If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you will know that nearly every single one of them has a stopover somewhere in the world. It may sound like an inconvenience, but you should look upon it as an opportunity in cultural experience that you may never have again! There’s no need to nap uncomfortably in the airport with your luggage when you can be out and exploring a whole new place. In fact, if you are lucky enough to stopover in Kuala Lumpur on your way to your final destination, you are looking at shopping in amazing malls, street food that is so authentic your mouth will water at the scent and a hotel to stay in no matter your budget. Whether you just want to have a nose around the immediate vicinity of the airport, or you are planning to stay over for a couple of days, you need to know how to make the most of your Kuala Lumpur stopover. So, check out our step by step guide below and get your culture on!

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Getting through immigration is the first step and you’ll be surprised by the fingerprint scanners at the door if you didn’t see them on the way on your last journey. Breaking out of the airport to soak up some Malaysian culture is an essential for those among you who love a good bucket list box tick! It’s going to be humid outside, so don’t forget to stop for a cool bottle of water. You’ll come across the KLIA Ekspres which is all kind of super – super cheap, super quick and super efficient! – and a way straight into the city. You’ll be in the middle of the great city within 40 minutes, meaning you are right next to some of the best street food, shopping and sights you could hope to find.

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Hungry? We know we would be after a long-haul flight. You’ve just spent time in the air with the shockingly expensive and not-so-great airplane food, then hopped on a monorail to get into the city. It’s time to follow your nose and sample the delights that Kuala Lumpur has for you. It’s not just Malaysian food you’ll be feasting on, either. Influences from India and China are on the menu, and you can really find it tough to try and find something that you want, because you’ll want everything. The food alone can make you start looking into the Top 100 popular condos for sale in Malaysia, because one trip just won’t be enough. Try out a breakfast of egg and oyster congee – it’s like a savoury rice pudding and it’s one of those delicacies you have to try to know how good it is! As you weave your way through the shopping centres and city sights, pick up quick roti canai. These little flaky pancakes are an absolute delight for the taste buds and something you’ll be raving about for weeks on end.

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While you’re hunting down the food like a bloodhound, you need to visit a few shops. There are two huge shopping destinations in Kuala Lumpur, Pavilion and Suria KLCC Mall, and both are joined by a walkway in between. If you aren’t quite sure what this means, then think of it this way: you can go from one side of the city to the other without even leaving a shopping mall. That should give you an idea of the sheer immensity of the malls – what can we say, they love to shop in Kuala Lumpur. On your way around the shops exploring, give yourself a chance to hit the Petronas Towers and enjoy 88 stories of shops surrounded by beautiful parklands. See a movie on the cheap if you have the chance, as $3AUD can get you into the latest blockbuster!

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Once you’ve had your fill of food and shopping, you need to look at grabbing a little culture. You may not have much time, but thankfully you don’t need too much time to soak in a plethora of cultural hits. You need – and we mean NEED – to head to the Batu Caves. Limestone, 400-year-old caverns in the city are not easy to come by but Kuala Lumpur is full of surprises! Climb dizzying heights of 272 stairs to get to the top and anticipate the bats and monkeys you’ll encounter on the way around. The caves are used for field trips, and you can also find some of the best rock-climbing in Malaysia. Who knew you could find shopping, food and climbing all close together! If you’ve got the time to go a little further than the city, check out this half day trip idea to the Taman Negara National Park. The rainforest is a breath-taking sight and one you simply cannot miss out on. Hunting for waterfalls, bird watching and braving the heights while walking right across a canopy suspension bridge are all a must!

There’s so much to see and do that you could book a few days stopover in Kuala Lumpur before continuing on in your travels. There’s no to street food stands that make the same dish in the same way, and there’s tastes catered for everyone in both shops and in food. Your exploration can take you so far when you have the itchy feet to take you there. Taking a breather to explore Kuala Lumpur should be a must, purely because how often do you get to stop in Malaysia for some time? Using a layover to soak up some culture and experience is important, in the same way your journey is. Many airlines are now offering people the chance to stay a little longer in their stopover, simply to be able to have a new experience or two.

Take the time to explore Kuala Lumpur and enjoy the sights. You may not get the chance to stop and look around again, and if you take this chance now you can get that travel bucket list item ticked off now!


Featured image: Lonely Planet

Written by Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers is the founder of TGIFguide. She uses her innate skills as a natural “connector” to serve businesses, brands and individuals in the LA area and beyond.