"Kuala Lumpur had a certain something. It was difficult to put his finger on what it was exactly. There was a sense of freedom perhaps, of anarchy even." — Shamini Flint, A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder, 2009 (p. 53)

Cities > Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide:

2023 Travel Update: As of 2023, Malaysia essentially is open for tourism by both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers without Covid-specific documentation or testing. However, be sure to double check the official government site and travel alerts for up-to-the minute details.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — commonly abbreviated as KL — would have done well to hire a branding consultant when it was deciding on a name. For example, Hong Kong means "Fragrant Harbour" in Cantonese and Singapore is derived from "Lion City" in Malay, both of which sound like appealing places to see. Kuala Lumpur, on the other hand, translates to English roughly as "Muddy Confluence" — it lies at the intersection of two rivers — but this isn't exactly a name that would inspire visitors.

Despite its rather lacklustre name, Kuala Lumpur can be an inspirational place; it combines a motley mix of British Colonial, Islamic, Modern, and Postmodern architecture with a vibrant blend of cultures and delicious food. Kuala Lumpur often is heralded as a prime example of a city that is both Muslim and modern, and visiting KL can provide an opportunity for non-Muslim tourists — and Muslim tourists from elsewhere — to broaden and diversify their perspectives a bit, also.

In terms of its built environment, Kuala Lumpur could be much better — particularly for walking — but the city should be praised for its extensive and ongoing improvements to its mass transit. A decade or so ago, the city had a mess of disconnected, separate rail systems with different access cards. Now, though, all lines converge conveniently at KL Sentral and share the same MyRapid Touch 'N Go card, which makes the city much easier to navigate and a lot more fun to explore.

With decades of rapid improvement and growth, Kuala Lumpur is not as cheap as it once was, but has found that it still can be quite affordable and it still boasts some of the least expensive luxury hotels in the world, too. Read on to make the most of your journey...

7 Things Tourists Don't Do in Kuala Lumpur, but You Should

Want to see more of Kuala Lumpur than most tourists? Read on.

SS 15, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

From Malay and Peranakan food destinations like Kampung Baru and Pudu Wai Sek Kai to gems of vernacular architecture like Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman and retrofitted transit-oriented districts with real potential like SS 15, Kuala Lumpur has plenty of things to do beyond what most tourists see. Among overlooked Kuala Lumpur experiences,’s favorite seven are…