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Kuala Lumpur is one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia. It’s a melting pot of cultures, as its diverse immigrant population bring their own traditions and customs, combined with the local Malay way of life – as such, you won’t find any other city like it.
And while it may look like a big, spangly city with skyscrapers, you might be wondering if it’s the right city for a family vacation. I’m here to put your mind at ease, as there are many things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids.
From exploring ancient temples, dining on street food, exploring eco forests – there is no shortage of family-friendly attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
Let’s check them out…
- Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur With Kids
- 1. Eat at Jalan Alor, Hawker Market, Kuala Lumpur
- 2. Try Dondurma (Turkish ice cream)
- 3. Check Out Arab Street, Kuala Lumpur
- 4. Check Out The Views from KL Tower
- 5. Visit the Masjid Jamek Mosque
- 6. Admire the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- 7. Shop Until You Drop at The Pavilion
- 8. Visit The Petronas Twin Towers
- 9. Explore the Batu Caves
- 10. Visit Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park
- 11. See Marine Creatures at Aquaria KLCC
- 12. Take The Kids to Farm In the City
- 13. Have Fun at KidZania
- 14. Get Your Thrills at Adventure Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
- 15. Relax at Perdana Botanical Gardens
- 16. Go Wild at Petrosains Discovery Centre
- 17. Walk the Canopy Walk at Forest Eco Park
- 18. Check Out Berjaya Times Square Theme Park
- 19. See the Animals at Zoo Negara
- Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
- Popular Kuala Lumpur Tours
- Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
- More Malaysian Travel Tips
Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur With Kids
History has proven that few good things come out of colonization, and like all great cities, Kuala Lumpur gained its independence from the Brits in 1957 and has proven itself to be one of the best places to visit in Malaysia and one of the great cities in Southeast Asia.
So without further ado, here are the best attractions in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the best places to eat, stay and hang out.
1. Eat at Jalan Alor, Hawker Market, Kuala Lumpur
If you’re ever unsure about where to eat in Kuala Lumpur, you can never go wrong with the world-renowned hawker market, Jalan Alor.
As soon as you walk along Jalan Bukit Bintang, the main thoroughfare, the energy of the street is infectious. You are surrounded by the sounds of BBQs sizzling and hawkers shouting their fares, the smells of smoke, and the mouth-watering aromas of spices and seared meats.
It was a good mix of lit billboards that promote luxury goods companies and street food smells wafting in the air.
This is the hybrid that is Kuala Lumpur today and it’s not to be missed.
2. Try Dondurma (Turkish ice cream)
On one corner of the Jalan Alor, there was a big crowd gathered that caught our attention. It was a vendor that served Dondurma (Turkish ice cream).
Dondurma is a bit different from the ice cream most of us are used to having. Its texture is thick and a bit chewy, and best of all, because of the inclusion of a thickening agent called salep, it has resistance to melting. Imagine that in the heat?
In what I learned to be a requirement in serving Dondurma, a show comes along with it.
In short, the customer is teased for a few minutes before finally getting their order in hand. Due to the elasticity of the ice cream, the vendor is able to perform what can only be called acrobatic tricks with the dondurma and the cone.
The vendor spent a little extra time with us, as he figured that we were a visitor to his town. It made for great street theater and lots of laughs.
I learned quickly, that most things in Kuala Lumpur seemed to have been made better because of the people behind it. And the people come from all over the world – China, India, and the Middle East. There can be no visit to Kuala Lumpur, without embracing all the traditions of its immigrants who create the unique culture of the city.
3. Check Out Arab Street, Kuala Lumpur
Speaking of which, another great place to eat is across the road on Arab Street, where large spindles of meat were the center of attraction.
Large groups of people stand in the streets eating the most delectable pita sandwiches.
Big fans of Shawarma, we made notes to return on another night. We walked a few more blocks, toward what looked like a street draped in Christmas lights, and there it was, the famous Jalan Alor.
It didn’t take long before we could smell out favorite Malaysian Dish, Chow Kway Teow. We pulled up three plastic stools and sat at a small square table.
I was dying for a Tiger Beer, but there was none to be had from this hawker as they are Halal. It was against their religion to serve me alcohol. Respectfully, I had a bottle of water and helped Bailey devour her amazing noodle dish.
It was telling, that this small event was a cultural touchstone for my daughter. She has never seen me not get a beer because of someone’s religious beliefs. She was beginning to understand more of the world.
4. Check Out The Views from KL Tower
You will be pleased to find there is no shortage of things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Be sure to check out this communication tower which is located at Bukit Nenas Kuala Lumpur Hill. Go in the evening, as the city lit up at night is beautiful to view from on top of the hill.
