Long weekends (or short stop-overs) are back! We’re always on the lookout for easy family getaways and with frequent direct flights and loads of fun family activities, Kuala Lumpur ticks all the boxes!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a melting pot of wonderful cultures and history. With architecture, festivals and cuisines from Malay, Chinese, Indian and other ethnic groups, KL is a city that surprises and fascinates young kids. Adults and children alike will love discovering ancient temples, delving into the city’s history and culture and exploring unique nature and wildlife experiences.
From Chinatown with wonderful handicraft and street food markets to the numerous parks and urban green spaces offering a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the modern skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls, Kuala Lumpur is an ideal short break destination. Here’s our tried and tested three-day family itinerary.
Day 1 in Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Twin Towers
Wherever you stay in Kuala Lumpur, you are sure to catch a glimpse of the renowned Petronas Twin Towers. Kids will love the elevator’s futuristic reproduction of the surrounding ‘view’ as you ascend to the two-story Skybridge. Be warned, the bridge was designed to move in the wind! After photos, take a further elevator ride to Level 86 where the views of Kuala Lumpur will amaze.
Sassy Mama Tip: Kids aged 3 years and younger enjoy free entry and tickets can be booked online for the date and time of your choosing up to two months in advance.
Petronas Twin Towers, www.petronastwintowers.com.my
Petrosains, The Discovery Centre
After your lofty towers visit, make your way to Petrosains, The Discovery Centre which is located inside the Suria KLCC Mall at the base of the Twin Towers. This experiential science centre is wonderful for kids of all ages with hands-on and interactive displays including an F1 driving simulator, a life-size dinosaur diorama with a suspension bridge and wind experiments.
Petrosains, The Discovery Centre, www.petrosains.com.my
Lunch and KLCC Park
Time to fuel up! Suria KLCC Mall has many restaurants to choose from or perhaps grab some light bites at the supermarket and wander outside to KLCC Park for an impromptu picnic. With nearly 2,000 indigenous trees deliberately chosen to attract local and migratory birds, there are shady spots throughout the park for bird spotting. After lunch, hit up the two acres of playground equipment to burn off some energy before cooling off with a dip in the children’s wading pool with views of the Twin Towers.
Sassy Mama Tip: The Lake Symphony and fountain outside Suria Mall has a light and sound show at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm with smaller light shows at 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm daily. Each show lasts approx 10 minutes.
If you are looking for an indoor alternative to the park, Aquaria KLCC is located inside the Convention Centre Complex and is home to over 150 species of marine life. An interactive area where you can dip your hands in the water with bamboo sharks, horseshoe crabs and seastars is sure to delight the kids! The underwater tunnel with slow-moving walkways allows you to observe turtles, manta rays and sharks swimming by.
Sassy Mama Tip: If you know which day you would like to visit Aquaria, purchase your tickets online with an hour window for entry allowing you to skip the walk-in line.
Aquaria KLCC, www.aquariaklcc.com
Day 2 in Kuala Lumpur
This ancient Hindu temple complex is located about 13 kilometres from downtown Kuala Lumpur and can easily be reached via train or bus. It is well worth the 272-step climb to reach the top for a lovely view of the city. The cool limestone caves at the top will make the journey (and avoiding the monkeys that inhabit the area) well worth it. Make sure to dress respectfully.
Batu Caves, www.malaysia.travel/explore/batu-caves
Just 15 minutes from Batu Caves, the FRIM Forest Skywalk is located in Kepong Botanic Gardens, offering views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline over the surrounding forest and the opportunity to spot long-tailed macaques and black giant squirrels. Make sure to wear walking shoes and comfortable clothing as there is a kilometre walk into the forest to reach the Skywalk which then takes about 30-40 minutes to complete the loop across the 11 towers and eight bridges.
Sassy Mama Tip: Children must be 7 years old to participate in the Skywalk and only those over 13 years are permitted to ascend the 50m tower.
FRIM Forest Skywalk, www.skywalk.frim.gov.my
Central and Petaling Street Markets
After an energetic day, head back to the city centre to visit Central and Petaling Street Markets. Built in 1888 as a wet market, Central Market was successfully saved from demolition in the 1980s and underwent an extensive upgrade in the early 2000s. Featuring local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, antiques and collectables, it now provides a window into Malaysian culture, art and heritage. Head over to Petaling Street next where you can choose from a range of culinary options including Chinese, Peranakan, Malay and Indian for dinner before stopping by any one of the massage shops to ease those tired calf muscles.
Sassy Mama Tip: Most of the items sold at Petaling Street are not genuine so enjoy the bargaining if you do decide to purchase anything.
