How Many Days Should You Spend in Kuala Lumpur?

how many days should you spend in Kuala Lumpur?

As always, with these seemingly obvious questions, the number of days you should spend in Kuala Lumpur depends on your time available and what you want to see. The capital of Malaysia has a special place in my heart as it was the first stop for me when I decided to leave home and successfully found a way of making an online income many moons ago.

I love Malaysia and KL, but you aren’t here to read about my aching pangs of nostalgia—you want to know if it’s worth your time.

I am self-aware enough to concede that my sentimentality for a place may cause me to ignore the bad and hype up the good, so I returned to the city last week for a fresh perspective. These are my raw and honest thoughts about the city and how many days you should give to it.

How Many Days Should I Spend in Kuala Lumpur?

A male tourist in sunglasses poses in front of a striking government building and modern architecture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur has a lovely blend of keeping the old and building with the new. Consider me a fan.

I think three days in Kuala Lumpur is the sweet spot to see the best of the city. I want to cash in on the melting pot of cultures by checking out the beautiful range of religious architecture, eating my way around town, and exploring the modern parts of the city at my own pace while keeping on top of work emails.

If you have time to kill, you can opt for four. There’s no drama, but three is certainly the magic number, and I’ll list below what I did in three days. My itinerary was leisurely, and I did not rush at all.

I advise you to skip the botanical gardens in KL. I love visiting botanical gardens worldwide, but they’re not worth your time in this city, so it’s best to put your time elsewhere. That’s about as negative as this post will get; now, let’s get stuck into where to stay and what to do during your visit to Kuala Lumpur.

Where To Stay in Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur, money goes a long way for fancy hotels, so I decided to stay at The Majestic Hotel in Chinatown.

Budget options are available, and I certainly felt the upgrade from 13 years earlier when I arrived in the city with my badly packed backpack and parked my clueless bum in a 16-bed dorm for ten days until I worked out my next plan!

I was staying right by a connecting subway train this time around, and every now and then, I got a GrabTaxi to my desired location. Even if swanky hotels aren’t your thing, you have a range of options in Chinatown. You may also want to consider KL Sentral if you prioritise being in the city’s main transportation hub.

How To Get Around Kuala Lumpur?

Navigating Kuala Lumpur is convenient and affordable, thanks to its extensive public transportation network and modern infrastructure. The rail systemes arre LRT, MRT, KTM and Monorail.

Or you can take the RapidKL bus if it floats your boat.

I found it easy to connect between them, and at times when I felt lazy, I simply got a GrabTaxi, a Malaysian-owned Uber app that I also use back home in Thailand.

The Grabs come in metred taxis, pre-approved taxi fares, GrabFamily, GrabCar 6-Seaters, and my favourite: the trusty motorcycle taxi that gets you from A to B much faster, albeit in a sweatier fashion.

3-Day Kuala Lumpur Itinerary 

A small monkey looks onward below a giant statue of a Hindu monkey God in Kuala Lumpur

I have been to Kuala Lumpur on five separate occasions now, and whenever anyone asks me how long they should stay, I always suggest a three-day itinerary.

I like to travel slowly and not jam too much into one trip if possible. Not always, though. This KL itinerary is the antithesis of my Hanoi itinerary; that’s just how I was feeling at the time.

Feel free to take this as mere inspiration to get started and add any from your own list if you feel it’s not busy enough.

Day 1: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Merdeka Square, Monastery Lunch, KLCC Park 

Colourful and ornate Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with detailed sculptures and vibrant decorations, flanked by city buildings. Motorists pass by on the street in front of the temple

Get the party started by checking out my personal favourite religious building in Kula Lumpur. Established in 1873, this architectural marvel is the oldest Hindu temple in the city.

You really can’t miss it once you’re there. The outside of the building is striking, and intricate carvings of Hindu deities demand your attention. Entry to the temple is 20 sen. The peaceful ambience of the temple offers a typically tranquil and serene environment where visitors can experience the spiritual practices and rituals of Hinduism.

After checking out that delight, walk 15 minutes to Merdeka Square, symbolising Malaysia’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957. 

The square is home to one of the tallest flagpoles in the world, standing 95 meters tall. This flagpole marks the spot where the Union Jack was lowered, and the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time. Flags of Malaysia and Malaysian territories frame the square outside, overlooking the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building across the road.

A man sitting on the edge of a circular fountain in front of the Dataran Merdeka sign in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with tall buildings and lush greenery in the background

Once you’ve seen these two beauties, you can visit Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, near the square. 

