Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s capital, is gaining more and more popularity amongst tourists, and for good reason! Not only is it full of photo-worthy places, but it is a fabulously culturally diverse city with a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian people. This means that English is widely spoken and the cuisine is delicious! It is a vibrant modern metropolis full of skyscrapers, whilst at the same time it retains history and charm. The city is so clean and classic, yet is unmistakably south east Asia. With beautiful photo opportunities around every corner, come with me and discover the best photo spots in Kuala Lumpur!
1. Petronas Towers
No visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without seeing the fabulous Petronas Towers: the twin skyscrapers that tower above the city. They are an absolute icon of Kuala Lumpur and remain the world’s tallest twin towers. You can get a beautiful view of the towers from KLCC Park, or alternatively from the fountains on the opposite side of the towers, like in the picture below.
If you wish to go inside the Petronas Towers and see the view, pay 80 Malaysian ringgit (£15) to visit the skybridge on levels 41 and 42 connecting the two towers halfway up and then head up to the observation deck on the 86th floor. Only 1000 people can enter per day so try to buy your tickets in advance. No worries if you don’t manage to get a ticket, you can do as I did: go in the evening and avoid paying an entry fee by visiting Marini’s bar on floor 57 and enjoy the view over a cocktail. You’ll have to buy a drink but the view here is really amazing, especially when the tower is all lit up at night!
Click here for the Google maps location of The Petronas Towers.
2. Thean Hou Temple
Malaysia’s most beautiful temple is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of Heaven: Thean Hou. Thean Hou Temple is one of south east Asia’s largest Chinese buddhist temples and despite the traditional architecture, it was built only 30 years ago. The temple is used for worship, and wedding registrations by many Chinese-Malay often take place here. However in recent years it has also become a popular place to take pictures due to the colourful, ornate designs and the many coloured lanterns.
A myriad of colours adorn the temple and amazingly, entrance is free! The temple opens at 8am and I recommend to get there before 10am, which is when it starts to get busy with tourists. The temple is four stories high: climb straight to the top level to see the beautiful lanterns and intricate carvings, and as the temple is located on a hill, you’ll also have some absolutely incredible views over the city.
Click here for the Google maps location of Thean Hou Temple.
3. Batu Caves
Just a short ride north of the centre are the Batu Caves – a group of limestone caves with Hindu temples and shrines inside. The caves are a popular place to visit in Kuala Lumpur, attracting thousands of visitors and worshippers every day.
There is a very large impressive gold statue of a Hindu god at the entrance, and then to reach the caves you need to climb the 272 steps leading to them. Whilst this may not seem like a lot of steps, believe me in the heat it can be tiring to climb up to the top. Therefore it is best to go early when the heat is less intense.
Recently the Batu Caves became even more popular for people to come and take photos, since the steps leading to the Batu Caves were painted in a rainbow of colours in 2018. Every day it gets very busy here, so if you want a picture with nobody else in it, you need to do as I did and visit literally at sunrise when there are only a handful of people there. Get there any later and the place will be absolutely packed and you won’t be able to see the beautifully coloured stairs in all their beauty as so many people will be climbing them!
Be warned also that if you visit during the annual Hindu festival Thaipusam (held often around January/February time, please check if you are planning to visit around this time!), the place is extremely crowded.
How to take photos here:
The picture below was actually a lot easier to take than I thought it would be. Before I went I used to think you would need a drone or need to be up high to take this photo, but you just need to have a friend standing at the bottom of the stairs a little bit back, then get them to take a picture of you once you have climbed the stairs. I wouldn’t advise going alone and using a tripod as it will take you a while to climb and you won’t be able to see the tripod all the time, so someone could easily steal it. If you are travelling alone, just ask someone to take the photo for you!
Click here for the Google maps location of Batu Caves.
4. KL Tower / Menara Kuala Lumpur
Another must-see place in Kuala Lumpur is the KL Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur) – a telecommunications tower in the centre of the city. Whilst from the outside it is not as impressive as The Petronas Towers, if you have to choose between going up The Petronas Towers or going up the KL Tower, I definitely recommend the KL Tower.
