Malaysia for many people conjures up visions of a tropical paradise, white sandy beaches, fascinating culture and the frenetic capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

But Malaysia is a country of two distinct parts – Peninsular Malaysia which borders Thailand and Singapore and the less populated provinces of Sabah and Sarawak of Borneo Malaysia (home of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia). Separated by the South China Sea, the dense jungles of Sabah and Sarawak are a far cry from the vibrancy of Kuala Lumpur.

As a country Malaysia has everything – tropical island resorts, endless white-sand beaches, world-class diving, orang-utans, the oldest rainforest in the world, city skyscrapers, mosques and temples.

Most tourists stay on the Peninsula where the highlands offer cool relief from the humidity of the mainland, while Langkawi is popular with sand and surf enthusiasts. The east coast, especially Kelantan province, gives an insight into traditional Malay life. The west coast is steeped in history and is the home of Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur - the icon of Asian prosperity typified by the iconic Petronas Towers. 

Malaysia is an incredibly diverse country, from Penang’s incredible beaches to the Cameron Highlands where you can visit tea plantations in the cool air; or you can track elephants in Taman Negara, and visit Borneo where you can see wild orang-utans. Whatever you are looking for, Malaysia has it.

The currency in Malaysia is the Ringgit, often referred to as the Malaysian Dollar. The best currency for exchange is the Pound Sterling, but US Dollars are also widely accepted. You will find that major hotels are only licensed to buy or accept foreign currency in the form of notes and traveller's cheques and it may be difficult to exchange foreign currencies outside the main tourist centres. In the main towns and cities all the major credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa) are widely accepted.


Kuala Lumpur


Vibrant, frenetic, modern and traditional can all be used to describe the stunning city of Kuala Lumpur. As Malaysia’s capital city, it is probably best known for the iconic Petronas Towers.

As a city it has certainly come a long way from its humble origins as a tin miners’ settlement on the confluence of the muddy Gombak and Klang rivers in 1860.

The city's cultural diversity provides plenty of sightseeing for those who travel to Kuala Lumpur, from tranquil temples and glorious gardens to bustling street markets. Malay, western, Chinese and Indian influences work together to create a blend of old and modern worlds. From China Town and Little India to the British architecture in Dataran Merdeka(Independence Square) of the mock-tudor Royal Selanger Club House and cricket pitch, this diverse juxtaposition of old and new perfectly illustrates the city’s ethnic diversity.

Despite its modernity you can still experience true Malaysian culture and life around the traditional arts and crafts stalls of Central Market. But the shopping doesn’t stop there. Kuala Lumpur is a shopperholic’s paradise with a range of fantastic malls. But the capital isn’t just about culture and shopping, for the younger travellers there is also an amazing indoor theme park.

See & Do

You will never be at a loss as to what to do while staying in Kuala Lumpur. There is such a diverse range of activities and things to see and do everyone will find something to suit their tastes. Here are a few places you may like to visit:

  • Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square)
  • Royal Selangor Club House
  • Cathedral of St Mary
  • The National Museum
  • Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
  • National Art Gallery
  • Sultan Abdul Samad Buildings
  • Lake Gardens
  • Butterfly Park
  • Deer Park
  • Bird Park
  • Malaysian National Monument
  • Jamek Mosque
  • Jalan Pasar National Mosque
  • Petaling Street (heart of China Town)
  • Central Market
  • Sri Mahamariaman Temple (oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur)
  • Thean Hou Temple
  • Kuala Lumpur Tower
  • Petronas Twin Towers
  • Batu Caves
  • Masjid Mosque
  • Little India
  • Friday Mosque
  • Taman Negara (National Park)
  • National Zoo and Aquarium
  • Cosmo’s World (indoor theme park)
  • Sunway Lagoon (themed amusement park)
  • Minew Wonderland
  • Genting Highlands
  • Sepang International Circuit



If you love shopping Kuala Lumpur is the place for you. You can find just about anything in one of the many markets or shopping malls. The general shopping areas of the city are around Suria Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Tuanku, and Abdul Rahman which sell all manner of European and International goods.

