The art of travelling is less about the amount of cash you carry and more about the value of every dollar spent. In times of unfavourable currency exchange or when your budget is lean but the wanderlust is strong, Malaysia has a string of adventures that will cost you almost nothing. All you need is a map, a bottle of water (or two) and a keen curiosity.
Here’s your list of 4 free things to do in Kuala Lumpur, the destination built for cultural thrills and Malaysian meals.
1. Walk through history
The best way to soak in Kuala Lumpur’s history is a walking trail around Merdeka Square.
Free guided tours of Merdeka Square will give you a glimpse into Malaysia’s heritage and history. Check out nearby sites like the Royal Selangor Club, National Textile Museum, Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Cathedral of Malay. The old buildings from the 1800-1900s, showcase a mix of Malaysia’s colonial influence and Islamic architecture.
The Merdeka Square heritage tours take 2.5 hours. Groups depart from Kuala Lumpur City Gallery at 9:00am every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
2. Make it to the markets
Whether it’s night or day, Kuala Lumpur’s markets will keep you well entertained. You’ll catch a glimpse of authentic culture, local Malaysian food and an interesting rabbit hole of great souvenirs.
Pedal down to Chinatown’s famous Petaling St for a mix of food and stall holders selling you their wallets, watches and more. Bag a bargain or simply take in all the sights and sounds at this iconic spot.
Need some souvenirs for home? Central Market is a must. Open for business since 1888, the two floors in this market house. A range of cultural handicraft and souvenirs from over 300 stalls. With a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian crafts, the Central Market is a cultural exploration that is worth a visit. On weekends, the Central Market’s outdoor stage hosts cultural performances for free and you’ll be able to catch a sneak peak of colourful costumes and music from 8pm.
Chow Kit is another market must-see and not for the faint- hearted; it will provide you with a cultural experience to remember! Get up close and personal with local shoppers and vendors in the whirlwind of smells and colours. The large open market is divided into a wet market - fruits, land and sea meat, stalls of spices and vegetables and the dry market - selling fabrics, shoes, toys and more.
3. See a glimpse of Little India
Take an afternoon to immerse yourself in the city’s Little India, otherwise known as Brickfields. Little India features shops, restaurants and a bright array of Indian culture, making for a unique cultural experience. There is a free Little India@Brickfields Guided Walking Tour every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, starting at 9.30am, from in front of the YMCA. Anyone can join one of these free tours!
If you’re visiting in October don’t miss the annual Diwali! The festival of lights is a must-see.
4. Catch your breath in the park
Parks in Malaysia are rarely talked about. Spend the cool hours of the day enjoying Kuala Lumpur’s greenery over a snack or ice cold drink. The central Lake Gardens includes an orchid garden and a walk-in aviary that can be enjoyed after a visit to the nearby National Mosque or Islamic Art Museum.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park is another popular spot with a children’s playground, a wading pool, fountains and a musical light show every evening. Enjoy a break here after visiting the Suria KLCC shopping centre and of course take a selfie in front of the Petronas Towers.
A trip to Malaysia will cost little in return for the unique cultural experiences that’s waiting to be discovered by you. Find the best deals and book your next getaway with AirAsia.