an Instagram guide to Kuala Lumpur: the coolest places for pics in Malaysia’s capital

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The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur, I wasn’t in total love. I didn’t find it aesthetically pleasing. I wasn’t sure what to see or do. I came to the city without much of a plan. While I still had a fun time with Touk, I left not knowing what I liked about Kuala Lumpur other than their cafe culture…

This time around, I found Kuala Lumpur full of hidden treasures, easy to navigate, and oozing with art. Of course, this time I also did my research. “Travel writer/blogger/active traveler Tara” does her due diligence much better than the Tara who first started this blog 8 years ago. Instagram, Culture Trip, Pinterest, and stumbling onto the right streets lead me to amazing photo opportunities. I’m here to pass on my favourite places for pictures in Malaysia’s capital in the hopes that my new found love of the city {thanks in large part to second chances}, will inspire you to visit {or give it a do-over}.

To keep things fun, I thought I’d include some of the outtake photos from my most recent stay in Kuala Lumpur, including a picture with my eyes closed in Perdana Gardens and a picture with me and everyone else in front of the Petronas Towers.


KEEP READING TO SCOPE OUT MY FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM SPOTS IN KUALA LUMPUR


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THEAN HOU TEMPLE

Quite literally plastered on every Instagram feature account right now are photos like this one of Thean Hou Temple— and for good reason. Sure, it means there are a lot of similar pics out on the ‘gram of this place, but most photo hotspots fall into this pit after a while. The colours of the temple combined with its emptiness in the early hours of the morning make it easy to snap a photo you love. The second and third levels of the temple complex have lots of space to set up a tripod at the best angle or line up your shot with your travel companion.

INSTAGRAM TIP: Like most Chinese temples, a dress code isn’t enforced or written, so it’s one of those rare temples where you can wear what you like or coordinate with the colours of Thean Hou. I wore my jumpsuit courtesy of BeBe Tailor in Hoi An.

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kuala lumpur canopy eco walk

I found out about the Eco Park thanks to the Travel Dream Seekers Instagram account, and knew I’d have to make a stop on my next trip. The Eco Park in Kuala Lumpur offers {free} aerial views of the capital with the touch of lush nature every city sorely needs. Entrance to the Eco Park is free, which means it isn’t one of those places you have to pay a steep entry fee to enjoy!

INSTAGRAM TIP: Like most places, getting there early will help you beat the crowds. Even before 8 AM, I fought off families visiting on their morning walks. Everyone was patient with one another as they took turns snapping their pics. Be respectful of others out to document their memories, but don’t feel shy about documenting your own.

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BUKIT BINTANG

This being my second visit to Kuala Lumpur of any actual length, I did some research and it was made clear that I wanted to base myself in Bukit Bintang. What I didn’t know until I got there was that Bukit Bintang has a whole {free} area that’s painted with colourful murals. I stumbled upon mural after mural when making my way to TG’s, a local restaurant recommended by my AirBnB host {post coming with all his local recs!}. Turns out, there’s even more than the five-to-six streets I found during my stay. If you like photos with colour, Bukit Bintang is the place to head.

INSTAGRAM TIP: If you go as the sun is setting, you’ll get to see a whole lot of neon signs, including clouds {pictured unlit above} and birds lighting up— it’s a great spot for urban and night photographers!

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PETRONAS TOWERS

Here’s the thing— you can absolutely visit the {free} towers in the day time. You probably won’t have to fight off too many other people to get a good photo and it’s a bit easier for amateur photographers {like me} to deal with day lighting instead of night lighting {note to self, watch YouTube tutorial on editing night pics ASAP}. BUT, and it is a large but, you miss out on the glimmering towers giving off a luminescent shine…and all the people watching opportunities. While I don’t find the Petronas Towers to be marveling, there is no doubt that they are full of photo potential and the way they are almost white against the black sky of Kuala Lumpur makes them inarguably beautiful.

INSTAGRAM TIP: Everyone wants their bucket list picture with the towers, so why not offer to take a stranger’s picture in exchange for them taking yours? My photo without people {see above photo on the left} was the result of a group of strangers taking turns and respectfully warning others that the space was occupied. Talk about uniting under a common cause {ha!}.

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batu caves

In 2016, I was pretty-well WOWed by Batu Caves. The grand staircase entrance into the caves housing temples just sort of shocked me in the best possible way. However, having now visited post-rainbow-renovation, they have played the free marketing game correctly— every Instagram-mer is booking flights this very minute to see the painted update. Well done, Malaysia.

INSTAGRAM TIP: Arrive there at opening time! Now that the cave entrance stairs have been painted, there is no shortage of visitors wanting to get a colourful photo for themselves.

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CHINATOWN

Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is filled with photo opportunities. My fave place for pics? Near the red lanterns in the main market area on Petaling Street. There will inevitably be vendors trying to rope you into purchasing fake Chanel bags and Yeezy shoes, but they’re harmless. Kindly say no and they’ll leave you be. The official Chinatown is pretty expansive, so make sure you check out the nearby cafes, street food vendors, and the many boutique shops that abound.

INSTAGRAM TIP: There are also Taoist temples and Buddhist shrines around the Chinatown area that photograph beautifully, so don’t limit yourself to only taking photos in the busy market.

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PERDANA BOTANICAL GARDENS

There are no shortage of places to get creative shots at the {free} Perdana Botanical Gardens. Though the entrance can be a little hard to find, and navigating the gardens is tricky for those who don’t have much time to “get lost”, Perdana is well worth a visit. My personal favourite photos from my visit were shot in the bamboo playground area. Not only were the huts pretty, but they provided much sought-after shade. You might notice that the sign on the huts is edited out in my Instagram photo. Bravo to you, you detailed observer!

INSTAGRAM TIP: I truly adored every shot I snapped under the yellow, geometric glass covering near the center of the gardens. Do not miss them!


FIND MY FAVOURITE PLACES FOR INSTAGRAM PICS IN KUALA LUMPUR ON THE MAP BELOW



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