Unlike the Petronas Towers, the 360 degrees viewing platform at The KL Tower, which is known as the Skydeck, is actually open air which always makes for better photos as there are no reflections of the glass in your photos. Rising up 421 metres high means you’ll have a fab view of the city from the KL Tower – not only because you’ll get to actually see The Petronas Towers, but also because of the “sky boxes” – glass boxes which jut out from the Skydeck!
These sky boxes make for some great photos (even if it is a little scary going on them!) as you can stand on the glass platform and look down to the city below. There are 2 glass platforms, but go to the purple one that has the view of the Petronas Towers in the background for better pictures. You cannot wear shoes in the Sky box, and there is a security guard there. I guess if you ask nicely he might take your photos for you!
The Skydeck is open from 9am to 10pm every day. We got there in the middle of the day and surprisingly it wasn’t super busy. Entrance fee is 105 Malaysian ringgit (£20) for entrance to both the Skydeck and Skybox. Please bear in mind that visiting the Skydeck is weather dependent due to the viewing platform being outdoors. If there is bad weather you will be unable to go to the top for obvious reasons. So visit on a good day, or if it is raining a little you can always ring them up to ask if it is closed. I advise to ring as information is not on their website as to the current status of the Skydeck.
Click here for the Google maps location of the KL Tower.
5. Regalia Suites or The Face Suites rooftop pools
Now the photo spots don’t have to stop when you get back to your accommodation in KL! Book a night in an apartment at either Regalia Suites or The Face Suites and enjoy the exclusive use of their fabulous rooftop infinity pools. Not only is the view from the rooftop pool insane, but you can stay in these apartments for very cheap: many people let out their apartments in these buildings on Airbnb for great prices (around £25 a night for a whole apartment!!).
Personally I have stayed at The Regalia Suites twice and really recommend it! I have heard equally amazing things from The Face Suites though too so would love to try it one time! Click here to view Airbnb apartments in Regalia Suites, and click here to view Airbnb apartments in The Face Suites.
6. Sultan Abdul Samad building at Independence Square
Head to Plaza Merdeka (Independence Square), where Malaysia declared it’s independence from the British in 1957. Just opposite the square is the Sultan Abdul Samad building: a beautifully designed building from the late 1800’s. It is a historical and treasured landmark in KL, constructed entirely from brick and combines Moorish, gothic and western styles. The shiny copper-clad cupolas and curved colonnades are stunning and make for some nice photographs. Even during the middle of the day it is pretty uncrowded here. Also, if you are looking for the I love KL sign, you’ll find it just next to Independence Square.
Click here for the Google maps location of Sultan Abdul Samad building.
7. Jalan Alor Street Food Night Market
THE place to be in the evening in Kuala Lumpur! Located just off Changkat Bukit Bintang in the heart of KL, this bustling street is full of many restaurants and food stalls serving great local food. Whilst it is open during the day too, during the evening is when Jalan Alor comes alive! After dark there is a definite buzz here and it is lit up beautifully with Chinese lanterns and brightly lit stalls! Japan Alor is full of character and you can even rock up as late as 2am and still sit down for food! This food haven, which was actually once the red light district, attracts both locals and tourists and is a great way to sample Malaysian cuisine at a very reasonable price!
Click here for the Google maps location of Japan Alor Street Food Night Market.
Other nearby places to explore:
There are of course many other beautiful spots in Kuala Lumpur, but these are the most popular (and my favourite ones!). Once you’ve seen all the places above, you can explore places like the Federal Territory Mosque, KL Forest Eco Park and perhaps some more rooftop bars such as The Skybar in Trader’s Hotel, Helipad Lounge, or Vertigo at The Banyan Tree!
Now, did you know that Singapore is only a 5 hour bus ride away from Kuala Lumpur? Crazy right! If you’re thinking of going to Singapore but are a little worried that it’s going to be expensive, check out my post How to explore Singapore on a budget.
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