By Aina Nabiha on September 5, 2018


Kuala Lumpur (KL), like other modern metropolises, is not short of mega malls and Ikeas.  But looking past all the humdrum of Western-inspired modernity, there are many hidden gems in the city that are authentically local. Here are five tips to make your experience in KL unique.

1. Café-hopping to quench that heat-induced thirst

Nowadays, the appreciation of the coffee industry is becoming mainstream as we see more stores pop up like weeds amongst lush trees of urbanization.


Today’s hip cafes – for example Jao Tim in Petaling Street that exudes vintage charm with exposed bricks and weekly live jazz music, including Bukit Bintang-bound VCR café that prides its modern interior and vaulted ceiling – prove that these venues are more than just Instagram-worthy stopovers.

One of the most talked about café in KL is Merchants Lane in Petaling Street with its culturally luxuriant interior and divine culinary offerings. It is one of the must-try places that invite city dwellers and travelers to roam into a mixed vision of the city’s past.

Classical ambience in Jao Tim cafe (Photo from Facebook)

2. Fill your artistic needs with gallery hopping


One of the advantages of being in an urban city is the access to art galleries. Gallery hopping is great when you have that extra day off with no plans and no commitments.

Art galleries when appreciated correctly, gives your mind the time and space to unwind from the clutter of work and worries. With their quiet spaces and soft lighting, you are bound to feel relaxed in an environment with string sense of space.

Some of the galleries worth visiting are Shalini Ganendra Fine Arts gallery in Petaling Jaya, Wei Ling gallery in Brickfields and of course the understated but always accessible Petronas Gallery at KLCC.

Shalini Ganendra Fine Art Gallery in Petaling Jaya (Photo from Facebook)

 3. Cant take the heat, but need the thrill? Try indoor sports!

For those who are thrill-seekers at heart, but are beaten down by the tropical weather of Kuala Lumpur, indoor sports venues might just be the antidote.

One of the most recent indoor sports venues is District 21, located within IOI city centre mall. It is an indoor theme park filled with extreme games that one would not expect to be situated in a popular shopping centre.

Other places such as Flow Rider and Air Rider in 1 Utama provide the chance for the public to experience realistic surfing and skydiving experience in a simulated environment.

Air Rider provides a realistic skydiving experience in a safe and controlled setting (Photo from Facebook)

4. Opt for an Open Mic session to dish out your inner Shakespeare

Following the trend of other urban cities and their dynamic pop-culture, the platform for musicians, poets and the general public to share and perform or tell a story has sprouted like wild mushrooms after rain throughout the city.

It would be almost controversial to spend an evening at places like The Bee and The Grind 22, which confront their patrons with thought-provoking topics and emotional music; but it is popular for multiple reasons.

Open mic events allow you to not just support local artists and performers, but also be sensitive towards different life stories and experiences. Prepare to learn new things at every visit. Plus, it is highly entertaining!

Open Mic sessions at The Bee (photo from Facebook)

5. Shopping!

If all fails, shopping is your best bet in Kuala Lumpur. Still, dont be blinded by the countless branded stores at the malls; instead, shop creatively and shop peculiarly.

Specialty stores like Recro that sells refurbished, mid-century looking furniture, and CzipLee bookstore, which is literally a stationery wonderland, can give you that sugar rush without the risk of cavities.

Recro refurbishes and reuses old furniture to make a unique collection (photo from Facebook)

And if youre not looking for an item to bring home, how about learning a thing or two on cameras at Bang Bang Geng at the Publika Shopping Gallery? The store hoards plenty of old collector’s item, and though they are not for sale, at a reasonable price, you can go home a bit more photography-savvy and win hundreds more likes on Instagram.

Zhongshan Building is another must-go attraction if you would rather spend your time at one place. Previously an abandoned building, this new oasis that houses local vendors who sell lovably quirky and edgy items, offers the chance for the public to shop all kinds of specialty items under one roof.

Zhongshan building at Kampung Attap (Photo from Facebook)

So, slip on your sneakers and pick your desired adventure. Each of these tips promises unique experiences that could only be found in KL!


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