The Malaysian capital offers an endless array of things to do for visitors of all ages and interests. The shopping, dining and cultural tourist attractions draw people from all over the world for leisure trips, and the fascinating architecture appears in the photo albums of millions of world travellers.
We’ve come up with 7 cool and unusual Kuala Lumpur tourist attractions that will whet your appetite enough that you’ll want to book your tickets today!
Find Hidden Treasure in Junk Bookstore
At this, the second hand bookstore to beat all, you’ll find unexpected treasures among the dusty novels, textbooks, albums, magazines and comics. You might even want to take along a face mask to counter the dust if you are an allergy sufferer.
It’s worth it though for the anticipation of finding something that floats your boat or rings your bell. Owned by a husband and wife team, Junk Bookstore has been a KL stalwart for years. If the hunt makes you hungry, you can simply step outside and wander along the street where a myriad of food stalls will ready you for round two.
Dine like a Monk in the middle of the city
At the Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery Canteen, you will eat like a king but pay like a pauper. Serving up absolutely delicious vegetarian food to the local office workers and tourists alike, the canteen is housed in a modest Buddhist temple and dwarfed by Kuala Lumpur’s sky-rise skyline. Even though the price is so cheap, it is considered very poor form to waste food here given the Buddhist philosophies of karma and good deeds. Eat your fill and express your gratitude. Open for lunch Monday to Friday.
Eat like a Beggar
At the forty-year-old New Heong Kee, you don’t simply walk in and order your chicken meal. Their ‘Beggar’s Chicken’ dish must be ordered the day before because they cook it overnight. A whole chicken is stuffed with medicinal Chinese herbs, enshrouded in plastic, enveloped in clay and baked under burning charcoal for eight or so hours. Your waiter takes a hammer to the clay cocoon and smashes it to reveal your impossibly tender, flavoursome chicken. Throw down an icy cold beverage with it and you’ll call it one of the best casual meals of your life.
Travel Back in Time
A visit to Old China Café will be an interesting way to fill your tummy. Hung on the sepia aged walls are old chime clocks that no longer tick or tock. It’s anyone’s guess how long they’ve sat unwound. Feng Shui’s role here is in the two big mirrors that are positioned to face each other to reflect good luck in perpetuity. The café’s cosy ambience is reminiscent of early 20th century décor with its black and white photographs, wooden furniture and creaky doors. Order the blue coconut rice which is reportedly very tasty and goes beautifully with the succulent fried assam prawns. Here too, the beer is icy cold so on a hot and humid day – or night – the menu at the Old China Café will hit the spot.
Come Face-to-Face with a shark
Correct, Kuala Lumpur is not situated on an ocean, but don’t let that stop you from mingling with sharks. The Aquaria KLCC boasts around 5,000 marine and aquatic animals and one of its attractions is the diving with sharks program. Located beneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the last thing you would expect is an aquarium but there it is! Certified divers can climb into the 2.5 million litre tank and meet five species of shark for an unforgettable experience.
Drop by any day between 10am and 8pm to explore fascinating sea and marine life including red bellied piranha, ‘the living fossil’ and the world’s most venomous fish. For those who love an adrenalin rush, we don’t want to burst your bubble but you’ll be in no danger of injury or worse from these attractions!
Have a Fishy Pedicure
You’ve probably heard of this fishy-style foot treatment. Well at the Jojoba Spa up on the 15th floor of the Berjaya Times Square Hotel, you can dip your toe in this intriguing concept and hope you aren’t ticklish. The tiny ‘doctor fish’ literally nibble the dead skin from your feet, leaving them smooth and soft. If this isn’t your cup of tea, then try one of their other treatments, all in lavish surroundings that make you feel like royalty. Maybe a seaweed wrap or a full-body coffee scrub is more to your liking. Affordably priced and open daily from 11am to midnight, it’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Play in an indoor theme park
The largest indoor theme park in Malaysia, Berjaya Times Square is on the fifth to eighth floors of the Berjaya Times Square Hotel and offers tons of fun for children and adults. No matter what the weather’s like outside, you can head indoors here and have the time of your life. Ride the popular Supersonic Odyssey roller coaster and visit the Haunted Chamber for major goose bumps! If you’re taking children with you, there are ample rides for little ones too. Open 12pm to 10pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 10pm on weekends.
Staying Safe and Well in KL
Women travelling in Kuala Lumpur should be aware that Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and as such, dressing modestly is advised. Lonely Planet advises all travellers to exercise caution when encountering overly friendly strangers of both genders. Travellers with disabilities can expect difficulties navigating public areas because Kuala Lumpur’s kerbs can be quite high and there are very few footpaths and pedestrian crossings. In Malaysia as in any other country, mishaps can happen no matter how cautious you are. Theft, illness, accidents and baggage losses can all put a damper – or worse – on your trip so be sure to organise appropriate travel insurance* for your needs.
Prepare yourself for an exhausting whirlwind visit, great food, tantalising shopping and some amazing photo opportunities in Kuala Lumpur.