Kuala Lumpur is a modern and mighty city. Its skyline is dominated by the sleek, smooth, glittery glass of skyscrapers. The city is home to the tallest twin towers in the world as well as glass-and-steel buildings adorned with Islamic motifs. And below the towering might of all these buildings simmers a city full of culture, color and charisma.
The ancient city of Kuala Lumpur can still be found in the modernization. The streets buzz with the energy of hawkers serving up authentic local dishes from street carts and you can find peace in one of the city’s many ancient houses of worship. But the landscape of Kuala Lumpur is continually changing with gentrification and the movement of different ethnic populations.
KL’s top neighborhoods
This can make it difficult to find a suitable neighborhood during your visit. But the city has great travel infrastructure which makes all of its attractions accessible no matter where you stay in Kuala Lumpur. Just make sure your hotel is in your most comfortable area.
Bukit Bintang is the heart of Kaula Lumpur’s shopping district. The neighborhood is well known for its night markets, cafes, restaurants, bars, boutique stores and shopping centers. The district begins with Bukit Bintang Road and ends at Pudu Road in the heart of Kaula Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.
This expensive neighborhood is filled with luxury hotels and trendy nightclubs. Simply put — it’s the place to see and be seen. And no visit to Bukit Bintang is complete without a stop at the fashionable Pavilion KL shopping mall where you’ll find upscale stores like Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent and Versace.
Take a stroll down the highly developed stretch of Bukit Bintang Road to experience the Bintang Walk. You’ll ogle at upscale storefronts showing off the latest in fashion. And when the sun sets, you’ll have your choice of opulent clubs, indulgent live music venues and impressive rooftop bars where you can drink in Kuala Lumpur’s modern skyline along with your cocktail.
Where to Stay in Bukit Bintang
JW Marriott Hotel – A decidedly high-end option with gleaming surfaces, opulent lounges, and decadent dining areas, this hotel is a world unto itself away from the busy streets of the city. There’s a stylish outdoor pool area, numerous dining options, and a chic bar for laid-back drinks in the evening. The rooms are endlessly comfortable; there are various suites on offer with seating areas, big windows, and soft carpets.
Verdant Hill Hotel Kuala Lumpur – Featuring fresh and fashionable design throughout, this hotel has eye-catching artwork in the lobby and impressive wood-paneled walls. Throughout the hotel, there is an eclectic mix of vintage and modern furnishings that create a cool and comfortable environment. Rooms are decorated in contemporary furnishings and the beds are extremely comfortable, which is great for a good night’s sleep. There’s an outdoor swimming pool and sundeck that look out across the skyscrapers.
Melange Boutique Hotel – Located close to the food haven of Jalan Alor as well as an MRT and monorail station, this hotel offers a boutique place to stay in the heart of the busy city. The simple, affordable rooms at Melange Boutique Hotel come with stylish design details, toned down colors, white walls, and tiled bathrooms. There’s a continental breakfast served daily at this hotel. The hotel’s Rococo restaurant features an a la carte menu in the evening, complete with city views.
You can find the iconic Petronas Twin Towers right in the heart of the KLCC neighborhood in downtown Kuala Lumpur. This high-end area is known for its upscale fashion shops, jaw-dropping views and luxury hotels. It is also home to the irresistibly green Kuala Lumpur City Center Park.
The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world. Stroll through the shops and restaurants at the base of this modern marvel before heading up to the observation deck. The deck sits atop 88 stories and allows you to see the entire city and beyond.
The Kuala Lumpur City Center Park is a modern marvel. With lit walkways and singing fountains, it is the perfect place for a stroll at any time of the day. And after your trip up the towers and through the park, you can sample some of the city’s best food in one of the neighborhood’s many high-end restaurants. No trip to Malaysia’s biggest city is complete without a stop in KLCC.
Where to Stay in KLCC
Mandarin Oriental – From the moment you walk into the impossibly opulent lobby, you know you’re in a luxury hotel; the Mandarin Oriental definitely impresses. The spacious, sophisticated but minimalist bedrooms feature incredible city views through large windows, as well as marble bathrooms. There’s plenty on offer, from the indoor golf area to the tennis courts, as well as an indulgent bar and no fewer than ten award-winning restaurants. And that’s without mentioning the outdoor pool. This 5-star offering is very close to the imposing and beautiful Petronas Twin Towers.
