What can you achieve in a city in twenty-four hours? A lot, actually!
This weekend my team of travel agents made a dash to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia courtesy of Malaysia Airlines and Shangri-La hotels. We were up and back from Brisbane in under forty-eight hours. Are we mad? Probably! Was it fun? Absolutely!
So how do you make the most of Kuala Lumpur in a day? We began with one of the best hotel buffets I have ever had anywhere in the world. The Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur has the most extensive, diverse and delicious buffet ever. You could gorge yourself on fresh pastries, Asian delicacies, classic Western fry-ups, New York-style bagels, or even an egg-white omelette if you’re particularly health-conscious.
Once fueled up for the day, the next thing on the agenda has to be shopping. The Australian and US dollars are quite strong against the Malaysia Ringgit (about 3 Ringgit to 1 Aussie dollar approximately) which means that there are certainly some bargains to be had. Whether you want “genuine fakes” or the Real McCoy, you will find it in Kuala Lumpur. The variety of American, European, Asian and global brands surprised me – including GAP, H&M, Zara, Isetan, Sephora, Mac, Mango, Desigual and even the Japanese chain Uniqlo.
Most of the major shopping malls are centred around Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail in the eastern pocket of the city. It’s easy to get to by Monorail – an inexpensive and efficient mode of transport. The area is also connected by a covered walkway to the Petronas Towers and KLCC shopping centres. Shopping hours are generally 10am to 10pm, so there’s plenty of time to find a bargain or that designer handbag you’ve been coveting.
If you’ve done with shopping, then make your way along the alleyway at the side of Pavilion shopping centre – there are a heap of eateries and bars here where you can grab a bite to eat. The walk from here to the Petronas Twin Towers takes about fifteen minutes.
Next stop on your whirlwind twenty-four visit to KL is to get to the top of the towers for a birds-eye view across the city. Now, be warned, you will be very unlikely to get tickets if you turn up on the day, so make sure that you pre-book your Petronas tickets online ahead of time here. I had booked mine for 3.15pm and so made sure I was there the required half an hour beforehand so that I didn’t miss out.
The iconic 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers really is Kuala Lumpur’s crown jewel. Visible from almost anywhere in the city, these towers absolutely sparkle at night. A visit to the towers includes the Skybridge – the link between the towers on the 41st floor and the world’s highest 2-storey bridge. From there you ascend to the 86th floor for some extraordinary views and insights into Kuala Lumpur. On a clear day the surrounding mountains are visible, including Batu Caves – a limestone hill with cave temples located about 13km north of KL.
If you’ve still got some shopping itches to scratch, jump in a taxi and head across town to Chinatown and the Central Market. Located near Petaling Street atJalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan Hang Kasturi, the Central Market is known for its variety of art, batik, clothes, shoes, bags and authentic Malay souvenirs.
It’s then time to head back to your hotel to dump the shopping and freshen up before heading out for the evening. My pick would be to make your way straight to the Sky Bar on the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel. Located directly across from the Petronas Twin Towers, this is the best place to soak up the illuminated brilliance of the towers and to unwind with a beverage.
The following morning it’s an early start and then off by taxi to KL Sentral Railway Station where you can check in for your Malaysia Airlines flight, drop your bags and then head to the airport on the KLIA Ekspres for your onward flight.
So there you go – twenty-four jam-packed hours in Kuala Lumpur. What else could I have fit in, or should I do next time?
x Sonia x