Now it’s time to get a sneak peek of the iconic Petronas Towers during the day at KLCC Park. From Merdeka Square, walk approximately 8 minutes to the Masjid Jamek LRT Station and Board the LRT on the Kelana Jaya Line towards Gombak; it’s a 6-minute journey with 3 stops.

The park spans 50 acres and is beautifully landscaped with various trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. A large artificial lake features a daily fountain show with water jets and lights choreographed to music, adding to the area’s chilled-out vibe.

KLCC Park is one of the best places for photos of the Petronas Towers; you will likely have a snap from multiple angles once you watch the local pros show you how it’s done! The Petronas come to life at night, and I will have you covered later.

By now, you will have worked up a hunger, and I have just the place for you: Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery, a cheap and delicious vegetarian buffet alongside a temple.

The good news is that it’s only a seven-minute walk from KLCC. Look out for the temple in the photo above and walk down the lane on the right—the smell will guide you.

Entrance to the Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, featuring traditional Chinese architectural elements, red lanterns, and gold inscriptions. Two people are sitting near the entrance, and visitors can be seen entering the monastery.
Delicious and cheap veggie food buffet right by a temple.

One of my pet peeves (as a traveller who is into fitness) with these types of places is that the protein options are very sparse if they exist. I can’t say the same for Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery. I filled my plate with chunks of tasty seitan (mock duck) pieces and tofu in all forms.

The monastery is an important place for Buddhist worship and spiritual practice. It is dedicated to Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, highly revered in Mahayana Buddhism. The concept is very much like the Jain religion celebrated in Thailand and other pockets of the globe.

It is closer to vegan food than vegetarianism as it does not serve animal products or use onions or garlic in its recipes to adhere to strict religious principles.

This is my new favourite find in KL. The only negative aspect of the place was that I had the misfortune of sitting next to a know-it-all expat who wanted to willy-measure me about Malaysia being better than Thailand as a place to live.

If you go to this amazing place and see a handsome silver-haired white guy in a suit who loves the sound of his voice, save your energy and avoid eye contact. Luckily, the chanting sounds of the monks next door drowned him out.

From here, fellow traveller, the KL world is your oyster. This is where I leave you until tomorrow as you are in the centre of town and might want to visit the Sky Deck KL Toer and do other touristy things, but hopefully with a happy stomach after your monastery meal.

Day 2: Thean Hou Temple, Brickfields, Putra Mosque

Colorful dragon sculpture and the ornate architecture of Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, under a clear blue sky with a few clouds. Visitors are walking near the entrance, highlighting the temple's vibrant design and traditional Chinese elements.

Open your phone, grab a GrabTaxi of your desire, and head to Thean Hou Temple. (I’m not judging you). 

Thean Hou Temple is an impressive six-tiered structure dedicated to Mazu, the Chinese sea goddess. It beautifully exemplifies Chinese culture in Southeast Asia, seamlessly integrating elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

Situated on a hill, the temple offers perfect panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur, and the beautiful gardens around it are a nice added bonus. Be sure to look out for the statues depicting animals of the Chinese Zodiac calendar.

A fun game if you are travelling with another is to find your animal and read out the supposed personality traits that you have. You will have to have thick skin and a decent level of self-awareness to survive this, or it may taint your Kuala Lumpur experience.

Now, it’s time for a nice 15-minute walk to Little India (AKA “Brickfields”) to jump from one culture to another (that’s the beauty of KL). 

I typically spend 2-3 hours in Little India. You can walk down the lively streets and enjoy the colourful murals depicting various aspects of Indian culture and heritage. Look out for religious sites such as Sri Kandaswamy Kovil and Vivekananda Ashram.

You can also do my favourite thing: get lost in authentic Malay-Indian cuisine with street food options, banana leaf restaurants, sweet shops and whatever type of sweet tea floats your boat.

So you’ve started the day with a bit of Buddhism (alongside Confucianism and Taoism), went straight into Hinduism, and probably felt like you’d landed in India. Now it’s time to immerse yourself in Islam with the stunning Putra Mosque.

A man wearing a maroon robe standing in front of the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia, with its distinctive pink domes and intricate architectural design. Other visitors in similar robes can be seen in the background, highlighting the mosque's grandeur and cultural significance.

I’m not going to lie—I booked another GrabTaxi for this. It was far out, and I slept badly the night before, so I pulled out my magical smartphone and awaited my Malaysian guardian angel on wheels.