Shangri-La Hotel – With classically decorated, well-appointed rooms, the Shangri-La is set in its own high-rise building and comes with a host of lavish luxury. There’s a pool partway up, surrounded by luscious greenery, a hedge maze, an exquisite fish pond, and glittering city views. There are also six restaurants to choose from and a chic bar. This luxury hotel is located close to KLCC Aquaria, KLCC Park and The Weld shopping mall.
Impiana KLCC Hotel – There’s a lot on offer at this 4-star option. There’s a hair and nail salon, an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by skyscrapers, a fitness center, a business center and even a food mart for snacks. There’s even a 24-hour cafe, as well as four in-house dining options. A simply stylish hotel, the rooms are modern, with wooden floors, big beds and skyline views (from some you can see the Petronas Twin Towers).
Chinatown is a great place to get the local flavor of Kuala Lumpur. This safe neighborhood revolves around the heavily touristed Petaling Street where you’ll find local shops, street food vendors and open-air markets. You’ll also find plenty of recognizable, international hotels. Chinatown is essentially a more affordable version of Bukit Bintang in an older part of Kuala Lumpur.
This district buzzes with energy at every hour of the day. Petaling Street attracts locals and tourists for its delicious street food and incredible shopping deals. The local shops offer up goods at incredibly reasonable prices while Chinatown’s famous open-air market serves up some of the city’s best food items. Don’t miss out on the salted roast duck served out of the back of a modified motorcycle.
You won’t find many proper shops in Chinatown. Petaling Street is home to scores of temporary mom-and-pop stalls where you can negotiate prices on locally made goods.
Where to Stay in Chinatown
Cosmo Hotel – The gleaming white interiors of the Cosmo Hotel offer an elegant stay in one of the most exciting parts of the city. The rooms are clean, compact and decorated with soft pastels, quirky feature walls, and duvet covers. The hotel lounges are classy and classic, and there is a range of restaurants to choose from. Nearby, you’ll find all the eateries of Petaling Street as well as the Jalan Masjid India.
The 5 Elements Hotel – Close to all the action that Chinatown affords, this towering hotel boasts large bedrooms with great city views. Each room is individually decorated with separate styles, but it’s all simply modern overall. There’s an onsite restaurant that serves a variety of dishes. This is a clean and convenient place to stay, with a bus stop just on the doorstep and a monorail station just a few minutes’ walk away. Delicious food and places to drink surround this hotel.
Chow Kit comes alive during the day as it boasts the city’s largest wet market. The Bazaar Baru Chow Kit wet market sells meat and produce while a dry market sells home goods and electronics. The market has a strong Indonesian influence as the neighborhood has a large Indonesian population.
You’ll bump into some of the city’s most famous chefs as they peruse the wet market for fresh ingredients in the morning. The laid-back market is full of local treats at low prices. Bazaar Baru Chow Kit is a great place to spend a morning sampling many different local foods.
You can also visit Southeast Asia’s largest Sikh Temple in the Chow Kit neighborhood. The beautiful Tatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara Sikh Temple is home to more than 75,000 worshippers and is open to visitors. It’s especially beautiful during a Sikh wedding. Contact the temple for the best dates and times for a visit.
Where to Stay in Chow Kit
Seri Pacific Hotel – This 5-star offering is a sizeable hotel with a huge selection of rooms. All of the rooms at Seri Pacific Hotel have been designed with high-end comfort in mind. Some of them even come with small kitchens and lounges, as well as fabulous views of the city from high up. A selection of restaurants means you’ll have a lot to choose from, plus there’s a lounge bar where guests can sip cocktails to a soundtrack of live music.
Vistana Kuala Lumpur Titiwangsa – Featuring luxury rooms, which have been simply but stylishly decorated, these come fully equipped with gleaming modern facilities to ensure the utmost comfort. There’s an outdoor swimming pool on the roof with views of the city, as well as a nicely equipped gym and a variety of dining options.
Mid Valley is a development in southwestern Kuala Lumpur that consists of two shopping malls and three hotels. The Gardens and Mid Valley Mega Mall offer shoppers unparalleled experiences while the Cititel Mid Valley, The Boulevard Hotel Kuala Lumpur and the Gardens Hotels and Residences cater to business travelers.
