Want to enjoy Kuala Lumpur with your besties, but are tight on budget? Well, we’ve got you covered! The city is bursting with incredible sights and amazing attractions that don’t necessarily drain your wallet empty. Here are some ideas of how you can get the most out of KL with your BFF — and best, they need not a single cent!
Free Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
1. Suria KLCC: Where the rich meets the famous
Do you and your bestie love to follow the latest fashion trend? Is window-shopping one of your favourite activities? If the answer to both is yes, you certainly have to visit Suria KLCC. As one of the most popular shopping destinations in Malaysia, the mall’s tenants have a broad range of local and international labels, giving you an extensive update on the latest in the world of fashion!
If you are afraid that one day alone is not enough to satisfy your shopaholic desire, make sure you stay nearby so you can visit the shopping centre anytime you wish. Consider the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, which is only less than 10 minutes away.
The entrance to Suria KLCC.
2. Galeri Petronas: Home to some of the best collection of contemporary art
If you are an avid art collector or an art connoisseur, drop by Galeri Petronas to check out the current exhibitions. Even if you are not one, be prepared to get amazed by some interactive exhibits. You will most likely forget your time as you go ‘play’ with the exhibit one by one. What a great way to spend your quality time with your best friend!
3. KLCC Park: Rest and relax in the 50-acre urban sanctuary
Fancy a short walk in the park in the heart of the city? Located just outside Suria KLCC is the KLCC Park. With over 1,900 indigenous trees from 74 species, it makes a great place to unwind after a long day of window-shopping.
4. Petronas Twin Towers: The world’s tallest twin structures
The park serves as an excellent spot to snap a picture or two of you and your BFF with Petronas Twin Towers on the background. Be creative with your shots and have a good laugh with your BFF while taking tons of photos! Standing at 451.9 meters, you might have to take a few practice shots to get a good shot.
5. KLCC Lake Symphony: Be mesmerized with the dancing fountains
At night, the fountain area at the KLCC Park transforms into a magical musical wonderland. With dancing water fountains, beautiful music and dazzling, bright, colourful lights, get your buddy to watch the entire KLCC Lake Symphony Water Fountain spectacle with you.
Kickback, relax and enjoy the water fountain show!
6. Catch some local acts in action
Looking for some good live music? Find the AK Buskers at the KLCC LRT Station! These highly talented and passionate musicians never fail to deliver exceptional performances. Once you are tired from walking around, you can relax and enjoy their music while having a chat with your BFF.
One of the acts performing at AK Buskers
7. FRIM: When nature meets urban lifestyle
One of the most memorable back-to-the-nature moments was my visit to the FRIM or the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. You can do plenty of activities here — camping, bird-watching, jungle trekking, cycling and jogging — but my favourite activity is to have a picnic near the waterfall. Just make sure to apply some insect repellent to avoid getting mozzie bites while enjoying your snacks here!
Key attractions: Arboreta, Ethnobotanical Garden, Nature Trails, Kepong Botanic Gardens, Malay Traditional House, Wetland Area, Research Gallery.
Opening hours: 5.00am – 7.30pm (except 7.30am – 8.30am)
The Sunken Garden
8. Perdana Botanical Gardens: Be amazed with the large variety of flora
Another noteworthy spot for nature buffs is the Perdana Botanical Gardens. Also known as Lake Gardens or Taman Tasik Perdana, it is the oldest and most popular recreational park in Kuala Lumpur. You can easily spend an entire day or two exploring the whole 91.6ha area but do check the weather beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Key attractions: Sunken Garden, Forest Tree Collection, Herb & Spice Garden, Hibiscus Garden and Orchid Garden
Opening hours: 7.00am – 8.00pm
9. Bukit Nanas Eco Park: Overcome your fear of heights
If you and your BFF stay near Suria KLCC and don’t feel like travelling too far, Bukit Nanas Eco Park may be a great alternative. As one of Malaysia’s oldest permanent forest reserves, the park has an impressive 21-meter canopy walkway, offering a stunning view of the surrounding areas. Be careful of the rather hidden entrance, but it should not be a problem if you enter from the KL Tower.
Oasis Suites Kuala Lumpur will be a cosy place to stay in the area and it also offers fantastic service.
Opening hours: 7.00am – 6.00pm
I couldn’t bring myself to go on the canopy walk.
10. KL Railway Station: Step into the historical part of Kuala Lumpur
Once the railway hub of Kuala Lumpur, the KL Railway Station was designed by British architect, Arthur Benison Hubback. Most would visit the station for its unique architecture. However, a hidden gem of the station is the Railway Museum and its collection of memorabilia dating as far back as the colonial times. Other attractions with similar architecture styles are the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Jamek Mosque.
Fun fact: Did you know that the station was designed with snow gutters and can withstand up to six feet of snow?
11. National Mosque: One of the most visited mosques in Malaysia
One of the largest mosques in Southeast Asia, the National Mosque can accommodate up to 15,000 worshipers at one time. Keep in mind that visitors are required to wear appropriate clothing when they are within the mosque’s compound.
12. Batu Caves: Truly magnificent cave temples
Batu Caves is an impressive limestone hill that has been drawing tens of thousands of Hindu devotees from around the world, particularly during the Thaipusam festival. Going up the staggering 272 steps can be quite challenging, so it is highly recommended to wear comfortable shoes. The 2nd tallest Hindu deity statue in the world — the Lord Murugan Statue — will greet you on the foot of the cave. There are lots of monkeys in the temple, so do bring some snacks if you want to attract them to get a closer photo of them.
13. Petaling Street: A bargain’s paradise
One of the must-visits in KL is Petaling Street, and what’s better is that you get to conquer this street with your BFF. Being one of the oldest parts of the city, you can easily spot locals and tourists haggling with the sellers for the best prices. If night market is not common in your city, Petaling Street will give you a similar atmosphere and experience!
Admiring the night scene at Petaling Street.
14. Animal Shelters: Volunteer and make a difference!
Apart from visiting attractions and enriching our knowledge of the local culture, the next best thing is to do something meaningful with your bestie. Pet lovers will squeal for joy as there are lots of organisations that offer volunteering opportunities, such as SPCA and PAWS. Sign yourself and your BFF up to spend the day away with these animals!
Photo Credit: @riinns
15. GO KL City Bus: All aboard the free bus!
Did you know that Kuala Lumpur has a free bus service? The GO KL City Bus route goes to various main attractions around KL. The purple colour buses are hard to miss, and they also offer free WiFi for passengers. Talk about a smarter and more convenient way to travel!
Operating hours | Weekdays: 6.00am – 11.00pm; Weekends and Holidays: 7.00am – 11.00pm
Keep a look-out for these GO KL City Bus stops.