Pairs Well With…Traveling + Adventure + Discovery
When moving to a new city, it’s easy to start exploring, beginning with the sights you should see. Petronas Towers, check! Batu Caves, check! It was in Kuala Lumpur, the city of skyscrapers and lookout points and the first one-month stop within my Remote Year journey, where I pledged to be more than just a common tourist and immerse myself in unique experiences.
But what happens when you think you’ve seen it all?
You put on your Dora the Explorer gear and get to gettin’, finding those local city gems others wish they had found. Combined with some of the best tourist attractions, here are the most outstanding local finds and things to do in the fine city of Kuala Lumpur:
1. Enjoy a drink on a helipad at Heli Lounge Bar
A helipad for landing by day, and a rooftop patio by night, Heli Lounge Bar offers spectacular views of the KL sunset. Grab a glass and sip into the sunset.
2. Dine banana leaf style
The banana leaves serve as plates in an effort to reduce waste. Instagram-worthy in and of itself, you begin with a base meal of banana leaf rice and vegetables topped with sauces and proteins to your liking. The best part of this meal? No silverware required. You eat with your hands. Monkey see, monkey do, follow suit and eat like the locals do. Check out a few of my favorites around town: Raj’s Banana Leaf, Restoran Sri Nirwana Maju Bangsar, and Vishalatchi Food Catering.
An easy 45-minute drive into nature outside of KL’s city limits – and every minute worth it. Set your alarm early as you won’t want to miss the beauty of the morning sunrise. If you are going for sunrise, prepare for the hour-long, beginner-intermediate hike by bringing water, bug spray and a flashlight or headlamp.
4. Feast in the “Food Dungeon.”
Buried below the bustling streets, this multi-heritage, 30 vendor deep food fest offers something for everyone. With highly affordable, authentic meals, you can taste your way across the globe.
5. Savor a symphony
Lyrics lover or not, the shows at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra are music to the ears. The orchestra hall is a showstopper and a sight to be seen.
6. Feel the beat
As a dancer for many years, I am always in pursuit of new dance studios, styles and classes. Geetha Shankaran Dance, offering a variety of classes, from Indian to Hip Hop Fusion, provides instruction to both youth and adult audiences. Yoga classes are offered as well.
7. Peak from the Petronas Towers
Visiting Kuala Lumpur and not seeing the dynamic 88-floor skyscrapers wouldn’t be right. Almost the tallest in the world at just under 452 meters high, these two towers symbolize Malaysia as an up and coming global presence. The former Prime Minister’s vision for these towers was to reflect “courage, ingenuity, initiative, determination, energy, confidence, optimism, advancement and zest.”
8. Love your latte
There are many cute and quaint coffee shops in the city that offer a nice, quiet break in the day. Whether catching up on emails or cranking through a page turner, these coffee shops offer up some of the best lattes, sweet and savory meals, and enchanting atmospheres. Best latte in town? Check out Coffee Amo for hand-crafted delights.
9. Affinities for Infinities
Kuala Lumpur houses some of the best infinity pools you could ever imagine, with Capri by Fraser being a front-runner favorite. Make sure to switch up your scenery, get your shine on, and soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D – all with a breathtaking view while in the blue.
10. Be awestruck at Batu Caves
This Hindu temple houses the iconic Murugan statue, perfectly positioned for a photo opp prior to entering the caves. You’ll walk up 272 stairs to get to the top, but the walk through the caves and to the picturesque opening is worth every step. (Beware of the thieving monkeys! No, seriously.)
11. Eat street meat
Yes, I understand this may sound odd, but it’s everywhere. Quick to get, convenient to eat, and pretty to look at, your street meat varietals easily serve as dinner de jour. Keep your eyes out for these street meat vendors (really known as Lok Lok) who serve not only meat, but also many other skewer assortments.
12. Kick it at the KL Tower
Another KL must-see landmark, both day and night. During the day, you can head to the top of the tower and scope out the scene from above. At night, the tower sometimes offers a musically synced, can’t-miss light show.
13. Find unfamiliar foods
One of the most exciting things about visiting a new place is trying new foods. Kuala Lumpur offers a large dose of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian foods, among other styles of dining. Wander along Jalan Alor, also known as “Food Street” and indulge in items such as fish balls, drunken noodles, Lok Lok….and meat floss. (Mark my words, I will see to it that I have a full understanding of what meat floss is before leaving the country.)
14. Trek through the tiniest rainforest
The Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, living in the heart of KL, is a piece of peace in the middle of the city. Take a nice stroll through the scenic forest and embrace the lush greenery among the concrete jungle.
15. Temples & Thaipusam
If you’re lucky enough to be in KL during the once a year Thaipusam event, you must attend. Thousands of spectators line the streets in an effort to observe the sparkling chariot making its way to the Batu Caves. Not in town for Thaipusam? No problem! KL has many temples to visit and meditate in. Practice mind over matter in these beautiful buildings.
16. Fancy a foot massage
Those long days of walking will get to those tootsies. With most of the foot reflexology shops being open until the wee hours of the morning, it’s easy to take a load off, day or night. Make sure to swing by D’Care where a 60-minute foot rub is $12 USD. It doesn’t get much better than this.
17. See street art
Mural, mural on the wall, which one is the best of them all? The right answer? All of them. Lining the streets of KL lie many story-filled visual masterpieces designed by local artists. Some of the best pieces are lurking in the most unexpected places. Looks are free.
18. Nosh at Nagasari Curry House
Food shame me if you must for my weekly repeat visits, but let’s not fix what’s not broken. Right? Plus, there’s something to be said when your favorite neighborhood restaurant nails it – every time.
19. Bob your head at No Black Tie
Love live music? Well then, this joint is the place to be. With a jazz vibe and good wine, it’s the recipe for a perfect Saturday night.
20. Dine differently
Whether Dining in the Dark or in the sky at 164 feet in the air, you’ll enjoy the luxuries of 3+ course meals with a unique, sensory experience.
Departing March 4th, 2017 for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam & March 6th for Hanoi & Halong Bay!
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