The tower itself is wonderful to look at from below, as it is lit up in a melange of bright, happy colors.
The evening we visited, there happened to be a base jumping event. It was hours of gut-wrenching excitement, watching these courageous, crazy people hurl themselves off the top of the tower and freefall as long as they could before deploying the parachute.
Check the calendar on-line as there are always events in or around the tower.
5. Visit the Masjid Jamek Mosque
Kuala Lumpur is filled with beautiful mosques, but this is the oldest, and I think most beautiful. This is also the site where Kuala Lumpur’s first settlers set foot.
From the mosque, you can also visit Jalan Petaling (Chinatown) and the Central Market. It’s here that we experienced the Kuala Lumpur of yore. It’s also here, where you can put your bargaining tools to good use if you so wish.
6. Admire the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur.
Take your shoes off, enter and experience a sacred place important to one of the largest communities in Kuala Lumpur.
We went as the sun started to fade, which made for great lighting to capture the aesthetic wonder that is this temple.
7. Shop Until You Drop at The Pavilion
Sometimes, the kid(s) need a break from all the cultural stuff. Who are we kidding, we do too. There is no better place to do this than The Pavilion.
Yes, there is shopping here, good shopping at that. But most everyone is here for the eating and the people-watching experience. It’s a great reprieve from the heat, and if you’re looking for Western Food, there is plenty here.
There is also a large movie complex within the shopping mall, if the family really feels like it.
Another great mall is the IOI City Mall, which is a good place to pick up souvenirs.
8. Visit The Petronas Twin Towers
Get to the Petronas Towers early, and book your tickets for a time slot.
They only allow small groups up at one time, and there is a cap on how many they let through daily. Believe me, it’s worth the extra work.
The Petronas Towers stands as one of the tallest structures in the world (tallest until 2004, and still the tallest twin towers) and provides a jaw-dropping view of Kuala Lumpur. This view is second only to the architectural wonder that it is.
The inspiration for the design is based on the five pillars of Islam, and though very modern, the ancient aesthetic makes it possibly the most beautiful of all the other skyscrapers.
No visit to this town is complete without a visit to this figurehead of Malaysia.
9. Explore the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are the most recognisable landmark in Kuala Lumpur. This sacred site is a series of limestone caves that are accessed at the top of steep, brightly coloured steps.
Once you reach the top, there is a cave temple housing Hindu shrines, and a huge deity statue.
While most people visit the Batu Caves for the colourful steps, be sure to enter with caution, as the monkeys can be quite annoying.
If you have water bottles, or anything sticking out of the pockets of your bag, they will take it. They will steal sunglasses off your head, crisp packets from your hand, and glasses off your face.
Put any belongings away in your bag and put your bag in front of you and they should leave you alone.
10. Visit Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park
The KL Butterfly Park is the largest butterfly garden in the world. It’s a whopping 80,000 sq ft of landscaped garden, containing over 5,000 butterflies, as well as exotic plants and butterfly-host plants.
It’s a natural paradise in the city, offering a break from the chaos of busy traffic and honking noises. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the ponds filled with Japanese koi fish and freshwater turtles, and learn about the importance of butterflies and insects from around the world.
If you look carefully, you may even see some amphibians and reptiles hiding amongst the ferns.
11. See Marine Creatures at Aquaria KLCC
The Kuala Lumpur Aquarium, named Aquaria KLCC, is one of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids.
Aquaria KLCC is more than a museum of aquatic animals, but is a conservation program, using state-of-the-art oceanarium equipment to create a habitat for marine life that is as close to their natural home as possible.
The aquarium has over 5,000 different marine creatures living in its 60,000 sq. ft space.
Perhaps the highlight of the aquarium is the 90-metre tunnel walkway that takes visitors through the Living Ocean exhibit, where you can get up close and personal with seven species of sharks, Giant Stingrays, turtles, and many species of fish.
12. Take The Kids to Farm In the City
Farm In The City is a new conservation park concept that combines multicultural traditions and wildlife under one roof.
The park has been designed to look like a typical Malaysian village, including its farm and fruit orchard.
You can learn about life in rural Malaysia in an immersive and hands-on way, and even interact with the animals and plant life here.
You can play with rabbits and guinea pigs and learn about various aspects of farm and animal life in Malaysia’s countryside, as well as about wildlife conservation and preservation.
13. Have Fun at KidZania
KidZania is a child-sized city where kids can put their roleplay skills into good use. They can become firefighters, doctors, nurses, or chefs, as well as many other skilled professionals, in this life-size immersive experience.
KidZania is not only fun, but it offers children a chance to learn many skills and build self-confidence.
