During my short trip in Malaysia, I only spent 2 days in Kuala Lumpur—but this was plenty of time to experience the highlights of the city.
Here is my travel guide for two days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From food to accommodation to transportation, use these tips to get the most out of your trip to Kuala Lumpur!
Side note: Malaysia is one of my favorite countries that I’ve traveled to, but not everyone feels this way about Kuala Lumpur. In fact, there’s a lot of blogs out there that share horror stories of traveling to this city…
That’s why I wanted to write this post—to share my solo female travel experience in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—and why I recommend adding this remarkable city to your bucket list.
Here is an overview of the things you can do for 2 days in Kuala Lumpur (screenshot this!). Read a more in-depth description of each activity in the content below.
|D A Y||T I M E||A C T I V I T Y|
|Day 1||Morning||Visit Batu Caves|
|Afternoon||Grab lunch at Simply Life Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant|
|Evening||Check out the Petronas Twin Towers|
|Day 2||Morning||Go in the Skybox at Menara KL Tower|
|Afternoon||Grab lunch at Chola Kitchen|
|Evening||Eat your way through Jalan Alor Night Food Court|
The four “must-see’s” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Batu Caves, Petronas Twin Towers, Menara KL Tower, and Jalan Alor Night Food Court.
Home to the infamous rainbow stairs, Batu Caves is one of the most unique temples I have ever visited. Not only do its multi-colored steps make it stand out from other Southeast Asian temples, the temples at the top are built into caves!
Many online blogs will tell you to wake up at the crack of dawn to get your “perfect picture” on the colorful steps with nobody else around—but I didn’t take this advice—and was still able to get decent photos.
To my surprise, my visit to Batu Caves (aside from transportation) was FREE! Perfect must-do activity for a budget traveler.
The train system runs all over KL (see section below for more on this). I walked to Masjid Jamek Station from my hostel and took the 8:07 train to KL Sentral Station. From KL Sentral, I took the 8:43 train straight to Batu Caves. (KL Sentral is the main station that will get you to Batu Caves; take the nearest train from your hostel here*)
Price: 8.40 MYR ($2 USD) round trip (make sure to keep change on you to buy your tickets at the train station)
Temples in Southeast Asia all require some kind of modest dress code—covered shoulders and knees. As a rule of thumb, I always dress this way when I visit any temple. This modesty is also a good thing to keep in mind if you’re a female solo traveler in Malaysia. Keep the booty shorts and crop tops at home!
Travel Tip: Visit the Small Temple
Outside the main cave temple to the left is a smaller Hindu temple. As I was heading back to the train something told me to take a stroll through this temple—and I’m so glad that I did.
The temple is designed with bright colors that mirror the steps of the Batu Caves. It was filled with families of Indian people giving offerings and receiving Tilaka (ash) markings between their eyes.
Despite being a solo (American) traveler, I was welcomed in by an Indian temple worker who gave me my first Tilaka and two fresh flowers to place behind my ears.
After leaving an offering of 1 MYR, I followed the other Indian people and completed the ritual offering to the shrines. I was then ushered to another area in the temple where I was given FREE food—a paper cone filled with tamarind rice, sweet rice porridge, and roasted chickpeas (apparently they give out free food every Friday, lucky me!)
I sat down on the floor among the families of Indian people and begin eating this delectable treat with my hands (this was a first for me).
They smiled at me and we exchanged head nods as we hand-fed ourselves. This was totally out of the norm for me, definitely out of my comfort zone, but I felt totally accepted by this community nonetheless.
Another famous landmark in KL, the Petronas Twin Towers are worth a visit in the day and the night. Scoping out the towers is FREE, making it another must-do activity for a budget traveler.
If you want to go up into the towers, single ticket admission is 80 MYR ($20 USD).
Travel Tip: Getting the Perfect Photo
Getting your photo outside these gigantic structures is a MUST, but if you’re a solo traveler, here’s some advice:
There’s going to be a swarm of locals with fisheye camera lenses trying to sell you the “perfect shot”. They will let you try the lens on your phone, take a photo of the towers to test it out, then try to charge you. DON’T FALL FOR THIS! And don’t give them your phone to take your picture either.