45 Minutes later, and I was there. Islamic architecture never ceases to amaze me; this mosque blends modern and traditional architectural elements, incorporating Islamic design influences from Persia, Kazakhstan, and Morocco. Its distinctive pink dome is made of rose-tinted granite, giving the mosque its unique colour, influenced by the Sheikh Omar Mosque in Baghdad.

The main prayer hall can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers at a time!

The building is tourist-friendly, and you will be given a purple cloak as you enter the mosque. Women are asked to cover their hair while visiting the mosque. Be sure to plan your trip to Putra Mosque with the prayer times in mind, as you won’t be allowed in during this 10-15-minute period. There are food and coffee stalls outside if you have to wait a bit.

Fajr: 5:48 AM

Sunrise: 7:05 AM

Dhuhr: 1:15 PM

Asr: 4:41 PM

Maghrib: 7:24 PM

Isha: 8:54 PM

After visiting the mosque, there were a decent amount of things to do in the area, but I was hungry, so I went back into town for a very good meal at Blue Boy Vegetarian Food, another plant-based buffet that wasn’t afraid of protein!

Day 3: Batu Caves, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan, Helibar 

Visitors at the Batu Caves in Malaysia, with the towering golden statue of Lord Murugan and the vibrant, colorful staircase leading up to the caves set against a backdrop of lush green cliffs
The iconic Batu Caves are very important to the Tamil community of Kuala Lumpur.

The Batu Caves are possibly the second most recognisable landmark in the country after the Petronas Towers. They are a significant Hindu religious site, especially during the Thaipusam festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of devotees worldwide​.

Tourists typically get to Batu Caves by taking the KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral. The journey takes around 25 minutes, and the trains come every 15 minutes.

Once you alight at the station, follow the signs and path leading directly to the main entrance of the caves. After a few minutes’ walk, you will be greeted by a 42.7-meter (140 feet) tall statue of Lord Murugan, the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and the second tallest in the world.

To the left are 272 multi-coloured steps leading to the caves and several Hindu temples. The main final-level boss you must look out for on your way up is the absolute hordes of skittish and sometimes aggressive monkeys!

View from the Batu Caves in Malaysia, featuring two monkeys sitting on the colorful staircase railings with the golden statue of Lord Murugan and the cityscape in the background. Visitors are seen climbing the stairs, enhancing the lively atmosphere of the site.
Keep your distance from your fellow primates while visiting Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.

The long-tailed Macaques live in the caves, and you must keep a safe distance from them and watch your hand and foot placement. Do not take any food up there if you don’t have to; if you take water up there, you should expect the hairy local residents to confiscate it.

I’m not trying to fearmonger here. You will be fine if you respect their personal space and don’t tease them. Aim to spend two hours here before getting a 2-minute GrabTaxi to another stunning mosque, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan.

A man standing on the rooftop of Helibar in Kuala Lumpur at night, with the illuminated Petronas Twin Towers and other skyscrapers in the background. The vibrant city lights create a stunning urban skyline.
The Petronas Towers are viewable from Helibar, which used to be a helipad; now, it’s a cool sky bar in KL.

Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan, also known as the Federal Territory Mosque, features a stunning blend of Ottoman and Malay architectural styles, drawing inspiration from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

From here, you can try to determine whether this mosque is less or more beautiful than the Putra Mosque you saw yesterday or even fight with your travel companion about it over a tasty teh tarik.  

Is Kuala Lumpur Worth Visiting?

A man standing in a park with the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, towering in the background under a partly cloudy sky. The lush greenery of the park contrasts with the modern skyscrapers.
And that’s a wrap. I’ve done my bit as a Kuala Lumpur fanboy. It’s up to you now.

Yes, Kuala Lumpur is absolutely worth visiting. Its rich cultural diversity, stunning landmarks, vibrant food scene, and excellent infrastructure make it a fantastic destination for travellers. I firmly believe it is a criminally underlooked and underrated Southeast Asian city.

Whether exploring the city’s historical sites, indulging in its culinary delights from multiple heritages, or simply enjoying its modern attractions, Kuala Lumpur has something for everyone. So, give it at least three days to truly soak in everything this vibrant city offers.

If you found yourself here after wondering how many days you should spend in Kuala Lumpur, aim for three or four days and give the city the same chance as its more famous neighbouring cities in the region.

Anthony Middleton

A former loser who took a risk. I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand after visiting over 100 countries. Stay tuned for the next challenge against that clock!
Ultra runner walking in desert

Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

Follow me!