The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Kuala Lumpur - The Melting Pot of Religions and Culture
The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Kuala Lumpur - The Melting Pot of Religions and Culture

The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Kuala Lumpur

The Melting Pot of Religions and Culture

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Kuala Lumpur is a unique capital city that you should not miss when you are traveling in South East Asia. For one, it is cheap for a city this size, not very well known by other backpackers, and the best part, the city is the melting pot of religions where people of many beliefs and races live together in harmony. With a perfect mix of cultures from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, you will be fascinated by the traditional way of the locals and the unique characters that you will not get elsewhere. Without further ado, let me show you what you can do in Kuala Lumpur.

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Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

The Step Inn Guesthouse is a budget accomodation with basic rooms but extremely friendly atmosphere. From the time you arrive, you will become instant friends with the staff as they greet you with open arms and treat you like a friend. They are also travelers themselves that happen to stop a little longer in KL and work there so you can always ask them what to do. In the evening, they will join you in whatever activities you are doing in the common area. The Step Inn's staff are really the bond that glued everyone together. If you are looking for a place with a friendly atmosphere, the Step Inn Guesthouse is a good option for you.

Note: We were allowed to sleep in the common area when we arrived early in the morning (4AM) so don't worry if you arrive late at the hostel, they will be someone up to greet you no matter what.


How to Get to Kuala Lumpur

The best way to get here is to fly to into the Kuala Lumpur international airport. I would recommend you browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight from where you live to Kuala Lumpur so you can pick the best one that fits your itinerary.

You can also take an overnight bus from Singapore or Thailand. There are literally hundreds of flights going to KL so you will have no problem there but if you are looking for a way from Singapore, you can try booking a bus via BusOnlineBooking.com. We took the Star Qistna Express because their pick up spot was close to Little India, which was where we stayed in Singapore. The bus leaves at 11PM and by 12AM, you will have to go through the immigration yourself and there, the bus will take you to KL and drop you off at the bus terminal at 4 AM.

The coach by Star Qistna Express is equipped with super comfortable reclining sofas. You will have all the space in the world to have a great nap before arriving. Truth be told, it could be one of the most comfortable bus I've been on so far!

How to Get Around Kuala Lumpur

KL has a very extensive train system so getting around is very easy and cheap. You don't even have to bother taking a taxi around KL if you are looking to visit the places I have listed in this article. The easiest way I found is to punch in the location you wanted to go on Google Maps and it will suggest the best train to take and at what time. You can also download the map linked below:

Download KL Transit Map

Daily Budget

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This place is quite cheap compare to all the other countries in the world. If you are planning a trip here, you can expect to pay around 25 - 45 USD per day per person and that should include accommodation and 3 meals.

Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.

Travel Insurance

If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Malaysia, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.

Get a Quote from World Nomads


Cool Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

Visit the Petronas Twin Tower at Night

Visit the Petronas Twin Tower at Night

The Twin Tower is one of the most iconic landmark of the city. It is the tallest twin towers in the world standing at 452 m high with 88 floors. At night, the silvery tower is lit up with lights showing its magnificent metal work in its full glory, a sight to behold. The locals also like to hangout around the tower as it is one of the most well-known shopping area in KL so this place is not a bad place to go people watching as well.

Climb up the Hindu temple in Batu Cave

Climb up the Hindu temple in Batu Cave

Only an hour train ride away from the city center is a sacred Hindu temple located magnificently inside a limestone mountain. In front of the Cathedral cave is the 43m high golden statue of Lord Murugan. You can climb the 272 steps up to the top where you will find hindu shrines built perfectly under the sun ray coming through the cavern. It is one of the most religious structure in KL and an interesting one to witness.

Getting there is pretty simple

Getting there is pretty simple. Simply get yourself to KL Sentral station and take a train that is going to the Batu Cave and you are done.

Check out the Merdeka Square

Check out the Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square or Independence Square is a place of national significance as it was here that the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time in 1957. If you are looking for a break from the concrete wall of the city, this is the place to be. With its spacious area and lush green field, visiting here in the morning can be a very peaceful experience. While you relax in the square, you can indulge yourself in the impressive Islamic + European style architecture surrounding the square such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Become a Bird-Nerd at the KL Bird Park

Become a Bird-Nerd at the KL Bird Park

At the heart of this busy city is the "World's Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary" which offers a 20.9 acres of verdant valley terrain filled with beautiful birds for you to explore. I was caught by surprise when I was walking around the city as I did not expect the city to be full on nature like this. I found out that they reserve parts of the city to create a park and part of that was the bird park. Take note Bangkok because KL is certainly greener than you! If you love nature as much as I do, KL offer a way for you to escape the city with little effort.

Pay respect at the National Monument

Pay respect at the National Monument

As you walk to the bird park, don't forget to pay your respect at the national monument. The monument is a sculpture built in rememberance of the brave soldiers who died fighting for the independence of the country. This historic sculpture has also marked its place in the book of records for being the tallest freestanding group of bronze sculptures.

The walk from the city up here offer you a great chance to observe the locals while at the monument rewarding you with the view of the city from afar

The walk from the city up here offer you a great chance to observe the locals while at the monument rewarding you with the view of the city from afar. Definitely worth a walk.. if it's not too hot outside. We were melting when we decided to walk here during mid-day!

Devour your way through Jalan Alor Street

Devour your way through Jalan Alor Street

Photo by IQRemix

The food is one of the highlight for visiting KL and the Jalan Alor street will not disappoint you. KL is a multi cultural city so you can expect to find a variety of food her. From Chinese food to Thai food, the possibilities are endless! I found a really good Thai restaurant here where you can ask for a real "Thai" spice. You know it's a real Thai spice when your lower back starts sweating on your third spoon!

The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.


Categories: malaysia kuala lumpur destinations asia southeast asia


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