Central Market, www.centralmarket.com.my
Day 3 in Kuala Lumpur
Perdana Botanical Gardens
Just west of Kuala Lumpur City Centre is the Perdana Botanical Gardens. Here you will find the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park and KL Butterfly Park near the National Mosque of Malaysia and Islamic Arts Museum providing a whole day of entertainment and learning. The Gardens are huge but with flat walking paths and trees for shade. Do not miss the Deer Park enclosure, play areas and boating lakes. There are hop-on-hop-off shuttle trams that will take you to the nearby museums, mosque, bird park and butterfly park for just a few ringgit. Well worth it when it is too hot to walk or the kids have ‘tired legs’!
Perdana Botanical Garden, www.klbotanicalgarden.gov.my
Islamic Arts Museum
The Islamic Arts Museum displays range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to a scale model of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and is well worth a couple of hours wandering the galleries.
Islamic Arts Museum, www.iamm.org.my
KL Butterfly Park
The KL Butterfly Park is the largest in the world with over 5,000 live butterflies, exotic plants and ferns. Other attractions are freshwater turtles, Japanese koi fish and live insects.
KL Butterfly Park, www.klbutterflypark.com
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
One of the largest free-flight, walk-in aviaries in the world and home to around 200 species of birds from Malaysia and around the world. Kids will delight in hand-feeding the lorikeets and marvelling at the majestic flamingos.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, www.klbirdpark.com
Other Kid-Friendly Attractions In Kuala Lumpur
National Science Centre — An interactive centre featuring a range of indoor science exhibits along with an outdoor water plaza, herb garden and prehistoric park with dinosaur replicas. www.psn.gov.my
Kidzania — An indoor role-playing centre where kids can explore a scaled city and become a firefighter, dentists or mechanics. www.kidzania.com.my
Sunway Lagoon — A fun day out with six different adventure zones to choose from including a water park, amusement park and wildlife park. www.sunwaylagoon.com
KL Tower — Views of the city from the Observation Deck in the surroundings of Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve where you can explore the Ecopark Canopy Walk and visit the Mini Zoo. www.menarakl.com.my
Berjaya Times Square Theme Park — A gigantic indoor theme park with two sections; one for thrill seekers with rollercoasters and arcade games and one for younger kids with soft play areas. www.berjayatimessquarethemeparkkl.com
Family-Friendly Hotels In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
When choosing a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, consider where you might be visiting on your trip. Taxis and ride-share options as well as trains and buses make KL reasonably easy to navigate however you may want to be close to a park so kids can burn off some of their energy or choose a hotel with a pool to cool off after a day out in the heat.
Hotels In The Bukit Bintang/ KLCC Area Of Kuala Lumpur
- Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur — With a lovely large pool and an easy walk to all the mentioned KLCC attractions, this is a great option for families. www.hyatt.com
- Ascott Kuala Lumpur and Ascott Star KLCC — For those who prefer a kitchen to cater to the fussy eaters in the family. www.discoverasr.com
- Traders Hotel — Kids under 6 eat free and the family suite comes with bunk beds. There’s also the red buggy shuttle service that will take you straight to the Twin Towers without having to walk in the humidity. www.shangri-la.com/traders
Hotels In Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
- Travelodge Chinatown Kuala Lumpur — Conveniently located just a 3-minute walk to Central Market and 5 minutes to Petaling Street market. www.travelodgehotels.asia
- Hilton Kuala Lumpur — Located next door to KL Sentral transport hub, the Hilton makes accessing the sites of KL via public transport a breeze. www.hilton.com
Kuala Lumpur Airport Hotels
- Sama Sama Hotel — Just a three-minute buggy ride via a covered sky bridge from the airport, it also has family rooms featuring complimentary board games for the kids. www.samasamahotels.com
Insider Travel Tips For Visiting Kuala Lumpur With Kids
- Kuala Lumpur can be oppressively hot and humid. Try to time your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon (and slather on the sunscreen!).
- Do not forget to take water! Most hotels will provide free bottles of water and convenience stores like 7-Eleven are easily found.
- Take care when walking on the footpaths. The pavement is often broken, uneven or has holes that could easily hurt small ankles and feet. It is not an incredibly stroller-friendly city.
- If you plan on using public transport, consider purchasing a Touch ‘n Go card (KL’s answer to the Octopus card) or a MyCity 1- or 3-day Unlimited rides pass.
- Alternatively, the Hop-on-Hop-off bus is a great way to get around the city to see all the highlights.
- As with all travel, be careful in busy and crowded areas with your belongings. Kuala Lumpur is safe but petty theft does happen.