The main attraction of Mid Valley is indisputably the Mid Valley Mega Mall. The mall covers a mindboggling 4.5 million square feet. In fact, the mall is so big that the entire development is often referred to as Mid Valley City.
Mid Valley is usually overflowing with foreigners as it is home to a massive convention center which keeps the development’s three business hotels full. But you’ll also find plenty of locals drawn to the mall for the wide variety of shops and restaurants. While Mid Valley keeps you isolated from Malaysia’s local culture, you will be able to sample plenty of different foods inside the massive shopping center.
Where to Stay in Mid Valley
The Gardens – The Gardens is a decidedly 5-star option that boasts rooms where guests can really get comfortable; the rooms are spacious and nicely well maintained. It’s spread over two separate wings, with one reserved for larger apartments and suites. The accommodation is actually set on the top of The Gardens mall, so it’s very well located for a spot of shopping. There’s also a beautiful infinity pool, where you can take a swim with the glittering lights of Kuala Lumpur as a backdrop.
Brickfields is perhaps the most unique Kuala Lumpur neighborhood. Often referred to as Little India, this vibrant district features a wide street filled with Indian shops and restaurants.
There are a variety of attractions in the Brickfields neighborhood. Daily tours are available at the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple where you’ll be able to visit the shrine’s halls, pagoda and Bodhi tree. The Hundred Quarters features beautiful heritage houses built back in the 1920’s that are under constant threat of redevelopment.
The 1904-built Vivekananda Ashram boasts ornate, colorful architecture that makes it the perfect spot for pictures. Or you can soak your pores with local herbs inside the small sauna at the abandoned Sen Hong Tokong temple.
Brickfields is a divine location filled to the brim with religious buildings of all types. Be sure to visit as soon as possible as this neighborhood is experiencing rapid gentrification that threatens its uniqueness.
Where to Stay in Brickfields
City Central Hotel – This is a compact hotel featuring rooms to match; these are simply decorated but modern, and come with all the conveniences you would expect from an affordable city hotel. There’s a breakfast buffet available each morning, along with a 24-hour front desk and even concierge services. Just in front of Nu Sentral shopping mall, this 3-star option is well located not just for shopping, but also for transport; monorail and train services are practically on the doorstep.
Easyhotel – Another well situated, affordable place to stay, Easyhotel is just a hop, skip and a jump from KL Sentral train station, which also features monorail links. The rooms aren’t very spacious but they are clean and modern, with fresh white linen and tiled bathrooms. There’s an onsite bistro cafe where guests can try a spot of Malaysian food without having to move anywhere. The surrounding area abounds with shopping opportunities and restaurants to try out.
Pudu is next to Kuala Lumpur’s famous Bukit Bintang district and is home to city’s largest wet market. The abundance of fresh meat and produce at the market has attracted some of the city’s best street food vendors to this local neighborhood.
You’ll find interesting local dishes along Pudu’s Wai Sek Kai. Under the buzz of streetlights, you can sample dishes like Tai Bu Mee, pork intestine porridge, ridiculously crispy fried chicken, fried radish cakes and Hakka noodles.
While there are more well-known neighborhoods for street food in Kuala Lumpur, Pudu’s Wai Sek Kai is like something out of a food documentary. And the price is right. For the cost of a plate of grilled fish at a higher-end neighborhood, you can slurp down ten bowls of local fare in Pudu. The abundance of choice, the open air and the local flare make Pudu a must-visit for any adventurous foodie.
Where to Stay in Pudu
Sunway Velocity Hotel – Connected to part of the Sunway Velocity Mall itself, this is certainly a chic and shiny hotel. It features rooms that have been decorated with natural color schemes for a comfortable oasis away from the bustling city. There’s a fantastic rooftop infinity pool, complete with views of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. This 4-star offering is a very good option if you want to shop until you drop; not only is Sunway close, so are the Aeon and MyTown Shopping Centres.
Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade – Situated behind the Berjaya Times Square, this branch of Mercure is all about contemporary cool. The interiors have a focus on minimalism and chic but simple wooden furnishings. The rooms have a deluxe feeling about them and feature cool, comfortable seating areas. Guests will find an incredible rooftop pool to enjoy, as well as a sun terrace for chilling with a book or soaking up the view. There are multiple dining options to choose from, including a particularly big breakfast selection.