Kuala Lumpur is a great place to visit. There’s beautiful flora and fauna, bustling streets and local markets, great people, and great food. But like any new place, it is useful to do a bit of homework before you visit it, just to be prepared.
Kuala Lumpur tips
Here are some useful and important things you should know before visiting Kuala Lumpur for the first time:
English – Worried about language barriers and not finding local people who don’t speak English? Well, you don’t really need to worry, as lots of people in Kuala Lumpur speak English. Signs are also usually in English. So language barrier isn’t really an issue when visiting Kuala Lumpur. Certainly makes life easier for travelers.
Taxi – Here’s the first thing you need to be a bit wary about when visiting Kuala Lumpur (KL), the local taxis. They have a bad reputation, to say the least (which explains why they consistently rank on the world’s worst taxi list). If you must use them, insist on having the meter on, or haggle and fix a price before you get in. That said, a better option might be to avoid them altogether, which is something the next points will help with.
Public transport – Even though the taxis in KL aren’t great, their local public transport is pretty decent. They have monorails, buses and trains. Google maps can be very useful when planning journeys using public transport. Their trains are especially good, and connects KL quite well. Here’s the other great thing about them, they are fairly cheap. If you are planning to travel outside KL, check out these two websites to book bus and/train tickets to get to different cities: Red Bus Malaysia and Easy Book.
Grab – When it comes to traveling in and around KL, along with public transport you have another good option, Grab. For those who are not familiar with it, it is like Uber, and operates in the same way: you choose your location and destination, and a car will pick you up and drop you off. Payment is usually done in cash, you just pay the driver when you reach your destination. This is by far the most convenient way to travel in and around KL.
Tap water – In general, tap water in Malaysia isn’t recommended for drinking. Travelers (and even locals) can buy filtered water which is readily available on every street corner and convenience stores. Lots of hotels and hostels offer filtered water which you can fill up on, so it is a good idea to have a water bottle with you.
Flash floods – A very common occurrence in KL during the monsoon season are flash floods. Malaysia is a tropical country, and experiences heavy rainfall. But do not let that stop you from travelling around, just keep an eye on the weather forecast, and be a bit careful during the monsoon season. If you do happen to come face to face with a flash flood, stay calm and follow what the locals do. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Thankfully they don’t happen often, but they can and do happen, so it is better to be aware of that, helps you to plan accordingly.
Rain – As mentioned earlier, Malaysia is a tropical country. The climate is what makes the country’s flora and fauna so beautiful, but it does mean there is a lot of rain, often heavy rain. So before you travel, it is a good idea to check the weather forecasts for the time you will be there, and pack umbrellas, and/or rain jackets, and water proof bags and gear.
Left side – If you’re traveling from a country where people drive on the right hand side, travelling to Malaysia can be a bit confusing initially as they drive on the left hand side. It’s easy to get used to though, just be a bit careful the first few days, and look to your right and left and extra time before you cross a road. Oh and if you’re planning to rent a car or scooter, make sure you remember which side you need to be on.
Wifi – Here’s a great thing about KL, readily available WiFi. The airport has it, as do their malls, and most cafes and hotels. But if that’s not enough, you can always opt for a local mobile data package. Local SIM cards cost around 20-50 Malaysian ringgit. Do shop around and compare prices if you’re planning on getting a local data plan.
Haggle – If you’re planning on doing any shopping in KL, you should be prepared to haggle. KL has some great local markets, and they are definitely worth exploring. As a traveler, it’s extremely likely that the price you get quoted is not their best price (as the assumption is that travelers have money to burn). So if you want a good price, do not shy away from haggling!
Being prepared can make your travel to Kuala Lumpur a truly memorable and enjoyable one, as you can limit the chances of anything happening that can impact your travel badly. We really hope that these ten essential and useful tips about Kuala Lumpur will help you have an amazing trip.
What are your thoughts on these tips? Do you have any insights or experiences to share, or any tips of your own?
Share your tips and insights about Kuala Lumpur in the comments section below.
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