Kuala Lumpur DIY Budget Travel Guide & Itinerary (Don’t Break The Bank!)

Visit Kuala Lumpur without breaking the bank! See 20 attractions & landmarks for free and spend less than Php 8000 for the overall trip (airfare, accommodation & everything).
Here’s my detailed KL Budget Travel Itinerary for 2 days & 3 nights.
Enjoy!

Overview

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,  they’d say, is a melting pot of rich and diverse Asian culture. It is actually one of the must-go metros in Asia as you will find good city attractions, architectures and not to mention an experience of their flavorful cuisines.

Some interesting attractions in and near Kuala Lumpur include Merdeka Square, Batu Caves, Petronas Twin Towers and much more. Also known as a shoppers paradise, there are many huge shopping malls where you can literally shop til you drop in KL. However, if you prefer cheap good buys as souvenirs, then there are places you can go like Chinatown and Central Market.

At first, I really thought that I’d be spending more in this city. However, upon researching and while planning my trip, I was able to realize that you don’t need to spend more just to go to these attractions and sights. Most of them are actually free. But if you want to get the most of some attractions then, of course, you have to somehow burn your pockets for a one-time experience.

So to get started, I’ll be sharing my Kuala Lumpur itinerary as detailed as possible in here. And also you’ll find a breakdown of my expenses for my trip below.

Blog Content

  • Pre-travel Things
  • 2D-3N DIY Budget Travel Itinerary
  • Places I’ve Visited For Free
  • Food For Filipino Taste Buds & Other Than That..
  • Breakdown of Expenses
  • Personal Budget Tips

Pre-travel Things

I have booked a roundtrip flight to KL for just Php 4,060.00. How? Low Fares. This is actually a fairly cheap price compared to a regular one-way domestic flight in the Philippines. To get notified of promos and low fares, I have signed up for various airlines to become a member. With this, I frequently receive email notification about promos and special deals. Plus, you get a chance to earn points and use this in your future travels. And also, don’t forget to consider booking for a roundtrip of Sky Bus to and from the airport (KLIA2) when traveling to KL. This also cheaper than any kind of transportation in KL. For a roundtrip Skybus fare via airasia.com, I have spent Php 220 only.

Finding the best place to stay in an unfamiliar area is really difficult. However, the good thing is that I managed to secure a comfortable inn and location by checking and searching for best deals in Booking.com. It can actually show you the reviews, nearby attractions, and how to go directions so it was really convenient. Plus, most bookings have free cancellation and no prepayment needed. I found an inn in Chinatown that offers MYR 145.26 (that’s around Php 1,945.95, so Php 972.96 each if you are with someone) for a standard air-conditioned room, with two beds and own bathroom, for 4 days and 3 nights. Affordable right? So if you are with a group of friends, then it is way cheaper as you can divide the spend. By the way, I’ve been using Booking.com in all of my staycations, so if you want to grab some good deals for your trip, you can click here to book through my link and get a 10% cash reward after your checkout.BookingOne important thing we should never miss out is the network connection. I traveled to KL with a DIY Itinerary so having an internet for me is a must-have. I checked for any wifi devices for rent and they are just fine. The downside is that, of course, the picking up and returning of the device at the airport and also the amount you have to deposit. Plus, most of it offers limited data in a day like RM 28 for 1GB/day with a minimum of 3 days rent and a deposit of RM200. Thus, I’ll be spending more than Php 1000 for a 3GB data plus setting aside around Php 2600 for the deposit, not to mention a limitation of 5 devices to use the wifi. So to get rid of this hassle, I just contacted my mobile network provider and confirmed if I can use a roaming data in KL. Since I only need a data connection for 2 days, I find out that using a roaming data is cheaper. I spent Php 499/day for unlimited data for two days and so I was charged Php 998 on my postpaid bill. So all convenient. Since it’s unlimited, I’ll be able to share the use of data with my companion via hotspot and also, share the expenses. So literally, each of us just spent Php 499 for a two-day unlimited data connection. Again, traveling with a group of friends would make this a lot affordable for each person.


2D-3N DIY Budget Travel Itinerary

Here’s a detailed itinerary of my Kuala Lumpur trip.

Day 1 

  • Arrive at KLIA2 around 6pm
  • Ride Skybus to KL Sentral
  • Ride KTM to Pasar Seni
  • Check-in
  • