Every so often we get an email from readers asking us to help them with their itinerary when visiting KL. As our tastes change over time as we explore further and further afield, we don’t have a generic email that we send every single person that approaches us. We prefer to try to tailor something to their interests.
We had a couple from London looking to visit in December and this is what we suggested they do. We hope it also helps you too.
Ensure you include Pudu market on Saturday morning when you arrive – it’s one of the most intense wet markets I have ever visited. Plus a trip to an old-school kopitiam (coffee shop) called Yut Kee where we can eat all the roast pork. Here is what I want to say about KL. KL is sometimes hard work – it’s hot and humid and people can be (how shall I put this?) really annoying. But there are rewards!
There are four fab spaces in the Norman Foster designed Troika building (nearest LRT: Ampang Park on the same line as Bangsar). Strongly suggest visiting one in the evening for stellar views of the towers. Fuego
(South American) is our favourite although when we went recently the service was a bit slack – but views alone make it (they have great guacamole and ceviche if you just want a snack and a cocktail (order a negroni and finish off the night with the yummy churros).
Shared mains (hunks of meat on a wooden board) are around 15-20 pounds although I am kind out of touch with sterling conversion rates. The fine dining restaurant there – Cantaloupe – also do an interesting set lunch that I have been meaning to try. Then there’s Claret – the wine bar – and Strato – good Italian pizza and pasta. you can book via the website. Everyone goes on about seeing the towers from Traders, please don’t bother – it’s a complete rip off and full of idiot tourists.
Another option for tower views at night is the newly opened Nobu
– in Menara 3 (tower 3) right next to KLCC. They do bar snacks if you aren’t up for a full meal. As for the towers – wouldn’t bother going up them – you have to get up super early and queue, but the gardens are nice for a wander around.
Inside, it’s a huge shopping mall, like a lot of Bukit Bintang – although if you check out the strip (and you probably should) there’s a great food court at the bottom of Lot 10
serving heaps of traditional Hutong Chinese dishes – like Hokkien mee. Then behind Bukit Bintang, Jalan Alor is the night market area – again, it’s worth walking down for the experience but it’s expensive for street food and you get a bit of hassle – if you eat on the strip look for WAW at one end and order chilli clams and eggplant.
Or if you are after very good Thai there’s Tamarind Hill
in Bali-esque surrounds in a ‘hidden’ hilltop location in the middle of the city (this is quite smart, but special).
In Bangsar, options for dinner – Hit & Mrs
(not been but hear good things) or Ril’s
for steak and its slinky cocktail bar upstairs. Then if you hop in a taxi having exhausted the Jalan Telawi roads of Bangsar Village area, head to Bangsar Shopping Centre for a glimpse of how rich Malaysians (and some pretentious expats) live. They have a range of international restaurants and an overpriced but kind of cool speakeasy bar called Mr Brooks
Bangsar in general – French bakery Yeast Bistronomy
is pretty good for pastries and coffee, but better coffee to be had at Pulp
(try and get into the warehouse behind it and see if Cliff from Alphabet Press
is around – an amazing young team trying to bring the art of letterpress back to life. You’ll see their cards in Pulp.
We loved afternoon tea at The Majestic
– we thought it would be a bit embarrassing what with all the colonial stuff, but it’s lovely. Take a look at the site and let us know if you fancy it. Or there’s always the main bar or Smoke Room / House for a drink.
I would suggest a stroll through Little India and Chinatown to get a feel for the hectic mix of KL – get off the train (red line again) at Pasar Seni and walk to Masjid Jamek via Jalan HS Tun Lee – make caffeine (and sanity) stops at gallery and coffee pros Aku
on Jalan Pinnang and Cafe Amo
which is part of the delightful Petaling Street Art House / Theatre. You’ll see Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines, Chinese medicine shops and garlands of marigolds. All good, try to avoid the tourist hoards at Petaling Street. Then at Masjid Jamek you can take a quick look at Merdeka Sq (KL is a bit low on obvious sites – but this huge field in the middle of the chaos has some nice buildings). You can have banana leaf curry at any of the places in Little India, but Saravana Bhavan
is my favourite. You get a leaf and they dump various stuff on it, eating with your right hand optional. There’s also a branch in Brickfields, just down the road from KL Sentral (also on red line) Alternatively, lunch in the Bukit Bintang area has to be Lima Blas
(great Nyonya food – proper Malaysian dishes) on Jalan Mesui where you will also find coffee at Feeka
and excellent jazz at No Black Tie
. Love this little strip.
Or head out to the ‘countryside’ on Thursday. Batu Caves
and FRIM canopy walk
make for a fun morning round trip – take KTM commuter train to Batu and then taxi from there to FRIM (Forest Research something….). It’s a nice patch of jungle and makes you realise how ridiculous it us to build a city in the middle if it all. You can make like Indiana Jones on the rope bridge walkway.
Islamic Arts Museum
has some pretty stunning artefacts and is close to Lake Gardens, which is good for a stroll if you can take the heat. Get there early!
We are now in monsoon season so try to do your sightseeing before 3pm.
Hope this helps you guys plan you trip = hit us up with any questions you may have!