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If You Only Have One Day In Kuala Lumpur

What to do one day in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

This article is specially created if you have only one day in Kuala Lumpur, and wonder what can you do around here. Many travellers make Kuala Lumpur a stopping or transit city when they are travelling around the region, mainly due to the cheap AirAsia flights being offered. 

Personally, I have had many emails over the years asking me what to do in Kuala Lumpur in a day, and I have been providing all sorts of personal information to these travellers.

I guess it is high time that I create this article for anyone who wants to know what can you do in Kuala Lumpur in a day.

Visiting Kuala Lumpur in One Day

KLCC Shopping Mall Suria
Suria KLCC, the massive shopping mall under the Petronas Twin Towers

Let me start with your arrival into Kuala Lumpur. Most travellers will be doing a long transit or one-day layover in Kuala Lumpur before catching their connecting flights. 

For anyone transiting in Kuala Lumpur, you must know how long your transit is before you make your way into KL city. This list caters to anyone who has 12 to 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur.

If you are on a very short transit or stay, then just scroll to the bottom of this page as I have a solution on what you can possibly do in a short time.

Another reason may be that you are in Kuala Lumpur for a business trip or event, and you may have a free day to explore the city. 

Kuala Lumpur offers some exciting landmarks to explore, and most of them can be conquered within half a day. Among the most prominent landmarks, the Petronas Twin Towers are not to be missed along with the Kuala Lumpur Tower or KL Tower. 

Both of these landmarks are just 15-minute walking distance from one another and located in the golden triangle of Kuala Lumpur.

Note that if you are travelling from international airports, it will take you around 28 minutes to 60 minutes one way, depending on the mode of transport you use. 

Below, I will list down the areas that you can explore with an estimated time to spend there.

Golden Triangle Kuala Lumpur
Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur. Photo by EasyBook

Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur or KLCC Area

There are several attractions found around the golden triangle area of Kuala Lumpur and these places can be visited within three to four hours. Remember to use Google Maps or Waze to find the best walking routes in the city.

These places listed below are all within walking distance and best done in the day. For those who have an entire day to spare, you can generally see the best of Kuala Lumpur in one day at the places mentioned below.

KL Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

1. Petronas Twin Towers - This would be the best starting point where you can see the tallest twin towers in the world. The best place to take photographs is from the junction of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee, near the Public Bank Tower. 

Alternatively, you can also explore the Kuala Lumpur City Center Park or KLCC Park, which is the green lung providing manicured landscapes, beautiful views of the twin towers and the dancing fountain at Simfoni Lake, just outside Suria KLCC. 

For those who want to indulge in some lifestyle shopping, the Suria KLCC is the mall to visit here. In the mall, there is the Petrosains Discovery Center, which is a fun place for those travelling with kids. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 90 minutes.

KLCC Aquarium
The Underwater Tunnel at Aquaria KLCC. Photo by Star2 

2. Aquaria KLCC - Kuala Lumpur's most exciting aquarium which is located at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center or KLCC is just a few minutes walk. Great for both adults and kids, this aquarium houses marine and freshwater fishes, corals and a beautiful underwater tunnel. 

Tickets are priced at RM65.00 for adults and RM56.00 for kids, and you can easily spend about an hour to two hours inside here. Go only if you love aquariums, otherwise, skip this and head to KL Tower. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.

Kuala Lumpur Tower
One of the thrilling experiences at KL Tower Sky Box. Photo by KL Tower

3. Kuala Lumpur Tower or Menara KL - From Aquaria KLCC, you can take a 25-minute walk to KL Tower which is the tallest structure in the city offering majestic city views of Kuala Lumpur. 

You can experience three things here which is the main indoor observation deck, the outdoor sky deck and the unique glass skybox. The tickets start at RM52.00 for adults and RM31.00 for children and have various combo packages. 

At Menara KL, there are also many other attractions like the unique Upside Down House and a mini zoo, which is perfect for both adults and kids. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.

4. KL Forest Eco Park - Just next to KL Tower is a unique Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve located in the heart of the city.  This is the only green lung of Kuala Lumpur is also the smallest forest reserve in Malaysia. There are really short treks with 300-meter lengths and a unique canopy walkway or treetop walk. 

I would recommend visiting here to experience a true Malaysian rainforest if you have not. To walk here from Menara KL, you will take about 20 minutes and use Jalan Raja Chulan to get to the main entrance. This place is open from 7.00 AM till 6.00 PM and is free entrance. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.

