Kuala Lumpur isn’t the cheapest city in the world, but it certainly isn’t the most expensive either. One of the most exciting things about arriving in a new city is finding out more about it and discovering how best to take advantage of what it offers and with KL, there are many ways to do this. Here are six ways you can enjoy KL for absolutely free.
Hitch a ride
The GoKL buses are easy to spot- they come in a soft, pleasing, lilac shade and go around all over the city’s Central Business District. The best thing about these buses however, is that they don’t charge for rides and allow you to travel all over KL without paying anything. GoKL buses operate from 6am-11pm on weekdays and from 7am-11pm on weekends and public holidays. The run every five minutes at peak hours (7-10am and 4-8pm on weekdays) and every 10 minutes at other times. We’ve taken these buses before and have no complaints. A map of the bus routes is downloadable here.
Hike through a forest reserve
The traffic in Kuala Lumpur can be a headache, but one good thing about the city is that you’re never too far away from a park. The first green space that comes to mind is KL’s own rainforest, right smack in the centre, called the KL Forest Eco Park. Formerly known as the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the park was gazetted as a reserve in 1906, making it one of Malaysia’s oldest. It’s accessible by public transport and open from 7am-6pm daily, including weekends and public holidays. More details here.
Another favourite is the Perdana Botanical Gardens, which used to be known as the Lake Gardens. Just 10 minutes’ walk from Chinatown, the park has a lake, a jogging and cycling track, a deer park and a waterfall. Closer to the CBD is the KLCC Park within the grounds of the Petronas Twin Towers, where you’ll find a children’s wading pool, gazebos for picnics and a running track. If you’re at KLCC after sundown, you can watch the light and sound shows at the park’s musical fountains from 7-10pm.
Explore the city’s oldest village
The best way to explore a city is on foot. If you’d like a peek into a traditional Malay kampong or village right in the heart of KL, you can’t do better than the free Cultural Guided Walk in Kampong Bharu, the city’s oldest residential area, which was founded in 1899. The walks run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 4.30-7pm. The walks are popular and limited to 25 participants, so advance booking (one day before) is recommended. Click here for a .pdf file with all the details.
Old is gold
If you’d like a wider look at KL’s history, strap on your walking shoes and take the Dataran Merdeka Heritage Guided Tour where you’ll discover 11 historical sites in the city. The starting point is the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery –also worth a visit- and walks run from 9-11.30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Facebook page of The Heritage of Malaysia Trust is also a valuable source of information for free walks and events.
The Petronas Twin Towers isn’t just known for it world-class shopping and its park, it also houses the Galeri Petronas, which features works by Malaysian and foreign artists. True to its tagline ‘Art for Everyone’, admission to the gallery is free. The gallery is open daily from 10am-8pm except on Mondays, and Eidul Fitri and Eidul Adha. More details are available here.
Make something old school
If getting crafty is your thing, head for the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex on Jalan Conlay, not far from the Twin Towers. The complex has shops selling a wide selection of traditional handicrafts, but what’s really special about this venue is that it also has a Craft Village and an Artists’ Colony, where you’ll be able to see free batik making, wood carving and pottery demonstrations. The artists are also very happy to chat and explain their art to visitors, so you might learn a thing or two there.
We hope you’ve picked up some helpful tips on what to see in Kuala Lumpur, particularly on things to do and places to see on the cheap. Drop us a line if you have any questions!