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Kuala Lumpur holidays

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An urban jungle near ancient rainforests

Malaysia’s capital city is electric. It’s a bouquet of ultramodern skyscrapers sparkling next to ancient rainforests. It’s a hub of billboard-plastered malls and lantern-lined marketplaces. It’s a multicultural metropolis where street food hawkers whip up fusion feasts and mosques and temples sit alongside high rises. Stop to absorb every vibrant detail – there are always new things to see in Kuala Lumpur.

Rise early with the fervent sun and climb a rainbow staircase to see temples in limestone caves. Spend an afternoon admiring ornate mosques and exploring the city’s dynamic streets. See the swaying flower garlands in Brickfields (Little India), the dangling lanterns in Petaling Street (Chinatown) and the sky-high bars in the Golden Triangle entertainment district. Soar up a skyscraper in a lift and sit in a swanky bar with views of the sun sinking behind towers and domes. Then descend to street level to stuff your face at a night market and find out why so many locals (or KLites) are self-declared foodies.Book your flights to Kuala Lumpur now.

Carefully selected Kuala Lumpur hotels

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Best hotels in Kuala Lumpur for all types of traveller

Our selection of Kuala Lumpur hotels covers everything from city slicker high rises to private island retreats. Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur stands adjacent to the Petronas Twin Towers at the heart of a bustling cityscape. This luxury hotel’s infinity pool overlooks KLCC Park’s treetops, so you can swim up to a view of sun-dappled palms and skyscrapers. Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur is also centrally located. Make like a KLite and sip a cocktail at SkyBar on the hotel’s 33rd floor, where you can cosy up in a cabana booth and admire one of the best views of the Petronas Twin Towers in the city.

Stay at Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur in the creative Jalan Kamunting district to see a different side of Malaysia’s capital. You can still see hypermodern skyscrapers from this hotel’s rooftop pool, but you can also saunter over to understated spots like The Row where cafes and bars operate out of 1940s shop houses. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is another property showcasing a different side of the city. This hotel on the historical mile mixes art deco and neoclassical decor, harking back to the 1930s when it first opened its doors.

Swap the city for a paradisical retreat on a private island. At Pangkor Laut Resort, villas sit beneath a rainforest canopy or on stilts above tropical water. Emerald Bay beach shimmers nearby. There’s even a whole spa village among the trees. You’ll be immersed in nature – and sheer luxury – at this dreamy resort.


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Kuala Lumpur holiday FAQs

Make the most of your Kuala Lumpur holiday

Kuala Lumpur’s food scene is rich in influences and rich in flavour, even when the prices are cheap. Dig into delicate roti, aromatic nasi lemak and banana leaf rice best scooped up with your fingers. Scour bustling stalls in hawker centres and night markets for bowls of beef noodles. Join throngs of KLites lining up for Ramly burgers after 22:00 and slurp up laksa in Jalan Alor. Eating is easily one of the best activities to do in Kuala Lumpur.

What are the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur?

  1. The Petronas Towers dominate Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. These identical 88-storey towers, linked by a bridge, shine above sprawling shopping malls and luxury hotels. Cross the skybridge 41 levels above the ground to feel like a giant walking among clouds. Then zip up to the observation deck on the 86th floor and gaze at the city’s shrunken streets below. Admire the top of the other Petronas Tower glinting in view before looking beyond the metropolis, to where mountains sit wrapped in mist.
  2. Explore a rainforest in the city. KL Forest Eco Park in downtown Kuala Lumpur is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in Malaysia, and home to bamboos and jelutong trees that have stood their ground since long before the KL Tower popped up next door. Stride across a short canopy walkway and listen for the songs of tropical birds and calls of silver leaf monkeys. Other green spaces worth visiting in Kuala Lumpur include KLCC Park beneath the Petronas Towers and the humungous Perdana Botanical Garden with its pretty gazebos and hibiscus blooms.
  3. Shop like a KLite. If you’re looking for a souvenir, Central Market in a 1930s art deco building is bursting with stalls selling colourful moon kites and batik textiles. Nearby, Petaling Street is a lively mixture of haggling vendors and hawkers serving up lip-smacking KL Hokkien Mee. If it’s designer labels and big brands you’re after, head to the citadel-like malls in Bukit Bintang sitting in the Golden Triangle. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur mall alone boasts more than 700 retailers and restaurants.
  4. Take a train or a taxi nine miles out of the city centre to reach the famous Batu Caves, where you’ll find Hindu shrines in limestone grottoes. Pass a towering, golden statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan to reach a colossal rainbow staircase. Ascend 272 steps, all shades of brilliant colour like purples melding into blues, and meet monkeys scouting for food. At the top of the staircase you’ll find Temple Cave with its stalactites and stalagmites. Elsewhere on the complex, Ramayana Cave tells the story of an epic poem with statues illuminated in bright colours. Visitors should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees – and a pair of comfortable shoes to climb all those steps.
  5. Visit Malaysia’s immense national mosque surrounded by verdant gardens in the city centre. The expansive Masjid Negara was built in the 1960s and its most recognisable feature is its blue main roof that resembles a giant open umbrella. See the sun shining through stained-glass windows, admire gold-coloured tiles glinting on columns and walk alongside reflecting pools and trickling fountains. Non-Muslims can’t enter during prayer time and visitors are reminded to dress modestly. Robes are provided.
  6. See the splendour of Thean Hou Temple, a six-tiered Chinese temple at the top of Robson Hill. Admire red pillars supporting pagoda roofs and see elegant dragons gazing out from eaves. Be amazed by intricate carvings and brilliant mosaics. This huge temple blending Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian traditions is also decorated with thousands of lanterns during Chinese festivals – there are sometimes enough to create a glowing canopy overhead. You can also admire skyline views from Thean Hou Temple thanks to its hilltop position. There’s no strict dress code but you’re advised to cover shoulders and knees.

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This beautiful country is full of close encounters with the extraordinary.

Eloise Barker,  for British Airways Holidays