For those that prefer the shopping mall experience, you won’t be disappointed. There are many to choose from offering a wealth of goods and attractions (such as bowling, cinema etc.). Most of them are located on Jalan Bukit Bintang:

  • Mid Valley Mega Mall
  • Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall
  • Low Yat Plaza
  • Bukit Bintang Plaza
  • Lot 10
  • Star Hill Shopping Centre
  • Kuala Lumpur Plaza
  • Suria KLCC Shopping Centre (beneath the Petronas Towers)
  • Times Square

If you are looking for some traditional Malayan shopping try one of the local markets. Bargaining is essential and expected. Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (China Town) is great for leather goods, designer items as well as food and drink. Jalan Masjid India is the place for Indian fabrics and garments whereas Central Market is the place for genuine Malaysian items.

For something a bit different, try one of the Pasar Malam or night markets. A regular one is held at Jalan Petaling but details of others can be found in Vision KL Magazine.

As well as fashion and electrical goods, great buys in Kuala Lumpur include batik, brocade, handmade pewter ware (Royal Selangor and Tumasek), pottery, silverwork, wood carvings, brassware and woven basket work.

Food & Drink

Food outlets are everywhere in the Malaysian capital – there are the instantly recognisable fast food chains of McDonalds and Burger King, coffee shops such as Starbucks as well as many international restaurants catering for every budget including Hawker outlets (street dining) in areas such as China Town.

The food is as multicultural as the city combining Malay, Indian and Chinese influences to create colourful, spicy and delicious dishes.

Here are just a few of the numerous restaurants you might like to try:

  • Tai Thong Grand Restaurant
  • Bombay Palace
  • Ciao
  • Kampachi
  • Seri Melayu
  • Seri Angkasa
  • Little Penang
  • Coliseum Café
  • Revolving Restaurant (in the Menara Tower)



Although Kuala Lumpur has a predominately Muslim population it has a lively bar and club scene. The main areas for these are the Golden Triangle, along the Jalan Sultan Ismail – Jalan P Ramlee strip, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Sri Hartamas area and the Bangsar Strip (just out of the city).

Here are the names of a few of the city’s bars and clubs to look out for:

  • Finnegan’s
  • El Niño
  • Planet Hollywood
  • The Pub (Shangri-La Hotel)
  • Hard Rock Café
  • Citrus Rouge
  • Bravo
  • Beach Club Café
  • The Embassy
  • Emporium
  • Zouk

However, for many of the city’s residents, a traditional night out is a visit to one of the pasar malam’s (night markets) where the focus is on socialising and people watching whilst enjoying a meal at one of the Hawker outlets.

If you want something a bit different from bars and clubs, listed below are some of the other types of entertainment available:

Music & culture venues:

  • Dewan Filharmonik Protonas (classical concert hall)
  • The Temple of Fine Arts


  • The National Theatre
  • The Actor’s Studio


  • TGV
  • Golden Screen Cinema

Annual events:

  • January – Thiapusam (religious festival)
  • February – Federal Territory Day and Chinese New Year
  • May – Wesak Day
  • Jun – Colours of Malaysia
  • August – Independence Day
  • October – Malaysian Grand Prix
  • November – Diwali
  • December – Malaysian Fashion Week


Although there is plenty to see and do in Kuala Lumpur, there is plenty more of Malaysia to see during your visit. Here are just a few excursions you may like to take:

  • Melaka
  • Genting Highlands
  • Shah Alam
  • Batu Caves
  • Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah State Mosque
  • Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
  • Templer’s Park
  • Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary, Kuala Gandah


Health & Safety

It is best to avoid drinking the tap water, bottled water is readily available.

With regards to vaccinations, it is advised that you check with your GP before travelling for the latest advice. Health care in Kuala Lumpur is of very high quality however this isn’t always the case in other areas of Malaysia.

If you eat food from street vendors make sure it is freshly prepared and hot to minimise any risks. Also, Kuala Lumpur is a busy city so protect your valuables against pick pockets.

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