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First-timers guide to Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur (or KL as everyone here calls it) is an increasingly popular stop-over destination between Europe and Australia now that Singapore has become so expensive. Its a small city with big ideas. I have lived here for almost 20 years now and the pace of change is just amazing. Hope you enjoy your time in KL.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • LGBT

11 Places

5 City Tips

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Map

11 Places

Morganfield's

Restaurants

Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar

Restaurants

Frangipani Restaurant & Bar

Restaurants

Colonial Cafe Restaurant

Restaurants

OGalito

Restaurants

Marini's on 57

Restaurants

Petronas Twin Towers

Architectural Buildings

KLCC Park

Parks

Chinatown - Kuala Lumpur

Neighbourhoods, Flea & Street Markets

Menara Kuala Lumpur

Observation Decks & Towers

Merdeka Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Graham S's City Tips

  • Taxi-drivers are improving, but avoid touts and drivers who are parked outside shopping malls who refuse to use the meter. Hailing a taxi is a much better option. Blue SUV cabs are more expensive than the red/white or yellow saloons but still very cheap and usually cleaner and more service-oriented.
  • As in any big city there is street crime. Its rare in KL but take care to avoid walking with purses and bags close to the roadside as motorcycle snatch-thefts are a particular problem here.
  • Malaysia is a multi-ethnic multi-religious society where different races with different customs try their best to get along together in a harmonious way, usually with great success. English is widely spoken, sometimes better than by a native English speaker (!) and quiet courtesy and patience will overcome most misunderstandings.
  • Malaysians love eating out and the proliferation of eating places, from humble roadside stalls selling noodles to fine dining restaurants as good as anywhere in the West is mind-blowing.
  • Shopping is the primary focus here although there are a few must-see sights in the City Centre such as the Petronas Twin Towers, the KL Telecom Tower and the old Chinatown area with the Merdeka (Freedom) Square and old Courthouse nearby.
  • Save
    Morganfield's
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Barbecue)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    Malaysia may be a muslim majority country but KL is a Chinese city and the Chinese love their pork! Morganfields is a local chain restaurant that has multiple outlets in KL and Penang. Their best-known outlet is in the giant Pavilion Shopping Mall on Bukit Bintang and the menu is a pork-lovers heaven. The portions are gigantic and considering the location the prices are very reasonable. Food is great, especially the ribs!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • Casual dining, no dress code, make a reservation on weekend evenings as it gets VERY crowded. Happy hour until 8pm every day except eve of public holidays. Everything on the menu is super-sized so go careful on the ordering.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #324 of 3,442 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Go elsewhere 17/11/2017
    • Lovely food and staff 08/10/2017
    • Morganfield's
    Address:
    C4.03.00 Level 4 Pavilion KL Shoping Mall
    168 Jalan Bukit Bintang 55100
    Kuala Lumpur 55100
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2141 3192
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar
    Restaurants (Italian, European)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    Finest Italian restaurant in KL. Super-efficient service and authentic recipes. Friendly owner Roberto has run other popular Italian places in the city in the past and knows all about good food and attentive but not overbearing service. Prices very reasonable as he values repeat business.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Fine dining so dress smart casual or you will feel out of place. Flip-flops and shorts-wearers probably won't be turned away but may be encouraged to sit on the outside terrace.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #99 of 3,442 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Non-Asian option in KL 09/11/2017
    • Fantastic Italian food 04/11/2017
    • Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar
    Address:
    A-0-9, Ground Floor, St Mary Place, No. 1, Jalan Tengah
    Off Jalan Sultan Ismail
    Kuala Lumpur 50450
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 20223883
    Hours:
    Sun - Fri
    11:30 - 01:00
    Sat
    18:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Frangipani Restaurant & Bar
    Restaurants (French, Mediterranean, European, Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    Long-running fine dining restaurant at the end of the famous nightlife street of Cangkat Bukit Bintang. It serves high-price mediteranean fusion cuisine. Gets mixed reviews these days but the ambiance is very nice for a romantic dinner for two. Beware of the shallow pool in the middle of the restaurant - at least one patron a week ends up falling into it! Primary attraction is the upstairs bar which is popular on Friday nights with the local hairdresser and shampoo-boy crowd.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Friday night is high camp but all are welcome. Many of the female persuasion ( both real and fake) in attendance plus gym bunnies and their look-alike party-set friends. Bartenders mix good cocktails with prices to match. Cover charge on Friday nights which don't really get going until about 11pm. Other nights can be quiet.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • It WAS A GREAT PLACE TO EAT AND DANCE BUT ITS GONE, 23/11/2015
    • Gone but not forgotten 17/06/2015
    • Frangipani Restaurant & Bar
    Address:
    25 Changkat Bukit Bintang
    Kuala Lumpur 50200
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2144 3001
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    18:30 - 22:30
  • Save
    Colonial Cafe Restaurant
    Restaurants (European, Malaysian)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    Beautifully restored old colonial hotel close to the old KL railway station but now rather in the middle of nowhere. However you could visit the National Mosque, KL Bird park, and the Station before retiring to the Colonial Cafe in the hotel for lunch, high tea or dinner. Interesting dinner menu and a jazz quartet play in the evenings. Service and food quality of a high standard with prices to match.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Dress smart casual although there is no rigid dress code.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #246 of 3,442 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Value for money 06/11/2017
    • Colonial Afternoon Tea in a HK Char Chan Teng settings 30/08/2017
    • Colonial Cafe Restaurant
    Address:
    Jalan Hishamuddin
    Kuala Lumpur 50000
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2785 8000
    Other:
  • Save
    OGalito
    Restaurants (Italian, Mediterranean, European, Spanish, Grill, Wine Bar)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    Another mediterranean restaurant this time in the Pavilion shopping complex.. Excellent food quality and cooking especially the fish dishes. Service attentive, prices very reasonable. Sometimes the background music can be too loud for some but they will turn it down if you ask nicely.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • No dress code. Sit outdoors to people watch, indoors for the air-conditioning.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #679 of 3,442 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
    • Restaurant or Disco? 17/10/2017
    • THE STAFF WAS RUDE 07/09/2017
    • OGalito
    Address:
    Level 3 C3-05-00 Connection
    Pavilion Shopping Mall
    Kuala Lumpur 55100
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2141 0418
    Price range:
    US$5 - US$24
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    09:30 - 01:00
    Sat - Sun
    09:30 - 02:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Marini's on 57
    Restaurants (Italian, European, Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    This place has become quite an institution since it opened about two years ago. Italian food, quality OK but prices match the altitude. Its on top of the third KLCC (Petronas) tower so you get a close-up (some say too close up) view of the Twin Towers. Lighting is kept low and tables are a bit close together. Service theatrical but also can be snobbish I am told although, as a Westerner, they haven't tried that on me yet. Reservations a must and will be cancelled if you are late.

