Malaysia Airlines left_ANZ_HFF_Karryon_Lockup_Flex
Malaysia Airlines_Right_ANZ_HFF_Karryon_Lockup_NFS

DESTINATION REVIEW: 4 things to do in Kuala Lumpur, besides shopping

As a first-timer to Kuala Lumpur, nothing prepared me for how luminous and culturally diverse the city would be.

As a first-timer to Kuala Lumpur, nothing prepared me for how luminous and culturally diverse the city would be.

Landing at night with AirAsia meant that we were welcomed to Kuala Lumpur by a completely unexpected light show below.

Kuala Lumpur made good on its nickname the Garden City of Lights, twinkling from every angle as we made our way to the Dorsett Kuala Lumpur, our home-away-from-home for the next two nights.

With an air of “New York” about the city, bright electronic billboards sat atop internationally renowned stores housing a mix of designer and locally known brands.

I was determined not to make this trip all about shopping, however, so was grateful for a carefully curated itinerary that featured some of the best attractions, most delectable food and interactive experiences this city had to offer.


A feast for the senses!

Image: Trip Canvas

From the hawker-style eateries peppering the streets of the Bukit Bintang district to the uniquely Malaysian fare available at Madam Kwan’s, there is no chance you’ll go hungry when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

For a feast of the senses, take a stroll through Bukit Bintang, where you will be welcomed by all manner of delectable cuisines.

Ain Arabia (Arab Street) will transport you to the Middle East with its mouth-watering array of Middle Eastern cuisine, while just a few steps away Asian and Indian delicacies delight at al-fresco dining options designed to truly soak in the atmosphere.

The district is abuzz with activity late into the night and the vibe is electric, to say the least!

Tiger Asian Lager was the drink of choice for many in my group during our stay, but I couldn’t go past “Syrup Bandung”, a milky infusion of rose water that tantalised my taste buds.

If you fancy yourself a wannabe MasterChef, take in a cooking class and return home with the skills needed to create all manner of Malaysian delicacies yourself. The Dorsett Kuala Lumpur is rolling out cooking classes at Checker’s Café with their talented chefs as part of the Dorsett Grand Experience package.


Mindful colouring to the extreme!


Jadi Batek is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and offers the chance to unleash the creative within by making your very own batik masterpiece to take home as a truly unique souvenir.

Learn how to create your own artwork step-by-step from the very patient and talented batik artisans and immerse yourself in this age-old tradition.

Absolutely no creative talent is necessary as you can either choose to trace over one of their beautiful designs or go freestyle and see what your inner artist creates instead.

If you decide that you’d prefer a piece created by a professional, Jadi Batek also offers an array of fabrics and handicrafts for sale over 30,000 square feet!


I can see a rainbow…


Located a short drive north of downtown Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are breathtaking in more ways than one!

Accessible by climbing 272 steep freshly painted rainbow stairs, the cavernous main Cathedral Cave soars approximately 100-metres above ground with interior limestone formations dating back approximately 400 million years.

The precinct houses an array of Hindu temples that attract throngs of visitors and worshippers each year and is the centre of the Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia.

A 42.7-metre-high gleaming gold statue of Lord Murugan guards the Batu Caves and is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and the third tallest statue of a Hindu Deity in the world.

The steps may seem daunting at first but, if you take them slowly and enjoy the colours, people and nature surrounding you, it is a lot easier than expected. Then, at the top, when you finally enter the caves…pause for a moment and breathe it all in.

Whilst the Batu Caves are Kuala Lumpur’s most frequented tourist attractions, they are also home to some cheeky Macaque monkeys (otherwise known as Batu Cave monkeys) who like to play tricks on visitors by nabbing their personal effects! Make sure everything is well attached to your body before you start the climb up the 272 stairs… they are very nimble!


Bang, bang, bang on the pewter baby…


You will have a field day delving into the history behind the Malaysian pewter industry and creating your very own piece of art at the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre.

Created in 2004 by the descendants of Royal Selangor creator Yong Koon, the Visitor Centre transports you to the Malaysia of old through stories and artefacts from Kuala Lumpur’s colonial past including Yong Koon’s lucky teapot that saved a man’s life during World War 2.

Yong Koon’s granddaughter Datin Paduka Chen Mun Kuen recounts the story best as she takes to The Gallery floor with her trademark passion and humour to the delight of visitors.

Seeing the pewtersmiths at work in the factory is amazing (their concentration and dedication is awe-inspiring), but donning an apron yourself and joining The School of Hard Knocks, where you learn how to create a pewter dish using traditional tools, really makes you appreciate the work that goes into each piece of art.

If working those biceps work doesn’t appeal, you can create your very own piece of pewter jewellery at The Foundry, where you will learn the fundamental practices behind the craft through the use of existing moulds or take a chance on a freestyle creation!


What is your favourite thing to do in Kuala Lumpur?