Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was a city I'd only ever been to on my way to somewhere else. So we decided it was time to treat it like a destination and spent 8 days there with the kids. There was so much to do, we didn't even make it all the way through our list.
1. Petronas Towers
The Towers are a landmark in KL and are pretty awe-inspiring just to go and sit under or walk around. They are especially impressive at night, when the lights are on and people just gather to gaze up at them. There’s a light and water show twice each night behind the towers, which had a magical feel to it, which the kids loved (and so did we).
2. Petronas Towers Skybridge and Observation Deck
We decided not to just walk around the towers, but to get into them, and paid to go up onto the skybridge and observation deck. The elevator ride up is a little hairy and the skybridge, which is suspended between the two towers, moves slightly as you walk through it. Each group has a guide, and you’re moved through pretty quickly, but it’s still enough time to see some pretty awesome views. It really gave the kids an idea of how big KL is. The Observation Deck was also really great, and you can take a bit more time to walk around and get 360 degree views of the city. There’s also a really cool interactive hologram of the towers.
3. Petrosains Science Discovery Centre
We spent at least four hours here, and had to drag the kids out in the end! The start was a little odd; you have to hop in a moving capsule and are fed propaganda videos about the friendly mining company Petronis and the great work they do protecting the environment (while mining oil!) But after you’re released from the propaganda pod, the centre itself is quite unbelievable. There’re so many interactive displays; teaching the kids (and adults) about sound, light, metals, mining and a million other interesting topics. I actually really enjoyed the scale model of the drilling rig, as it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to being on one. The kids also really enjoyed the science experiments, with heaps of staff on hand to explain them. Be warned though; this place is like Ikea: there’s only one way in, and one way out (via a second propaganda pod!)
4. Aquaria KLCC
We went here mostly to see the piranha’s being fed since that sounded really cool, but it was a major disappointment. Just as well the adorable otters made up for it. They were like a little comedy show while waiting to get fed. The kids also liked the touch pool where they could feel different types of coral, as well as a shark, star fish and a little stingray. The vertical tropical rainforest tank was amazing, and they’ve added audio of thunder and lighting to add to the experience of feeling like you’re in a rainforest. The final experience is a travellator which takes you through a glass tunnel, which allows you to see the marine life from every angle. Unfortunately, like many attractions, you have to walk through the gift shop to get out of this place.
5. Hop on Hop Off bus
After realising that the kids were not going to survive walking around KL in the heat, we promptly bought tickets to the Hop On Hop Off bus. It was a life saver! The buses were air conditioned and ran pretty frequently. It also gave us a really good idea of the layout of the city and helped our orientation for the rest of our stay. We got off and had an awesome lunch in Little India and then continued on to see the City Mosque, the Royal Palace, the Petronis Towers and heaps of other interesting landmarks.
6. Islamic Arts Museum
The Islamic Museum is one of the most serene places in KL. The architecture of the building is stunning and it houses scale models of all the major mosques in the world. The one of Mecca is so impressive and really gives you a sense of what it would be like to see the real thing. The museum houses so many interesting Islamic artifacts and was a really great way for the kids to learn about Islam.
7. National Mosque
The Mosque is open to non-muslims after 3pm. It is a stunning building surrounded by water. Our kids had never been to a Mosque before, and they were quite awe-struck by how grand yet serene it was. To ensure visitors cover up, robes are provided at the entrance to the Mosque. This visit had a profound, yet indefinable affect on the whole family and would be in my Top 3 recommendations for KL.
8. Butterfly Park
The butterfly park is like stepping into a rainforest; humidity and all. It’s a really lovely experience though, and allows you to forget that you are anywhere near a major city. There are thousands of differently coloured butterflies, as well as information boards so you can read about them. There’s also an odd collection of animals including turtles and snakes.
9. Bird Park
The kids really enjoyed the bird park, which like the butterfly park, allows you to completely forget about the bustle of the city. There’s hundreds of species or birds, and the hornbills near the café were a favourite with the kids.
10. Sunway Lagoon Theme park
We decided to take public transport out to the waterpark, and it was a bit of a trek. The train was easy enough, but in hindsight I would probably take a taxi from there instead of a public bus, which goes the long way through the suburbs to get there. But once you’re there, it’s awesome!!! There’s nothing like a waterpark to make you feel like you’re a kid again, and this place has some awesome rides. We went on a weekday, so there were no crowds and hardly any lining up. The park has a really cool water slide that shoots you down an almost vertical drop, then propels you down an enormous funnel. The man-made beach is also really cool to chill out on for a while in between water slides. This was probably the kids’ number one thing to do in Malaysia.
11. Elephant Park
After reading reviews on Tripadvisor, we decided to volunteer for a day at the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary. We arranged for a guide to come and pick us up from a train station in KL, and the drive to the park took about an hour and a half, with the guide educating us about elephants all the way. The kids got to prepare the food for the elephants using machetes, which they thought was pretty cool. They then got to feed and pat the elephants. The highlight for all of us was getting up close with the baby elephants, which was such a special experience. We also got to bathe with the elephants in the river, which was great but very quick, and for some reason the staff kept splashing us with water. The kids got to ask lots of questions and learnt heaps about elephants. Oh, and we each got to take it in turns to pick up their poo, too!
12. Batu caves
The Batu caves are an easy train ride out of KL, and the station is right next to them. The walk up to the caves is quite impressive, as the two massive gold statues stand guard at the entrance leading to hundreds of stairs. The cave itself is huge, and there are monkeys everywhere, which are very entertaining (as long as you haven’t got food with you). Unfortunately, what could be a spiritual or religious experience is ruined by the fact that there’re tacky shops inside the entrance. We did think it was worth the trip to see the caves, but if you only have a short time in KL, you could give this a miss.
What cool things have you done with kids in KL that aren't on this list? Comments welcome below.