Bukit Bintang Shopping Area in Kuala Lumpur. Photo by Wonderful Malaysia 

5. Bukit Bintang Shopping Street - After your rainforest adventure, you can take a 20-minute walk to the heart of Kuala Lumpur, which is the Bukit Bintang shopping area. This is where all the top shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur is located at, and recommended if you want to do shopping. 

The main shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur to explore are Pavilion, Lot 10, Sungai Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square, and all of them are located within walking distance. Think of this place as the Malaysian Champ-Elysees, but the Southeast Asian version. 

If you want to explore a unique mall, it would be Low Yat Plaza, entirely dedicated to gadgets, accessories, phones, cameras and computer stuff. This mall is located along Jalan Bukit Bintang. 

Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.

Jalan Alor at night. Photo by IQRemix on Flickr

6. Jalan Alor Food Street - Minutes walk from Jalan Bukit Bintang is the famous Jalan Alor food street where an entire one-kilometre street is dominated by restaurants serving Malaysian Chinese, Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese food. 

This popular street is best visited around 5.00 PM, for an early dinner, but the ambience gets better when the sun goes down.

Apart from the amazing food sold here, you can also sample local fruits and also the world-famous durians. Cold beer is also available at all the restaurants here.

You can also visit Jalan Alor in the day, just that the ambience is not 100%. There are local restaurants that opened here in the day. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.

Changkat Bukit Bintang at night. Photo by Kuaby 

7. Changkat Bukit Bintang - This lively street is just a minute walk from Jalan Alor and is known as the lifestyle and nightlife hub of Kuala Lumpur.

Along this road, you will find all kinds of unique bars, clubs and restaurants catering to the lifestyle travellers. 

Some of the more quiet bars or cafes are located off Changkat Bukit Bintang, along Jalan Nagasari, Jalan Berangan and Jalan Mesiu.

Choices include a Cuban bar called Havana Bar and Grill, a Jazz Bar called No Black Tie, a Tapas Bar and even a place called The Whiskey Bar.

These are just a few popular places, where there are probably around 20 to 30 different entertainment outlets around here which close around 1.00 AM to 3.00 AM. 

Time to spend: From 30 to 90 minutes.

KL Heli Lounge Bar
The Kuala Lumpur Heli Lounge Bar, one of the most unique bars in Malaysia

8. Heli Lounge Bar KL - Probably one of the most unique rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur and the world is the Heli Lounge Bar, which is located at a helicopter landing on top of a skyscraper.

This unique place only opens at 5.00 PM and is one of the best places to experience the Kuala Lumpur skyline view. It is also the best location to catch the sunset. 

From Jalan Alor, it is a 10-15 minute walk to the Heli Lounge Bar, which operates till midnight on weekdays and on weekends, it closes at 3.00 AM.

Truly one of the iconic lifestyle places in Kuala Lumpur, anyone visiting should make this place a must-visit location. 

Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.

TREC Kuala Lumpur
TREC Kuala Lumpur, the trendiest place for clubbing, bars and restaurants

9. TREC Kuala Lumpur - This is an optional suggestion where TREC KL is currently the latest lifestyle entertainment spot for Kuala Lumpur where you can find the best clubs in KL city.

The place comes alive once the sun goes down and you can find a good selection of clubs, bars, live music and restaurants in one dedicated place. 

The TREC main street is where you can find all these entertainment outlets, all next to each other which creates a beautiful nightlife scene. Overall, you can come here to just have dinner, coffee and drinks if you are not into the clubbing scene. 

And for the clubbers, Zouk Kuala Lumpur is the most happening club in Malaysia with local and international DJ's performing till 5.00 AM on weekends. The best way to get here is to take a taxi or Grab from anywhere in the city. 

Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.

Petaling Street
Petaling Street or Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

Chinatown Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Street Area

This is the older part of Kuala Lumpur and is worth a visit if you like culture and heritage with a bit of shopping and architecture viewing.

This itinerary will take you on foot through some of Kuala Lumpur's most historical places and you can do it in two to four hours. 

10. Petaling Street or Chinatown Kuala Lumpur - This would be your starting point and the main area to explore here is Jalan Petaling and Jalan Sultan. Just so you know, 'Jalan' means Street in Malay. 

Jalan Petaling is an open-aired covered walkway, littered with stalls and shops selling all sorts of things, namely souvenirs, clothes, knock off products and local food. 

In the day, the main Jalan Petaling is active with shops and stalls on the sides, and come 4.00 PM, vendors start moving in to occupy the centre of the road, creating a lively night market atmosphere.

The surrounding roads provide various types of restaurants, coffee shops and stalls selling all sorts of items. 

Time to spend: 40 to 120 minutes around here.

