48 HOURS IN KUALA LUMPUR FOR (ALMOST) FREE
For those of us whose pesky bank accounts won’t let us travel-splurge as much as we like, don’t worry, you can totally still go to KL!!
First things first, you need to pick a place to stay. There are plenty of hostels in the city. We stayed in The Explorers Guesthouse and Hostel
in Chinatown. We paid about $22 USD per night for a private room, but dorm beds are often just $7 USD per night! The Chinatown area is at the center of the city and provides access to everything you need (train, pharmacy, food options).
If you want to be REALLY frugal, you can also try Couchsurfing! It can take a bit of effort and coordination but it’s fun and FREE! We did not stay with a Couchsurfer but we did meet up with one and spent a day with him. Shoutout to Ayoub, who was so kind to show us the city through his eyes!
This city is very walkable! Most of the main sites are within walking distance of each other if you have good shoes! If you don’t want to wear down your favorite sneakers, Uber and Grab are very cheap here and the public transportation system is established and safe. But watch your valuables! The trains are known for being pick-pocketer territory.
One of the main sites in KL is the famous Batu Caves. This is a ways away from center city – so take the Kommuter train. A round trip ticket from center city cost us about $5 USD per person. Besides the cost of transportation, the only price you’ll have to pay for this attraction is the sweat it will take to climb the nearly 300 steps to the top. The caves are situated inside a limestone hill that is guarded by a golden Lord Murugan. The caves are still used today as a Hindu temple and shrine. If you enter, you will see Hindus practicing their faith on the holy site. There will also be families of little monkeys all over the place! They are ADORBS and fun to watch, but beware, they bite!
The gardens are beautiful and again, free! They are an excellent place to exercise (tai chi groups and joggers alike!), stroll, and take photographs. There are paved pathways, lovely landscapes, and several places for children to play (if you have those). There are also several fountains and flower gardens and make for some lovely photography. It’s so hard to believe this sanctuary is in the middle of a bustling, dirty city! :O
Okay so this was our one splurge in KL, but let me tell you, it was worth it! If you don’t feel like paying around $15 USD to see a bunch of birds, no worries, just move along to the next paragraph 😉 Okay, so I’m by no means an avid bird expert, but this place was awesome! It’s the largest free-flight aviary in the world! There are peacocks peacocking just about everywhere. The males spread their feathers where ever they please, sometimes in the middle of a pathway, blocking human traffic! There are also ostriches, emus, flamingos, storks, and dozens of other species. This place was captivating and was one of the highlights of our stay in KL. Budget at least a couple hours to make it through the park. PS it’s very kid friendly!
MASJID NEGARA (NATIONAL MOSQUE)
Another free location! This was my first time visiting a mosque so I was very interested. Modest dress is required for both men and women, but if you come unprepared, the mosque provides full coverage clothing at no cost. The complex is huge and can old up to 15000 worshipers! Our local friend, Ayoub, said that on holy days, worshipers spill out into the streets!! (Map here
TEMPLES IN CHINATOWN
We visited a Chinese temple and a Hindu temple that were just feet from one another near Chinatown. They are both free, but the Hindu temple charges somewhere around $0.05 USD per person to hold your shoes for you while you walk around the temple. If you are really on a budget, you can always save the 5 cents and put your shoes in your backpack. The Chinese Buddhist temple is called Guan Di Temple (map here
) and the Hindu temple is called Sri Maha Mariamman (map here
). Both are beautiful and extremely colorful and worth the visit!
VIEW OF THE PETRONAS TOWERS
Getting the perfect pic of these towers won’t cost you a dime! If you want to splurge and go up to the viewing deck, it will be about $25 USD per person. But standing below and viewing the iconic structures from the ground? Priceless! We arrived before nightfall and sat in the shadow of the towers as the sun sank. Watching the city light up at dusk was breath taking! PS: NZ Curryhouse is across the street from the towers and has fabulous (and cheap) Indian food! An entree will be about $4 USD there! (Map here
This is a park of sorts that is perfect for relaxing or playing with kids or pets. Nearby is the I<3KL statue that is perfect for touristy pictures. And of course, free! If the weather is nice, this is certainly worth a stroll about and the pictures are fun.
RIVER OF LIFE
Near Merdeka Square is the “River of Life,” which has a short promenade alongside it. There is a long koi pond bordering the walkway and there are fountains pouring into the river. It’s a perfect backdrop for a walk! You will walk by the Sultan Abdul Samad building (map
) and the Masjid Jamek (map
). Both are beautiful.
Okay so obviously this place is as expensive as YOU make it. If you buy a bunch of things, it will cost you a bunch of money. But I didn’t buy anything and still enjoyed it for the experience. The market is very crowded, so pay attention to your own belongings! But there are lots of goods for sale: souvenirs, clothing, food, etc.
We did all of these things in just two days and we walked to almost all of them. You can do it too! Let me know if you have any other tips for saving money in KL–then I’ll have an excuse to go back!!