Children have the biggest imagination and desire to explore, and KidZania is the place where they can really put their imaginations and creativity to full power.
14. Get Your Thrills at Adventure Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
If your kids love a massive theme park, then Adventure Sunway lagoon has a huge range of family-friendly rides to explore.
From thrilling water slides to a wave pool and beach, as well as a revolving pirate ship, there is fun for all the family here.
The park has been separated into five zones, The Water Park, Scream Park, Amusement Park, Extreme Park, and Wildlife Park.
Each zone offers something special and unique. And it’s clear what they offer from the name. Be sure. to allow for a full day to explore the whole park.
15. Relax at Perdana Botanical Gardens
The Perdana Botanical Garden is located in the Heritage Park of KL and is another place where tourists can find a natural escape from the city.
It was originally a recreational park but was turned into a Botanical Garden more than a decade ago.
The garden feels less like a manicured garden and more like a tropical rainforest, despite the fact it’s located in the middle of the city.
The gardens are also home to The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, which features more than 3,000 species of local and international birds of 200 species. The KL Bird Park has an open-concept design, where birds are free to fly and roam as they please.
16. Go Wild at Petrosains Discovery Centre
If you’re looking for educational things to do in Kuala Lumpur with kids, then Petrosains Discovery Centre is the place to go.
The Discovery Centre is owned by Petronas, the global oil and gas corporation.
They created the discover centre as a way to offer interactive, experiential, and hands-on ways for children to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills. It’s not just a playground, but a science centre, with exhibits that make learning STEM enjoyable and fun.
Their commitment to inspiring and nurturing the future generation of scientists, engineers, and technology experts is unparalleled.
If your child has an interest in science, then you might want to make a visit here.
17. Walk the Canopy Walk at Forest Eco Park
The KL Forest Eco Park is a patch of tropical rainforest in the heart of the city.
The highlight of this 10-hectare forest reserve is the 200-meter canopy walk, which takes you high into the treetops where you get an incredible view of the skyscrapers around you.
The Eco Park does not take a long time to explore, as aside from the canopy walk, there is not much else to see, but it does offer a great shortcut to the KL Tower which sits on the other side of the park.
18. Check Out Berjaya Times Square Theme Park
The Berjaya Times Square Theme Park is the number one attraction in Kuala Lumpur for kids since it’s the largest indoor theme park in Malaysia.
Measuring a gigantic 133,000 square feet, the theme park is separated into two zones; The Galaxy Station which is where thrill seekers can find rides and rollercoasters, and the Fantasy Garden, which is where little ones can enhance their roleplaying skills.
It’s fun for all ages, even mum and dad can enjoy acting like big kids here!
19. See the Animals at Zoo Negara
If you’re ever short on things to do in Kuala Lumpur with the family then a trip to the zoo is a sure winner for everyone.
This was the first local zoo for Malaysians and opened its doors in 1963, but has since become one of the most well-known zoos in the world.
With over 5137 animals in their care, from 476 species, you can be sure there is plenty to see here.
Zoo Negara is a huge space of 110 acres, and is an open-concept zoo – this means that over 90% of its animals are housed in spacious exhibits with landscapes befitting its nature.
Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
When visiting Kuala Lumpur, it would be a shame to not experience the luxury of the four and five-star hotels with the Southeast Asian price tag.
There are not many places in the world where you can stay at luxury hotels with rooftop infinity pools for a fraction of the price of one in the United States, Europe, or even Australia.
The Dorsett Kuala Lumpur is technically a 4-Star Hotel, but its service is no short of 5-Star, and the sensibility is more like a family-run establishment.
As such, we think it’s a great family-friendly hotel in Kuala Lumpur and we would recommend it to anyone unsure about where to stay in the city.
The hotel is also situated at the pulse of Kuala Lumpur city centre, near just about everything you want to see, do and eat.
Popular Kuala Lumpur Tours
Don’t miss these most popular tours and attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur
If you are like us and look to the past when traveling, there is no shortage of that in the form of food in hawker stalls, mosques, and temples.
But when you come to Kuala Lumpur, be ready for the future. More importantly, the future better is ready for it.
If seeing the world is your education, Kuala Lumpur is certainly one of the greatest teachers. It is truly a practice of diversity and a must for every family to experience.
More Malaysian Travel Tips
Are you planning to visit other parts of Malaysia? Then you might find these resources helpful.
- What to Do in Penang with Kids
- Hanging with Orangutans at the Orangutan Sanctuary Borneo
- The Ultimate Family Vacation in Langkawi, Malaysia
- 16 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia For Family Fun
- 10 Top Reasons to Visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo
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Have you visited Kuala Lumpur with kids? What are some of your tips for things to do? Let us know in the comments.