Want to go beyond the surface and really immerse yourself in the culture when you visit the capital of Malaysia? Here are some ways that you can get the local perspective on Kuala Lumpur and understand it better than the average traveller.
Take a Tour With Locals
Don’t you wish you had a friend in Kuala Lumpur who knew the local culture and could show you around? With Locals tours are the next best thing. The concept is that it is a “peer to peer marketplace” where local people can offer their skills and experiences to travelers.
You can choose a local person who will take you around on a very affordable private tour of the city and give you insight into all the cool stuff. My guide was friendly and welcoming and gave me a very interesting and entertaining tour.
Check Out the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia
By Chongkian – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Malaysia is 61% Muslim and this downtown KL museum gives you a chance to dig deeper into the beautiful and meaningful history of Islamic art. Take a break from walking around in the heat and come inside to admire these beautiful creations.
The works in the Islamic Arts museum span a huge period from the Umayyads to the Ottomans and include textiles, calligraphy, paintings, hand-written Korans, tapestries and more. (Also, the building that the museum is housed within is pretty spectacular.)
3. Take Cooking Lessons
Malaysian food is pretty amazing. It is an exciting blend of flavours inspired by Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisine and it will really blow your mind.
I would recommended strolling down Jalan Alor (Kuala Lumpur’s food street) in the evenings and letting your senses be overwhelmed by the tasty smells bombarding you from every direction. Try lots of new dishes and find your favourite – whether that is Nasi Lemak, Laksa curry noodles, Mee Goreng or something else entirely.
Then, once Malaysian food has made it’s way into your heart via your stomach – sign up for a cooking class to learn how these flavourful dishes are made and how you can whip them up at home when you start to get a craving (and you will!).
4. Join a Meetup Group
Meetup is a great website that connects people of similar interests and allows them to meet up and enjoy activities together. It is a great way to meet local people and make friends – whether you are staying in Kuala Lumpur for a short time or settling for longer.
For example, on the Kuala Lumpur Meetup page right now there is a couple of hiking groups (a great opportunity to see the local nature trails), a philosophy club, a digital nomads group and a group for travelers to make new friends.
5. Get an Insight Into Social Commentary Through Street Art
By ChristineKL – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Like in most cities around the world, street art in Kuala Lumpur is an underground art form filled with social commentary. You’ll see a lot of buildings, walls and other surfaces covered with colourful paintings (especially around Klang River) that make bold statements about current issues.
Take a street art walk around the city, visiting spots such as Masjid Jamek, Pasar Seni, Jalan Sultan and the Dato Keramut LRT Station.Take your camera with you and capture some images of these bright and powerful murals.