Dorsett Regency Kuala Lumpur, 172 Jalan Imbi, Pudu; +60 3 2716 1000; www.dorsetthotels.com/malaysia/kualalumpur. A four-star hotel that’s within walking distance of Pavilion Mall and Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.
GRID 9 Hotel, Jalan Maharajalela; +60 3 7954 8162; grid9hotels.com. This hip, industrial-themed hotel is located in Chinatown, making it the perfect base for touring nearby temples and street markets. It has even teamed up with Zouk KL to provide guests complimentary passes to the trendy club.
Holiday Inn Express Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 84 Jln Raja Chulan; +60 3 2028 8888; ihg.com. Ideal for a no-frills stay. The service here is reliable, and the rooms are spick and span. In fact, everything is new since the hotel just opened in May 2016. It’s also very accessible — there are bus stops and a monorail station nearby, and it’s just a 20-minute walk to Bukit Bintang.
Pacific Regency Hotel Suites, KH Tower, Jalan Punchak, off Jalan P.Ramlee; +60 3 2332 7777; www.pacific-regency.com. This upscale hotel boasts spacious rooms, a rooftop pool and great views of the city skyline.
PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail; +60 3 2147 0088; www.parkroyalhotels.com. Located right in the middle of Bukit Bintang, where all the best malls – Berjaya Times Square, Pavillion, Sung Wei Plaza – are concentrated.
The Bed KLCC, Jalan Sultan Ismail; thebedklcc.com. Kuala Lumpur’s capsule hotel with a difference. Though basic, there’s a tinge of luxury, with sleek pods decked out in polished wood and black metal, complete with comfortable beds, personal lockers and small tables that fold into the wall. There are 100 capsules, divided into mixed, male-only and female-only dorms, as well as private single and double rooms nestled away in separate areas.
Hilton Garden Inn, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman; hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com. Malaysia’s first Hilton Garden Inn makes world-class hospitality affordable for both business and leisure travelers. It has an all-day restaurant, a 24-hour pantry for snacks, a gym, a business center, a self-service laundromat and complimentary parking. Set in a high-rise, the decor is simple but tasteful, with a neutral palette and muted accents suggesting the serenity of nature. Ask for a room with windows overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers.
Alila Bangsar, Jalan Ang Seng, Brickfields; alilahotels.com/bangsar. An urban retreat located in bustling Brickfields — home to the city’s Little India. The building’s exterior is sleek and impenetrable, but the Shanghai- and London-based design firm Neri & Hu has brought abundant natural light and greenery into its interiors, mixed with Art Deco-style luxury. The hotel occupies the 35th to 44th floors of a mixed-use development, with a lobby and bar that provide dizzying panoramas of the city. A notable feature is the “living room” with a self-service pantry on every floor to make guests feel more at home.
Where to eat and drink
AIK Asam Laksa, corner of Jln 21/17 and Jln 21/11A, Sea Park, +60 19 233 2962. This unassuming food truck serves up authentic, belly-warming asam laksa with thick and fragrant shrimp paste.
Chinatown, Jln Petaling. This is where street food is done right – from claypot rice topped with minced pork, to skewered meats.
Dolly Dim Sum, Lot 9, G/F Avenue K, 156 Jalan Ampang; +60 3 2181 3830; dollydimsum.com. A modern take on the traditional Chinese teahouse, with creative decor like birdcages repurposed as lamps. Food-wise, the restaurant serves classics — like prawn dumplings and siew mai (pork dumplings) — while jazzing up the menu with updated recipes.
Drift, 38 Jalan Bedara, Bukit Bintang; +60 3 2110 2079; driftdining.com. At Modern Australian restaurant Drift, the interiors are finished with rich timber and the warm lighting makes you feel right at home. You’ll love the food too — every dish here is handmade using the freshest ingredients, and features contrasting textures. Try the truffle mushroom arancini (deep-fried rice balls), as well as the steak with potatoes.
DR.Inc, 8 Jln Kemuja; facebook.com/drincbangsar. A stylish, design-centric café where you can sip on a classic cup of joe, or try newfangled caffeine variants like the Fat Americano (espresso with Coke) or the Presso Bomb (a shot of espresso in an ice cream soda).
El Cerdo, 43 & 45 Changkat Bukit Bintang; +60 3 21450511; www.elcerdokl.com. This Spanish nose-to-tail restaurant specializes in pork dishes, such as crispy pork knuckle and suckling pig.
Enak KL, Lower G/F2 Feast Floor, Starhill Galler, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang; +60 3 2141 8973; www.enakkl.com. Well-executed Malay cuisine, coupled with excellent service, make Enak KL a must-visit.