What did I do? Walked around until I found two female travelers from the Philippines taking pictures of each other and asked them to snap one for me. They were kind enough to take my picture, and even took one on their iPhone 10 (I still have a 7) and air dropped it to me!
The Menara KL Tower is another one of KL’s icons and has a plexi-glass Skybox where you can take a step out 300 meters over the city.
I decided to pay the 99 MYR ($25 USD) ticket price to capture the stunning views of KL at the top of this tower, but wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into…
After waiting in queue at the bottom of the tower, you’re piled into an elevator and shot all the way to the top. Make sure to grab a ticket right when you step out of the elevator to get your queue number for the Skybox (I didn’t do this right away and had to ask some people where they got theirs).
I waited in queue for my Skybox experience for about 2 hours. Luckily, I had met up with two friends so our conversations plus the amazing view made this wait less dreadful.
Once our number was called, we were surprised to find out that we only had 1 minute and 40 seconds in the Skybox—for all three of us!
That 1 minute and 40 seconds looked like us shuffling around and busting out quick poses for our shots, hardly getting the chance to enjoy the view beneath our feet.
Touristy attraction? Yes. Pricey? Yes. Long wait for a short experience? Yes.
Was it worth it? Seeing as the other things that filled up my 2 days in Kuala Lumpur were free, I didn’t mind the money I spent on this. And because I had met up with people, it made the experience joyful. Plus, the view was freaking stunning!
Having traveled to Kuala Lumpur after spending a few days in Singapore, I was thrilled to find a night market (Singapore had mostly restaurants/Hawker centers).
I met another solo female traveler from the Netherlands, and we decided to check out the Jalan Alor Night Food Court together.
Walking under the strings of red lanterns that hung above the street, we decided on a seafood restaurant (Yenn Restaurant) to get a taste of local Malaysian food.
Sticking to the traditional Asian way of sharing meals, we ordered Mee Goreng, Garlic Prawns, and Fried Mushrooms. The Mee Goreng was loaded with flavor, the prawns were loaded with garlic, and the mushrooms were light and crispy (and a first for me!). We spent 27 MYR ($7 USD) each.
Although we were stuffed from dinner, we couldn’t pass up the street vendors selling local sweets. We shared Peanut Mochi and Pandan Coconut Cake—5 MYR ($1 USD) each.
Travel Tip: Sharing Meals
If you’re a solo budget traveler like me, I highly recommend linking up with other people at your hostels and sharing meals like this to keep your belly, and wallet full.
Kuala Lumpur is full of a variety of cuisine from Malaysian to Halal and Indian to Chinese. Aside from the Jalan Alor Night Food Court, here are two other restaurants to check out in Kuala Lumpur.
The large Indian population in Malaysia makes it really easy to find some bomb Indian food in Kuala Lumpur, and I was lucky to come across Chola Kitchen on my way to the Menara KL Tower.
Wanting to step out of my comfort zone a little I ordered Mutton (goat in a curry) with Biryani Rice (my absolute favorite style of rice). The curry was packed with flavor and the Mutton had a nice texture.
Chola Kitchen offers a menu full of Indian delights and outdoor cafe seating with the perfect view of the Menara KL Tower!
Price: 16 MYR ($4 USD)
After eating a lot of heavy cuisine, I decided to lighten things up and check out Simply Life Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant.
Here I ordered a tasty vegetarian version of Nasi Lemak—Malaysia’s national dish of rice cooked in coconut and pandan leaf, served with several foods around it.
Coconut and pandan have become an addiction of mine since moving to SE Asia, and they created and incredible taste in this dish. It was also served with two of my other favorites—pumpkin and tempeh—making it another amazing meal in the list of delectable foods I had in Malaysia.
You can find Simply Life Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant in the Lot10 Shopping Center in Kuala Lumpur.
Price: 20 MYR ($5 USD)
Kuala Lumpur offers accommodation options for both budget and ballin’ travelers.
