Essential Travel Information to Kuala Lumpur

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Overview of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, with old colonial buildings standing against the backdrop of a modern skyline. With a metropolitan mix of Malay, Indian, Western and Chinese culture, it is a city with something for everyone.

It is not uncommon for families, couples, or groups of friends to travel here. That said, Kuala Lumpur is a common destination for young couples and groups of friends looking to explore the melting pot of cultures in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur is the go-to place in Malaysia to experience a vibrant nightlife, mouthwatering cuisine, and the thrill of shopping. If you are travelling as a family, a myriad of theme parks in and around Kuala Lumpur offers family fun for all. If you are planning a vacation to Kuala Lumpur, this is the perfect guide for you to ensure an unforgettable trip.

Where to Go

There are many things to see and do in Kuala Lumpur itself, so plan wisely before you head down to Kuala Lumpur. If you have a longer trip planned, consider visiting the various theme parks around the city, and even taking short trips out of the city centre to reconnect with nature and your soul.

Historical sites like National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and Merdeka Square are worth your visit.

Sites like Cameron Highlands, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Aquaria KLCC, and Zoo Negara are also well-known amongst tourists.

What to Do

If you’re travelling as a family or group of friends, you’ll definitely find a theme park or two in Kuala Lumpur that will satisfy the thrill seeker in you. Kuala Lumpur has several indoor and outdoor theme parks that will transport you into a different world of fun.

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

You’ll find water rides and activities on land at Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. The manmade river will definitely keep the kids happy, while the surf beach is a favourite with the adults. There’s something for everyone here, including the lovely resort and luxurious spa.

Wet World Water Park

(45 min from KLCC)

On a sunny day, there’s probably no better place to be than in the cool, calm water. You’ll find beautiful cascading waterfalls here, along with several attractions like Treasure Island and Bermuda Triangle that will keep you smiling the whole afternoon. 

District 21

District 21 is a great theme park if kids -- and adults -- want a bit of a challenge. You’ll find obstacle courses here that feature metal beams and steel walls, decorated with bright colourful graffiti. Don’t forget the climbing walls that feature LED lights.

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park

This is the biggest indoor theme park in Malaysia, with 35,300 sqm of pure fun! The theme park is split into 2 sections, one tailored for adults and the other for kids. With 14 fun rides and their signature Supersonic Odyssey, this theme park is a great place to go on a rainy day!

i-City

If you want to do something other than shop at night, try this theme park. It’s known for its wonderful lights that are simply breathtaking at night, and it also features wax museums and a huge almost never-ending waterpark. The fake forest is bound to catch your eye as well.

Ripley’s Adventureland

This attraction will allow you to see so much in so little time. You’ll see the amazing 4D Art that surrounds the theme park, along with the very cool Jurassic Research Center that features life-sized dinosaurs.

KidZania

We all know that bored kids are really tough to deal with, so bring them to KidZania! You’ll find an array of cool things like escape rooms and wax museums, and even life-sized chess. The kids will also get to play the roles of doctors and pilots for the day. Super fun!

SuperPark Malaysia

Everyone will have a blast at SuperPark Malaysia. With a Game Arena, Freestyle Hall and Adventure Area featuring activities such as pedal car racing tracks and ninja obstacle, this park is guaranteed to bring smiles and satisfaction

Jumpstreet Asia

The kids won’t want to go home when visiting Jumpstreet. As a trampoline park with so many trampolines you can’t keep count, you can spend the whole afternoon bouncing along the interconnected trampolines without ever hitting the floor.

When is the Best Time to Visit

Kuala Lumpur is in a tropical region where the humidity and the heat meet occasional rains. The best time to travel to Kuala Lumpur is in December to February, and from May to July. These two periods avoid the rainy monsoons, the occasional haze from Indonesia, and the summer heat, which can go up to 39 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, the temperature typically falls between 25-35 degrees Celsius all year round.

How to Get There

International visitors to Kuala Lumpur usually arrive by flight to the KLIA1 airport, while local flights use the KLIA2 airport through low cost carriers such as AirAsia.

