Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is one of the destinations I consider for a quick international getaway. Apart from the fact that Filipinos can enter Malaysia on a visa exemption rule, accommodation, food, and activities are very affordable. Most travelers only consider the city as a transition from one city or country to another. With that, here’s a Kuala Lumpur itinerary that will maximize your 48-hour stay in Kuala Lumpur.
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THINGS TO REMEMBER
Filipino tourists entering Malaysia for up to 30 days don’t need a visa.
Kuala Lumpur is generally hot and humid all year round with random rain showers daily. During the month of April to October, brief and odd downpour occurs but not an issue when it comes to touring the city.
Malaysia Ringgit (MYR or RM).
Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Kuala Lumpur
There are two airports in Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur International Hotel 1 (KLIA1) and 2 (KLIA2). KLIA2 is the hub of AirAsia and most of the low-cost airlines. There are two common ways on getting out of the airports to the city, which is approximately 45 kilometers away.
BUS: On Level 1 of gateway@KLIA2 mall is the transportation hub where buses ply the airport to downtown route. There are three bus lines operating the KLIA2 to KL Sentral route with fare from RM10-12. For schedules, you can check this link available at KLIA2′ website. Travel time from 45 minutes to an hour.
TRAIN: A more convenient and faster option is via KLIA Transit or KLIA Ekspres for RM55 fare. KLIA Transit’s travel time is 39 minutes while Ekspres is faster for 6 minutes. KLIA Transit operation starts from 04:55 and leaves every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 20 minutes on off-peak hours. Ekpres line skips the other stations making it faster than the regular option.
Getting Around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Most convenient way to explore the city is by its comprehensive and world-class rapid transit system. Get familiar with these transit systems for easier navigation of Kuala Lumpur’s attractions. These lines are RapidKL, KTM Komuter, KLIA Transit, KLIA Ekspres, and KL Monorail. KL Sentral is the transit hub of the city and you can easily hop to any part of the city from the central station.
BELOW 48 HOURS IN KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
0700 – Arrival in KLIA2
This sample itinerary only works for flights with an early arrival in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2. If you’re coming from Manila, better to check flights that could fit this or if it’s better to extend this itinerary. I had this trip from Bangkok arriving in KLIA2 around 7 in the morning.
0800 – Arrival in KL Sentral
Backpacker hostels in Kuala Lumpur are concentrated in Chinatown area. On my first trip in the city, I booked a room at PODs Backpacker Hostel near KL Sentral. However, out of the 4 hostels I’ve tried on few visits, my recommendation goes to GRID 9 Hostel. The hostel is near Maharajalela monorail station and walking distance from Chinatown. Few of the hostels I’ve tried are listed on my compilation of Kuala Lumpur hostels.
0900 – Chinatown Tour
Vibrant Jalan Petaling Street, bordered by hawker stalls, and shop houses selling bargain products, best describe Kuala Lumpur’s version of Chinatown. On my first visit, though, the lively district was deserted because of Bersih, a peaceful democratic protest calling for a cleaner electoral system in Malaysia. This didn’t hinder me to enjoy and uncover the secrets of Chinatown. I started my day sipping a traditional Malacca coffee at Old China Coffee. The drink boosted me to continue my walk to Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in the city. End your Chinatown experience by a shortstop at Central Market to do souvenir shopping and lunch.
1300 – City Tour
Continue the walking city tour to Merdeka Square, or the Independence Square. Apart from the 95-meter pole raising the Malaysian flag, within this area are notable and interesting structures. A consumable RM5-entry to Kuala Lumpur City Gallery displays a miniature model of Kuala Lumpur with a spectacular city model show. The show also presents future plans and urban developments in the next decade. Adjacent is a remarkable structure, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a late nineteenth century building housing the office of Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture of Malaysia. Last stop would be Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur situated on the meeting point of Klang and Gombak rivers.
1900 – Menara KL Tower
The best activity to cap the day of exploring Kuala Lumpur is a stunning sunset. A higher elevation would be a great option and Menara KL Tower is on top of the list. Towering on a 421-meter height, the tower is currently the 7th tallest free standing tower in the world. Enjoy 360-degree sights of the city from the tower on a RM40 entry pass. For convenience, buy your KL Tower tickets from Klook.
2000 – Dinner at Jalan Alor
Jalan Alor is my favorite place for dinner when in Kuala Lumpur. The whole street is fringed with restaurants and stalls serving reasonable and delectable food offerings. Don’t ever miss the grilled chicken wings when you find yourself here. The street gets crowded in the early evening so be sure to arrive early and reserve a table for your group. A RM20 budget per person can go a long way here.
0700 – Breakfast.
Most hostels in Kuala Lumpur offer simple breakfast from bread, spread and coffee or tea. If not, you can easily find a place to grab a tasteful roti and a cup of fresh kopi teh or kopi iced.
0800 – Batu Caves
Apart from Petronas Tower, Batu Caves is one of the must-sights in Kuala Lumpur. The famous spot is around 30 minutes by train from KL Sentral on the KTM Komuter for RM2.6 per way. Beware of the troop of aggressive long-tail macaques loitering around the premises of the tourist attraction. They’ll snatch every item that will catch their attention from colorful scarfs, ice creams, to bottle of sodas. This temple in Gombak, Selangor is one of the renowned Hindu temples outside India and the center of Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia. Aside from the religious complex hundred-meter above the ground, a 140-feet statue of Hindu’s deity Lord Murugan is hard to miss. The statue is considered as the world’s tallest statue of Murugan. There are few temples scattered around the Batu complex but few of them requires an admission fee.
1200 – Lunch at KL Sentral
To save time looking for a place to dine, after getting back in KL Sentral from Batu Caves, have your lunch in a food court near the train entrances. If the options don’t fit your taste, take the escalator to NU Sentral for additional options.
1300 – KLCC/Shopping
Kuala Lumpur is also a shopping haven for shopaholics. Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is one of the great spots for shopping. Suria KLCC is a commercial center in the area that occupies first few floors of Petronas Twin Towers. There are few spots in viewing the tallest twin towers and one is from KLCC Park. KLCC Park is a breather because of its features like the lake symphony, jogging and foot path, ornamental water features, and the As Syakirin Mosque. To extend your KLCC experience, other activities to try is the KLCC Aquaria and scale up to the 86th floor of Petronas Twin Towers and walk on the highest two-story bridge that links the twin towers.
2000 – KL Sentral to KLIA2
If you’re not rushing for your late flight back to Manila, you can head back to KL Sentral for buses heading to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. If not, better to try the KLIA Ekspress for a faster and more convenient option.
WHAT TO EAT
Finding a place to eat in Kuala Lumpur is easy as long as you’re not picky. In addition, it’s also cheap that RM5 can already go a long way. All-time favorites include nasi lemak, rendang, chicken wings (at Jalan Alor), noodles like laksa, and roti canai. For dessert, look for cendol and of course kopi iced for your drinks.
WHERE TO STAY
Kuala Lumpur is slowly catching up when it comes to backpacker accommodations. On my few visits in the city, I’ve tried several hostels on different parts of the city. These are PODs The Backpacker Home near KL Sentral, GRID 9 Hotel in Maharajalela Station, Revopackers Beds and Bunks near Imbi Station, and The Reeds Boutique Hotel. Here’s a compilation of my stay at these Kuala Lumpur hostels. For mid-range options, try a unique accommodation offered by Container Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
SAMPLE EXPENSES (MALAYSIAN RINGGIT)
DAY 1 Bus KLIA2 to KL Sentral 12 Monorail to Hostel 3.1 GRID9 Hostel 40 (1 night) Old China Coffee 8 KL City Gallery 5 Masjid Jamek to Dang Wang LRT 1.2 Menara KL Tower Passes 10 Bukit Nanas to Bukit Bintang 1.8 Dinner Chicken Wings 20 Bukit Bintang to Maharajalela 2.2 DAY 2 Maharajalela to KL Sentral 2.2 KL Sentral to Batu Caves 2.6 Batu Caves to KL Sentral 2.6 Lunch KL Sentral 10.5 KL Sentral to KLCC 2.4 Petronas Twin Towers Entry Fee 85 KLCC to Maharajalela 3.6 Maharajalela to KL Sentral 2.2 KL Sentral Dinner 10.5 Bus KL Sentral to KLIA2 12 GRAND TOTAL RM239.4