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Travelling and Dining in Kuala Lumpur

Updated on November 2, 2014

So you have decided to venture out into Kuala Lumpur and want to know just what options are available and which are the best. But you also want to know about the food scene, what is available and where are the best locations for a meal, whether for 'on the go' or fine dining. This article will highlight some of the modes of transportation in the nation’s capital to take the hiccups out of your travel, as well as a glimpse into the popular foods and restaurants to give you a new love affair with their cuisine while feeling very at home at the same time.



If you decide to travel by car in Kuala Lumpur, you have the options of hiring a taxi (official and unofficial), renting a car or driving your own private vehicle. However, you might be better off for hiring a taxi if you’re travelling in a group or are unfamiliar with the roads, climate and the city in general.

There have been reports of infamous flooding while driving, so if you are not familiar with the areas which are flood prone and the seasons, it might not be the best idea to be driving yourself. Additionally, there is the issue of traffic jams that might be a deterrent. As a result, if you are easily annoyed by driving in traffic, you might be disappointed.

Notwithstanding, despite reports of some drivers being very friendly and service oriented, you might be surprised to discover that though illegal, there are taxi drivers who will not use the meters in charging passengers. This is predominantly so during peak hours where the demand exceeds the supply as well as during late nights and rainy seasons. It is therefore good to know what the going rates are so you can have an idea of a point to bargain from.

Bargaining in these cases is usually better before starting the journey. However, you still have the option of taking a different taxi or walking if you are being told that the meter will not be used. Another point to note is that the taxi drivers that park up at the hotels and airports are likely to charge more than those who are stopped in passing.


There is also a vibrant motorcycling industry in Kuala Lumpur, where you can get to rent motorbikes, scooters and accompanying accessories, or sign up for motorcycle tours. If you are thinking of renting a motorbike, most if not all of the famous brands are available. The motorcycle tours offer you an opportunity for seeing the city and countryside from a different angle, with the wind in your hair.

You can also rent bikes for your business trips to avert the potentially dreaded traffic. However, there has been some debate on whether motorcycle insurance accompanies bike rentals, so it might suit you to first do your research if this is on your intended to do list.


If you prefer to travel by boat, there is a vibrant ferry service which will save you a lot of time from certain points. There is also the option of water bicycle rental available for a bit more adventure. You can also book boat tours and night lifeboat rides. Overall, there are several seaports, so there is a vibrant sea life, whether for small or larger vessels. However, within the city limits, you will most likely need to take additional ground transportation from the seaports.


If you are a lover of fine foods, then you will be in for a treat in Kuala Lumpur. But don’t despair, it is hardly likely that you'll be encountering any ‘strange’ foods that you have never heard of the combinations, or their main ingredients.


In Kuala Lumpur, there is a melting pot of culture of sorts, as there are many Indians, Chinese, Indonesian and Middle Easterners among other nationals who have made the capital city their home. The result is also a melting pot of foods as each culture and people combine what they come to learn of with what their traditional dishes are. Predominantly, however, there is ease of access to traditional foods as well as nation-specific foods in this capital.

In addition to the melting pot of foods and cultures, Kuala Lumpur’s traditional dishes are famous, the most popular one of which is the Malay food. Because the Malay people are the biggest race, the Malay food is the most popular dish available throughout the country. Malay food is said to have been originated in Indonesia, but like many others, have been influenced by Malaysians’ style of cooking which boasts other nationals’ cuisine to include Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern countries. The Malay food is therefore a prime example of the ‘feel at home’ food culture of the Malaysian capital.


Important to note, however, is the fact that because of their Muslim religion, foods that are forbidden by the religion are not consumed by Malay people. This includes alcohol and other non-halal (forbidden or unclean) foods, to include pork. The Malay people, however, are big consumers of beef and fish.


Having established what foods are available and which are must-haves, the task is now in the selection of the best restaurants to really feel at home or fully enjoy fine dining with extraordinary cuisine or ‘home food’ with a surprise twist. With this in mind, Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of eateries from road-side cuisine to top restaurants.


Among the top eateries in Kuala Lumpur is the famous Jalan Alor. Jalan Alor is basically a ‘food road’, boasting a lot of hawker stalls and seafood restaurants where you can get popular local dishes. Because of its prime location, this strip of road is popular for after-clubbing eateries.


Old China Cafe is a gem in Chinatown, which serves up delectable spicy dishes with an ambiance of history for the tourist or traveller. These Peranakan dishes (combination of local, Chinese, Malay and other influences) will surely satisfy the taste buds and leave you loving the local cuisine a tad bit more, given the familiar taste in the mix.


Coliseum Cafe is simply the must go for locals and tourists alike. This cafe is famous for its legendary Hainanese chicken (again influenced by the people of the Chinese Hainan province) and Hainanese chicken rice is simply a must have dish.


Finally, Atmosphere 360 makes the top must go eateries in Kuala Lumpur. While there the main attraction here might not only be the meal, this restaurant is a revolving high-rise building which places you at the top of the town for a tremendous 360 degrees view, as the name suggests. Of course all your famous food discoveries are still available here.


So there you have it, a city waiting to be discovered by your taste buds and seeking to appease your every transportation need. The next time you go, you’ll know which place is the best for your dating and group hang out and a dinner, as well as what some of the options in transportation are.

A Malaysian Meal
A Malaysian Meal | Source


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    • Keisha Hunter profile image

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Thanks for stopping by is always a winner once you don't mind exploring.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Jalan Alor was fun for us. Exploring the unique food displayed was really interesting.