A concierge recommends: 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur

A concierge recommends: 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia boleh

Text: Suraj Sud

Image: Getty Images

Whether you're a culture buff, shopaholic, or foodie, this city has plenty to offer

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is known for its impressive array of attractions that range from cultural heritage sites and shopping havens to sumptuous local delights and vibrant nightlife options. Notable landmarks in the heart of this exciting city include the awe-inspiring Petronas Twin Towers, which are located just minutes away from the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur.

Suraj Sud, Chief Concierge of InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, shares an itinerary that packs in the best of the city within a day.

Suraj Sud

10:00am: Start the day with the sounds of birds chirping and witness over 3,000 take flight at the tranquil KL Bird Park. The world's largest free-flight walk-in aviary is around 10 minutes away from the city centre and houses approximately 200 local and foreign species. Be sure to catch the free-flying bird feeding at 10:30am. 

12:00pm: A short hop in a taxi from the bird park will get you to Central Market Kuala Lumpur (Pasar Seni), a haven for art and culture aficionados, shopaholics and gourmands. Built in 1888 by the British colony as a wet market, this heritage site is now one of the best places to visit for intricate local handicrafts, souvenirs and batik (hand-dyed fabrics) items. Remember to barter down the price when you spot something you like, as this is all part of the fun.

batik print

If your appetite has been piqued after practicing your negotiating skills head up to the second floor food court, where you can indulge in a spread of local fare such as Nasi Lemak (coconut rice served with side dishes such as cucumber slices, deep fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, chicken, and sweet chilli paste) as well as Teh Tarik (a strong black tea that is poured theatrically between two cups and mixed with sweetened condensed milk).

Art lovers can visit The Annexe Gallery (adjacent to the market) to get a glimpse of the local art scene and enjoy the many exhibitions and public screenings of local films.

A vendor pulling a cup of teh tarik

2:00pm: Take a short two-minute stroll to Petaling Street, KL's Chinatown. The advantage of visiting this bustling area in the afternoon is that you beat the evening tourist crowd. Immerse yourself in the world of Chinese culture, artefacts and tantalising street food set within pre-war shop houses. Must tries include Mian Jian Kueh, a delicious Asian-style pancake; crispy on the outside and filled with either peanut or red-bean; freshly deep fried Malaysian snacks, such as yam, banana or potato slices and Asian grilled meat, which are pork or beef slices cooked on the barbecue. If you're still craving for more, be sure to try Kim Lian Kee Hokkien Mee (wok-fried egg noodles with prawn, pork, squid and bean sprouts) or Sze Ngan Chye Roast Duck.

To cool off, an iced soya bean drink or a refreshing iced Air Mata Kucing, made from rock sugar, dried longan, winter melon and Luo Han Guo (a type of Chinese fruit), would definitely do the trick.

4:00pm: A mere 7 minutes by car will allow a welcome respite from the heat as you arrive at Suria KLCC shopping centre where six levels of divine shopping pleasure awaits you. There's something for everyone here with shops from sports and fitness to beauty and fashion to housewares and stationery abound.

7:30pm: No trip to KL is complete without a visit to the world's tallest twin-towers, the majestic Petronas Twin Towers. Most tourists get there in the morning, but the best time to take in the breath-taking views of the city is at night from 451.9 metres above ground, when the city centre lights up. As tickets usually sell out fast, it's recommended to buy tickets at 8:30am. A top tip on getting tickets in advance is buying the combined Skybridge and Observation Deck option so you can avoid the queues. 

Petronas twin towers at night

8:30pm: It's time for dinner. Grab a taxi to Jalan Alor, one of KL's most famous food streets and night markets. Take the time to enjoy a delicious Ramly Burger, Malaysia's iconic hawker style beef or chicken sandwich, or fresh seafood dishes at the street-side tables just as the locals do. Be sure to ask for the market price before agreeing to the order so you won't be surprised at the end of your meal. Iconic Wong Ah Wah Chicken Wings are also a must try on this busy street.

10:30pm: Just around the corner, the nightlife at Bukit Bintang is both colourful and glamorous. Whether you are looking for a quiet drink or a night of partying, Changkat Bukit Bintang Boulevard is crammed with hip nightclubs and lively watering holes. For those who rather opt for a more arty and soulful night, Jalan Mesui also offers great alternatives.

For more suggested activities and things to do in Kuala Lumpur, please visit the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur Concierge Guide

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