How to Plan Your Next Trip to Kuala Lumpur
If you’re going to an exotic destination, some preparations are in order. Here’s what you should keep in mind before visiting the Southeast Asian wonder.
Kuala Lumpur is attractive and inviting. The city is a melting pot of cultures and a prime tourist destination you shouldn’t miss. But as is the case with every remote place, there are several things you should know about before taking the trip.
Here are seven things you should add to your checklist before traveling to Kuala Lumpur.
1. Check Your Visa and Passport
In line with its welcoming nature, Malaysia doesn’t require a visa from citizens of most countries. You could still check only to make sure, but chances are you won’t need it.
However, your passport validity should be the most important consideration. That document needs to be valid for a half year after the date of your intended departure from the country.
Finally, you could be allowed to stay in Malaysia without a visa for up to 90 days. Keep in mind that visitors from certain countries can’t visit for longer than two weeks.
2. Find a Nice Room
Accommodation isn’t hard to find in the city, and they come with relatively affordable prices, too. Know that the numerous hostels and budget hotels in Kuala Lumpur usually offer rooms with A/C, WiFi, and breakfast.
Hostel prices range from $8 to $25 per person per night, while you can find a hotel room for a price as low as $18. But if you opt for a hotel with more amenities, such as a pool, you’ll likely find rates starting from $50 per night.
Those more interested in Airbnb can choose from a broad range of apartments in every part of the city. If that’s more to your tastes, you can expect to find shared accommodation costing about $34 per night or an apartment for a minimum of $48.
3. Learn a Bit About the Culture
Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly a modern metropolis. You’ll find visitors from around the world in the city and see every style of clothing as you explore the busy streets.
There are also people from seemingly all over the world going about their business. Some will be dressed in the usual Western fashion. But others, particularly women, might sport a more modest outfit in line with the predominantly Muslim culture.
Keep in mind that there are areas in Kuala Lumpur forbidden for tourists. But no one will make a huge deal if you wander into those by mistake. The areas in question are prayer rooms, and they are a common sight everywhere, from airports and shopping malls to office buildings.
4. Get Ready for Some Seriously Tasty Food
You can find eateries in Kuala Lumpur that suit every pocket. There are mid-range as well as fine dining options with international and local dishes on their menus, but you might find the street food vendors to have the most attractive offers.
If you want to try local Malaysian cuisine, most dishes won’t cost more than $5 on the street, with table service costing double that amount for the same meal. Of course, those more interested in high-end restaurants will find plenty of options with prices for a full meal and drinks easily reaching $100.
You should keep in mind that western food is generally more expensive, but you likely won’t be tempted by familiar cuisine when surrounded by Malaysian delicacies.
5. Know How to Navigate the City
Kuala Lumpur has a modern, convenient, and a rather cheap metro that is the preferred mode of transportation for most visitors and locals. That being said, the metro isn’t without its downsides – it doesn’t cover 100% of the city area and can get pretty crowded in the rush hour.
Whenever you don’t need to cover a significant distance, walking would be the best option. You most likely won’t be able to get enough of Kuala Lumpur, so navigating its streets by foot will allow you to enjoy the city even more.
Alternatively, you can use the bus or take Grab – the Southeast Asian version of Uber. It might be somewhat more pricey than other options if you’re going alone or in a pair. But if you’re traveling in a group of three or four, Grab can be the cheapest transportation around.
Kuala Lumpur cabs are notorious for frequent scams, so it would be best to avoid them at all costs.
6. The Best Time to Visit
Whenever you decide to come to Kuala Lumpur, you can expect hot weather and high humidity. The city does experience two monsoon seasons with heavy rains that somewhat cool it down but the effects brought on by the winds aren’t severe.
Floods are common during those seasons, and you could even witness a thunderstorm or two, but the city’s quite pleasant even in those circumstances. However, you might find sightseeing during a monsoon challenging.
The best time to visit Kuala Lumpur would be sometime between May and August. During that period, you can enjoy the best weather and catch some of the phenomenal festivals that take place in the city.
7. Keep Your Stuff Safe
Petty crime isn’t a very serious thing – hence the ‘petty’ in the name – but losing your wallet, phone, or other essentials is no laughing matter.
Kuala Lumpur isn’t a dangerous place, but it is a city of almost two million people, so it comes with its share of pickpockets, scammers, and similar small-time criminals. In other words, it would be best to always mind your pockets, bags, and backpacks.
When in public transport, avoid carrying anything valuable in your pockets and hold all your valuables close. If you’re picking up money from an ATM, use the ones inside a bank, not the street variety. And, same as in any metropolis, if you feel unsafe going into a shady street or staying in a particular area – move on.
However, people aren’t the only possible culprits when it comes to theft.
When visiting the famous Batu Caves, which you likely won’t miss out on, you would be wise to pay attention to the monkeys. They might be adorable and fun to watch, but they are natural-born criminals!
And that’s not even a joke.
Come Prepared and Enjoy Your Stay
Kuala Lumpur is a gorgeous city with plenty of exciting sights and activities. Knowing some crucial facts about the city and Malaysia, in general, will make your trip to Kuala Lumpur all the more enjoyable.
With a mix of cultures and an atmosphere seldom found in other places, this Malaysian metropolis will leave a strong impression and make for a holiday destination you’ll never forget.