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A cultural weekend in Kuala Lumpur: Batu Caves, Museums and more

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Getaway Category: Culture & HeritageGetaway Tags: city, culture, getaway, kuala lumpur, and malaysia

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  • Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is renowned worldwide for its skyscraper views, world-class shopping experiences and its mix of distinctively unique cultures. This city is claimed as Asia’s green capital while being ultra modern, cosmopolitan and full of activities to keep all members of the family happy. It is also a great city to spend two days.

    With its blend of delicious cuisine, intriguing architecture and under populated areas, you do not have to join the rat race of larger cities. Here, the locals are undeniably welcoming and if you wish to mingle with people from different cultures, this is the perfect place to do so as you will meet Malays, Chinese, Indians and expats, all of whom will make you feel very much at home.




    Day 0: Singapore to KL

    To fully enjoy your getaway, fly to Kuala Lumpur mid-afternoon, drop your bags at the hotel and go for a happy hour. Black forest KL is an authentic German restobar offering beers from all around the world and off course German ones. Don’t forget to try the currywurst. Whisky lovers will find their heaven at The Whisky Bar, the finest selection of whiskies in town, cigars and food pairing. Keep an eye for the whisky of the month, they offer a discount on selected labels.

    Still hungry? What about Spanish food? Pinchos Tapas Bar will fulfill your cravings. The Paella is gorgeous, the dishe serves 2 people. Try the Jamon con Queso fundido and the cerdo Iberico.

    Day 1 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Top Tourist Attractions

    Start the first day off in Kuala Lumpur by going to see the city’s most iconic and striking building, the Petronas Towers. You can get a closer look at the city’s skyline by going right up to the viewing deck and enjoying the city view from above. Alternatively, you can stay on solid ground and wander through landscaped green areas and the numerous walking paths under the towers.

    The viewing deck at the top is normally open from 9am to 9pm Tuesday through to Sunday. To get here you take the LRT (which is the light rapid transport system in KL), ride on the red line and disembark at KLCC station (you will definitely not miss the towers once you exit the station as they dominate the sky).

    The ticket price is SGD 28.00 for adults and SGD 11.00 for children. One hour is generally enough time to spend enjoying the views, taking pictures and walking around the area. Make sure to come back here at night-time to check out the towers spectacularly lighting up the night sky.

    Now that you’ll have that big item ticked off your list, head over to the Islamic Arts Museum, which showcases Islamic arts throughout history. You can book your tickets online before visiting. Here you will witness beautiful mosaic designs from around the globe. There are outstanding exhibits to be seen and a nice gift shop where you can pick up some memorabilia of your visit. The museum and gallery is open from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. The ticket price is SGD 4.50.

    Rest a bit and recharge your batteries at Old China Cafe. Beef rendang, nonya fried chicken and other Malaysian delicacies are on the lunch menu.  The restaurant is located in Chinatown,  a short taxi ride from the Islamic Arts Museum.

    After lunch make your way to the close by Perdana Botanical Gardens, a large-scale 91.6-hectare park. Here you will come to realise why Kuala Lumpur is called Asia’s green city. There are tropical plants, endless green spaces, scenic walks and botanical gardens to enjoy. The gardens are open daily from 7am to 8pm and the entrance fee is less than SGD 1.00.

    You can dine at one of the restaurants located in Jalan Alor street for a touristic yet local experience. Wong Ah Wah restaurant is an institution, come here for juicy chicken wings. If you prefer fish, visit Meng Kee restaurant, grilled fish served with a special sambal sauce.

    In less than 5 minutes walking, Changkat Bukit Bintang street caters those looking for  more refined places.  The Steak House and El Cerdo are great options for meat lovers. For drinks head to Opium KL or Havana Bar, all located in the same street.

    Day 2 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Batu Caves, History and Rooftops

    Get up early around 8:30am  on day 2 and make your way to the Batu Caves, one of Kuala Lumpur’s main tourist attractions. This limestone hill is stunning and displays a series of caves and cave temples. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines in the world and the limestone that forms the caves is said to be approx. 400 million years old. Visiting hours are from 6am to 9pm and the entrance fee is SGD 5.00.

    You can take a train from KL Central station to reach the Batu Caves in about 30 minutes. Once you arrive, note that there is a steep entrance to the caves and you better be wearing comfy shoes as you’ll have to walk 200 steps to get there. There will be some cheeky monkeys along the way to keep you company.  To return to city center you will take the same train but on the opposite direction.

    After arriving at KL Central, get a taxi and head to Naughty Nuri’s for lunch. Their signature dish is the Pork Ribs, known as the best in town. If you are vegetarian they also have Malaysian & Indonesian vegetarian options.

