A perfect day spent in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, was the first city Asian city that I ever encountered. The city is loud, vibrant, diverse and definitely worth an extended visit! If, however, you do not have the time to fully immerse yourself in the city here is how I would recommend spending a single day in this majestic city.
Begin your day with riding the indoor rollercoaster at the Times Square Theme Park
If you have a weak stomach I would suggest forgoing your hotel’s buffet breakfast (if you were lucky enough to have one like I did) and heading straight for the monorail and making your way to Imbi Station which is located adjacent to Berjaya Times Square. Berjaya Times Square is a multi-levelled shopping centre that has its own amusement park inside. If you have never been to an amusement park inside a shopping centre then Times Square Theme Park is a must! Walking into a multi-story shopping centre, looking upward and seeing a rollercoaster speeding through the building is an incredible sight.
The admission price to the theme park will set you back approximately RM 51 (AUD $16.80) for an adult or RM 41 (AUD $13.50) for a child. This will not only include access to the park, a ride on the rollercoaster, but also access to all of the other fantastic attractions that the park has to offer. For a full list of attractions click here.
While in the shopping centre, consider having a look at some of the stores on the lower levels of the complex. There is a market-like feel to the environment and lots of fantastic hidden stores that hold fantastic treasures.
How to get to Times Square Theme Park
Times Square is located in Bukit Bintang and is very accessible. Make your way to your nearest monorail station and head to Imbi Station. From KL Sentral this is only a short journey which will cost you approximately RM 1.60 (AUD 50c). If you are are trying to make the most of a layover in Kuala Lumpur then consider making your way to Times Square Theme Park directly from the airport jumping on the Express Rail Link (ERL). A trip on the ERL from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to KL Sentral will set you back approximate RM 35 (AUD $11.55) and then you can transfer to the monorail.
Indulge yourself with a shopping spree
If you are anything like me, then the thought of shopping takes you to your happy place. For myself, the idea of going to finally being able to finally go to a Sephora was fantastic. Before I had even left for my trip I began to research stores and brands that I would be able to access in Malaysia that I am not able to access in Melbourne, Australia (please note: Sephora has recently become available in Australia). I spent probably more time than I should have exploring shopping centres such as the Pavilion and Suria KLCC.
Once you have spent a few hours getting thrilled at Times Square Theme park, take a stroll down to the Pavilion Shopping Mall which is also located in Bukit Bintang. Here you will find stores such as Burberry, Esprit, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Prada, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Frank, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc by Marc Jacobs. If, like me, these stores are a little out of your budget, and window shopping isn’t really of interest you will also find more affordable store which include Typo, Lovisa, Zara, Topshop, Forever 21 and many more. If, like me, your true weakness is is beauty you won’t be short for stores at the Pavilion. You will find Bobbi Brown, M.A.C, Laura Mercier, Clinique, the Body Shop, Nars, Jurlique, Aesop and more!
If you are lucky enough to be in Kuala Lumpur over Chinese New Year you may get to experience some of the beautiful celebratory decorations that appear at the Pavilion during this time of year. As you can see from the photos below it was the year of the goat. The decorations during this time of year are worth the visit alone. For more information about the Pavilion click here.
How to find the Pavilion
The Pavilion can easily be reached through the monorail. Simply catch the monorail to Bukit Bintang. If you are heading directly to the Pavilion from Times Square you can either jump back on the monorail at Imbi station and head for Bukit Bintang station or go for a quick and easy stroll through the Bukit Bintang area.
Get lost on the Bukit Bintang Walk
If you are still in the mood for shopping , or maybe you just want to do a little bit of exploring I highly recommend taking a walk on the Bukit-Bintang- KLCC Pedestrian Walkway which connects Bukit Bintang (where the Pavilion and Times Square are both located) with the City Centre. The walkway will allow you to safely and quickly visit some of Kuala Lumpur’s attractions such as Suria KLCC shopping centre, the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park.
I suggest taking a walk down the Bukit Bintang walkway because it makes for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You are able to escape the busy streets and the heat and just take your time and enjoy your surroundings. You are also given the opportunity to take the standard tourist selfie in front of the Petronas Towers.
Finding a bargain at the Chinese Night Markets
No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without a trip to the Chinese Night Markets. No matter if you are simply hunting for a bargain, looking for some knock off,s or in the market for one of those selfie sticks that you keep seeing everyone- with I am sure that there is something for everyone.
The night markets usually begin at about 6pm and are located in the heart of Chinatown. During this time, streets are close to traffic and become a hive of activity. You will find market stalls and restaurants everywhere you turn. Be prepared to haggle, I found that in most cases I would pay approximately a third of the original asking price. Make sure you know what you are willing to spend, and don’t try to haggle unless you intend to buy (it’s just rude!).
How to find China Town
Chinatown is located Petaling street, which can easily be accessed from KLCC and Bukit Bintang. When in Kuala Lumpur I was staying in Bukit Bintang and would catch a taxi to the night markets with friends and we would never pay more than RM 10 each way. Alternatively, you can jump on a train on the Kelana Jaya Line and getting off at Pasar Seni LRT Station, from here it is only a short walk to Petaling Street.
Finally… Order up a storm on Jalan Alor
Finally order up a storm at one of the restaurant on Jalan Alor. Here, on this one street I experienced without a doubt the best Asian cuisine in my entire life. The street might look a little seedy, and locals may warn you of its bad reputation (apparently there are numerous prostitutes, however after daily visits over three weeks I never saw one). The menus are huge, there is food ranging from Chinese, Indian, Malay and Thai. The service is phenomenal, occasionally it would start to rain and within seconds we had waiters holding umbrellas over our heads until the entire street was covered in canvas awnings.
Keep in mind:
- Be careful when leaving wealthy areas with shopping because I had quite a negative experience. I climbed into a taxi by myself (I have taken taxis in Malaysia by myself multiple times without issue) at Suria KLCC (after shopping up a storm) and asked for the meter to be turned on (as I always do, I find this gives me the best price over short distances. I was only travelling about ten minutes up the road, but I was exhausted, not feeling the best and really just wanted to get back to my hotel. The taxi driver pulled up in an ally a few blocks from my hotel and announced that the fee would be RM 150 (approximately AUD $50) for the ten minute trip. When I attempted to protest, the taxi driver physically prevented me exiting the taxi without paying the RM 150.
- Keep an eye out for giant rats in the food court at Chinatown. I was very surprised that these were the only rats that I saw throughout my entire three weeks in Malaysia. Seriously, the rats were bigger than most cats.
- If you are getting your laundry done in one of the wonderful laundry mats (which I very much recommend) insist on making sure your colours and whites are separated. My favourite white denim shorts are now a very unattractive baby blue.
- Be aware that there are two airports in KL (KLIA and KLIA 2) this caused me some confusion when I was flying across to Borneo.
- Malaysia is a beautiful country! See as much of it as you possibly can.