The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and the central hub of tourism, cultural, and economic activities. Its sleepless streets, towering buildings, and world-class shopping malls are known internationally, making it one of the world’s top ten most visited countries.
About Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a country with a turbulent—but resilient—past. During the 1870s, the once small town of Kuala Lumpur underwent a series of capture and recapturing, threats, and tragedies like fire, because most of its structures were made from wood and other flammable material.
A decade later, first British Resident General Frank Swettenham initiated brick and tile buildings and wider streets. It was from this point onwards where Kuala Lumpur got most of its appearance today.
Today, KL is a sprawling giant in the country, with nearly nine million tourists visiting annually.
In this DIY Budget Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide Blog, we’ll share important travel tips with advice on things to do and see, a DIY KL itinerary, money-saving tips, the best hotels to stay, and more.
Best Time to Visit
Like most Southeast Asian cities, Kuala Lumpur experiences two seasons: the wet and dry season. While there is no specific month of the year that would be best for going out in one of the city’s shopping malls and landmarks, most would agree that visiting during the dryer months is ideal.
The months’ March and April are generally the rainiest, and July to October have the least precipitation. Tourism peaks from November to January, when the weather is cooler.
Things You Need to Know
There are many ATMs sprawled across the city, and malls accept credit and debit cards. However, please make sure to have in hand an amount of money in local currency. If you need Malaysian Ringgit, you will find most of the Money Changer Shops in KL that provides the best exchange rate in Bukit Bintang Area.
WiFi and internet
Most of Kuala Lumpur has great Internet coverage. In case your chosen accommodation does not offer wireless connection, there are many internet cafes in the city, which do not charge more than RM 15. You can also buy a local data sim card or even rent a pocket wifi at the airport.
4G WiFi (Malaysia Airport Pick Up) for Malaysia
Get WiFi access across Malaysia – wherever your adventures take you! Enjoy super-fast web speeds with a 4G device that conveniently fits in your pocket.
How to get to Kuala Lumpur from Manila
Airlines that offer direct flights from Manila to Kuala Lumpur include AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Malaysia Airlines. Travel time ranges from at least three hours and 35 minutes to four hours.
These airlines land in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Once there, travelers may choose from various modes of ground transportation to their respective destinations.
- Taxi is relatively expensive, but it is easier to get to one’s destination.
- Major local bus lines have their bus stops at the airport.
- KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit are two airport rail link services that transport passengers to and from the city center.
- For inter-terminal travels, you may choose the Aerotrain automated people mover service, which connects the Satellite Building and the main terminal area of KLIA.
KLIA Ekspres Airport Train Tickets (QR Code Direct Entry)
There are many modes of transportation for travelers in the busy city of Kuala Lumpur.
- Trains are considerably popular among the locals because of their speed and cheap fare rates. Kuala Lumpur has its MRT/LRT system like the Philippines, but it is harder to use this especially for first-time travelers unless you are with a tour guide. (Fare: RM 1 or Php 13)
- RapidKL, which also runs the MRT/LRT system, also has a bus line. Buses are the best options for cheap and longer travels within and outside Kuala Lumpur. Their routes are clearly set by the bus signage. (Fare: starts at RM 1 to RM 4, or Php 13-52)
- There are two types of taxis in Kuala Lumpur: a red-and-white one and a blue one. The first type of taxi is called the “ordinary” taxi (Fare: RM 3 for the first kilometer, and RM 1 for every km thereafter, or Php 13 + Php 39/km) because their fares are cheaper. Blue taxis are called “executive taxis,” which charge RM 6 for the flag down and RM 2 for every km, which is roughly Php 78 + Php 26/km.
Things to Do and See in Kuala Lumpur
Appreciate local culture
Get to know the local culture and history more by visiting the National Museum or the Islamic Arts Museum. If you have more time to spare, drop by the National Theatre and the KL Performing Arts Centre.
Kuala Lumpur Suburbs and Batu Caves
Visit the rural Malay villages, the Royal Selangor Pewter, Batik Factory, and more. Discover the Batu Caves, a Hindu temple, and catch a glimpse of the city from a height of 272 steps.
Spend some time with nature
Although Kuala Lumpur is very urbanized, it has its natural tourist attractions, like the FRIM Forest Reserve. The website Natural Escapes Malaysia offers off-the-rail tips for those who want to go hiking and trekking.
Marvel at the architecture
Kuala Lumpur is home to buildings that date to as far back as the early 19th century. Merdeka Square (Independence Square), a historical field in which Malaysia declared its independence in 1957. And of course, who can forget about the iconic Petronas Twin Towers?
PETRONAS Twin Towers Admission + One Way Transfer
Skip the line for the unrivaled must-see attraction in Kuala Lumpur – the PETRONAS Twin Towers and marvel at the building’s interior and exterior’s cutting-edge designs. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the city from the Skybridge and Observation deck.
If you are a foodie and cannot get enough KL Chinatown food stall delicacies, even if you are a Manila resident such as myself, please go ahead and indulge. Chinatown has been Kuala Lumpur’s central commercial district for a long time, and just like Binondo, this is also a perfect food trip destination.
Also Read: Best Things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Where to Shop
Having over 350 luxury labels and mid-range retail shops, a science center, and an underwater aquarium, Suria KLCC is one of the largest and most famous shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur.
Bukit Bintang is the busiest shopping district in Kuala Lumpur and in the entirety of Malaysia. It has a dozen of major shopping malls, including Fahrenheit 88 and Pavilion KL
Coffee lovers would love to scour the streets of Bangsar Shopping Centre, where cafés and restaurants abound.