    The second stop of the day must be The National Museum. Inside the museum you will find manuscripts, maps, money and weapons showcasing important historic developments and celebrating the country’s history. If you like history, you’ll love this place, as you’ll be brought on a fascinating journey of discovery through Malaysia’s history. It’s open daily from 9am to 6pm, the entrance fee is less than 1 SGD.

    After the museum go back to your hotel and spruce yourself up to spend the evening at one of Kuala Lumpur’s swankiest rooftop bars. Sky Bar is a popular choice and it sits on the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel in central KL. The opening hours are 10am to 1am Sunday to Thursday and 10am to 3am Friday and Saturday.  With a pool in the centre of the bar and poolside cabanas providing very inviting places to sip on some signature cocktails while admiring KL from outstanding heights (and the Petronas Towers all lit at night), this will be a night you’ll remember.


    Day 3 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Central Market, Cultural Village and the KL Tower

    Spend the last day of your trip picking up some local handicrafts and souvenirs while shopping at the Central Market. You can take the train from central KL and get off at Pasar Seni station. The market will be directly across from this station and it operates from 10am to 10pm every day.

    After you have finished shopping, make sure to drop by Malaysia Cultural village. It’s worth a quick visit just to witness dancers doing a cultural dance presentation and to see duplicate models of traditional Malaysian-style houses.

    And, while you’re in the area of the Cultural Village, make it your business to visit the KL Tower, the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world. It has a revolving restaurant in the upper area that gives diners the best panoramic views of the city. Come here for High Tea, a dinner buffet or for a drink or two. The restaurant is open daily and with lunch available at a reasonable price of just SGD 31.00 per person, a visit here is the perfect way to end your weekend away.




    Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

    Affordable

    Simms Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and close to Berjaya Times Square. This accommodation is extremely budget friendly and offers great value for money. Room rates start from SGD 26.00.

    Mid-Range

    Le Apple Boutique Hotel is also centrally located in the city and this gets our top vote for the best mid-range accommodation in KL. This hotel offers extremely comfortable and stylish rooms in a great location. Prices start from SGD 79.00.

    High End

    If you are looking for accommodation that oozes luxury then look no further than the The Ritz Carlton Hotel Kuala Lumpur. The hotel features a divine spa and wellness centre and a selection of dining and beverage options that you won’t see in most hotels. Spacious rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the city.  For SGD 225.00 per night, you are guaranteed 5 star standards at this hotel.

    Getting to Kuala Lumpur

    There are several direct flights departing from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur every hour.  Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Tiger Air and AirAsia are some of the companies to choose from.

    From the airport to the city the most convenient option is the train KLIA Express. From the airport to KL Central(Kuala Lumpur central station) it takes only 28 minutes,  tickets costs SGD 19.00. Taxis can get stuck in Kuala Lumpur’s heavy traffic, without traffic the journey takes around 1 hour and costs about SGD 40.00.

    Alternatively, you can reach Kuala Lumpur by bus, allow at least 5 hours for the trip.

    Getting around Kuala Lumpur

    Getting around Kuala Lumpur on public transport is easy. There is the KTM Komuter trains serving two lines, which run from 6am to 11.45 at night. Then there’s the LRT that has three different lines.

    The next option is the Monorail, which is a speedy service from KL Sentral to Titiwangsa and is the easiest access route to all the major touristic sightseeing areas. Tickets for trains can be bought at stations and are priced for distance travelled. Bus tickets can be purchased onboard buses and although the system is reliable, traffic can cause delays.

    There is a bus called Go KL city bus that will take you to the main touristy districts, shopping centres and landmarks and wait for it – it’s FREE of charge! This pastel purple bus can hold 65 passengers; it’s air-conditioned and has free Wi-Fi (what’s not to love?). Similar to a hop on and hop off bus, you can get off where you like or at any place of interest. These pretty lilac busses run daily on five minute intervals during busy and peak times or every fifteen minutes during off-peak times.

    Other information about Kuala Lumpur

    • Dress conservatively during your time in KL. When visiting religious landmarks wear long pants and cover your shoulders.
    • Kuala Lumpur is a relatively safe place to visit but, as with any big city, it is advisable to take necessary precautions and take extra care when in crowded places.
    • You might find some squat-style toilets during your visit so carry some tissues and sanitary wipes in your bag with you.
    • It can get quite hot and sticky so drink lots of bottled water to stay hydrated.

    Finally, enjoy your weekend in the melting pot of cultures that is Kuala Lumpur!

    "New Year's Eve in Asia"

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