Before you befriend your local bartender, get acquainted with wildlife at the Butterfly Park and neighbouring Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. At the Butterfly Park, you can dance with more than 6000 nectar-lovers as you make your way through a natural landscape that includes ferns and waterfalls. If you feel like you’ve entered another world, just wait until you see the bird park, the world’s biggest free-flight aviary. You’re sure to find your wingman as you befriend peacocks, emus and rhinoceros hornbills—which are just as funny-looking as they sound!
Though it’s just east of the bird park, there’s no “fowl” play involved when you book accommodation near Central Market. The only thing longer than the time you’ll spend browsing this huge open-air bazaar is its full name: The Centre for Malaysian Culture, Heritage, Art and Craft. Indulge your inner artist in the galleries of The Annexe, then browse traditional games like Chinese chess, congkak and wau bulan kites. These perfect souvenirs will impress your friends and make you look worldly just sitting on your shelf.
Flights to Kuala Lumpur land at the international airport (KUL) just outside city limits. On public transport, the easiest way to get downtown is on the Express Coach, which makes the 50km trip to KL Sentral station every 30 minutes.
If your accommodation in Kuala Lumpur isn’t near the city centre, your best option to get there may be to book a shuttle or hire a car. Once you’re all checked in, the Rapid KL transit system, which includes buses, light rail and monorail, is easy to use and can take you to most of the popular attractions.
Kuala Lumpur knows how to throw a par-tay. Don’t believe us? Visit the Malaysian capital on the last day of August, when the entire nation is celebrating its independence; the annual event is called Hari Merdeka. KL is on the pulse of the country’s independence celebrations, with parades, fireworks and waving flags in no short supply.
Just a few weeks after the great independence celebration comes the Mid-Autumn Festival. It sounds cool on its own, but its more whimsical (and delicious) name is the Moon Cake Festival. A traditionally Chinese festival, Malaysia has made this festival its own. Eat—what else—moon cakes until your sides split, and then watch paper lanterns light up the evening sky.
The Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix also takes place in the fall. For a few days at the end of September and early October, the thrilling hum of high-performance engines take over the Sepang International Circuit. Always wanted to be in a pit crew? Watch the pros at work and you’ll be the ringer at your next neighbourhood Go Kart race.
A word to the wise: Places to stay in Kuala Lumpur fill up quickly around these events, so book your hotel with Wotif now!
Your day at the JoJoBa Spa has you feeling like Yo-Yo Ma (a relaxation prodigy). Still, you simply must tear yourself away from some of KL’s amazing indoor attractions to investigate the great outdoors. With a name like Koala…erm, sorry, Kuala Lumpur, you might expect to see lots of furry-coated creatures around town. Instead, heading 100km outside the city leads you to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary. This is your chance to live out your Buzzfeed video fantasies and interact with baby ’phants.
Once you’re back from cloud nine, a Malaysian rainforest and canopy tour is the perfect way to get a direct dose of oxygen. Standing beneath emerald leafy greens, you’ll understand why Tarzan was so fond of the forest. As you walk on the canopy bridge at the treetops, you’ll be tempted to swing from a rope. Don’t do it, though. Really.
Finally, a trip in a hot air balloon ride will help you relate to those wingmen you met back at the bird park. If you see one of their cousins up in the air, throw him a peace sign.
We pity the fool that only has one day in Kuala Lumpur, but if you put together an A-Team of travel buddies, you’ll still be able to hit all the best spots. Get your hands on a Kuala Lumpur KL PASS™, and you can visit the best attractions at a discounted rate. Start your adventure in Merdeka Square, where the flag of Malaysia was first raised back in 1957. Nowadays, you’re free to explore the heritage buildings and peaceful patches of grass that fill the square.
After a relaxing morning, it’s off to Chinatown for some of the best food in Kuala Lumpur. Chinese, Malay and Indian food will all tempt you with their savoury siren song. Head to Petaling Street with a full belly and wallet for some post-lunch retail therapy.
Some cities boast elaborate tunnels or remnants of ancient communities just beneath their sidewalks. In KL, you’ll find sharks just under the surface. No, really. Beneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is Aquaria KLCC. The tanks are filled with coral-dwelling fish, turtles and sharp-toothed predators. Creeped out? Don’t worry—no sharks to be found in Kuala Lumpur accommodation.
If you want to continue your foray into the depths of KL, a trip to the Batu Caves (not to be mistaken for Bruce Wayne’s hideout) is in order. A golden statue of Hindu Lord Murugan marks the entry of the complex. After a hike up the massive staircase, you arrive at the sacred temple and cave system.
Kuala Lumpur holidays keep it hot, hot, hot in more ways than one. Search Wotif’s selection of hotels in Kuala Lumpur to find your perfect tropical oasis, then study up on your toasts. In this melting pot, there are several—but “Yam seng”, which means “Drink success” is the one we like best!
Hotels in Kuala Lumpur start at NZ$29 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.