If you only have 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur you’ll need to plan your itinerary well to make sure you see all the best bits of KL!
Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is commonly known, is Malaysia’s capital and is one of the most popular cities in South East Asia for travellers. Kuala Lumpur is a really exciting, varied and beautiful city and definitely belongs on any Asia bucket list.
KL is a very affordable city to visit and is very culturally diverse, with a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian people – which of course means there is lots of great food!
Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant modern metropolis full of futuristic and impressive buildings, whilst at the same time it retains history and charm.
And whilst two or three days is the perfect amount of time to spend in the city – you can still pack in a lot into your KL itinerary if you’re just here for one day!
KL Itinerary: Morning
The first stop on any 24 hours in KL itinerary should be the Batu Caves.
The Batu Caves are a group of limestone caves with Hindu temples and shrines inside, located just a short ride north of the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
The caves are one of the most photographer places in KL and so are a very popular place to visit, attracting thousands of people every day. Therefore it’s definitely best to get here first thing in the morning to beat the crowds!
The steps leading to the Batu Caves were painted in 2018 in a rainbow of colours. Every day it gets so busy here, so if you want photos with other people in, you need to arrive at 7am when it opens and when there are only a few people there.
Get there any later and the place gets very busy and you won’t even be able to see and appreciate the beautifully coloured stairs as so many people will be climbing them!
To reach the cave temple you need to climb the 272 steps leading to them. In the heat this can be tiring to climb up to the top – another reason why it is best to go early when the heat is less intense.
It is free to enter the main cave temple, but if you wish to visit the Dark Cave as well it costs 35RMB.
Remember this is a place of worship so please dress appropriately with your knees covered. Also don’t feed the monkeys!
If your visit coincides with the annual Hindu festival Thaipusam (held around January/February usually, please check beforehand), the place is very, very crowded!
The most convenient and quickest way to get to the Batu Caves is by Grab taxi.
Click here for the Google maps location of Batu Caves.
Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is one of South East Asia’s largest Chinese buddhist temples and Malaysia’s most beautiful temple!
It is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of Heaven: Thean Hou, and in recent years it has become a very popular place to visit due to the colourful, ornate designs and the many coloured lanterns.
The temple opens at 8am and entrance is free. As it is a popular tourist attraction I recommend to get there straight after the Batu Caves – ideally before 10am, which is when it starts to get busy with tourists.
The temple is six stories high: climb to the top level to see the beautiful lanterns from above, and as the temple is located on a hill, you’ll also have some stunning views out across the city.
Thean Hou Temple is located south west of the city, along Jalan Klang Lama.
Click here for the Google maps location.
Federal Territory Mosque (Wilayah Mosque)
The Federal Territory Mosque – also known as Wilayah Mosque, is a large mosque in KL that can house up to 17,000 worshippers at one time.
A variety of architectural styles were used in the building of this mosque, including Turkish, Malay and Mughal.
The mosque opens for visitors at 10am and it is free to enter. Despite it being a really beautiful place, it isn’t busy at all as it isn’t known to many tourists so it is easy to get photos without other people in whatever time of day you visit.
As this is a Muslim place of worship women will need to wear an abaya – you are can borrow one for free.
If you want to go into the inside hall you will need to go in with a guide, however you are free to wander around the outside of the main hall as you please, where there are some really nice places to get photos.
AFTERNOON: KL ITINERARY
Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Independence Square
Head to Plaza Merdeka (Independence Square), which is where Malaysia declared it’s independence from the British in 1957.
Opposite the square is the Sultan Abdul Samad building: a beautifully designed building from the late 1800’s that is a historical and treasured landmark in KL.
The Sultan Abdul Samad building was constructed entirely from brick and combines gothic, Moorish and western styles.
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.
KL Tower / Menara Kuala Lumpur
Another must-see place you need to add to your KL itinerary is the KL Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur) telecommunications tower located in the centre of KL.
If there’s only one tower you get to go up when in Kuala Lumpur I definitely recommend the KL Tower (yes, even over the Petrona Towers!).
Unlike the Petronas Towers, the 360 degrees viewing platform at The KL Tower, (known as the Skydeck) is actually open air!
At 421 metres high you’ll have incredible views 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 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.
The Skydeck is open from 9am to 10pm every day, although it doesn’t really get super busy so you can arrive any time. Entrance fee is 105 Malaysian ringgit (£20) for entrance to both the Skydeck and Skybox. 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.
Click here for the Google maps location of the KL Tower.
KL Forest Eco Park
Previously known as Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the KL Forest Eco Park is a rainforest – certainly not what you expect in such a busy city!
Visit the canopy walkway: it really makes you feel like you are in the jungle – but you have a city skyline backdrop! The KL Forest Eco Park is free to visit and is open daily.
