Cultural Experience | Kuala Lumpur

7 Reasons Why Kuala Lumpur is Great for Every College Tourist

Say yes to adventure with a visit to one of Asia’s most unique cities.

Malaysia is an adventurous travel destination for any college tourist traveling abroad in the Eastern hemisphere. One USD equals about 4.31 Malaysian ringgit (MYR), so with conversation rates in your favor, you can easily live on about $20 USD a day while traveling to this country. Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city with affordable dining, shopping and entertainment options for students.
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Public transportation can get you anywhere!

To get anywhere around the city, the train or monorail are cheap and easily accessible options. Touch’n’Go cards are available for purchase at most train stations through kiosks or booths for the KL Sentral line, Rapid KL, KL monorail and more. When purchased, a minimum of 10 MYR (about $2.30 USD) must be put on the card but more can be added at any time. Use this card to get anywhere around the city easily without having to buy separate tickets each trip.

Cheap & delicious street eats

When it comes to lunch, skip the nearest McDonalds and get lost amongst the restaurants, street booths and markets found along the streets of KL. With fresh seafood and exotic tastes like coconut milk, lemon grass, tamarid and ginger, get adventurous in what you try. Your taste buds will take you right to the heart of KL culture with spiced brothy, noodle, vegetable goodness. For a complete guide to some of the best places to eat KL, check out this list. Some personal favorites include  chicken satay, fresh seafood and noodles and a cup of guava juice to finish it off.kuala lumpur street food image


A trip to KL wouldn’t be complete without adventuring down Petaling Street in Chinatown. When the sun goes down and the lights turn on, this street is transformed into something you can only see to believe. Bring your wallet, because the amount of goods, spices and products you’ll encounter at this night market are wonderfully overwhelming. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find a bargain. Speaking of which, don’t be scared to negotiate and haggle, it’s all part of the fun. Here’s a great guide for those who’ve never done it before. If daytime shopping is more your thing, check out both the indoor and outdoor markets in Chinatown for great trinkets and souvenirs, or explore the wet market and grab something delicious or exotic to make for lunch. Both are located in the same spot as the night market.

kuala lumpur petronas towers imagePetronas Towers

If you only have one day in KL, you’d better stop by the Petronas Towers for a shopping expedition or once in a lifetime photo-op. One of the most iconic images of KL, the Petronas twin Towers are 88 stories high and lit from top to bottom. They shine bright in the city sky and can be seen from all around KL. For those looking to get a better view, there is an observation deck at the top of the towers that allows visitors to see the city from a whole new perspective, as well as admire the spire up close. Tickets sell out fast, if you know this is on your to-do list, book ahead of time online or as early as possible the day you plan on going. Tickets cost about $19.74 USD. Some may argue, however, that the best view is from below. It’s outside of the towers that visitors can enjoy a fountain show full of vibrant colors and catchy musical accompaniment in the esplanade every night.

malaysia elephant sanctuary imageA day trip to the elephant sanctuary

While the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Center isn’t located in KL, it’s a short two-hour ride away and bound to leave a lifelong impression on any college tourist. The Elephant Conservation Center is home to displaced, orphaned and injured Malaysian elephants in need of care and a safe space. Visitors are welcomed to the conservation center and for a few Malaysian ringgits are able to feed these gentle creatures various foods including bananas and sugar cane. Other activities throughout the day include lunch at the center, a short film documenting the process of rescuing elephants and a chance to get in the river and wash and play with baby elephants. And don’t worry, the staff are more than willing to take photos of all your favorite moments. Day trips to the sanctuary,  come with hotel pick-up out of Kuala Lumpur.

malaysia elephant imageDining in the dark

Dining in the dark is not unique to Malaysia. For $99 per person, diners at Opaque, a dining in the dark restaurant chain in the United States, are able to eat a meal in pitch black. While this option is over budget for most college tourists, Dining in the Dark KL is a unique and delicious experience diners can enjoy for about $27.50 USD. Once you arrive at the restaurant, you are taken to a lobby where the receptionist greets you with an activity to get your senses going. Once you are given a blindfold, she talks you through several tasks involving honing in on your sense of touch and taste. Once completed, all electronics and belongings are locked away and you are guided in pitch black to your table by a skillfully trained waiter who is visually impaired or blind. 12 courses later, you are led out of the dining room and sat down to ask how your experience was, how it differed from other meals you’ve had and given a menu to show what you ate. This experience is made unforgettable by the one-on-one attention and hospitality given by your waiter and staff.

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Immerse yourself in the culture

Kuala Lumpur is home to many varying religious cultures and as a result boasts many beautiful temples. A monorail ride is worth a visit to the Batu Caves outside the city. Full of monkeys and tourists alike, the Batu Caves are iconic and representative of Malaysian identity. Once visitors climb up 272 steps to the top, they discover the caves are home to a Hindu temple buried deep inside the mountain. Turn around and you’ll see a breathtaking view of the city. Other temples worth visiting in the city include the Hindu temple Sri Mahamariamman and the Chinese temple Thean Hou.

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Rachel Jenkins

Susquehanna University | 4 stories

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