This is one city break that is particularly easy when living in Singapore. Kuala Lumpur is only a 60 minute flight from Singapore; with such a short journey, its hard to argue why it’s not worth checking out for a night or two.
Like most cities, there is plenty of choice when it comes to hotels in KL. For our 2 night stay we wanted a nice hotel that wasn’t too expensive, centrally located, with some good views of the famous Petronas Towers. The Trader’s Hotel ticked all these boxes. The highlight was the view from our room window which looked out directly over the towers.
The hotel also comes equipped with Skybar and pool, though its worth noting that the pool is indoor and located on the rooftop along side the Skybar, and gets very hot under all the glass. We didn’t plan on spending time poolside, but worth noting in case that was a priority for your hotel choice.
See / Do
Petronas Towers: this is a sight that cannot be missed! These buildings are the Icon of Kuala Lumpur, and were once the tallest buildings in the world until 2004 (and in fact remain the tallest twin towers in the world). Head to the bottom of the building to really get a sense of the height of the towers and to see the incredible level of detail that adorns this impressive architecture.
Forest Eco Park: a lush green space located smack-bang in the middle of the CBD. Entrance is free and it is a nice place to escape the heat of the streets for a short while. Make sure you take a stroll along the tree top walkway.
KL Tower: another way to see KL’s urban views from above; you can head up to the SkyBox Viewing Platform. The price of entry is quite steep (SGD $33 per person) and as it was heaving with large tour groups, we opted out of this activity. Located next to the Forest Eco Park.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building: Located in front of Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), it is worth a walk-by for those who love their architecture. This Government building is closed to the public, but you are free to stroll around and take in the lovely architecture and beautiful gardens (on the riverside of the buildings).
Petaling Street: a street lined with historic shophouses, this is a great place to see a little more of the older neighbourhoods of KL. The first part of the street is now market stalls for cheap wares and all sorts of jib, but keep walking and you’ll see old shop fronts housing small businesses and new trendy cafes, side by side. A great street to explore if you love your architecture and photography.
Cafe hop: KL has a bustling coffee and cafe scene, so there is plenty of excellent places to get your caffeine fix. Given the short visit, we only got to sample a few of the cafes, with these two being our favourites:
- Grizzly Brew: Melbourne style coffee with tasty breakfast toasties, this was an easy 15 min walk from the Traders Hotel. There are not a lot of independent cafes choices in the KLCC area that are open over the weekend, but this little gem was a TOP choice. A chilled out space with great coffee.
- Merchants Lane Coffee: hot on the KL cafe scene (evident by the lineup for a table), this is a cute and trendy space located right on Petaling Street. Good coffee options, but backed up by an even better cake selection making this a perfect afternoon stop off while sight seeing.
Eat / Drink
KL has a great urban skyline, and if you are looking to grab a drink or a meal in the evening it’s worth trying to find somewhere where you can sit back and marvel at the impressive views.
Heli Lounge Bar: this is THE place to grab sunset drinks in KL. The bar, located on top of a helicopter pad within the KLCC district, offers amazing 360 degree views of the city skyline. We arrived at 6pm sharp (when the bar opens) and managed to score seats right on the edge of the helipad (with the best views of sunset). You need to order drinks at the bar inside first, and then head up the stairs to the helipad. A fun and relaxed vibe; this is a KL weekender must do!
Traders Hotel Skybar: located on the 33rd floor of the hotel, this bar has some very good views of the Petronas Towers from the floor to ceiling windows. We visited after checking in on a Friday night, and by that time the bar had turned into a club. Not really our scene, but given we were staying at the hotel, it was a very convenient way to grab a late meal & nightcap whilst getting a glimpse of the towers at night.
Fuego Restaurant: An alfresco style space at Troika Sky Dining (Level 23A, Tower B of the Troik building), this restaurant also has stunning views over KLCC and the Petronas Towers. We booked a table for dinner and everything we ordered was DELICIOUS!! It’s a Mexican tapas style menu so you’ll get the chance to sample a good mixture of dishes. You can also just come here for late night cocktails – which were also excellent!
What we thought of KL
Kuala Lumpur was by no means our favourite city destination in Asia, however, would I recommend a visit here? I’d say it is a worthwhile stopover for 1-2 nights max and only if you are in the region, or located in Singapore. Personally, if I were to recommend a city break for a longer haul traveller, then I’d be looking to other cities such as Bangkok or Tokyo to get my Asia big-city fix.