    Good for
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Strict dress code, no shorts, tank tops, flip-flops. If you don't fancy paying RM 300 for a meal (without wine) just go to the bar on the other side of the lift lobby. Same (or better) views of the towers and they serve bar snacks. Best KLCC views are from Troika Sky Dining on the 23rd (?) floor of the Troika apartment complex designed by Norman Foster & Co. But I haven't reviewed that restaurant (actually 3 restaurants in one) yet so TA won't let me post it in this guide.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #32 of 3,442 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
    • On Cloud 9 17/11/2017
    • Sky High Dining in KL 17/11/2017
    • Marini's on 57
    Address:
    Level 57, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC
    Kuala Lumpur 50088
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2386 6030
    Price range:
    US$50 - US$100
    Hours:
    Mon - Thu
    19:00 - 23:00
    Fri - Sun
    18:30 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Petronas Twin Towers
    Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    No point to say anything about this attraction. Its the number one sightseeing attraction in KL and the locals are very proud of it. Stunning Islamic architecture (designed by an Argentinian!)

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Better viewed from the outside as ordinary mortals have to queue up for entrance tickets early in the morning. Tickets are still free (I think) but strictly rationed. They get you up to the sky bridge level (44/45) not to the top. Rather chaotic tour I gather. Not for those who suffer vertigo.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 297 things to do in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • must see attraction 18/11/2017
    • Worth seeing in the night 18/11/2017
    • Petronas Twin Towers
    Address:
    Kuala Lumpur City Centre
    Kuala Lumpur 50088
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2331 8080
    Hours:
    Tue - Thu
    09:00 - 21:00
    Fri
    09:00 - 13:00
    14:30 - 21:00
    Sat - Sun
    09:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    KLCC Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    This relates to the shopping centre and park at the base of the twin towers. The mall has all the same shops as Pavilion on Bukit Bintang so its nothing particularly special, although there is a Petroscience (Petrosains) Discovery Centre on the top floor for the kids. The park and fountains are beautifully well-kept and there is a jogging track if you are staying in any of the nearby hotels (Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt, Traders, Impiana) . Unfortunately there are construction works on a new Four Seasons Hotel taking place adjacent to the park so it is not as peaceful as it would ordinarily be. Park area is patrolled day and night and is quite safe. There is a childrens play area and a paddling pool too.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • Many cafes set around the fountain. All are good for a quick lunch or coffee and some OK for dinner too. The mall has a post office on the concourse (LG) floor and there are plenty of mall-style dining options inside too. Chilis is my favourite, its next to the Cinema but is always crowded and has a queue for tables. No reservattions accepted.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 297 things to do in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Refreshing park 18/11/2017
    • KLCC PARK 17/11/2017
    • KLCC Park
    Address:
    Jalan Ampang
    Kuala Lumpur 50450
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2380 9032
    Other:
  • Save
    Chinatown - Kuala Lumpur
    Neighbourhoods, Flea & Street Markets
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    The centre of KL Chinatown host a world-famous street called Petaling Street. Here you can buy Rolex watches at astonishingly low prices all guaranteed for as long as they keep working. Fakes? Never! But great as fun gifts for Uncle Albert back home. Wander around and soak up the mainly tourist ambiance and then head for Central Market a few hundred yards further down Jalan Cheng Lock where you can buy handicrafts, paintings and artefacts. Best in the late afternoon - early evening

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • Keep an eye on your wallet or handbag. The street traders will chase thieves if they see them in operation as its bad for business, but the pickpockets are very good at what they do. You will be targeted if you are carrying a baby as they know you will not chase them. Pickpockets operate on the monorail too, especially during rush hours. They rarely act alone.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 297 things to do in Kuala Lumpur
    • Great place to pick up some genuinely bad fakes! 17/11/2017
    • Just for a Laugh and a phony phone, watch, bag 16/11/2017
    • Chinatown - Kuala Lumpur
    Address:
    Jalan Petaling
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Other:
  • Save
    Menara Kuala Lumpur
    Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    You can go up the tower to a revolving restaurant on the top. Its actually higher than the twin towers but thats because its on a hill. Restaurant is pretty average.

    Good for
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • There are occasional athletics meetings where runners run all the way to the top and down again. Dates vary.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 297 things to do in Kuala Lumpur
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice View 18/11/2017
    • Great 360 view 17/11/2017
    • Menara Kuala Lumpur
    Address:
    No. 2 Jalan Punchak
    Off Jalan P Ramlee
    Kuala Lumpur 50250
    Malaysia
    Phone:
    +60 3-2020 5444
    Price range:
    US$52 - US$52
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Merdeka Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Graham S Says:

    The old centre of KL. Various ceremonials are held here alongside the "Padang" most notably on August 31st when Malaysians celebrate the end of British colonial rule and the foundation of their nation. Merdeka means "Freedom" in Bahasa Malaysia. But older Malaysians still remember their schooldays under British rule with a degree of nostalgia. Many went to British curriculum schools followed by UK or Australian universities and emerged as the leaders of their country today. On the far side of the Padang (town field) is the venerable Selangor Club, home to retired lawyers and judges who like their Scotch Whisky. Cricket matches were regularly held on the padang until a few years ago when the Selangor club opened new facilities just outside KL at Bukit Kiara. There are a couple of museums to visit along Merdeka Square. The textile museum is the better of the two

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • KL is HOT all year round (30-32 degrees) and can be HUMID (95%RH) during the two monsoon seasons when late afternoon tropical downpours can catch out the unwary tourist. Dress appropriately after consulting with your hotel concierge. If you fancy a taste of the colonial life head for the Coliseum Cafe in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman ( close to the Coliseum Cinema) where you can get a cold beer served by waiters who come from a bygone era.
    • An evening visit to Merdeka Square can be a good bet as the old courthouse is festooned incongruously with fairy-lights. The museums will be closed but the night market in Little India (behind Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman on the opposite side to the Coliseum Cafe) is in full swing. Get your hair cut by an Indian barber for RM 10.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 297 things to do in Kuala Lumpur
    • Open park/meeting place. 08/11/2017
    • A large open space in old town. 06/11/2017
    • Merdeka Square
    Phone:
    +60 3-2698 3333
    Other:
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