Transiting in Kuala Lumpur and looking for the best ways to spend a long stopover in Kuala Lumpur? Don’t worry – here’s our 2 days in Kuala Lumpur itinerary – I’m sure you will find some activities you might like!
Hi guys, in this post, I wanted to share with you our experience during a stopover in Kuala Lumpur. In total, we spent a bit less than 2 days in Kuala Lumpur (to be exact, it was around 36 hours). Kuala Lumpur is a city that impressed us a lot and rapidly climbed to the top of our favourite cities in Asia (just after Hong Kong, Seoul and Kyoto).
I think that Kuala Lumpur certainly deserves more than 36 hours, however, if you only have a transit there, you can try to make the most of it and see the main highlights of Kuala Lumpur in 2 days!
We only spent one night in Kuala Lumpur, but we had nearly 2 full days, so it was enough to see the main highlights and try the best food in Kuala Lumpur during a long transit.
Some useful information about Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia
The currency in Malaysia: ringgit. 1 US$ = 4.12, £1 = 5.35 (As of February 2020)
The population of Kuala Lumpur: 1.8 Mio
Is Kuala Lumpur safe: Absolutely
Weather in Kuala Lumpur: hot all year long, about 30-33C
Kuala Lumpur essentials: sunscreen, hat, light dresses
Dress code: If you enter mosques, you need to follow the dress code, otherwise, there is no dress code, as Malaysia is very multicultural. I’ve seen people wearing shorts all the time.
Plug type: G (like the British one) or just buy this multi-country adaptor
Arriving to Kuala Lumpur Airport. Transit in Kuala Lumpur
Even though our flight from Dhaka (read our post about 12 hours in Dhaka) with Malindo air was severely delayed (and I recommend staying away from Malindo Air as well) and we lost a bit of our 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur, but we still managed to see a lot. We landed in Kuala Lumpur around 10:20 am. We were supposed to land around 6 am and were even thinking of booking another night at the hotel, but we didn’t. In the end, it turned out for the best, as our flight was delayed and we would have lost this night we would have had paid for.
The passport control at the airport in Kuala Lumpur was pretty straightforward, however, it took a bit of time, as the queue was large. We also had to pick up our luggage, as we were flying out of Kuala Lumpur with a different airline. If your stopover in Kuala Lumpur is with just 1 airline, most probably, you won’t be able to pick up your checked luggage. Make sure to bring with you all the essentials in the hand luggage.
We could only make it to the speed train to KL Sentral at around 11:45 am. We opted for the speed train, which was pretty pricey, but it was the fastest option. As we had only 1.5 days in Kuala Lumpur, we didn’t want to waste time. However, if you’re planning to stay in the city for longer, there are way cheaper options than the speed train. The are plenty of shuttles and the cheapest start at just $3. You can read more about getting to Kuala Lumpur from the airport here >>>
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur – Luxury for less
By 12:45 we were already at our hotel – Mandarin Oriental. We only booked one night for our 36-hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Now, we don’t stay at luxury hotels that often, however, luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur are a great value! Mandarin Oriental only cost £130 per night, similar to Novotel in Europe and I must admit that it was one of the best city stays of our life. The service was the best we’ve seen, our room was impressive and the breakfast buffet was incredible! It was huge and had dishes from all around the world. Also, everything was delicious.
The most impressive part about Mandarin Oriental was probably the outdoor swimming pool with the view over the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. It looked very impressive at night!
However, we also had a fabulous view from our window – we could see Petronas Towers. Even though they were very close to us, it was still amazing to have this view.
You can check the prices and availability of Mandarin Oriental here.
Things to see during a stopover in Kuala Lumpur: 2 days in Kuala Lumpur
Our hotel was located just 10 minutes walking to famous and popular Bukit Bintang – a buzzing shopping district of Kuala Lumpur.
Bukit Bintang is one of the main highlights of Kuala Lumpur and it has great shopping and dining options for any taste. There is even a Japanese shopping mall, that was amazing. I never saw anything quite like that, even during our 7-day trip to Japan last year.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the world’s best cities for shopping, so if you want to do some shopping, you need to allocate some time to visit the best malls. The biggest mall of Kuala Lumpur is Berjaya Times Square.
Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur for lunch | 2 days in Kuala Lumpur
After walking around for a while, we decided to have lunch at the newly opened Japanese food court in the LOT 10 shopping mall. There were many options, but we decided to go for shabu-shabu – Japanese hot pot buffet. The price and quality were amazing. If you’re a carnivore, I 100% recommend you visit this place!
