48 Hours In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a Budget
Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur is a great destination for budget travel. We decided to visit the city as part of our Southeast Asian leg. Various temples, colourful mosques, and modern skyscrapers are some of the few attractions you can expect to see in KL. Inhabited by almost every race and religion, this city is undeniably one of the world’s melting pots. On this trip, we had less than 48 hours to go around Kuala Lumpur and visit every major landmark.
Just like our usual travels, we prefer going to our destinations at a limited time. It benefits us financially because we save a lot from airfare (it’s usually cheaper based on experience), accommodation, food, and we don’t even think buying a sim card is necessary since we will only be staying for a couple of days. We survive by connecting to an open wi-fi or even a stranger’s mobile hotspot, another reason to make a new friend. Although our time during our travels is restricted, we make sure that we make the most out of every place we visit without breaking the bank. Here’s how we did it with 48 hours in KL.
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: Day One
We arrived at exactly 1:30pm in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). Determined to dodge any kind of delay, we headed straight to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station (KL Sentral) by an express train (KLIA Ekspres). The fare costs RM55.00 each person. A bit pricier than other modes of transport going to KL Sentral, but we chose this one because just like the busiest cities in every country, KL is no different when it comes to crazy traffic. The KLIA Ekspres train arrives every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours. The standard travel time from KLIA2 to KL Sentral would take 50 minutes to an hour but with KLIA Ekspres, we only traveled for 33 minutes.
KL Sentral (2:00PM)
Exactly 33 minutes later, we arrived in KL Sentral. It is a transport hub that holds the main railway station of Kuala Lumpur and is the largest one throughout the country. KL Sentral is surrounded by malls, hotels, restaurants, and a variety of businesses. Upon arrival, we were met by people from every walk of life, from locals trying to get to work to tourists finding their way to their destinations.
Little India (2:30PM)
We decided to look for a place to eat around the area and found Little India within walking distance. Little India Brickfields is an eclectic thoroughfare filled with businesses run by the country’s Indian community. It has everything from jewellery, spices and textiles, to local delicacies. We found a hole-in-the-wall diner along the street and decided to go for an authentic Indian meal that cost us nothing over RM20.00 for two. Right after our hearty meal, we bought our tickets going to our first landmark, the famed Batu Caves. Our train wouldn’t leave in 45 minutes so we decided to tread around the premises of KL Sentral.
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: National Museum (Muzium Negara) (3:00PM)
We ended up visiting the National Museum (Muzium Negara), a modern exhibit of Malaysia’s diverged history. The entrance fee to the museum is RM5.00. After capturing a few photos, we went back to KL Sentral to catch our train.
Batu Caves (5:00PM)
We reached our stop at almost sundown. We were welcomed by curious monkeys roaming freely, birds flying overhead, and a huge golden deity statue. The best thing is it’s free to enjoy this scenery. The 272 vibrant steps are worth the climb to the temple and the sunset view at the top is just breathtaking. With remarkable limestone caves atop the colourful flight of steps housing temples and shrines, Batu Caves is undeniably a focal point of Malaysia’s Hindu community.
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Twin Towers (7:00PM)
Once the tallest buildings in the world, this pair of glass and steel-clad skyscrapers were usually the main reason why tourists visit Kuala Lumpur. We were in awe the whole time admiring the majestic beauty of the buildings from afar. To get a view of the city from the top, you have to purchase a ticket (RM80.00). These are first come first serve, and on busy days can sell out early. We didn’t feel the need to climb up top as just by gazing at it from a distance has already satisfied our amused eyes. We took a good set of pictures then went along to see the sights around the area.
Suria KLCC Mall (7:15PM)
Inside the buildings is the Suria KLCC Mall. The whole place is packed with extensive selection of luxury brands selling everything from shoes, bags, clothing, and food outlets of almost every cuisine there is.
