My trip to KL was pretty brief. In fact, I only got to spend a little less than 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur. But, I still managed to make the most of it and find some great places to explore!
If you’re headed to Malaysia and looking for the best Kuala Lumpur itinerary for 1 day, you’re in the right place.
As a self confessed travel nerd, I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting destinations to explore. One such place that was on my radar for quite some time was Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
Known for its towering skyscrapers, bustling street markets, and delicious cuisine, Kuala Lumpur offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition that’s pretty hard to resist.
Interesting fact (well I thought so): Kuala Lumpur actually means “muddy confluence” in Malay, referring to the point where two rivers, the Klang and Gombak, meet.
So with that said (and I hope I still have you!), if you’re short on time but still want to experience the best of Kuala Lumpur in 1 day, don’t worry. It can be done.
With just 24 hours in hand, you can still make the most of your visit to the Malaysian capital. From savoring local delicacies to visiting iconic landmarks, there are plenty of things to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day.
Don’t have a full 1 day in Kuala Lumpur? This layover tour will pick you up from the airport and take you on a 4 hour tour of the most important attractions in the city, before dropping you back to the airport for your next flight!
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- Tips for visiting Kuala Lumpur
- 24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur
- 1 day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur: The Morning
- Kuala Lumpur One Day Itinerary: The Afternoon
- One Day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary: The Evening
- Got more than 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur?
- 24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: What's the Verdict?
Tips for visiting Kuala Lumpur
Getting from Kuala Lumpur airport to the city center
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) is located approximately 45 kilometers from the city center. There are a few public transport options available to get from the airport to the city center.
- Train: The KLIA Express train is the fastest way to get from the airport to the city center. It takes around 28 minutes and costs RM55 (approximately $12) one way. The train runs every 15 minutes from 5am to 12am to the train station in Kuala Lumpur city centre.
- Bus: The airport bus is a more affordable option. It costs just RM12 ($2.70) one way and takes around 1 hour to get to the city center. The bus runs every 30 minutes from 5am to 11pm.
- Taxi: Taxis are available outside the airport terminal and if you’re in a hurry, it’s the fastest option. They’re the most expensive option though, at approximately RM80-100 ($18 to $23), depending on traffic.
Checking in to your hotel
After arriving in the city center, it’s time to check in to your hotel (unless it’s too early, in which case just stop by your hotel and leave your baggage so you can get out exploring.
No matter what your budget in Kuala Lumpur, there’s something for any kind of traveller, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
Luxury Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Mid-range hotels in Kuala Lumpur
Budget hotels in Kuala Lumpur
A few more KL tips
- The currency in Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) and you’ll find ATMs all over the city.
- Credit cards are generally accepted in most places, but do check with your hotel or restaurant beforehand to make sure.
- Tipping is not mandatory, but it’s appreciated if you’re happy with the service provided in restaurants and cafes. A 10% tip is usually sufficient.
- The weather in Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid, so make sure you’re prepared for this (i.e. keep hydrated!)
- Kuala Lumpur is known for its street food, so definitely don’t miss out on sampling the amazing local cuisine!
24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur
1 day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur: The Morning
As I only had one day in Kuala Lumpur, I had to make the most of my time in the city and packed quite a bit in.
Explore Batu Caves
First up might seem like the obvious choice, but it really is better to get there first thing in the morning.
Located just 13 kilometers north of the city, this limestone hill is home to a series of caves and temples that are considered to be one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.
The main attraction of Batu Caves is the wonderfully colourful 272 steps leading up to the Temple Cave, which is the largest of the caves and houses several Hindu shrines. As you climb the stairs, you’ll be greeted by the sight of a towering golden statue of Lord Murugan, which stands at 42.7 meters tall and is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia.
Once you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area and the opportunity to explore the Temple Cave. Inside, you’ll find intricate carvings and paintings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as several shrines dedicated to various deities.
But Batu Caves isn’t just about the Temple Cave. There are other caves to explore too, including the Dark Cave, which is home to a variety of unique species such as bats and cave crickets. There’s also a Ramayana Cave, which features colorful depictions of scenes from the Ramayana epic.
The best part about visiting the Batu Caves is that it’s a free attraction – unless you want to go inside the Dark Cave or Ramayana Cave, in which case there’s a small entrance fee.
Marvel at Thean Hou Temple
Before heading into the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, you’ll get to experience the peaceful and serene escape to Thean Hou Temple. This beautiful Chinese temple is located on a hilltop in the city’s Robson Heights neighborhood, and offers fantastic views of the surrounding area.
The temple was built in the 1980s by the Hainanese community in Malaysia, and is dedicated to the goddess Tian Hou (also known as Mazu), who is revered as the protector of seafarers. As you enter the temple, you’ll be greeted by a large statue of Tian Hou, which is surrounded by intricate carvings and ornate decorations.
