Over the Christmas break I was fortunate enough to head back to my favourite city in the world, my home, Kuala Lumpur (KL). Having spent most of my teenage years in KL, I am a little biased when it comes to how much I love this city.
However, while I was back I noticed it’s become even cooler in the last year or two. With an array of new bars, restaurants, and live entertainment spots, KL has a little something for everyone, so these are my top ten things to see and do in KL.
- Whenever I go back to KL the first thing I do is stop at my local mamak stall (a hawker stall) for Roti Canai (a classic Malaysian Indian flat bread) with Curry Ayam (chicken curry). It’s so simple and cheap (about 20p), and yet everyone who visits me in KL loves it the first time they try it. You can have various types such as roti pisang (roti with banana) or roti tolor (roti with egg).
- The second thing I insist on doing in KL is a little bit more glamourous, and that is cocktails or champagne at Sky Bar at Traders Hotel. Overlooking the entire city and the glittering twin towers, Sky Bar offers the ultimate view of KL, and is one of the most chic bars in the city.
- If there’s one thing Malaysians are very good at, it’s shopping! KL is known for its shopping and incredible sales. Pavillion in KL and MidValley’s Mega Mall are fantastic spots for shopping. Featuring a mixture of local brands such as Nose and Vincci to international brands like Topshop and Zara, these malls have a plethora of different shops. Being in the city centre, Pavillion is home to some slightly more high-end stores with the likes of Michael Kors, Gucci and Mulberry calling this mall home. Though if luxury brands are what you’re after, you can also find these next door to Mega Mall at The Gardens. You’ll find that during the sales, KL shopping makes these high-end brands a lot more affordable, particularly in the summer sales in July/August. A tip for those who love peking duck, try Village Roast Duck on the below ground level of The Gardens – it’s incredible.
- One of the best locations for a fun night out and some delicious cocktails is Changkat Bukit Bintang, a trendy street filled with bars, restaurants and lounges. On this street you will find anything from an Irish pub to a lavish Cuban bar that makes the mojitos in town. TwentyOne is a popular spot for locals, boasting fusion food and affordable cocktails, especially at Happy Hour and Ladies Night. One of the newer bars that I discovered at Christmas is Pisco Bar, a Peruvian restaurant and bar which has a dance floor upstairs. Pisco is the ultimate chic bar for young expats living in KL, serving the freshest civiche and delicious signature cocktails.
- Another spot for lovers of authentic Asian food is Jalan Alor, a street filled with hawker stall style restaurants serving the freshest seafood in KL. I recommend Meng Kee Grill in particular – try the sting ray.
- A short drive from KL you’ll find incredible wildlife experiences. One of these is the Elephant Sanctuary in Kuala Gandah. These beautiful elephants have been rescued when injured or sick, and nursed back to health, many of which then go on to be released back into the wild.
- Similarly, Kuala Selangor is home to these adorable silver leaf monkeys. Buy some fruit and vegetables from local vendors and you can feed these cute little critters and have them climb all over you. They are very gentle and don’t bite.
- Kuala Selangor is also home to the famous fireflies. Cruise along the river surrounded by trees lit up by fireflies, creating a stunning natural spectacle.
- Central Market in Kuala Lumpur is home to a wealth of local arts, crafts and furniture. This is a great spot to pick up souvenirs and gifts for friends back home.
- Finally, a trip to KL is not complete without an afternoon or evening in China Town (Jalan Petailing). Sample delicious Chinese cuisine and barter your way to a bargain for bags, clothes, sunglasses, and shoes.