Annexe Central Market KL
Central Market Annexe art row in Kuala Lumpur

11. Central Market and Central Market Annexe - This is a historical wet market converted into a handicraft and art complex called Central Market KL.

From Jalan Petaling, it is only a four-minute walk here. Once you arrive, you will enter the air-conditioned market which offers two floors of shopping or window shopping.

Inside Central Market KL you will find countless shops and booths selling all sorts of souvenirs from Malaysia.

On the first floor, there is a local Malaysian food court offering some local hawker cuisine which is worth an experience. A recommended shop to visit is the Malaysian Wau or kite shop, which also sells miniature kites. 

The connecting building at the back entrance leads you into the Central Market Annexe, a specialized section dedicated to Malaysian art.

Here you will find a section where the local artists are seen painting their works in small cubical shops. Other shops found here are art galleries showcasing some of the more reputable Malaysian artworks. 

Time to spend: 20 to 30 minutes.

The birthplace of Kuala Lumpur at Masjid Jamek Mosque. Photo John Mason on Flickr
12. Kuala Lumpur Birthplace Lookout PointFrom Central Market Annexe, just walk out the back to Leboh Pasar Besar Road and head towards the only bridge over the Klang River. From this bridge, you can spot Masjid Jamek Mosque and where the two rivers meet. 

This historical place is called the confluence of rivers, where Kuala Lumpur was born. What does Kuala Lumpur mean?

Kuala means confluence and Lumpur mean muddy. There you go, now you know what the capital of Malaysia means. 

Time to spend: 5 minutes.

Victoria Fountain at Merdeka Square
Victoria Fountain at Merdeka Square in KL. Photo by IQRemix on Flickr
13. Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka - From the bridge, just continue walking another two minutes and you will arrive at Dataran Merdeka, which is a massive field called the Independence Square of Malaysia. 

At Merdeka Square, you will find Southeast Asia's tallest flagpole and the century-old Victoria Fountain, which was presented to Kuala Lumpur as a gift from Queen Victoria. 

From the field, you will see the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is a Moorish Classic Renaissance architecture built-in 1897.

Around the field, various heritage buildings house the Kuala Lumpur Textile Museum, Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the KL Library. 

Time to spend: 10 to 30 minutes

Masjid India market street in Kuala Lumpur. Photo Wikimedia 

14. Masjid India Market Street Area - A very localized area that caters to the local fabric scene of Kuala Lumpur where you will find hoards of traders selling all kinds of fabrics, sarongs, batik and general apparels for all walks of life.

From Dataran Merdeka Square, it is only a 10-minute walk to Masjid India area. There is also a local covered bazaar that is nearer to the main train station here. 

If you are fabric hunting, this is the place recommended to explore in Kuala Lumpur, which is commonly called Masjid India. But for tourist, it would also be called India Street Market and is a great place to explore on foot. 

At one section of Masjid India, you will see Indian jewellers selling all kinds of gold, and also a mini bazaar selling a mix of fabrics and souvenirs.

Exploring further in, retail shops and even small shopping complexes offer all kinds of raw fabrics or ready-made clothes. If you want to get Malaysian Indian attire and jewellery, this is the place to visit. 

Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.

Kuala Lumpur Brickfields
Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur. Photo Lonely Planet

15. Little India or Brickfields Kuala Lumpur - This is the official Little India of Kuala Lumpur, and located just out of the main city area, and very close to KL Sentral Station.

Noted in many guidebooks or travel sites, most tourists want to visit this place. So, if you are travelling back to KLIA airport, this could be your last stop. 

Over at Brickfields, you can explore the many authentic Indian restaurants, buy Indian jewellery and even art, browse through some of the Indian textiles, or explore some of the Indian temples here. Little India is a vibrant place with strong colours and is located 

To walk here from Masjid India or Dataran Merdeka Square, it will take you around 30-40 minutes. But from Masjid Jamek Station, you can hop on a train which will take you 20 minutes to KL Sentral, then walk across to Little India, which takes you 5 minutes. Visit only if you have the extra time.

Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.

KL Sentral Shopping Mall
Nu Sentral Mall at KL Sentral

16. Nu Sentral Mall - One of the lifestyle and trendy shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur is connected to the KL Sentral Station. This place would serve as a place to get whatever you need before heading back to the airport. 

And if you are into the shopping and lifestyle scene, Nu Sentral Mall is the perfect place to chill out with some casual shopping.

There are many cafes, restaurants and lifestyle bars found here. Well, this is recommended, namely if you have a very short transit and want to explore shopping in Kuala Lumpur, this is one of the places.

Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.

The KLIA Express, fastest way into Kuala Lumpur. Photo Wikimedia
How to Travel To Kuala Lumpur from KLIA / KLIA2? 

By Train - The fastest way to travel into Kuala Lumpur from KLIA is by taking the KLIA Express Train, which takes 28 minutes one way. However, the train schedule varies throughout the day and night. Train tickets cost RM55.00 one way. 

If you arrive late evening in Malaysia, with a six or eight-hour transit, you might as well just hang out at the airport until your connecting flight. Or you could do a Kuala Lumpur nightlife visit to some of the entertainment places mentioned in number 7,8 or 9 above. 

By Bus - This would be the budget way of travelling into Kuala Lumpur, and takes about 60-70 minutes. The bus ticket is RM12.00 per person one way into KL Sentral, and after midnight, the frequency is less. 

By Taxi  - Taxi's cost anywhere from RM80 to RM100 one way into the city, and depending on which part. There is also a 50% surcharge on top of the taxi fare after midnight.

There are budget taxi's which run on meters or fix rate taxis. And for four or more persons, you need a bigger taxi, which will cost more.

You can get a taxi coupon from the transportation counters at each terminal. Please do not accept or entertain anyone approaching you for a taxi service. These are taxi touts, and against the law.

Grab Malaysia MyCar
MyCar and Grab, ride-hailing services in Malaysia

By Ride-Hailing Services - If you are two to six persons, you can take a private car service which is called Grab or MyCar, into Kuala Lumpur.

You need to download the Grab or MyCar App for your smartphone to book this. The journey takes about 50-60 minutes one way and straight to your starting destination. 

Ride-Hailing company Grab currently offers a promotion of RM65.00 one way for up to four persons, and this is all day.

MyCar is similar to Grab, and they are currently offering a promotion of RM59.00 one way from or to the international airports.

Uber in Malaysia - There is no more Uber in Malaysia, they were bought over by Grab.

Baggage Collection Area KLIA2
Baggage area at KLIA2

Tips for Transits in Kuala Lumpur

I have also come up with these tips for transits in Kuala Lumpur, which will help you a great deal if you want to make the best out of your travels. 
  • The best way to make use of a long transit is by booking your flight to arrive early in the morning in KL, where you can use the entire day to explore Kuala Lumpur city for a day trip. Then by evening, you can head back to the airport to catch your connecting flight. 
  • Please note that for a one way travel into Kuala Lumpur, you must allocate at least two hours if you take a bus or taxi. This also works for your travel back to the airport. In simple terms, you need at least a minimum of three hours for travel to and from Kuala Lumpur. 
  • You should have a transit time of at least six hours or more to visit Kuala Lumpur and experience some of the recommended places above. 
  • If your transit is just three or four hours, the best thing you can do is to take the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral, and then exploring (15) Little India and (16) Nu Sentral and then head back to the airport. This would also be best in the day time from 7.00 AM till 8.00 PM. 
  • Anything less than that, you are better off just hanging out in the airport, as you would not want to risk the timing to travel in and out of Kuala Lumpur.
  • For those on a budget, it is recommended that you get the KL Travel Pass as it the best way to move around Kuala Lumpur. This includes the KLIA Express tickets and other local train passes. 
KLIA Things to do
Lovers bridge at Tanjung Sepat. Photo Wikipedia
What is there to do around KLIA or KLIA2 in Sepang? 

Honestly, there is nothing much to do around the Kuala Lumpur International Airport area. The closest town is Sepang Town, which is about 30 minutes drive one way.  To be honest, this is a local town with very Malaysian businesses and coffee shops. 

There are several hotels or budget hostels found in Sepang town, but in terms of a tourist destination, there is nothing here. The closest options would be very niche and unique, depending on the type of traveller you are. 

Nearby, there is a small town called Tanjung Sepat, which you can also explore, but this place is mainly for local tourism.

There are some nice very local restaurants, a traditional coffee maker factory and a scenic wooden lovers bridge here.

One Day Tour In Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur

Short Layover in Malaysia

If you are on a short layover in Kuala Lumpur, you may want to check out this article on what to do on a short transit in Malaysia. It highlights a few iconic places you can visit for anyone who is transiting for six to ten hours.

Overall, this article about having one day in Kuala Lumpur is specially created for anyone who is on a long transit in Kuala Lumpur, or business travellers who have one free day after your meetings.


The places mentioned above include the estimated time required to visit, and based on your timings, you can actually visit multiple places which are in the same area or district of Kuala Lumpur.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, I would love to hear them below. Otherwise, have a great visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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