Fuego, Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC; +60 3 2162 0886; troikaskydining.com/fuego. This gorgeous Latin American restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a stunning view of the city’s most famous landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers. Big plates include servings of whole sea bream and grilled lamb ribs.
Jalan Alor Food Street, Jalan Alor. Head to this famous food street for some of Malaysia’s best culinary delights, including fishball noodles and and pan mee (flat flour noodles).
Lot 10 Hutong, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Food Court, Lower G/F, Jalan Bukit Bintang; +60 3 2782 3500; www.lot10hutong.com. You’ll find an array of local delights, such as char kway teow (stir-fried ricecake strips) and oyster omelet, at this food court.
Marini’s on 57, 57/F Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC; +60 3 2386 6030; marinis57.com. Enjoy first-rate Italian cuisine at the highest rooftop bar and restaurant in the country.
Murni, 53, Jln SS2/75, Petaling Jaya, +60 3 7733 4419; murnidiscovery.com. This is one of the most popular mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurants in town. Try the Roti Hawaii, a pizza-inspired murtabak that’s filled with minced chicken or beef, eggs, cheese, sausages, and pineapples, and slathered with mayonnaise.
Nasi Lemak Tanglin, Stall 6, Kompleks Makan Tanglin, Jalan Cenderasari. Enjoy another classic Malaysian breakfast of nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk). Take your pick from side dishes like chicken rendang, begedil (fried potato patties), squid curry and more.
Old Town White Coffee, various locations, www.oldtown.com.my. This popular coffee chain specializes in fragrant white coffee, which is brewed from coffee beans that have been roasted in margarine. You can also buy packets of instant coffee and milk tea to take home.
Pisco Bar, 29 Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari; +60 3 2142 2900; piscobarkl.com. A trendy watering hole famous for its signature drink, the Pisco Sour, a South American cocktail that uses pisco as a base liquor and citrus fruits as souring agents. The bar also plays host to DJ sessions, live music events and arthouse film screenings.
PS150, G/F, 150 Jln Petaling. A vintage-themed speakeasy located in Chinatown. Once upon a time this was a brothel; now it’s a hidden bar serving up unique cocktails imbued with bold South-East Asian flavors such as Chinese rice wine, pandan and calamansi.
PULP by Papa Pahleta, 29 Jalan Riong, Bangsar; +60 3 2201 3650; facebook.com/PULPbyPapaPalheta. A sleek, industrial-themed restaurant that prides itself on serving up some of the best brews in the city. There’s a sizeable food menu, too, with items like breakfast platters, savory croissants and even truffle popcorn.
Robert’s Char Kuih Teow, Restoran Say Huat, Jln 17/27, Section 17, Petaling Jaya. Housed in a neighborhood coffee shop, this humble stall dishes out a delicious, Penang-style rendition of char kway teow, complete with lap cheong (Chinese sausages).
Skybar, Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Center; +60 3 2332 9888. Soak up amazing views of the Petronas Twin Towers from the cabana booths at this rooftop bar.
Sri Nirwana Maju, 43 Jln Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru. Head here for a traditional banana-leaf rice meal – essentially parboiled rice and side dishes like mutton vindaloo, curry fish and fried squid, all served atop a banana leaf. There’s a perpetual queue at the restaurant, but your meal will be well worth the wait.
TG’s Nasi Kendar, 3 Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang; +60 19 335 0490. A popular haunt for local food like nasi goreng, nasi lemak, roti prata, and more.
Wong Ah Wah Restaurant, 1 Jalan Alor; +60 3 2144 2463; fb.com/botakliquor. Popular dishes at this casual Chinese restaurant include the grilled fish, oyster omelet and satay (skewered and grilled meats).
Botak Liquor, 156 Jalan Petaling, Chinatown. Botak is what could be described as a psychedelic greenhouse of a bar. There are plants everywhere — standing, hanging, draping — and most of the ingredients used in the concoctions are homegrown.
BarZhen, 5 Jalan Balai Polis, Chinatown; fb.com/barzhen. Push open a set of blue doors and make your way up to what looks like an herbal shop. The real fix is further in, in a room lit by antique lamps. Try one of their Asian-herb-infused drinks, such as the Tongkat Ali Kopitini.
Three X Co, Bangsar Shopping Centre; fb.com/threexco. Behind a functioning gentleman’s barber shop is this Great Gatsby-esque bar. Go for the cocktails of David Hans, an award-winning mixologist. Try the bestselling Blushing Melon made with Jameson whiskey.
