So then I started my search for things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids, as Amy is only 10. And at 10, we have very different ideas on what a holiday looks like! As I was trying to do this holiday cheaply, I looked into the free things to do in Kuala Lumpur also.
Our first stop is in Kuala Lumpur and this is an idea for a two day itinerary based from what we did. There is a lot of walking in this itinerary!
Our trip ended up being 2 weeks long and we visited not only Kuala Lumpur, but also Penang and Kuching.
Explore the National Museum of Malaysia
The museum only costs a few RMB to enter. It is in such a beautiful building with stunning architecture. However, it is not a very large museum. It has four separate galleries across two floors. Gallery A which focuses on the early history is the most interesting for kids as there’s lots of bones and artefacts. The other galleries are focused more on recent years of Malaysia.
After we have finished looking at the museum, we follow the signage to the Planetarium Negara. There is an awesome footbridge that connects the two sites which crosses a main road.
Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Visit the Planetarium Negara
After crossing the footbridge, there is a multitude of stairs that we need to climb in order to reach the Planetarium Negara. It sits firmly atop of a hill. The Planetarium is a free place to visit in Kuala Lumpur for general admission.
The building that houses the Planetarium is beautiful, the symmetry is incredible. Inside the Planetarium, there are a few exhibits that are interesting, especially the one with all the elements. We enjoy wandering around and our favourite exhibit is the meteorite piece.
There are some activities that kids are able to participate in. When we visited, there were school groups that were utilising these activities so we weren’t able to have a turn, but that’s ok, as we still enjoyed our time.
Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Be amazed at the National Mosque of Malaysia
From the Planetarium, we walk to the National Mosque of Malaysia. We walk down the amazing front steps of the Planetarium and then we are on our way. It takes about ten minutes to walk from the Planetarium to the Mosque, and luckily it is all downhill.
Unfortunately we arrive when the Mosque is closed for prayer, so as tourists, we aren’t able to go inside until after 3pm. I’m a bit disappointed because I’ve never been inside a Mosque before and I find the architecture compelling.
Out the front of the National Mosque there are a few food vans and stalls that have set up. Since it’s around lunch time, we decide this is an excellent place to find some food. I choose nasi kukus ayam goreng kunyit, which is basically tumeric chicken with rice.
Time: 1 hour.
Marvel at the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park
After lunch, we walk the ten minutes to the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately this is all uphill, so Amy wasn’t exactly thrilled by this walk!
We reach the entrance and pay $37 MYR (2018) to go inside. The entrance to the Butterfly Park isn’t much to look at, but wow, once inside we are in awe.
There are so many butterflies and so many different types! We walk around the enclosure once, but because I love it so much, we go around again! It feels magical, like a life-sized fairy garden!
There’s also a display of pupa, which is the transition phase of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Inside the building there are also preserved butterfly displays showing butterflies from across Malaysia and the world.
Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Relax at the Orchid Garden
The Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur houses an Orchid Garden. As we were walking through the garden, we saw the entrance and decided to head in. This is another free place to visit in Kuala Lumpur as there is no entrance fee.
From the top of the garden, you can see the city skyline including the Petronas Towers and KL Tower.
The flowers are pretty and we enjoy walking through the garden, but by this stage our feet are very sore and Amy has had enough for one day.
Time: 30 mins.
Explore dinner options in Bukit Bintang
Of course I had to search out some street food in Kuala Lumpur. We took the monorail to Bukit Bintang for food at the Jalan Alor Night Food Market. It is only a few stops from Brickfields.
There are so many different stalls and restaurants and it’s difficult to choose what to try! We decide on a range of dim sums, followed by some pork buns. The food is incredibly delicious.
After dinner, we by some ice cream and fruit to snack on. The Night Food Market was worth the ride as the food was so good.
Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Where to stay the night
When searching for accommodation, I search out the cheapest hotel in the best location.
For Kuala Lumpur, I needed to be close to public transport as that was how we were getting around. The Brickfields area is close to KL Sentral for access to the KLIA Express services. Also, the ETS train from KL Sentral to Butterworth to visit Penang. Lastly, Brickfields is close to the monorail.
I booked us in to My Hotel @ Sentral in the Brickfields area. There is a tourist tax in Malaysia of 10 RMB per night that is paid in addition to the nightly rate.
Climb to the top of a giant staircase at Batu Caves
Batu Caves are located in a limestone hill, a short distance north of Kuala Lumpur. It is the site of a Hindu temple and shrines. Outside Batu Caves is the most amazing statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan.
From KL Sentral, it’s very easy to get to Batu Caves. There’s a direct train service from KL Sentral to Batu Caves station. It takes about 40 minutes on a weekend timetable, and then it’s just a short walk to the entrance. Batu Caves is free to enter.
The stairs look very steep and daunting from the bottom. Before you can climb the stairs, if you are a woman and you are exposing your knees, you will need to hire a sarong.
We make sure all our food and drinks are secure in my back pack so the monkeys don’t harass us for these items. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid making eye contact with the monkeys.
Once at the top of the stairs, you then enter the caves, and they are incredible. The shrines are amazing. It is quite peaceful in the cave, considering how many people are in there.
A man is feeding some peanuts to the monkeys and offers some to Amy to feed them also. After visiting the shrines, we decide it’s time to head back down the giant staircase.
Time: 2 hours + travel time.
Be inspired at Caves Villa
Caves Villa is next door to Batu Caves and it has many animal enclosures with chickens, peacocks and lizards. As well as a large fish pond with a series of bridges. From these bridges you can view some waterfalls. Deep in one of the caves is a snake and reptile enclosure.
Additionally, there are caves filled with amazing Hindu statues. The statues are so large and colourful. They tell the stories of the religion and they are incredible to look at.
There are also performers who perform traditional dances. We enjoy watching the show. The man who sold us the entrance ticket said we would only need 20 minutes, but we’ve spent well over an hour and have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, learning about the culture.
Time: 1 – 2 hours.
2 days in Kuala Lumpur – getting around
Walking – This is what we did most of, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes!
Public Transport – The free Go KL Bus is a great way to get around if you are going to locations on the route. It’s even just a great way to go on a joyride around Kuala Lumpur.
The train system is fantastic if you are going further out from the city. The monorail is also convenient. Although, whatever mode you choose, it will be cheap and conveneient.
Grab – just like Uber, but it’s called Grab. And it’s fantastic. It’s so easy, but you do need a local SIM Card with a phone number.
What to pack when visiting Kuala Lumpur
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What you pack will depend on what time of the year you go, but there’s some essential items that you’ll always want to keep in your luggage.
A reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated from all the walking you will be doing.
Camera gear – so you don’t miss an incredible moment.
A universal power adaptor.
A raincoat because rain is common in Kuala Lumpur.