KLCC Park (8:00PM)
Right outside the pair of skyscrapers is the KLCC Park, which was our last stop for the day. This park offers greenery in the middle of the city. They have a walking path, a wading pool for children, and a choreographed musical fountain display. It is best to visit at around 8pm as the show usually starts at that time. The stunning fountain show is what everyone looks forward to especially for group travellers and families having a picnic at the park considering you can experience it all for free. It’s also the best spot to capture the best photo of the twin towers.
After all the days’ shenanigans, we decided to finally go to our place for the night and had dinner at the convenience store within the premises before we hit the hay. We booked it through an app and got tons of discounts, so only paid RM50.00 each for 2 night’s stay. The next day, we decided to have a quick dip at the pool before heading out.
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: Day Two
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: Federal Territory Mosque (10:00AM)
Our first stop for the day was the Federal Territory Mosque. Unlike most travellers, this mosque is what we really looked forward to see upon getting here in KL. We like being submerged in local culture regardless of the beliefs, especially when it’s a very rare opportunity. We have mosques back home but it’s not open for everyone to explore and it’s exactly the other way around with the Federal Territory Mosque. They want everyone to feel welcome and be immersed in their religion, including non-muslims like us.
Upon entry, we were welcomed by a stunning façade that depicts both modern and traditional Islamic architecture. A lovely couple served as our guide, they gave us a free tour of the mosque while enlightening us about the Islamic faith. We were also at liberty to take photos while doing the tour. There were no fees collected and they even lend their traditional robe and hijab to visitors who are inappropriately dressed. They also gave us free bottled water and a postcard with a picture of the mosque as a souvenir. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Petaling Street Chinatown (11:00AM)
After our tour at the mosque, we decided to have lunch at Petaling Street. This is Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown where you can find designer replicas of clothing, bags, shoes, watches and accessories. It’s a good place to just walk around and take in the atmosphere, the local delights, and the crowd. We had lunch at a cafeteria that vends local cuisine. We indulged with a delicious chicken rice meal, curry and their traditional iced milk tea. Our meal cost nothing over RM20.00 for two.
Thean Hou Temple (1:00PM)
Thean Hou Temple is a lovely place to visit neighbouring Little India. It is located on a peaceful hill and is one of the best places in the city to watch a beautiful sunset. This architectural splendour is a remarkable backdrop for great photos.
48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: Perdana Botanical Garden (2:30PM)
Our next stop was a vast stretch of green in the heart of the city. Perdana Botanical Garden is an enormous playground for kids and adults alike. Besides its botanical garden, it also offers visually striking architecture, tracks for jogging or cycling, a deer park, an aviary, a bamboo playhouse, a lake, a children’s playground, a planetarium, and a lot more. We would need an entire day to explore all the places. Entry to the garden itself is free but some of its attractions have entrance fees.
After several hours wandering around Perdana Botanical Garden, we went back to Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC Park as we just couldn’t have enough of its beauty. Then, we went back to our hotel to freshen up and rest for some time before we went out again to have dinner at Jalan Alor.
Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang (8:00PM)
Jalam Alor was honestly one of our favourite places in KL. This authentic local food court offers a great variety of food selection. Jalan Alor is packed with hawker stalls that make food that is influenced by its many immigrants over the years. You’ll find mobile carts, stalls, and restaurants along the street selling everything from fruit to seafood barbecue. Definitely worth going to for a delightful meal.
After our evening stroll, we headed back to our accommodation and hit the sack. Our flight to Vietnam was at 8:00AM so we took a Grab car to drive us to the airport at 5:00AM. We navigated around the city by using Grab (a cab-hailing app similar to Uber) and every trip just cost RM7.00 to RM12.00. For the entire trip, we spent nothing over $300 (for two people) including our round-trip airfare.
And just like that, our 2 days in KL was over. Kuala Lumpur is probably one of the few cities in the world that would let you experience so much in such a limited time. We successfully conquered the challenge, and hope you find this perfect 2 day itinerary for Kuala Lumpur helpful for planning your trip.
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