I am a Friends fanatic—a previous binger of the series before Netflix decided to cut it. Therefore, it was a no brainer that I HAD to stay at the Friends Perk Hostel in Kuala Lumpur.
The café below the hostel is designed just like the Perk Cafe from the TV show, orange couch and all! They play episodes of Friends on a flatscreen TV and serve FREE coffee and tea all day (double win!)
The hostel dorms are on the two floors above the cafe. They feature capsule style bunks with curtains for privacy and lockers underneath your bed for your luggage.
There’s a main common room to meet other solo travelers as well as seating areas to chill out on each floor. They also have a water filter that provides FREE hot and cold water on the second floor.
The Friends Perk Hostel is conveniently located downtown next to several train stations. It’s right around the corner from the Jalan Alor Night Food Court and a short walk to the Menara KL Tower/Petronas Twin Towers.
Side note: This is a BUDGET hostel. The rooms are clean, but they aren’t anything fancy. The restrooms are typical of Southeast Asian accommodation—showers in the toilet space, “bum guns” for the toilets, slippers to put on. I paid 38 MYR ($9 USD) total for 2 nights here.
If you’re a traveler with a little more money to spend, I recommend booking an AirBnB at The Face Suites.
I had the chance to scope this place out when an ITA (International TEFL Academy) Alum that I met on Instagram and her partner invited me over to catch the sunset at the pool. (Seriously good-natured, genuine people—follow their adventures @sarahthewanderess)
For around 186-289 MYR per night ($45-$70 USD) you can get yourself a 1-bedroom suite with a full kitchen, living room, Western bathroom, and washer/dryer.
The highlight of this accommodation is the rooftop infinity pool that gives you a panoramic view of KL, including both the Menara KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers. Plus, there’s a state of the art rooftop gym as well!
Something like this would run for $200-$300 USD per night in the States. It’s insane the quality you can get for such a value price in Southeast Asia! Yes, it costs more than your average backpacker hostel—but it’s definitely worth it if you want to #treatyoself.
Getting around Kuala Lumpur is made easy by the public transportation system. The LRT and KL Monorail are safe, convenient ways to get around the city. And if you’re an active adventurer like me, everything is close enough to just walk!
The LRT is the larger of the two railway systems, having 2 routes with 18 stops each. It operates from 06:00-24:00. Trains arrive every 3-15 minutes and prices start at 1 MYR per stop ($0.25 USD).
Use this to get to the Batu Caves (Gombak Station) and Petronas Twin Towers (KLCC Station).
The Monorail runs throughout the main city with 11 stops. Trains arrive every 5-12 minutes and prices start at 1.20 MYR per stop ($0.29 USD).
Use this to get to the Menara KL Tower (Bukit Nanas Station), Jalan Alor Night Food Court (Bukit Bintang Station), and Berjaya Times Square (Imbi Station).
Travel Tip: Walk!
Although I love using public transportation, I am also a big fan of using my two feet to get me around. KL is small enough—and safe enough for a solo female traveler—to get around on foot. Plus, you discover way more when you’re walking (and burn a good amount of calories too, holla!)
Taking a bus is the cheapest way to get in and out of Kuala Lumpur, though it does take some time. You can use a bus to travel to other cities in Malaysia, as well as in and out of the country.
I took a bus to travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. I booked my ticket through Easybook.com for 26.20 SGD ($19 USD). The bus ride is around 6 hours and makes several stops along the way for bathroom use and snacks.
Since you’re traveling between countries, the bus makes a stop at the border for everyone to pass through immigration.
The bus is great for solo travel because you often meet other travelers on the same route—I met 3 down-to-earth travelers on my trip. We all got dropped off at Beraya Times Square and (sadly) parted ways to our hostels.
I also took a bus to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Malaysia. I booked my ticket through Easybook.com for 35 MYR ($9 USD). The bus ride is around 5 hours with several stops for food and bathroom use along the way.
If you’re looking to get to Georgetown, Penang, choose the Sungai Nibong Bus Station as your drop-off point. There will be local taxis at the station, but I recommend booking a GRAB to get to your accommodation (prices are set and it’s a good way to avoid being scammed as a solo female traveler).