FAST 5: Ways to level up your Kuala Lumpur stopover
Updated: May 14, 2019
Stretch that KL stopover for 24-48 hours, and this city is just MADE for fly-in, fly-out adventures. And we're here to help you plan it.
Something about calling Kuala Lumpur ‘KL’ always makes me feel a bit world-traveller – a bit James Bond. The truth of being a world traveller, though, is quite a bit more pedestrian… especially when you’re dealing with flight connections and meaningless stopovers.
Stretch that KL stopover for 24-48 hours, though, and this city is just MADE for fly-in, fly-out adventures. And we're here to help you plan it.
Malaysia’s mega-capital has steadily upped its hospitality game to match the standards set by ‘crazy rich’ neighbours, Singapore and Hong Kong. Today, its swanky neighbourhoods like Bukit Bintang are comparable to the fashionista meccas of both cities.
Meanwhile, the food is incredible, the patchwork of thrown-together religious icons from a dozen cultures lends a kind of vibrant chaotic colour I frankly bloody love, and I’ve thrown some spa time in here too because hell, you’re worth it and you know you want to.
1. Go the full Malaysian food experience
What: Flavours of Malaysia tour
Where: Kuala Lumpur: Chow Kit Monorail Station
When: 3:30pm – 7:30pm (daily)
On this chock-full four-hour tour, you will visit the Chow Kit wet market – one of the largest wet markets in Kuala Lumpur. This is your chance to see, smell, touch, and taste all those mysterious ingredients commonly found in local kitchens.
2. Support the city’s vulnerable
What: Street Art Tour
Where: Central Market – KL City Centre
When: 3:00pm (daily)
If you believe in leaving value behind when you travel, book a tour with Unseen Tours Kuala Lumpur. By doing so, you will help Malaysians from vulnerable communities receive support and training, so that they can earn a decent living by working as tour guides. Worth it. Do it.
3. Visit top religious sites
What: Cultural Tour
Where: National Mosque of Malaysia - KL
When: 8:00am – 8:00pm (2 hour tour)
Take a walking tour with true-blue local Paul Wong, who calls himself “The Walking Encyclopaedia.” He’ll show you the breathtaking splendour of the National Mosque (also known as the Masjid Negara, famed for its unconventional “blue umbrella” dome), tell you about the 228 Hindu idols on the entrance tower of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, and lead you to the oldest Taoist temple in the city (the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, built in 1864).
4. Walk off your flight
Where: KLC LRT station
When: Limited tours – check availability for dates/times
To understand the influences and stories behind the city’s landmarks, sign up for the KL Architecture Walking Tour, hosted by Haziq, a Kuala Lumpur native as well as a researcher specialising in architectural heritage and conservation. This megacity’s architectural heritage goes waaaay beyond those two famously tall Petronas Towers.
5. Day spa stop because of course you should
What: St. Gregory spa
Where: PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur
When: 10:00am – 10:00pm (daily – last treatment at 9:00pm)
If the thought of your next flight is making you cry like a little girl, a streetside massaaaaa is probably not going to be enough. Replenish your energies at the St. Gregory spa for two good reasons: it’s open 12 hours a day, and they take credit card so you don’t even have to change money and deal with the sometimes rather challenging, other times full-on shyster spa peddlers of Bukit Bintang. Here, you can relieve your between-flight stress with a Javanese, Shiatsu, or Balinese massage, or soak in a milk, ginger, or herbal bath. There's also a full grooming menu, and if you've never sat on a plane all slippery and freshly waxed before, well ho HO, you're in for a satisfying flight.