We ate quite a lot, so it was time to explore the shops and see what are the unique offerings of Kuala Lumpur that don’t exist in London. There were plenty of interesting shops and even a Japanese supermarket. We also found an amazing bubble coffee – something that doesn’t exist in London yet. I’m a huge fan of bubble tea and tapioca in general, so trying a bubble cappuccino was amazing. Read my guide to the best bubble tea in London.
We also tried a slice of bread from one of the local bakeries – it looked and tasted great. If you’re hungry, that would be a great option for lunch.
What surprised me a lot about Malaysia is the variety of options for food. Malaysia is the melting pot of cultures and there are so many amazing options from all around the world! There are even Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that looked (and smelled great!).
Exploring the night street food market – Jalan Alor Market
After walking around Bukit Bintang for a while and exploring most of the department stores and shopping malls, we decided to take a look at the traditional street food market, located just 5 minutes away from Bukit Bintang – Jalan Alor Market. Jalan Alor is a paradise for foodies. There are so many restaurants and stalls, where you can try traditional Malaysian dishes as well as the freshest seafood and amazing fruits. I would recommend you going there in the evening and having your dinner at the Jalan Alor Market.
Finding the best photo spot for Petronas Towers
When we finished with the amazing Jalan Alor Market, we decided to get to the KLCC park and find the best spot to take a photo of Petronas Towers at night. Even though we had a great view from our hotel room window, it was a bit too close to the towers. I can’t recommend a particular spot in the park – just walk around and see, whichever spot you like more.
Evening swim in the infinity pool with a city view in Kuala Lumpur
One of the reasons why we booked Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur is because it had a marvellous outdoor infinity pool with a city view. The pool was open until 9 pm, so we had enough time for a quick swim with the views.
Exploring Batu Caves
The first thing we’ve done in the morning (on the second day) during 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur was heading to Batu Caves. We decided to use a taxi instead of public transport, as the direct line to Batu Caves was at least 15 minutes walking from us and the taxi was very affordable – about $5. Uber doesn’t work in Malaysia, so we used Grab and it was pretty straightforward. However, I struggled to unsubscribe from their emails for a month afterwards, they just kept sending them, even though I unsubscribed immediately.
Batu Caves is a Hindu temple that is open to the public. It recently went through a makeover and the stairs to the temple were pained in many colours. That made Batu Caves even more Instagrammable. There are so many Instagrammable locations in Kuala Lumpur, from temples to hipster spots in China town to art galleries and shopping malls.
Heading to the China Town
Another place on our list was China Town. China Town is a trendy place in Kuala Lumpur – you can try a lot of food, drink some bubble tea and there are plenty of nice hipster cafes in the middle of China Town. However, the most famous thing to do in China Town is to explore the market itself. The market is huge and you can buy a lot of clothes, accessories and shoes there (most of the items are fake, unfortunately, but sometimes it’s possible to find clothes without a brand written on them).
We also stopped by an intriguing food stall selling “chewy chunks”. That stall is very famous and the lady, who does them, was featured in multiple newspapers. The chewy chunks ended up being very delicious – we realised that they were fresh fruit mochi.
Central Market of Kuala Lumpur
Another place that we visited during our 36-hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur was the Central Market. It was slightly different from the China Town market. First of all, it’s located inside a very beautiful building. Secondly, there you can buy a lot of souvenirs, textiles, accessories, beauty items and even food. There are also a couple of restaurants and ice cream places located inside the Central Market. The Central Market in Kuala Lumpur was pretty crowded with tourists and tour groups from the cruises that visit Kuala Lumpur port.
The area around the Central Market is very beautiful. There are many old buildings, museums and landmarks around the Central Market. We walked around the area for a while and then headed to our next destination.
Perdana Botanical Gardens
The final destination for the day was Perdana Botanical Gardens – a huge park and botanical garden located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, close to the Central railway station. The entrance to the Botanical Gardens is free. The gardens are also huge and with 33C outside, make sure to bring sunscreen and a lot of water. In the middle of Perdana Botanical Gardens, you can find a large lake. It reminded me of Central Park in NYC, as it was a huge park with a lake in the middle of a city, surrounded by skyscrapers.
Heading back to the airport: summary of 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur
After visiting the Perdana Botanical Gardens, we had a quick late lunch – early dinner in Bukit Bintang, where we got by metro in about 20m minutes and then went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. We were flying to Sri Lanka, so we had to be at the airport around 8 pm.
I hope you found this post about the best things to see in Kuala Lumpur in 36 hours and now you have some ideas on how to spend 2 days in Kuala Lumpur during your stopover or transit. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below.