited in the evening to experience them all lit up. We didn’t make our way to the top of this tower (which you can do), but the view from the bottom was pretty epic. The KLCC park where the towers live is also home to an amazing shopping centre (Suria KLCC) and laser show in the evenings, plus restaurants galore. Make an evening of it!
If you’re a fan of animals I highly recommend the KL Bird Park and KL Butterfly Park. The bird park is a 20 acre open aviary and park you can stroll through at your own pace, enjoy an ice cream and spot hundreds of different bird species. Majority of the birds roam free and share the path with you which was a pretty cool experience. My favourites were the beautiful pink flamingos chilling by a lake, so pretty! The Bird Park will set you back 50MYR ($15AUD). The Butterfly Park is not far from The Bird Park so you could easily make a morning of it. A lot smaller than the Bird Park, we only spent about half an hour wandering through the beautiful gardens amongst the butterflies, but it was a really surreal experience. I am sad to say I didn’t have a butterfly land on me, but they did get very up close and personal. Entry will set you back 22MYR ($6AUD).
For the nature loves, the KL Forest Eco Park in Bukit Nanas is the only natural rainforest inner city you’ll find in the world! It truly is a little spot of paradise amongst the hustle and bustle of KL. Entry is free and make sure you take the string brides up into the forest canopy. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition of city meets rainforest. If you enjoy a trek the park also has a lot of walking trails to experience. Don’t forget your water though – the humidity is intensified in the Eco Park!
Want to experience some ancient culture whilst in KL? The Batu Caves in Selangor are just that. We took the train out to the caves (it’s 13KM from the city centre), and made a half day of it. With multiple caves and Hindu shrines to explore, it was a morning of colour and culture. My advice, go to the toilet before you leave your hotel and avoid the water bottle, the toilet situation is pretty dire and we actually had to pay to use a filthy long drop, ew! If you’re game climb the 200 plus steps to the top of the cave and take a look inside. I guarantee you’ll spot a monkey or five, plus the view from the top is pretty amazing. Don’t forget to cover up at the Batu Caves too, being a traditional spot you must show respect. Long pants and a light long sleeve shirt is recommended. I stupidly wore shorts and had to rent a “sarong” to wear whilst climbing the cave.
WHERE TO SHOP
For the traditional kind of shopping the Central Market in the city centre is a great place to start. With everything from souvenirs, art, crafts, natural medicines and clothing it’s nice to wander through and experience the real KL. The building is absolutely stunning too. Outside the Central Market you’ll find even more market stalls (Bali style) selling “designer” labels, fresh juice, clothing, toys, street food and more.
The China Town night market is one thing not to miss in KL. Get ready to barter if you want a bargain. I spent at least 15 minutes trying to get to a decent price for a bag I wanted. Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away if you don’t like the price you’re given – guarantee the seller will call you back and settle! My tip – start at a third of what the vendor is asking for!
For the fancy ones among us, the Pavilion KL is a designer fans dream. Think LV, Chanel and the rest, but the usual suspects including H&M, Uniqlo and Sephora can also be found in the Bukit Bintang shopping area at Lot 10 Shopping Centre and the surrounds. All of the major shopping centres are clumped together in Bukit Bintang, and it’ll take you hours to get through it all.
Whilst I enjoyed browsing Pavilion and Lot 10, our favourite shopping centre in KL was the Mid Valley Mega Mall. Suggested by my friend D, I’m so glad we left Bukit Bintang and headed out to Mid Valley City. It’s a short drive up the highway but worth it, because it’s the perfect mid range mall with something for everyone. I frothed over the huge Forever 21, Dorothy Perkins and Zara. From memory it’s about five or six levels high, with an entire level dedicated to food. Plus if you’re tired from all of the walking, there are multiple day spas on one of the higher levels – a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage at Thai Odyssey will set you back 61.50MYR ($18AUD). Or if you want the whole shebang (for 180 minutes) it’ll cost you 378MYR ($112AUD). Treat yourself!
Now I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. I’ll actually be back in Malaysia next month as we’ve just booked our next trip to Borneo! Plus we’ve snuck in a few days in KL for another visit to the mega mall and foodie haunts. Counting down the days already!
Flights to KL start at $300 return with Scoot.
Where was your last trip? Where are you off to next?