Kuala Lumpur is a large and frenetic city that is predominantly geared toward shopping and business tourism, yet there are still tons of family-friendly activities on offer in this huge city that is a melting pot of cultures, sights, flavors and sounds.
That said, Kuala Lumpur can be a rather expensive place to visit which is often multiplied when travelling as a family, particularly if you have more than one child – so this guide to kid-friendly things to do in Kuala Lumpur that won’t break the bank will hopefully make your life a lot easier and cheaper.
Of course, Malaysia as a country is relatively cheap in comparison to the majority of Capital Cities, indeed when you compare it to the likes of Tokyo or New York, ior the cost of moving to Australia it’s an extremely cheap place to live and work – but if you’re comparing it to some of the lesser known places within Malaysia or neighbouring Indonesia, then Kuala Lumpur itself can be a little more expensive than you might first bargain for.
Now, if you happen to fall in love with Kuala Lumpur, or Malaysia in general, you might decide to look into purchasing a property, which is a relatively simple and straightforward process for most expats. Indeed, it is very easy to find a real estate agent Malaysia that will most likely speak English and be used to dealing with expat inquiries.
These real estate agents can often help you find a very affordable second home, be this in the city, the sleepy suburbs or on the beach in a quiet little paradise. The great thing today, of course, is that if you buy a second home in Malaysia it can very easily be rented out meaning it can become a worthwhile investment thanks to the trend of websites like Airbnb that offer an extremely easy and low-cost way to rent your property out.
However, before getting ahead of yourself and thinking about property, it’s a good idea to explore Malaysia, and in this article, we’re going to look at how to squeeze the most out of your time in Kuala Lumpur, particularly with a family, without breaking the bank.
- Take a Walk In The Park
The KLCC park is a 50-acre park in the center of Kuala Lumpur. With its ample seating area, much greenery and open water, it is a nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a place where you can sit and rest next to various water features as well as keep fit with its 1.3km jogging track. It has to be one of the top free things to do in Kuala Lumpur and the energy in the park is always welcoming, tolerant and friendly.
To get to the park you can take the undercover and air-conditioned walkway from Bintang or jump on the metro to KLCC station; this is particularly helpful given that Kuala Lumpur is prone to wet season weather and, yet, at the same time, it can be like an oven in the city so the combination of air conditioning and being undercover makes a lot of sense.
- Admire the Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers was the tallest buildings in the world until it was overtaken by Tapei 101. Going into the tower itself can be pretty costly, at around 80 MYR (which is around 20 US Dollars) but admiring the impressive magnitude of the building from the outside (where you’ll be met with tons of other tourists taking selfies) is a free experience that is also a great place to sit down with a nice cold bubble tea and people watch.
The towers are, of course, impressive by day, but they are even better at night when they are illuminated. In terms of getting to the Petronas Towers, they are located right next to KLCC Park, which again, is stunning at night due to the free water show on offer. In fact, the free water show that gets displayed most nights is one of the best water shows in the world.
Then, if you’re looking for a more romantic and perhaps more upmarket way to admire the towers (without the kids) then going to the Heli Bar which is a bar on a helicopter pad with wonderful views of KL and buying a cocktail to enjoy the Kuala Lumpur skyline, particularly at sunset, is a great way to spend an evening. Admittedly this isn’t a free option, but for the price of a drink, it’s well worth it.
- Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
Again, this option isn’t free, but it’s such a good family day out that it’s worth including. The theme park is a little way out of the city center in a suburb known as Petaling Jaya, but is worth the journey as it combines a water park, a wildlife park, and a more extreme theme park with roller coaster rides. It even has a zoo.
In short, this is a great place to splash out on with your family. In particular, the water park which has a surf beach, wave pool, numerous slides a manmade river to float on, and the world’s largest man-made surf beach.
- Watch The KLCC Lake Symphony Show
In front of the Petronas Towers, and the shopping mall of Suria KLCC, each evening at 7 pm you’re in for a treat as the fountains turn to life with color as they dance to music. This is a very well choreographed show that is known as one of the most stunning yet low key water shows in SE Asia. It has a wonderfully calm and welcoming family-friendly atmosphere, with people of all cultures, gathering around on the steps of the lake to see the spectacular show.
- Perdana Botanical Gardens
The Perdana Botanical Gardens is a beautiful park of 200 acres that surrounds a lake. This meticulously landscaped area is great for cycles, joggers, or just for those that wish to wander around and absorb the atmosphere.
It has a number of WiFI hotspots within the park and plenty of private areas to sit with your family to enjoy a picnic. Indeed, one of the best ways to escape the midday heat is to find a shady spot with a picnic blanket, load up Netflix on your mobile device and watch a film together as a family.
There are are a number of sheltered areas that make for a great ‘den’ environment when the rain starts to pour down – and it can be a great adventure to make a dash for one of these shelters where you can then watch the lightning show and hear the thunderous rumbles as the rain pelts down on the ground. In terms of getting there, it’s just a 10-minute walk from Chinatown.
- Mosque Masjid Jamek
If you’re looking for a bit more culture, Masjid Jamek Mosque is an important landmark within Kuala Lumpur that has an Indo Saracenic architecture and is surrounded by palm trees – making it the ideal backdrop for stunning photographs.
There’s an obvious need to dress modestly, meaning to cover your legs, shoulders, and arms plus removing your shoes before entering. The mosque is an active religious site and is understandably closed to tourists during certain times to allow for prayers.
- Free Walking Tour
The free walking tours in Kuala Lumpur are put on by the city council. If you’re interested in experiencing a free city tour, log on to visitkl.gov.my to book your place. The walk covers the main areas of Kuala Lumpur and provides plenty of information about the history of the city, the culture, and the food. It’s also a great way to meet people from all different cultures.
- Batu Caves
A short train ride out the city and you’ll find yourself at the iconic Batu Caves, which are formed from limestone and are home to the most famous Hindu shrines outside of India.
Here, you’ll find plenty of monkeys, pigeons, and even bats throughout the cave… when you walk up the many steps you are likely to find yourself surrounded by monkeys intrigued by the snacks you might be enjoying.
You can enjoy a free and engaging half-day out at the caves without having to pay a penny, but if you want to explore inside the cave you’ll require a guided tour which is quite pricey in relative terms.
- I Love KL
If you’re into social media, then the photo opportunity spot that’s next to the I Love KL sign is a must. You’ll find this next to the KL City Gallery.
- Canopy Walkway
In the treetops of the KL Forest Eco Park, you can find a set of rope bridges that will take you along the tree line. It’s not exactly in the jungle, which can feel a little misleading given the marketing message attached to the experience, but it’s still well worth a visit. It’s a fun free thing to do with your family that provides an amazing visual contrast of the nine hectares of the natural forest you’re in, with the skyscraper-lined skyline of KL in the distance.