48 Hours in Malaysia: How to Spend it Wisely

Kuala Lumpur quickly became one of my favorite cities in the world.

I’m not sure if it was the incredible array of food, the friendly, English speaking (always a plus) locals, or the beautiful buildings scattered about the city, but something about this place forced its way to the top of my list of favorite cities (ok, it was prob the food). While I’m not sure any city will be able to top Barcelona (my absolute favorite city), Kuala Lumpur definitely comes close. I arrived in KL around noon on Friday and left in the late afternoon on Sunday, so I only really had about 48 hours to explore the city.  The beauty of KL is that it can be done in 48 hours without feeling rushed, or in a week without getting bored.  Here are a few musts on your trip to KL:

Petaling Street Market

This is your typical Chinatown outdoor market.  It has every knockoff from Nike shoes to Louis Vuitton bags, so you should be able to find just about anything you’re looking for.IMG_3428.jpg

Central Market

This is just around the corner from Petaling Street and is an indoor/outdoor market.  There are plenty of food stands, clothing stalls, home décor shops, and just about anything else you might want to grab as a souvenir.  And it has AC inside so I mean that’s nice.

National Mosque

I randomly happened upon this and decided to check it out on a whim.  Little did I know that they would have us in a full on hijab and burqa in order to go inside (worth it tho).  Also, very impressed by people who have to wear these all day because I was dripping sweat after wearing it for five minutes.IMG_3500.jpg

Sweet little man who was so excited to tell us about his culture


Bird Park

You will find the bird park on your way to the botanical gardens, and while I wasn’t able to go in (poor teacher problems), I’ve heard it’s really cool.  It’s 50 Ringgit to go in, so if you have the time and the money, it’s worth checking out.

Botanical Gardens

Free and beautiful.  Need I say more?IMG_3547.jpg



Twin Towers

They are also referred to as the Petronas towers and are the tallest set of twin towers in the world.  They are beautiful at any time, but absolutely stunning at night. IMG_3591.jpg

East Tabur Bukit Hike

I could probably write an entire post just on this hike, but I’ll try to limit it to a few sentences.  This was absolutely my favorite thing I did while I was in Malaysia.  While the hike itself and the view from the top were amazing, my tour guide was what really made this such an unforgettable experience.  Casey, my tour guide, is a spry 61-year-old and his love for life and the outdoors was infectious.  He also took me to get Indian food and local Malaysian dessert after the hike where I was the definition of the fat American.  I’m sorry, Casey, I don’t normally eat that much (jk I totally do).  If there’s only one thing you do while you’re in KL, go on this hike.IMG_3755.jpg

The man, the myth, the legend: Casey
I’m told this is Nasi Kandar comprising of briyani rice, tandoori chicken, curry fish, and bitter gourd, but all I really know is it was delicious

Batu Caves

These caves are located at the top of 300 steep steps, but worth the trek up.  There is a Hindu temple and shrine inside so the culture is really cool to see.  Keep your belongings close though because there are monkeys roaming about the entire way up just waiting to grab anything they can get their hands on (RIP to a woman’s bag I saw get torn apart lol)img_3804

Ready to pounce



Also while in Malaysia: got caught in the rain, found an international church, saw a movie (accidentally slept through it), drank a lot of coffee, ate a lot of Indian food, went the wrong way on the train, awkwardly tried to go to a bar alone, and got drunk at the Reggae Mansion on Christmas Eve.  I’ll be back, Malaysia.  Merry Christmas everyone!


40 thoughts on “48 Hours in Malaysia: How to Spend it Wisely

  1. Tarah, you have come a long way from the young girl who did not want to spend an additional hour at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Really great post. Love you Papa >

  2. Your trip sounds really cool! Too many things in only 48 hours! No sleep at all I suppose, uh?Now I understand why you had so much coffee 🙂 Did you go up to the Petronas Tower? I like to climb to the tall buildings in the places I visit and take pics from up there 🙂

  3. KL is a very underrated city, and I believe that Malaysia in general is underrated. Super nice people, along with everything you like about SE Asia, in a modern and safe environment. And the food is brilliant.

  4. What super information! I want to visit Malaysia as well – it sounds just amazing. I love those caves – are they open all the time? The market also looks amazing and colorful! Love that you went the wrong way on a train LOL! Thank you for sharing!

  5. It’s so funny because I also got 48 hours to explore Malaysia around 5 years ago. I also covered the National Mosque and Central market, but now as I read your blog, I wish I could have had time to do the East Tabur Bukit Hike also 🙂 Maybe next time then. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This looks like such an incredible place to visit! You did a lot in 48 hours. The caves looked really exciting and possibly crowded? Did you feel like they were too crowded or was it ok?

    1. They were definitely crowded when I went, but not so much that I felt it took away from my experience. I’m told it is less crowded in the morning, but since I was hiking in the morning I couldn’t go until the afternoon!

  7. How beautiful! I would love to see the Petronas towers all lit up at night. I am also glad to know about the free botanical gardens. Nice to hear that the mosque was worth covering up for!

  8. So glad you liked Kuala Lumpur. We loved it too. Such friendly people and so much to see. I can’t believe we missed that hike though. Sounds amazing!

  9. Holy cow you managed to do so much in 48 hours! Malaysia is definitely on my bucket list. After reading your post I think it’s moved up a few notches! That market looks incredible, I’d love to do that hike and the Batu Caves are a must on my list!

  10. How did you manage to do so much in 48 hrs. I can never do that. 😀 Wonderful places and pics as well. I will atleast take a week to do all that.

  11. Malaysia is the country I’d most like to go in the coming year. The guide is helpful to plan my trip in most appropriate way. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Kuala Lumpar is a great city to visit. I did a lot of things you did on my visit there. I went to the petronas towers and also saw them from a sky bar opposite. I also did the Batu cave, the steps were so exhausting!!

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