KL ITINERARY: EVENING
When most people think of KL they think of the Petronas Towers – the iconic twin skyscrapers that tower above the city.
No visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without seeing the Petronas Towers: the world’s tallest twin towers (they are 88 floors high).
You can get great views of the Petronas Towers from the fountains on the opposite side of the towers or alternatively from KLCC Park.
The Petrona Towers are such a unique architectural masterpiece – made of a glass facade, steel and concrete.
Many people visit during the day – however the towers look even more spectacular when lit up at night so I definitely recommend you visit during the evening.
Whilst it can be quite crowded when you are outside the front, it can be easy enough to not get other people in your photo if you sit on one of the small walls.
Halfway up the towers a skybridge connects the Petrona Towers.
If you wish to go inside the Petronas Towers and see the view, it costs 80 Malaysian ringgit (£15) to visit the skybridge on levels 41 and 42 and then go up to the observation deck on the 86th floor.
Only 1000 people can enter per day so buy your tickets in advance!
If you don’t manage to get a ticket, don’t worry though, as you can always avoid paying an entry fee by going in the evening and visiting Marini’s Bar on floor 57.
Buy a cocktail and enjoy the view – it’s really amazing, especially with the tower is all lit up!
To enter Marini’s Bar and the Skybridge you’ll need to enter via the Suria KLCC shopping mall at the base of the Petronas Towers.
Click here for the Google maps location of The Petronas Towers.
After all that sightseeing it’s time for some street food for dinner, and what better place than Bukit Bintang. Located in the heart of KL, The Jalan Alor Street Food Night Market at Bukit Bintang is the place to be in the evening in Kuala Lumpur!
The bustling street of Bukit Bintang is full of many food stalls and restaurants serving delicious local food. Whilst it is open during the day too, the evening is definitely the best time to visit Jalan Alor!
After dark there is a great vibe here and it is lit up beautifully with Chinese lanterns and brightly lit stalls.
Jalan Alor is full of character and you can even turn up as late as 2am and still sit down for food!
This food haven, which was actually once the red light district, attracts both tourists and locals and is a great way to sample Malaysian cuisine at a very reasonable price!
Click here for the Google maps location of Jalan Alor Street Food Night Market.
KL ITINERARY – ACCOMMODATION
Regalia Suites Rooftop Pool
If you are wondering what accommodation to book in KL then I definitely recommend to book a night in an apartment at Regalia Suites. They have an exclusive rooftop infinity pool just for guests of the complex.
Not only is the view from the rooftop pool stunning, but you can stay in these apartments for very cheap: many people let out their apartments here on Airbnb for great prices (around £25 a night for a studio apartment!).
This is certainly a lot cheaper than at hotels that also offer great skyline views.
I have stayed at The Regalia Suites twice and really recommend it! Click here to view Airbnb apartments in Regalia Suites.
Click here for the Google maps location of Regalia Suites.
If You Have More Than 24 Hours In Kuala Lumpur:
If you have more than one day in KL or are looking for some alternative places for your KL itinerary, check out:
Astaka Morocco (Morocco Pavilion)
With beautiful intricate carvings and tile work, the Morocco Pavilion (known as Astaka Morocco) place definitely feels like a little slice of Morocco in Kuala Lumpur! You can wander round the majority of Astaka Morocco for free and take photos. .
Opening hours are generally 9am until 6pm, except Tuesdays when they are closed.
Astaka Morocco is located in Putrajaya, about 35 minutes south of the centre by car (halfway between downtown KL and Kuala Lumpur Airport), so you may wish to visit here on your way to or from the airport if you have time.
A Grab taxi is the quickest and most convenient way to get here.
Putrajaya Mosque (Pink Mosque)
The Putra Mosque is a stunning pink Mosque, with its pink dome made from rose-tinted granite.
The Mosque is very large and can hold up to 15,000 people at once, and you can get some really lovely photos of it when you walk around the grounds by the water.
As with the Federal Territory Mosque, you will need to dress respectfully to enter (females can borrow an abaya) and you can have a tour inside the mosque if you wish.
The Pink Mosque is also located in Putrajaya, so time it with a visit to Astaka Morocco as they are located fairly close to each other.
Other nearby places to explore:
Did you know that Singapore is only a 5 hour bus ride away from Kuala Lumpur?! If you’re thinking of going to Singapore check out this 2 day Singapore itinerary.
Equally, if you are keen to discover what else Malaysia has to offer, head to Langkawi, a beautiful island paradise just 1 hour flight away from Kuala Lumpur!
Summary on KL Itinerary: 24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur:
As you can see, there are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur and even if you only have 24 hours here you can still see a lot!
KL is a fantastic city full of history and great food and should definitely be on every South East Asia itinerary to visit!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!