Today Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s Black Watch is docked in Malaysia and we were able to get out and explore so much in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is the largest city and the capital of Malaysia. We only had one jam packed day of exploring planned in Kuala Lumpur so we hired a driver and tour guide for the day Kernail Singh. Continue reading to see how you can visit some of my favorite places in Kuala Lumpur like I did when you only have one day to visit.
High on my list of places to visit while in Kuala Lumpur is Batu Caves. The limestone hill is over 400 million years old and the temple within the caves is approximately 100 years old. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, Batu Caves is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.
Before climbing up the stairs to the temple inside the cave itself, it was time for a selfie.
TSG Tip: Did you know that this 140 foot high statue of the Hindu deity, Murugan, is also the world’s tallest statue? Made with 300 litres of gold, it cost about 24 million rupees or $6+million USD when brought from Thailand to Malaysia. That’s a lot of gold!
To arrive at the temple inside Batu Caves, you’ll need to walk up the 272 concrete steps. I freely admit that I’m not a fan of taking the stairs, but I wanted to power through and just get it done. I’m happy to report that I did it without stopping at all and it was totally worth it as I passed everyone on the way up.
I’m a huge fan of interesting signage and the one at Batu Caves didn’t disappoint.
Temple Cave is the largest and most well known of the temples inside Batu Caves. Here you’ll find several Hindu shrines located within the temple.
It’s hard to describe the enormity of this temple until you’re actually there and can see it for yourself. Look at the size of the people at the bottom of this picture and how high up the opening to the cave to the outside world is.
While the temple is overrun with tourists, visitors can still find a quiet place for themselves to worship or for reflective contemplation.
The walk down is far easier for most visitors and the view is one that can’t be missed. Where else can you see views of Kuala Lumpur like this?
Probably the most unexpected part of Batu Caves for me was all of the wild monkeys that roam free. They’re literally everywhere and will jump on you if they have the chance. I saw old ones, babies, and well — gangs of monkeys willing to jump on the unsuspecting tourist.
TSG Tip: Avoid feeding wild monkeys unless you want pics of you getting well, attacked.
Since you’re visiting a temple, you should dress with your shoulders and knees covered. As it was crazy hot that day, I was wearing a tank top and shorts, but was able to get a wrap to cover my legs before heading up the steps. What you pay is refunded when you return the wrap at the bottom of the steps.
If you’re not up for the massive climb up the steps at Batu Caves, check out the smaller cave in the same complex called Ramayana Cave. Then stare up at the immense 50 foot tall statue of Hanuman outside the cave, a devotee and aide to Lord Rama.
Ramayana Cave is easy to navigate and tells the story of Rama inside the cave. If you have difficulty walking or have children in tow, this would be the cave to go to instead of Temple Cave.
For something completely different and unexpected, we visited Istana Negara, which is the Malaysian National Palace.
As I had misplaced my royal invitation to go inside the palace, I was only able to get as far as the gate, just like every other tourist visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Opened in 2011, it’s the official residence of the monarch of Malaysia. The design of the new palace includes Malay and Islamic elements, reflecting the country itself. If you’re looking for a photo op while in Kuala Lumpur, then you definitely need to stop at Istana Negara.
Our next stop on our Kuala Lumpur was to Tugu Negara or the National Monument, a monument to honor those lost during Malaysia’s struggle for freedom. The monument was designed by Austrian sculptor, Felix de Weldon, who also designed the Marine Corps Memorial in Virginia.
The sculpture is of a group of soldiers, two of which are down at the base and one is holding the Malaysian national flag. No item in the monument is accidental as each bronze figure is there to depict leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice.
TSG Tip: Did you know that Tugu Negara is the world’s tallest bronze freestanding sculpture grouping?
Independence Square or Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur was a quick stop for us for a photo op as the heat was unbearable on the day we visited. It was here in 1957 that the British flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag was raised to signify independence. History buffs will enjoy visiting this area to take in the fresh smell of independence of a relatively new independent country like Malaysia.
Menara Kuala Lumpur
The KL Tower or the Menara KL is the seventh tallest freestanding structure in the world at 421 metres tall. Construction was completed in 1995, it’s an easily recognizable Kuala Lumpur landmark.
TSG Tip: Did you know that you can jump from KL Tower? Oh I think I’ll have to do that the next time I’m in Kuala Lumpur.
Did you know that the Petronas Towers are the world’s tallest twin towers? Standing 88 floors high, the steel and chrome towers are connected at floors 41 and 42. I was shocked at the height of these buildings, but more so by Danielle photobombing my selfie for a pic of her own.
Before we could do any major shopping, Kernail knew we needed lunch and so he took us to the Pavilion KL. This major shopping center, the Pavilion KL or Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, opened in 2007 and has over 500 stores. Their food court, as you can see from the image above from my Instagram story, is one of the largest I’ve ever seen. I was able to find a one restaurant that offered veggie options complete with spicy soya prawn, green beans, and brown rice. So yummy!
No trip for Danielle and I would be complete without shopping. Kernail made our last stop for the day the famous Central Market in Kuala Lumpur and is located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Foch Avenue) only a few minutes away from Petaling Street. Originally a wet market that opened in 1888, it still stands today in its beautiful Art Deco building.
Tourists can find just about anything inside Central Market like clothing. I bought a dress and jumpsuit for all of $23 total.
There are souvenirs of all kinds inside and haggling is not only normal, but expected at Central Market. The second floor features a food court in case you get hungry while shopping.
I was ecstatic to find a store that sells one of my favorite things, Maneki Neko cats. I’ve never seen so many in one place.
While I could’ve bought them all, I knew I still had to check my luggage at the airport. Therefore, I limited my purchase to one roly poly Maneki Neko cat to remind me of my time in Kuala Lumpur.
If you’re looking for great bargains of all kinds while in Kuala Lumpur as well as souvenirs, then definitely make a stop at Central Market. My day wouldn’t have been complete without some last minute shopping here before heading back to the ship.
Saying Goodbye to Kernail
Then it was time to pack things up and return to our home at sea. Kernail wasn’t just an excellent driver through the busy traffic of Kuala Lumpur, he was an excellent tour guide as well. If you’re looking for someone who can provide you with everything you need to know during your stay, then consider contacting Kernail.
MPV Executive Taxi Services
Last Minute Shopping in The Port
There were a few shops inside the port where you could buy souvenirs and such, but we were all about buying some snacks to take with us on board. I couldn’t help but snap a few pics of these crisps with a baby on them. Does having a baby on the bag make them taste better?
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Kuala Lumpur and my only regret is that we only had one day to visit. Having a private driver to take you around a port instead of piling into a crowded coach is not only ideal, but affordable. Don’t think it is? Compare prices and see for yourself. I always say time is money and even if it’s slightly more expensive, you won’t have to wait around for everyone else and you can travel at your own speed. That to me is worth every penny.
Our next port of call is Yangon, Myanmar. Until then — let me know if you’ve ever visited Kuala Lumpur. Maybe you can suggest other destinations in Malaysia that you found equally exciting. Leave your comments below. Discover some other great destinations and travel ideas here on the Travel Shop Girl website.
On my new SPONTANEOUS TRAVEL SCALE of 1-5, with 1 being super easy and spontaneous and 5 being you better plan far in advance, Kuala Lumpur scores a 1 for spontaneous travel as this large city offers so much to do that you’d be crazy not to visit and enjoy yourself while there.