48 hours in Kuala Lumpur

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In 2016, I made my first visit to Malaysia. It was a very exciting and sort of eye-opening experience. It was my first introduction to Islamic and Hindu culture. It was really hot. Truthfully, I didn't love Kuala Lumpur as a city at first, though I did love Malaysia and its diversity. My love of Kuala Lumpur grows with every visit.

For frequent travelers around the region, KL is usually an Air Asia layover. Cheap, convenient, and a tick off the bucket list, most people treat Kuala Lumpur like a stopover. As someone who advocates hard for slow, meaningful travel-- like spending months or weeks or even years in a locale, I know there's plenty to see and do in Kuala Lumpur than one can experience in just two short days. It just isn't fair to a place or its people, aye? 

However, in the case of making the most out of whatever time you have to travel, I've put together how to spend a 48-hour layover in KL! After catching many connecting flights out of Kuala Lumpur and visiting more than once, I've figured out a quick itinerary for those who want to only catch the tourist highlights. 


DAY 1

Check into your accommodation. May I suggest staying at a fairly centrally located AirBnB with a rooftop pool, like the one Touk and I stayed in during my inaugural visit to KL? Find information on our booking here and save yourself USD$35 on your first booking with AirBnB by using my code here. 

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GRAB BRUNCH AT LOKL //

Head to Bank Negra train station from your accommodation to grab some Kopi O and sustenance at LOKL. Kopi O is a type of coffee served most commonly in Singapore and Malaysia! And, if you're a fan of strong, black coffee {me and all the other hipsters}, YOU WILL LOVE IT! LOKL served the best Kopi O I tried in Malaysia! You can read more about my time at LOKL here

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CATCH THE TRAIN TO BATU CAVES //

Kuala Lumpur has a direct train line to Batu Caves. For MYR3.80 {roughly USD$0.75 at time of publishing}, you can hitch a ride on a very clean train straight to the entrance. Make sure your knees are covered or you will have to rent a sarong at the cave entrance. Prepare for a hike up some stairs and bring water in the heat of the day. For more about my time at Batu Caves, read this post. 

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EAT MALAYSIAN STREET FOOD AT JALAN ALOOR//

Depending on the night you arrive in KL, there are a bevy of street food options available. I've had the pleasure of visiting Jalan Aloor and can attest to it having just about every kind of food you could possibly want. It also serves up Asia's famous stinky tofu if you're feeling adventurous. 

INSIDER TIP: Try the coconut ice cream! It will only set you back a dollar or so and most vendors give you free, unlimited toppings.

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TAKE A NIGHT STROLL TO THE PETRONAS TOWERS //

Prepare to fight everyone and their mother for a picture at the Towers! Despite the crowds, it's an incredible sight to see the towers lit up at night. The silver, shiny buildings attract huge crowds for a reason-- they're not only gorgeous but a true Kuala Lumpur landmark. 


DAY 2

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TAKE A MORNING SWIM //

If you decide to book your accommodation at the AirBnB that Touk and I stayed at, you also get access to an infinity pool on the roof of the apartment complex. Only those with a key card and room number can swim at the pool. Considering the heat of Malaysia, it was unbelievably nice to cool off in a rooftop pool overlooking the city. Touk and I ordered cocktails and splashed the morning {and some afternoon hours} away. 

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BRUNCH AT SECOND SUNDAY //

Dry off and head to Second Sunday for brunch. This cafe is where I found the best french toast of my life. Like, the best. It's a bit of a pain to get to, but you can find tips that will make the trip easier here

Edit: Second Sunday is not closed. For other brunch options, read my full guide to Kuala Lumpur brunch spots here.

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VISIT THE PUTRAJAYA MOSQUE //

After brunch, you can head to the Putrajaya Mosque. You can use your own discretion to decide whether to visit the inside of the mosque or wander around the complex. Visiting the mosque could be a great way to expose oneself to something new, however, whenever you visit a place of worship it's very important to be self-aware and follow the rules outlined by the establishment. If you opt not to enter the mosque, you can stroll through the gorgeous gardens and admire it from the outside. Read about my visit to the Putrajaya Mosque here.  

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TRY DURIAN //

Durian is a favourite fruit of the region. People in Thailand, Malaysia, and even up north in China love the smelly fruit that lies between a spiky jacket. You can try durian from just about every market you come across in a variety of ways. Most people choose to try the fruit by itself the first time, while others try it as a topping on pizza or ice cream, etc. 

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SHOP THE CENTRAL MARKET //

The Central Market is mostly filled with souvenirs, which I'm personally not a collector of {that's what photos are for, right?}, but if you want to pick up a few things as mementos from your stay, the Central Market has everything you might want. Scarves, shot glasses, painted fans-- whatever trinkets you're looking for, you'll find them at the Central Market. 

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HAVE DINNER AT TG’S NASI KANDAR //

TG’s is a local Nasi Kandar near Jalan Aloor in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur. It offers incredible Indian food at a ridiculously low cost. There are vegetarian options available for my fellow non-carnivores.

HEAD TO THE AIRPORT //

Time's up! And it probably went way too fast. Luckily for you, Air Asia offers heaps of budget flights connecting through KL, giving you the option to visit more thoroughly. 

Have you ever been to Kuala Lumpur on a layover? 

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