What to do
Aquaria KLCC, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Center. One of the largest aquariums in the world. Ride a travelator through the marine sanctuary, which is home to over 150 species of marine life, including tiger sharks and seahorses.
Bangsar. The pace in this hip district really picks up when the sun goes down. This is when young expats and trendy locals prowl the streets, visiting restaurants and bars that boast international flavors.
Batu Caves, Selangor. This limestone hill, comprising three major caves and a few smaller ones, is home to a Hindu temple that draws crowds of fervent worshippers, especially during the annual Thaipusam festival. Do note that you’ll have to climb 272 steps to reach the caves.
Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi, +60 1 300 22 8688; centralmarket.com.my. Do your pasalubong shopping here — there are affordable sarong, batik and other souvenir items for sale. Besides stocking up on souvenirs, you can also get your fortune told, try your hand at batik classes, enjoy a massage and listen to live music performances.
Chow Kit Market, Jln Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Soak in the sights and sounds of the largest wet market in the city. The vendors are friendly, and some may even invite you to photograph their stalls!
Galeri Petronas, 3/F Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Center; galeripetronas.com.my. While away a couple of hours admiring works from both local and foreign artists. The art pieces here run the gamut from paintings to multimedia installations, and offer intriguing insights into Malaysian culture.
Genting Skyway, www.gentinghighlands.info/cable-car.htm. Take the 3.38km-long cable car ride from Gohtong Jaya to Resorts World Genting. It’s one of the longest and fastest cable car lines in Southeast Asia, and it passes through 100-year-old tropical rainforest.
Golden Triangle. The epicenter of high fashion and entertainment in Kuala Lumpur, encompassing Bukit Bintang, Imbi, Sultan Ismail, and Raja Chulan.
Islamic Arts Museum, Jalan Lembah Perdana; +60 3 2274 2020; www.iamm.org.my. Home to one of the world’s best collections of Islamic decorative arts, including textiles, jewelry, pottery and carpets.
Jalan-Jalan @ Kampong Bharu, visitkl.com.my. This 2.5-hour guided tour will take you through the city’s oldest residential estate. You’ll get to visit traditional houses, markets, galleries and places of worship. Remember to register in advance, as slots are limited.
Lake Gardens, Jalan Lembah. Once the residence of the British elite, this 92ha district is now home to flower gardens and various animal parks. Admire thousands of birds in the impressive walk-in aviary, rub shoulders with locals along the jogging tracks, or enjoy some time out by the lake.
Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Benteng; +60 14 358 8129. The older mosque in the city is situated at the tranquil meeting point of two rivers. It marks the plan where the city’s founders first settled in. The proud pink bricks, smooth white domes and two looming minarets of this Indian-inspired mosque are especially splendid at sunset.
Masjid Negara, Jalan Perdana; www.masjidnegara.gov.my. Also known as the National Mosque of Malaysia, this is arguably the country’s most stunning architectural landmark, with a style that reflects the many different branches of Islamic architecture. The 18 points of the main dome symbolise the 13 states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam.
Menara KL Tower, Jln P Ramlee; +60 3 2020 5499; menarakl.com.my. Here, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the city at 276m above ground level. The view at night is especially spectacular. The tower also functions as a beacon of Malaysian Islamic culture when it is used as an observatory for the crescent moon, which marks the beginning of Ramadan.
Muzium Negara (National Museum), Jalan Damansara; +60 3 2267 1111; www.muziumnegara.gov.my. Provides a comprehensive overview of Malaysian culture. It is divided into four galleries, each representing a different era in the country’s history.
Petronas Twin Towers (KLCC), Kuala Lumpur City Center; +60 3 2331 8080; www.petronastwintowers.com.my. This 88-storey structure, the tallest twin towers in the world, is undoubtedly KL’s most famous landmark. Head up to the Skybridge at levels 41 and 42 for great views of the city, and visit Suria KLCC for a spot of shopping.
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre,Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya; +60 3 4145 6000; www.royalselangorvisitorcentre.com. Learn about the history of Royal Selangor and discover how pewter is made.
Suria KLCC,Jalan Ampang, +60 12 662 3902. This mall houses popular designer brands such as Chanel and Dior, as well as high-street labels like Zara and Topshop.
Thean Hou Temple, Jalan Syed Putra. This striking red temple was opened in 1989, and is dedicated to the “Heavenly Mother”Goddess. It’s rich in Chinese cultural symbolism, functioning as a hub for Chinese community activity. About 5,000 couples get married here each year.
Titiwangsa Lake Garden, Tasik Titiwangsa. A lush public recreational park where you can go jogging, canoeing, aqua biking and even horse riding. The park also affords visitors with great views of the Petronas Twin Towers.