One of the highlights of Thean Hou Temple is the beautiful courtyard, which is filled with colourful lanterns and flowers. There are also some smaller shrines and altars throughout the temple complex, each dedicated to different deities and featuring their own unique decorations.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese culture and religion, Thean Hou Temple is a great place to start. There are often cultural performances and events held at the temple, and visitors are welcome to participate in traditional Chinese rituals such as lighting incense and offering prayers.
Kuala Lumpur One Day Itinerary: The Afternoon
Enjoy nature at the KL Forest Eco Park
In the afternoon, it’s time to head back to the city centre to visit the the KL Forest Eco Park – or Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.
The park features walking trails, lookout points, and picnic spots. But one of the coolest features of the park is its canopy walk. Be ready to channel your inner Tarzan as you walk along the suspended walkways high above the ground, with the treetops swaying gently beneath you.
The park has become a refuge for wildlife and is home to a variety of birds, lizards, monkeys and other animals.
It’s not just an adventure but also an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature from a unique perspective.
Visit the SkyDeck at the Kuala Lumpur Tower
If you’re not afraid of heights, you’ve got to head up to the Sky Deck in the Kuala Lumpur Tower (or Menara Kuala Lumpur).
The KL Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, stands tall at 421 meters (1,381 feet), meaning it has some of the best views in the city. The sprawling skyline of Kuala Lumpur stretches out in all directions, with modern skyscrapers mingling with traditional architecture.
The view during the day is fantastic, but if you can time your visit to catch the sunset, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking display of colors.
But the Sky Deck experience doesn’t end with the view alone. You can also test your courage (or maybe conquer your fear of heights) by stepping onto the glass ledge section. Watch your step as you walk on the transparent panels, allowing you to see the dizzying drop beneath your feet. It’s a thrilling and slightly nerve-wracking experience that’ll get your adrenaline pumping.
When I visited, it happened to be in the middle of thunder and lightning storm and they were closing the glass ledge. However my mum talked her way in letting us be the last ones to go out on the deck so we managed to get a few pictures. We were like drowned rats after that but it was worth it!
Book your tickets in advance here to avoid queues!
One Day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary: The Evening
Shopping at Central Market
Central Market is a great place to experience the local culture and buy souvenirs. This market has a wide range of products, including traditional handicrafts, clothes, and accessories.
The building itself is beautiful colonial architecture with a great atmosphere. As you wander through the stalls, you can find unique items from various Asian countries, as well as Malaysia’s own traditional handicrafts.
The market isn’t just about shopping though. There’s also a variety of performances by local musical talent and street performers.
Dine at Jalan Alor
Jalan Alor is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous food streets for dining. This bustling street is lined with hawker-stalls selling all sorts of delicious Malaysian dishes.
The street is especially popular in the evening, when it transforms into a vibrant food market, as vendors set up their food stalls and start cooking up all sorts of delicious food. From fried noodles to satay and other local favorites, there’s something for everyone to try out. Whatever you choose, I recommend finishing it off with some mango sticky rice – yum!
If you’re not one for street food, there are also plenty of restaurants where you can get a more modern take on Malaysian cuisine.
Visiting the Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers are undoubtedly the most iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur.
These twin towers are 88 floors high and offer great views of the city. As you come near to the towers, you’ll immediately be struck by their sheer size and grandeur. Standing at a whopping 452 meters (1,483 feet), they hold the title of the world’s tallest twin towers.
I highly recommend leaving your visit to the towers to night when you get to see the stunning city lights. The views from the 86th floor observation deck are pretty incredible. There’s also a Sky Bridge between the two towers on the 41st floor.
It can get pretty busy at night so it’s best to book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues. It’s open until 9pm but last admission is 8.30pm so be sure to get in before then.
*Closed on Mondays
Got more than 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur?
If you’ve got more than one day to spend in Kuala Lumpur, check out some of these equally amazing spots:
- KLCC Park: an urban park located at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers. It’s a great place to relax and take in breathtaking views of the towers and city skyline.
- Independence Square: Also known as Dataran Merdeka (or Merdeka Square), this square is a key landmark in Kuala Lumpur’s history. It was here that the Malaysian flag was first raised in 1957 and continues to be an important symbol of national pride.
- Sri Maha Mariamman Temple: Located in Chinatown, this Hindu temple is one of the oldest and most-visited temples in Kuala Lumpur. It’s known for its intricately detailed carvings and vibrant colors.
- Food tour: Let a local chef take you on a tour of the best Malaysian food, through a popular wet market and local eateries in the cities. Book a tour here.
- Changkat Bukit Bintang: Commonly known as the Malaysian Times Square, this area is a great place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. It’s also the hub of Kuala Lumpur’s bar and nightlife scene!
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24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: What’s the Verdict?
Well there you have my KL itinerary for one day. Overall, my 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur were packed with exciting experiences. The city has a lot to offer, and I’d definitely recommend visiting the above attractions if you’re planning a layover in Kuala Lumpur (or even if you’re planning to stay a little longer).
Vourneen is a travel junkie and chronic illness warrior. Although she was late to game in terms of travelling, she has picked up numerous tips and tricks from the almost 30 countries she has visited in the past 5 years.