There is so much variety to see in the Malaysian capital that just one day is rarely enough. But if you are short on time, perhaps just stopping over or desperate to get to one of the glorious beaches, then take a Kuala Lumpur city tour and make the most of your time in town in consummate ease.
Other than the modern splendour of KLCC and the city centre, there is the historic quarter of Chinatown with colonial buildings to explore plus lots of open green space around the palatial Lake Gardens where one can escape the heat of the city.
Kuala Lumpur city tour around KLCC
No Kuala Lumpur city tour would be complete without taking in the Petronas Twin Towers and these iconic skyscrapers have a great deal around them to keep visitors entertained. The 88-storey towers – featured in countless movies and tv shows – stretch up a staggering 1,483ft and were the tallest buildings on the planet until 2004. Get up early and walk between the pair at level 41 along the skybridge.
Then it’s time to use your Kuala Lumpur city tour to stock up on souvenirs or perhaps just marvel at the marble-clad opulence of KLCC Mall, situated directly below the towers. If your nerves are a little frayed from the tower’s summit, it’s a great chance to relax with a cup of coffee and watch hordes of middle class Malaysians spend their hard-earned cash. Plus there are hundreds of shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars to explore.
And you won’t have to travel far to reach the next stop on your city tour of KL, as the brilliant 60,000 square-feet KLCC Aquarium is located right inside the Mall. With more than 250 different species of marine life here, this attraction is especially popular with younger visitors. For those that dare there is even the chance to swim with live sharks! (website: www.aquariaklcc.com).
Time for some fresh air on your city tour of Kuala Lumpur and KLCC Park can be found on the south side of KLCC Mall and the towers. There are wading pools, waterfalls, playground, fountain, artificial lake, sculptures plus acres of shady trees to relax under.
Next travel up the KL Tower for with panoramic views of the whole city. With a viewing deck higher than the Petronas Twin Towers, this stop on your Kuala Lumpur tour provides the best photo opportunities of the city. (website: www.kltower.com.my).
Then just a ten minutes stroll away is a real rainforest in the centre of town. Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve contains trails, ranger tours and all manner of exotic creatures from macaques to silver leaf monkeys.
If you are pressed for time or still full of energy then it is easy to continue with the Chinatown tour below, otherwise relax and save those delights for another day.
Kuala Lumur city tour of Chinatown and surrounds
Taking a walking tour around KL Chinatown is an experience not to be missed, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the sights, smells and sounds of a busy Southeast Asian urban environment. The contrasts between the marketplace and the old temples, between the electronic gadgets and the age-old traditional remedies, are fantastic to explore. And it is one of the most rewarding places to photograph in the city.
Just to the east of Chinatown is Masjid Negara (National Mosque) which is a grand building with one large and 48 small domes resembling Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
Nearby is Dataran Merdeka or Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square. This beautifully manicured grass lawn should be an obligatory stop on any Kuala Lumpur city tour as this is where the Malaysian nation was born. The National Museum of History is next door.
The National Museum is arguably the best museum in country and feature a range of exhibits including vintage cars, weapons, musical instruments and metalwork. (website: www.muziumnegara.gov.my).
Into Chinatown proper and the main market street of Jalan Petaling. There are bargains galore along its four rows of stalls and the green awning keeps sudden downpours at bay.
Then head down Jalan Hang Kasturi to the art deco masterpiece that is Central Market. Pause your Kuala Lumpur city tour here to spend some time wandering around the eclectic range of collectables here and perhaps have a snack as the great value second floor food court.
Afterwards continue your Chinatown city tour of Kuala Lumpur by heading down Jalan Tun H.S to check out some of the temples such as the elaborately-designed Hindu Sri Mahamariamman Temple built in 1873, the century-oldChan See Shu Yuen Temple complete with images from Chinese mythology, and the Taoist Kuan Ti Temple dedicated to Kuan Ti – god of war and literature.
Kuala Lumpur city tour of Lake Gardens and surrounds
If you are getting a little tired of all the hustle and bustle of the big city, take a city tour around Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens. There’s a great variety of different attractions to explore ranging from the natural world, far away galaxies and historic monuments.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is the biggest walk-in aviary anywhere in the world containing 50,000 birds from flamingos to hornbills. (website: www.klbirdpark.com.).
A short stroll away is Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park featuring a superb museum plus thousands of native moths and butterflies. (website: www.klbutterflypark.com). Plus there is the Deer Park where visitors can get close enough to feed the animals.
The National Planetarium should be the next stop on your KL city tour with a great 14in telescope and observatory room capable of seeing thousands of miles into space. (website: www.angkasa.gov.my.)
The Malaysian National Monument is amongst the world’s biggest freestanding sculptures made of bronze. It commemorates those who perished battling the communist insurgency during the 1950s.
Carcosa Seri Negara is a pair of British colonial mansions dating from the 19th century which once housed the British High Commissioner and Governors. Today it serves as an top-end hotel and a lovely spot for afternoon tea.