Kuala Lumpur is a rapidly growing metropolis with an exciting multicultural heritage. It’s nestled in the Klang valley and bordered by the stunning Titiwangsa mountain range. This was the first stop on our trip after leaving our hometown of London and we immediately felt at ease in this wonderful city. It is a perfect city destination for families – there are tons of activities for all ages, it’s easy to get about and the food is so very delicious. What more could you want!
For the five days we were in Kuala Lumpur we stayed in a two bedroom apartment at the Setia Sky Residences. There are loads of similar apartment blocks across the city that look great for families. We loved this place for its two fantastic pools (including one on the 33rd floor), stunning views towards the city, a mini-mart on site and food centre across the road. It was the perfect place to unwind after a busy day out in the city.
I found travelling about as a family surprisingly easy for such a big city. There is an extensive and expanding metro system, a good bus network and cheap taxis. It cost us 6RM (£1) to travel from our apartment to the city centre using apps like Grab or Uber. Make sure you pick up a local sim card when you arrive as you will save loads on data usage when accessing taxi services.
As we are at the beginning of our six month trip, we didn’t want to blow the budget on lots of activities. Fortunately, there are a whole range of free and cheap family activities to enjoy throughout the city.
1. KLCC waterpark
This is an absolute must on any Kuala Lumpur itinerary with children. We were exhausted after spending a little too long in the mall with the kids. We all desperately needed to get outdoors and cool off.
It is a fantastic free facility at the foot of the Petronas Towers, with a wide selection of water features to play in and plenty of seating in the shade. We particularly loved the two big waterfalls, the stepping stones to jump across and the views towards the twin towers were just incredible.
2. Batu caves
The Batu Caves are a series of huge limestone caves just 13km outside of Kuala Lumpur. A site of significant religious significance, it is home to Hindu temples and a shrine. The main temple is free of charge.
There are quite a few steps to climb – 272 in total – so younger children may need some gentle persuasion (or bribery) to keep them going. But it is worth the climb. Its is packed full of cheeky macaque monkeys and ornate Hindu shrines. It is a sight to behold and a real experience for all ages. While there is no compulsory dress code, it’s best to be respectful at this holy site and dress appropriately.
3. View of Petronas Twin Towers
The most prominent feature on Kuala Lumpur’s skyline is without a doubt the iconic Petronas towers. These are the tallest twin towers in the world at 451m and are connected by a public sky bridge.
You can pay to go up the towers, but it’s quite expensive and the best views of the towers are of course from elsewhere.
Instead, why not visit the Sky Bar on the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel, which arguably has the best views towards the Petronas towers. Kids are allowed and it is the perfect spot to have a meal while watching the sun set. Be sure to book a table in advance. While it’s not the cheapest place to eat, it can still cheaper than paying to go up the towers!
4. KLCC Elevated Walkway
I love discovering cities on foot. It’s often the best way to explore new places and see how locals live in their city. However, in hot temperatures and with children, this can often be a tiring and less enjoyable experience.
The solution? A huge elevated (and air conditioned!) walkway that connects the best bits of the city. The KLCC – Bukit Bintang Walkway is a 1.173km-long pedestrian bridge that connects Pavilion KL to Impiana KLCC.
We really enjoyed the experience of walking above the stationary traffic, and it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk from one end of the walkway to the other. The children were really comfortable and Zoe’s three year old legs were able to carry her considerably further.
5. KLCC park and playground
If you have kids of a certain age, you will be familiar with those frequent requests to “go to the playground”. In every town and city that we visit, it’s guaranteed that we will be tracking one down.
Situated right next to the waterpark, the massive playground is free to use and has lots on offer for kids of all ages. There are plenty of parts that are shaded by trees.
Watch out for the security staff with their whistles though – no adults are allowed on the play equipment and I got whistled at for being on a rocking car with my daughter!
The park itself is really picturesque and definitely worth a wander around. I loved that the trees and water features offer refuge from the heat and we found a nice shady place to sit and have a picnic.
6. Jalan Alor – food street
No visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without sampling some of the fantastic foods on offer. Jalan Alor, just off of Bukit Bintang is transformed at night time into a food paradise with a fabulous selection of Malay, Chinese and Thai dishes on offer.
Kids will be astounded by the sights, smells and tastes of this fantastic food street. Be sure to sample some delicious satay, and the local speciality, Nasi Lemak – a tasty ensemble of coconut rice, spicy sauce, garnishes and often served with fried chicken. It’s a typical Malay breakfast dish but is served at all times of the day.
7. Titiwangsa Lake Gardens
Titiwangsa Lake Gardens is a huge park slightly outside of the city centre, with a large lake and incredible views towards the city centre.
There is a cycle path that runs around the outside of the park and we were hoping to hire some bikes and go exploring. Unfortunately our visit coincided with the Southeast Asian Games 2017, meaning that the cycle hire facilities were closed. Hopefully next time we will have more luck.
8. Ride the public transport
If your kids are anything like mine, they will love riding on buses and trains. There is so much to look at, people to interact with and buttons to press. Fortunately, Kuala Lumpur has a good bus and metro system. It’s cheap, reliable and will get you to where you need to go quickly.
The fantastic monorail is a great way to see the city from an elevated height and the kids will love spotting landmarks along the way. If you are visiting Batu Caves, make sure you catch the train from KL Sentral. It’s by far the quickest and cheapest way to get there.
Have you visited Kuala Lumpur? Do you have any advice on activities for travelling families? I’d love to hear from you!