Kuala Lumpur is fast becoming one of Southeast Asian Region’s aviation hubs thanks to the abundant supply of budget flights that go in and out of Malaysia. Because of this, more and more people end up in the capital for a layover, ranging from 2 hours to about a day. But instead of being stuck inside the airport, why not use the time to explore? Here’s our list of attractions for travelers who just have 24 hours to spend in Kuala Lumpur (KL).
Getting out of the Airport
It is very important to point out that Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is actually located in Sepang district of Selangor, approximately 45 km from KL’s City Center. Any plan to explore the city must first travel to the main transport hub known as KL Central. Transport options available include Light Rail, Bus, Taxi and app based transport services, with fare ranging from 12 to 65 Malaysian Ringgit (Php 142 – Php 800). Once KL Central is reached, the possibilities are endless in exploring this modern yet exotic city.
WHERE TO GO
The most strategic way to begin your tour is to start with the farthest destination—that is the Batu Caves. Located in the town north of KL, this is a series of limestone caves reminiscent of the rock pinnacles of El Nido, Palawan and is considered a sacred Hindu Shrine.
This cave network is home to several Hindu Gods, one of which is as high as a 6-storey building! Getting to the cave entrance by itself is already an adventure.
One must endure the 272 knee-busting steps to reach the cave entrance and must pass through wild monkeys that are notorious in stealing people’s food and bottled drinks.
Any brave soul will be rewarded with the majestic view of the cave interior and sacred Hindu statues. A trip to KL is never complete without exploring Batu Caves.
Chinatown and Central Market
This place offers a wide array of RTW shops, handicrafts, souvenirs, food stalls and good cheap finds, comparable to Metro Manila’s Binondo, Divisoria and Greenhills Shopping center. Central Market started out as a humble wet market in 1928 and was later renovated to provide wider shopping options, which includes both indoor and outdoor shopping bazaars.
It is also home to the “Putu Bambu,” a familiar looking rice cake cooked inside individual bamboo tubes. So if souvenir shopping is your game, make sure to visit in this side of KL.
Petronas Twin Towers
This is one spot that needs no further introduction as Kuala Lumpur is synonymous to the Twin Towers of Petronas. Completed in 1998, the Petronas towers were once the world’s tallest skyscrapers for 6 years (1998 to 2004). The towers are located in the KLCC center, an upscale area of building clusters, gargantuan shopping center and a public park. Visitors who are trying to take that perfect selfie shot have 2 options to choose from: The front entrance of the KLCC Mall or the lagoon area at the back of the building.
The front entrance have elevated platforms that make it easy for anyone who wants to take a picture of themselves together with the towers, while the colorful fountains at the lagoon area provides a refreshing contrast to the gleaming towers at night.
Just several blocks away from KL’s Chinatown is the street of Bukit Bintang. It is home to the best hawker-style street food in Kuala Lumpur called Jalan Alor. Different types of food ranging from Chinese, Malay, Middle Eastern, American and Indian are found in this food strip.
The best time to visit this food street is during nighttime, when all the food stalls lined up the streets of Bukit Bintang. Our must try dishes include the colorful siomai (Php 100/dozen!), Malaysian Chicken Wings, Fried Durian, Hokkien Mee and the overly addicting Fried Oyster Mushrooms. Of all the attractions in Kuala Lumpur, this will easily become your favorite!
24 hours will never be complete without the time to go to sleep. After an entire day of city exploration and a flight waiting for you in the morning, it makes more sense to catch a comfortable snooze time while in KL. While there are countless of options available for travellers, there are few standouts when it comes to affordability and killer views.
For Php 2500, you can afford a one-bedroom suite at Somerset Service Apartments. This features a Queen size bed, walk-in closet, bath tub, kitchen, living room and an infinity pool that overlooks the Petronas Twin Tower at the roof top. Quite tough to beat huh?!
For other affordable options, you can also check out AirBnb. In Platinum Suites for instance, units are practically within the Php 2500- 3,000 range. The tower offers an infinity pool that has a panoramic view of both the Petronas and Menara KL Tower, something that even a 5 star hotel would find it difficult to match!
Overall, Kuala Lumpur is one destination that shouldn’t be missed whether you’re visiting for an overnight stay or transiting to other ASEAN destination.
For more travel stories from Julius Calvin Santos, visit iHAP Travel!
(Special thanks to Mon Jahrenel for the cover photo!)