I love Malaysia and think it’s an extremely underrated country to visit.
Many backpackers do Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, but with Malaysia so close, offering a diverse range activities, I’m always surprised people miss it out.
The city of Kuala Lumpur is the capital and worth a quick stop, however it’s the rest of Malaysia that really made me want to go back.
Arriving in Kuala Lumpur
I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, or KL as the locals call it and after an hour long shuttle arrived in the city. I recommend the Star Shuttle which costs 15 ringgit. You will need to inform the driver which accommodation you are staying at, because when the coach stops in the city, you need to get off where a mini-van will take you to your place of stay. All included in the price. You can book the ticket at the bus/coaches area of the airport after you pick up your bags.
I stayed at 2 different hostels in KL. One being the most popular in the city and one a more premium hostel.
Sunshine Bedz Hostel
This is one of the most popular hostels in KL. It has the perfect location in Bukit Bintang, close to food, shops and everything else a modern city offers, it’s a good pick.
It’s transport links are exccellent, very sociable, with lots of travelers too, so you will be sure to meet others. Facilities are good, the bathrooms are clean, rooms decent and comfortable. The only things I didn’t like, were the air-con unit in the common room was far too small for such a large area, meaning the room was always too warm. The chairs in the common room are also a little tacky for such a big hostel. I would have thought that such a successful hostel could treat the guests a little better than with a plastic bucket for a chair. The price point per night is about $8. Breakfast includes tea, coffee and toast all in the price.
This is a very high-spec hostel and the customer service is more like a hotel. I arrived in the early hours of the morning and the kind receptionist allowed me to check in as my bed was free. The hostel is affiliated with a chic little coffee shop/café which is attached next door. It is half decent and has a chilled atmosphere. Breakfast is included in the price and consists of fruit, cereal, toast, tea and coffee.
As beautiful as the hostel is, the atmosphere is uninspiring. It attracts a different crowd to your usual backpackers. None the less I did meet some interesting people in my room who I shared dinners with and explored the city. The price point is around $14 a night which is pricey, but the design is extremely well thought out. The quality finish, super clean and trendy decor resonates through the entire hostel. It’s definitely the best quality hostel you can stay in around South East Asia. Maybe worth a splurge if you’re feeling drained from travelling. Location wise, it nearer to China town but further from the central shopping areas. Transport links are also good here though so you will have no problems exploring the city.
These towers are a super impressive part of the KL skyline and even better up close. Just catch the train towards KLCC and then walk a couple of minutes to the towers. I would definitely recommend to see the towers by day and by night. By night, they give off an amazing, reflective glow from all the lights and it’s impossible to take a bad picture of them. They look truly amazing!
I never paid the high ticket price to ascend the towers, because I think that the beauty of going up a tall building is to see the main attraction but you can’t see the towers if you’re in it. Instead, walk a short distance to the Sky Bar. You can go up for free, no dress code required. We even wore shorts. The bar offers fantastic views of the Petronas Towers. It’s very fancy and drinks are expensive, but you can wander in like we did, take a few photos and leave. True tourists!
KL has a high proportion of Malay Chinese people so you will hear many people speaking Cantonese. This is especially the case around China Town. Here, there are lot and lots of food stalls and restaurants. A large street market offers the opportunity to buy all sorts of tourist gifts and the usual market trinkets. Like any market, bargain hard. I negotiated for two fake handbags for a friend who hated negotiating in this market which was great fun. We walked around almost every single bag shop and eventually negotiated the lowest price we could get. Don’t miss the tasty soy bean stall. It’s bang in the middle of the market lanes, which has been there the two times I have been in KL. Always popular, where you can get a soy bean drink or get the soy dessert, pronounced Tofu Fa, in Chinese language.
Other things to do in Kuala Lumpur which I missed were:
Batu Caves – I’ve heard mixed reviews about this cave but won’t comment too much as I haven’t been. If you want to see caves, the best place in Malaysia would be taking a flight to Borneo. From there, head straight to Mulu National Park.
KL Tower – again, I’m not a big fan of paying money to go up a tall building when you can head to a rooftop bar for free!
In my opinion…
Kuala Lumpur is a great airplane transport hub. Many people will come to transfer a flight, and it’s worth a stop to indulge in some of the city amenities, especially if you’ve been roughing it for the last month. But I wouldn’t stop for too long, because there are far more exciting places to go! I think that anything KL has to offer, there is something that little bit more special in other parts of Malaysia. If you enjoyed my post, please hit the share buttons below!