If your headed to Malaysia and only have 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur – don’t fret. With the right itinerary, you can still see so much with only a weekend in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur isn’t the most glamorous city in Asia. One traveler we met put it best: “It’s a gritty, real city – has a working class vibe to it.”
48 hours in Kuala Lumpur
9:00AM Take the light rail to the North of the city and lose yourself in the labyrinth of the Batu Caves. This set of expansive, massive limestone caverns houses one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. The caves themselves are reportedly 400 million years old and were once used by the native Temuan people of Malaysia.
Careful with any food you may have – the caves are also famous for the havoc-wreaking monkeys.
Starting in the early afternoon the streets running through Chinatown fill up with no-nonsense plastic chairs and tables and hawker stands peddling all sorts of different noodle, rice, meat and soup dishes available for 6-7RM and up (beers run at about 12RM.) Our rule of thumb: go where there are lines of people.
3:00PM As you twist and turn through Chinatown for its best food, don’t emerge just yet. Hidden local haunts and cultural gems are tucked away behind these streets, as well – including oldest Taoist temple in the city, the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Definitely not to miss on your first day of your 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur.
4:00PM While you’re in the area, swing through the Central Market Kuala Lumpur. Kitschy and stocked with knick-knacks, knock-off and row after row of loud, colorful pashminas, the busy KL market strings together the variety of Malaysia’s cultures and flavors.
With access to an actual rooftop helicopter-landing pad, Heli Lounge Bar has, undeniably, the best view of the city. You enter the Menara KH building and head up to level 34, which opens into the swanky-looking, aviation-themed lounge (side-note: I was in my backpacker’s best… so no clear dress code was enforced.) After ordering a drink (cocktails are about 25RM each,) you’ll be led to the roof – and a stunning 360 panorama of KL. The bar/restaurant also has a full menu.
8:00AM Wander through Imbi Market (also known as Buki Bintang Wet Market) for breakfast. This vibrant space is bustling from the early hours of the morning onward, and as you weave through the tropical fruit and freshly-cut meat stalls, you can fill up on aromatic Hainanese coffee, crispy popiah, pork intestines porridge, asam laksa, and every Malay dish in between.
1:00PM Head down to Little India for lunch. Much of Malaysia’s uniqueness stems from its well-established and executed diversity. Home to many enclaves of cultures, the local Indian population has thrived and brought with it what many claim to be the best Indian food outside of India itself.
3:00PM While you’re in Little India, duck in to one of the areas dozens of low-cost, high-quality spas for reprieve from the midday heat. From massages to individualized treatments, everything is available in Little India – at a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.