There are several options to get to the city centre, including airport transfer, Grab (Malaysia’s version of Uber), train, bus, and taxi. The ride typically takes about 70 minutes from the Airport to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), depending on traffic conditions.

How to Get Around

Just like most large cities, crime does exist in Kuala Lumpur. There are even certain areas around KL that are said to be under gang influence, although life goes on for most of the locals, and any violence is low key and turf related.

While armed theft and gang violence is uncommon, it still pays to stay alert, and avoid travelling alone. Things to watch out for include:

  • Pickpockets, especially around the night markets, and even the train stations.
  • Robbery or car theft if you drive out of the city area, or if you park in a fairly abandoned area. Unlit car parks are particularly vulnerable.
  • Motorcycle snatch theft does happen occasionally, walk with your handbag away from the road. Or better, don’t use a handbag.
  • Do not leave your belongings unattended. Now you see it, now you don’t.
  • Cabs: some drivers especially those waiting at malls will refuse to use the meter, and charge you an exorbitant price to travel to your destination. You can either use Grab, or hail another taxi. If you feel unsafe at any point, you can disembark (at a well lit or busy area) and hire another after paying the fare. It is better to be safe in a foreign location.
  • If you are having drinks at nightspots, never leave your drink unattended. Order a fresh drink later if you have to use the washroom. Be wary if someone offers you a drink that you did not observe being prepared.

Some areas to avoid especially at night are Brickfields, Chow Kit, Jinjang, and Kepong. Also, do avoid deserted roads and dark alleys.

Travel Essentials

What is the Required Visa

Travellers to Malaysia must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months before arrival. Travellers from most countries can visit Malaysia through visa free entry for 30 days although the visit duration depends on your passport. For a complete list of information and requirements, visit Official Malaysia Immigration website.

What are the Common Cultures and Customaries

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim nation, with large Chinese and Indian minorities. Hence, it is common to find churches, temples and mosques side by side. Do be respectful of all customs and religions, and dress sensibly. Particularly for mosques and temples, do cover up with long pants or skirts below the knees, and do wear sleeved tops. If you are unsure of the customs of any particular ethnic or religious group, do your research as different communities have different rules.

The locals are generally friendly, warm and tolerant of foreigners; so don’t be afraid to ask when you are unsure about cultures and customs. Most of the locals can speak both Bahasa Malaysia and English or Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese, and Tamil for the ethnic Indian population. 

Some common practices include leaving your shoes outside homes, and avoiding physical contact with strangers of the opposite sex. Holding hands with your partner is generally acceptable, but try not to display too much affection publicly or you risk offending conservative members of society.

As with any place, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. One specific thing to take note of in Malaysia is to use your right hand when you hand over and receive money. It is considered very impolite to use your left hand. In general, be polite and considerate, try to refrain from making political and racist comments, and you should be fine.

What to Wear

As Kuala Lumpur is a metropolitan city in a warm climate, casually dressed locals are often sighted in shorts and tee-shirts. However, due to Malaysia being a predominantly Muslim country, avoid short shorts and mini-skirts to be on the safe side.

If you intend to visit religious areas of worship such as temples and mosques, do wear shoes, long pants/jeans that cover below the knees, and sleeves that cover your shoulders.

Is Tipping Necessary

Tipping is not expected in Malaysia, but restaurants may implement a service charge, with a larger amount levied in restaurant for large groups. You may consider tipping hotel staff or your masseuse at a massage parlour, but remember all tipping is discretionary.

Electronics and Data

Malaysia uses the type G plug, and operates on 240V and 50Hz. The plug looks like 3 rectangular pins arranged in a triangular pattern. Make sure you have the appropriate travel adaptor to charge your appliances.

If you need data, you may purchase a wireless hotspot if travelling as a group, or a SIM card from carriers in Malaysia such as Digi, Celcom, or Tunetalk. Their plans are fairly competitive, and their SIM cards should work with most major cellphones. Do check with the counter staff before purchasing the card. These main carriers will have shops open at the airport and in most major malls.

Summary