Low Yat Plaza
Low Yat Plaza is a shopping center specializing in electronics and IT products in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2009, Plaza Low Yat was named “Malaysia’s Largest IT Lifestyle Centre” by the Malaysia Book of Records.
Where to Eat
Skillet at 163
Address: 163, Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur, 10, Jalan Perak, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2181 2426
This is the go-to for fine dining within the budget. Skillet at 163 offers seafood, lamb, wagyu beef, pasta, and a whole range of dishes.
Address: 50, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2142 5670
Opium KL specializes in Asian cuisine, and people love them for their classic dishes like vegetable spring rolls and, yes, dumplings.
Dining at the Dark KL
Address: 50A, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2110 0431
This bar and restaurant have the longest list of wine and drinks; they even offer an exclusive sommelier’s menu with wine sourced worldwide.
LOKL Coffee Co.
Address: 30, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2072 1188
This restaurant serves coffee just in the way people love it, and their menu, which includes breakfast as well, makes it the perfect café.
- Dinner at Atmosphere 360 Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur
- Top 8 Snacks and Drinks from Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur
Where to Stay
The Reeds Boutique Hotel
Location: No.9, Jalan Yap Ah Shak, Golden Triangle, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50300
Price: Php 306 via Agoda.com
This place is perfect for both solo and group travelers. They offer single rooms and dormitory type rooms and is located in the heart of the city.
Location: No. 107, Jalan Petaling, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50000
Price: Php 300 via Agoda.com
Amigo Hotel’s shared dormitory rooms serve as a comfortable, safe, and affordable accommodation option for travelers on a budget. They have an in-house coffee shop.
The FACE Suites
Location: 1020, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Price: Php 4,873 via Agoda.com
The rooms in this hotel offer a spectacular view of the city. All rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi and essentials like hairdryer, air conditioner, microwave, and even daily newspaper.
Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur Collection
Location: 25 Jalan Kamunting, Golden Triangle, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50300
Price: Php 3,574 via Agoda.com
The soundproofed rooms of Hotel Stripes guarantee a restful night after a long day of exploring Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Twin Towers are less than two kilometers away from here.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Location: 12 Jalan Pinang, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50450
Price: Php 8,561 via Agoda.com
Grand Hyatt is a known hotel brand across Asia, and the one in Kuala Lumpur is nothing less of its standards. Besides the excellent accommodation, guests will also be pleased with its proximity to the Suria KLCC mall.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Location: Kuala Lumpur City Centre Wilayah Persekutuan, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50088
Price: Php 9,214 via Agoda.com
Besides having complete spa facilities, a fitness center, and a mini-golf club course, Mandarin Oriental simply has it all. Its accessible location makes it all the more convenient.
- Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Centre Review
- Grand Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur Review
- Melia Kuala Lumpur Hotel Review
- Best Hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Sample 3D/2N Itinerary
12:55 PM to 04:50 PM Manila to Kuala Lumpur Flight
04:50 PM to 05:30 PM Airport commute to your accommodation
05:30 PM to 06:00 PM Hotel rest
06:00 PM to 7:00 PM Dinner
07:00 PM Hotel rest or shop at Bukit Bintang
07:00 AM to 08:00 AM Breakfast and prepare for a day trip
08:00 AM to 10:00 PM Merdeka Square walking tour
10:00 AM to 12:00 NN National Museum and Chinatown
12:00 NN to 01:00 PM Lunch
01:00 PM to 03:00 PM Suria KLCC
03:00 PM to 04:00 PM Suria KLCC Aquarium and Science Center
04:00 PM to 05:00 PM Skyscraper gazing/Petronas Twin Towers
05:00 PM to 07:00 PM Dinner and merrymaking
07:00 PM Hotel rest
06:00 AM to 07:00 AM Breakfast and prepare for departure
07:00 AM to 08:00 AM Hotel commute to the airport
08:00 AM Airport arrival
08:30 AM to 12:30 PM Kuala Lumpur to Manila flight
Kuala Lumpur Travel and Tour Packages
KL Hop On Hop Off Bus Pass (24/48 Hours)
Discover Kuala Lumpur’s major landmarks on an air-conditioned double-decker with an open-top deck. This Buss has 23 designated stops and over 40 attractions. Make the most of your trip and hop on and off at any time.
Kuala Lumpur Half Day City Tour
Discover the modern and enigmatic Kuala Lumpur on a fun half-day tour. Visit the National Mosque, the King’s Palace, the National Museum, and more attractions.
Important Travel Tips
- Be wary of taxis that do not run their meters. Though unfortunate, some taxi drivers refuse to run their meters when you board them during rainy days or rush hours. When this happens, make sure that you do not pay more than RM 10 (Php 130); this amount is more than enough to cover any two points in the city, and any more than that is overcharging.
- If you plan to spend the night partying, do avoid excessive drunkenness. Kuala Lumpur government has a very low tolerance for drunk individuals making a racket in the streets.
- It is not advisable to drink tap water.
- Although not usually rampant, there are some cases of dengue in the humid weather of Malaysia. Always wear mosquito repellant lotion to be safe.
- Most hotels and commercial establishments offer WiFi. The average internet speed in Malaysia is 8.9 Mbps.
- Malaysia and the Philippines have the same time zone.
Important contact information
Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau
Address: 11, Jalan Tangsi, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2698 0332
Kuala Lumpur Tourist Police Hotline (HQ)
Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur
Address: 1, Jalan Changkat Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2148 4233
Hospital Kuala Lumpur
To help you plan out your visit to KL, we listed places to visit and other amazing tours in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Kuala Lumpur hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.