If you ask me what city I’m most familiar with in any ASEAN countries, apart from Singapore then I will definitely mention Kuala Lumpur for the next. Ever since I visited the capital city of Malaysia for the first time in 2013, I always stop by the city at least once in every year. It could be for the sole purpose of travel, transit, or even work.
No kidding, back when I was working as a flight attendant, I probably flew to KUL more often than most of my Malaysian colleagues. There were times when I even had a week layover in the city. If you asked me whether I’ve ever given up a room at DoubleTree for a university to a dormitory room in a university, my answer is yes I have.
I left my hotel room unoccupied to a dormitory room at UTM, just so I could have a sleepover with Miza during my long layover in the city.
After quitting my job as a flight attendant, I surprisingly travel more frequently. And whenever I get to choose a transit in either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, more often than not I’d choose the latter. And the city itself will be the one that we cover now. Thanks to Kirsty from World for A Girl who will be sharing her recommendation with us!
Why I’d Choose KL over Singapore: Same City Vibes with Triple Cheaper Budget and More Delicious Food!
Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic city to visit on a budget. Whilst you can party all night in fancy rooftop cocktail bars, there are plenty of options for budget travelers too. With so much free stuff on offer, you can easily spend your $10 only on transport and enjoying the city’s world-famous street food.
Whether you love architecture, cultural heritage or wildlife, here are some fun ideas you’ll love for under US$10 (around RM 40)
A selfie at the Petronas Towers
These iconic and world-famous Petronas towers right in the heart of KLCC are the ultimate Instagram picture. Forget about spending lots of money for the view and stay downstairs instead. In my opinion, the towers themselves are the best part of the view!
At the base of the towers is KLCC Park a lovely little oasis of greenery, lakes and jogging paths.
Next to the fountains is the ultimate spot for that selfie! The fountains are programmed to create beautiful ‘water’ shows throughout the day but for the most romantic experience arrive there at dusk. Normally on the hour between 8-10 PM, the foundations will put on an awesome display set to lights and music with the illuminated Twin Towers glimmering in the background.
If the heat is getting to you, pop into the Suria shopping mall (at the base of the towers) to window shop or get a cheap meal (from around RM15 -$3 USD) in the bustling food court on Floor 2 with gorgeous views over the park.
Explore the stunning botanical gardens using the free bus service
Great news for budget travelers is that there is a free bus service covering many of the tourist areas. Traffic can be a problem but if it’s money, not time that you’re trying to save this is the way to get around. Find out more about the bus routes here.
Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park is a huge recreational area to the West of the city center. It’s home to several attractions and monuments. Get off the free GOKL bus at Muzium Negara and walk up the hill.
The highlight, in my opinion, is the Perdana Botanical Garden. Totally free to enter you can explore these lush tropical grounds for hours. Learn about Malaysian flora and fauna and possibly spot some monkeys too.
Take your $10 budget and go wild at one of the many pasar malams. These nightly food markets are popular, busy and the food may be the best you get in Malaysia, grab a seat at a rickety plastic table and enjoy!
Many dishes are around 5 -10 RM (around $1 to $2.5 USD) to see what you can get for your 40 RM.
If you want the best food join a line as locals know exactly which stalls are the best. Some famous dishes to try are satay sticks, nasi goreng, and char kway teow.
Temples, mosques and churches
If you’ve splashed out on a guidebook, you’ll notice that central Kuala Lumpur is full of religious buildings from ornate Chinese dragon temples to grand National Mosques and lively Hindu temples. All these amazing places are free to enter. So for the ultimate cheap day out, just grab your guidebook and meander from temple to mosque to church.
Note: make sure that you dress appropriately. Women should cover up but there are usually clothes to borrow at the entrance if you forget.
Hop on the MRT or treat yourself to a private ride in a Grab car (for RM20 or around $5 USD if you travel off-peak) and visit Batu Caves. These iconic rainbow steps lead up to an important and captivating Hindu shrine.
Since the stairs were painted last year, the steps have become another Instagram sensation. It’s free to visit but can get busy at the weekend. Watch out for monkeys and bats!
Contributor: Kirsty from World for a Girl
Kirsty is a British family travel blogger, currently living in sunny Malaysia. She has traveled to over 100 countries, including 30 with her young children. She blogs about family travel with a dash of feminism at World for a Girl. Her goal is to inspire girls to be fearless global adventurers.