Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is one of the most exciting Asian destinations there is. It’s a big city with so much to offer from modern architecture to beautiful natural spaces. The locals are a mix of different cultures from around the continent, so you get a great cross-section of Asia, especially where the food is concerned. The city is filled with some of the best fine dining restaurants in the world, but you’ll find them side by side with some amazing authentic street food places too.
There is also a rich cultural heritage in the city, so you’ll find lots of great museums as well as some incredible religious sites to visit too. The Batu Caves, in particular, are a favorite destination for tourists. The parks around the city are beautiful too, and they make a welcome break from the urban jungle after a few days.
If you’ve never visited Malaysia before, Kuala Lumpur is the best place to start. But a lot of first-time visitors are unsure about where they should stay. There are a lot of different districts in the city but most tourists stay around the golden triangle area, where many of the major districts and top attractions meet. You don’t necessarily have to stay here but, for many people, it’s the best option. Before you start booking up any accommodation, read this guide to learn more about the different districts and which one is best for your stay in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur City Center
The city center is a district in and of itself and it’s part business and commercial hub and part tourist area. Many of the popular landmarks can be found here and there are plenty of great restaurants and bars too. You’re right in the heart of the city, so getting around is easy enough, especially considering the public transport in Kuala Lumpur is so great.
The Petronas twin towers are perhaps the most popular attraction in the city and they can be found in this central district. If you are interested in arts and culture, you’ll be right at home here too because there are plenty of great galleries and museums. The nightlife here is great too and there are always plenty of events too. During the day, you will find plenty of places to go shopping as well.
The cost is the big downside to staying in Kuala Lumpur city center because a lot of the hotels are high-end chains that are very expensive. However, if you are willing to stick with something very basic, there are some budget options around too.
Bukit Bintang is another very popular district in Kuala Lumpur because it’s a great area that has a bit of something for everybody, and it’s considered a bit more fashionable than the city center. It’s a very central location and there are good transport links, so even though you are not right in the center, you can easily get to all of the big attractions.
Walking around the streets, you will find lots of great restaurants and bars, and the area is specifically known for its rooftop bars, which are perfect on a summer’s afternoon. There is a great shopping district as well so if you are looking for some designer labels, Bukit Bintang is the place to stay.
Although the city center has great nightlife too, it doesn’t have the incredible live music scene that you find in Bukit Bintang. Both areas have similar amenities and attractions, but Bukit Bintang is a bit more modern and hip.
In terms of the cost of accommodation, you’ve got a great range here because it’s such a popular place to stay. So, whether you are looking for a budget hostel or a high-end hotel, you’ll be able to find whatever you need in Bukit Bintang.
There is a large Chinese Malaysian population in Kuala Lumpur and the city was originally founded by Chinese miners. As a result, Chinese culture is an important part of the cultural legacy of the city and you will find this in the Chinatown district. If you want to experience this aspect of the culture in Malaysia, you should definitely stay in Chinatown when visiting Kuala Lumpur.
It’s a bit more rough around the edges than the city center or Bukit Bintang, so expect busier, slightly dirtier streets. However, it’s still an incredibly clean city compared with a lot of other places in the world, so don’t let it put you off. The busy markets during the day are one of the best places to see a cross-section of the culture and you can buy anything from delicious food to clothes, perfumes and phones. Just make sure that you are careful and you are on the lookout for scams because some of the stuff you find is likely to be fake.
Chinatown is much cheaper compared with other areas of the city, so it’s ideal for travelers on a budget. Many people also feel that they get a more authentic experience with the locals.
Selangor is not actually in Kuala Lumpur, it is a state that wraps around the city. If you stay in the area, you are close enough that you can easily visit Kuala Lumpur while also experiencing the attractions in Selangor too. There is some great accommodation in areas like tropicana avenue if you are looking for a luxury stay, and you’ll be well situated to visit some of the great attractions found in the state. The Batu Caves are a common day trip from Kuala Lumpur, but you’ll be closer to them staying in Selangor. Areas like Bukit Fraser are also very popular with people that want to see the local wildlife because it’s a top bird-watching destination.
If you’ve never been to Kuala Lumpur before, you might decide to stay in the heart of the city. However, if it’s a return trip and you want a different experience, but you still want to be close to your favorite attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor is ideal.
These are the top districts you should consider when you are booking your trip to Kuala Lumpur.