Kuala Lumpur isn’t exactly synonymous with luxury travel or expensive trips, even though it’s a jumping-off point for several high-end resorts on the Indian Ocean and Sea of China. With that in mind though, you can save money for a more exxy excursion by focusing on the myriad of free and cheap options the City of Garden Lights has to offer. It’s a good starting off point for an adventure further afield, and by booking your flights with Cheapflights.com.sg you’ll save even more. Take a look at our favourite cheap and free things to do in Kuala Lumpur.Find flights to Kuala Lumpur
Eat at a food court. Any food court.
10-20 RM per person
Food court culture is simply the way to eat anywhere in Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. You’ll find that this city is filled with these little dens of tables surrounded by carts specialising in regional favourites. Order a little from a curry cart, a little nasi lemak, and a plate of satay. Then, wash it down with a Tiger beer.
Three of the most locally recommended food courts are Hutong Food Court, Selera Malam and Sungei Wang. But really just keep an eye out for opportunities anytime you feel peckish. Don’t fear the little breakfast setups found throughout the city. They might look like somebody dragged food out of their kitchen and set up a folding card table (that’s exactly what happened), but it doesn’t mean the food isn’t delicious.
Climb up to the Batu Cave
This stunning Hindu temple is tucked away in a daylight cave at the top of a punishing set of stairs. It’s free to the public and one of the most-viewed religious sites in the world. Take a cab to Selangor, just ask the driver to take you to “Batu Caves.” Be advised that women must cover their legs, and also be careful about carrying food with you as the place is home to a gang of macaque monkeys that aren’t scared of people and will try to confiscate food from you.
Two-thirds of the way up the stairs is an offshoot path to explore a darker cave complex if spelunking is your cup of tea. Also, remember to leave some time to explore the temples and shrines at the base of the mountain.
The story of Malaysia is in large part the story of the ethnic Chinese population that has been present here for hundreds of years. Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district is what you might expect from a large city with that history. The open-air market lets you shop for everything from unique souvenirs to trendy t-shirts and accessories for your latest gadgets. Food courts range from classic Chinese cuisine to the local Nyonya specialities.
If you have extra time, the nearby Kasturi Walk is a must. This sprawling warren of shops, restaurants and tiny shrines feels like you’ve stepped into the pages of a 1920s adventure novel. It’s definitely worth a couple of hours of your time.
Visit the National Planetarium
12RM adults, 8RM children
For a smaller museum in a country not known for science and industry, this museum is surprisingly great. The planetarium offers educational shows about science and space, and the astronaut exhibit features the space suit and history of Malaysia’s first astronaut.
This is not the headline attraction of Kuala Lumpur, but it is one of its better-kept secrets. Science enthusiasts absolutely must visit, as should any families with children.
Sample the high life at Petronas and Kuala Lumpur Towers
50 or 80 RM
The iconic twin Petronas Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Tower on a nearby hill are the highest points on the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Both offer astonishing birds-eye views of the city.
The KL Tower (50 RM) is actually the more robust, with add-on options for a longer experience. The Petronas Towers are higher in the sky and have an interesting museum at the top, along with a more formal guided tour experience. Either way, the cost is far lower than comparable experiences in any of the western cities like New York or Toronto. We recommend taking one or both early on your first day in town, so you can use the view to get to know the town.
Explore the religious sites
The history of Malaysia is a history of four different religions– Islam for the local population, Buddhism and Taoism for the Chinese, Hinduism for the newer but robust Indian population, and Christianity from missionaries and expats. All four are represented proudly in the architecture of the nation’s capital. Admission to many religious sites is free (with a donation if you’re of a mind), and you can view the exteriors all you like.
A handful of don’t-misses for fans of religious architecture include:
● The National Mosque of Malaysia
● Thean Hou Temple (Buddhist)
● Chan See Shu Yuen Temple (Buddhist)
● Batu Caves (Hindu — see above)
● Putra Mosque (Islam)
● Sri Mahamariamman Temple (Hindu)
● Kuan Ti Temple (Buddhist)
● Sri Kandaswamykovil Temple (Hindu)
● Holy Rosary Church (Christian)