Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate/compensated links at no extra cost to you, for more information you can read my disclaimer

36 Hours In Kuala Lumpur

Are you traveling anywhere with a long layover? One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to take advantage of Airline layovers.

I recently flew through Kuala Lumpur and was able to enjoy the best of what this city has to offer, all within my budget and on a convenient layover.

Kuala Lumpur is a huge hub for flying in and out of Asia, and is a cheap alternative to flying to Singapore.

Malaysia has great architecture, cheap eats, and good shopping with no departure fees, not only in Kuala Lumpur but all over the country. Malaysia is full of unique experiences to enjoy.

Here is a recap of my 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur.

Spending 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur

KLIA Train from Airport to Kuala Lumpur City Center

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 5:00 pm on a Friday night and got through immigration in about 30 minutes.  It was easy – a free visa on arrival so no need to fill out any paperwork beforehand or pay any fees.

After that, I headed downstairs and bought a one-way ticket on the KLIA Express train to the city center for 50 Malaysian Ringgit (RM), or around 12 USD.

The best part about traveling in Asia is how easy it is to travel around directly from the airport.

Most airports have easy access to trains that will take you right into the city, which is something the United States could learn from.

The train ride was approximately 30 minutes. Traveling through acres of palm trees in the beginning, but slowly the scenery became more urban as we got closer to the city center.

Once in the city center

Upon arrival at the KL Sentral station, I bought a ticket for the KL Express Rail Link (KL Metro) for 1.6 RM, or .38 USD.

The train took me directly to my hotel which was one stop away from the main station and right in the heart of Chinatown

In Kuala Lumpur, rather than using cards or tickets for the public transportation system, you get an electronic token that you scan on your way in and deposit on your way out. They are pretty cool..

I stayed at a Space Capsule Hotel for 65 RM, or 7.50 USD a night and reception was open for 24 hours making check-in a breeze.

After dropping off my bags, I walked to the night market to check out all the amazing street food that Kuala Lumpur had to offer. Even though I was only in Kuala Lumpur for 36 hours, I was determined to eat as much as possible.

Besides amazing food. The market was filled with counterfeit designer products which were sold for next to nothing: makeup, wallets, perfume, suitcases, shoes and, of course, knock-off watches.

But, let’s be honest. I was there for the food.

I sat down at a local food court and enjoyed chicken stir-fried noodles and a local beer for only 10 RM, or 2.40 USD.

However, it started to pour, so I was forced to order more beers until the rain stopped.

Day 1 Financial Break Down

Train Ticket from Airport to City Center $12
Monorail ticket to Hostel $.38
1 night in Capsule Hotel $7.50
Dinner and Drinks $2.40
Total : $22.28

Next Day in Kuala Lumpur

The next morning I headed to Batu Caves, with the plan of leaving the hotel by 6:00 a.m. to avoid the crowds.

However, I was having trouble sleeping, so ended up leaving my hotel by 5:00 am.

It was dark outside when I left, but I assumed the sun would be rising very soon, however, I was wrong and didn’t see the sun for another 2 hours.

Upon arriving at the train station to take me to the caves, I realized the first train to Batu Caves was not until 7:00 a.m.

Still determined to get to the caves early and avoid the crowds, I found a taxi willing to take me for 27 RM, or 6.50 USD.

Batu Caves

It was still dark when the taxi dropped me off at 6:30 a.m, and there was a sign indicating the caves opened at 7:00 a.m.

With time to kill, I walked around and found a Hindu temple nearby where morning ceremonies were underway.

The Hindu priests were blessing the Hindu God Statue of Ganesha by pouring holy water and fresh cow’s milk over them.

The priests then walked around blessing everyone who was there, saying a quick prayer and placing a mark of ash on the forehead of each of the men.

The ash is meant to keep away evil spirits.

Hindu priests are not allowed to place ash on the foreheads of women. Rather, women take the ash from the priest and place it on their foreheads or have their husbands do it for them.

This was by far the most interesting thing I saw while in Kuala Lumpur.

After the morning ceremonies, with ash on my forehead, I returned to the caves which were still not open.

My early morning departure did not help me.

Now nearly 7:00 a.m. and the sun was rising, the caves were finally about to open.

When the gates to the caves opened, I was able to take a selfie on the steps before the locals started running.

I walked up the 370 colorful steps and made my way inside. The caves themselves were not very impressive, but the overall experience was worth the effort to go there.

Breakfast in Kuala Lumpur

Being quite hungry after seeing the caves, I walked to a local café and noticed a line of people waiting outside.

I ordered Tosi and local milk tea for 6 RM, or 1.45 USD.

From there I took the train back into town, at for 7.50 RM (1.80 USD),  and decided to hit up the Petronas Twin Towers another must-visit if you are only in Kuala Lumpur for 36 hours.

After taking about a hundred photos in front of the towers, I decided to head to Kuala Lumpur City Walk where there is more outdoor shopping and of course street food.

Unfortunately, almost everything was either closed or under repair. I grabbed a few street noodles and decided to find a rooftop bar for sunset.

On way my to the sunset bar, I passed a Mcdonald’s and noticed they had a Durian McFlurry. Which made me laugh.

Durian Mcflurry

If you only have 36 hours in Kuala Lumpur, I highly recommend checking out a rooftop bar for sunset, the views are insane.

I headed to  Heli Bar, which was recommended by the staff in my hostel.

Heli Bar is an old helipad turned into a sunset bar, and the views do not disappoint. The only requirement to get to the top is to purchase a drink.

I ordered a Mojito for 30 RM (7.20 USD), which is expensive for Kuala Lumpur.  After I ordered my drink I headed to the top to enjoy the view.


Day 2 & 3 Financial Break Down

Hotel Night Stay $7.50
Breakfast Day 2 $1.45
Total Transportation Day 2 $12.15
Lunch and Drinks $10.32
Two New Shirts $7.20
Transport back to Airport $12.00

Total Cost of 36 Hours in Kuala Lumpur: $72.94

As you can see, you don’t have to break the bank to see Kuala Lumpur, but I was only able to see a little part of this beautiful country.

Malaysia has so much to offer. There are so many Unique Places to See in Malaysia and I really can’t wait to go back and visit more of this beautiful country.

Southeast Asia is full of so many unique and wonderful places

Related Content


About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top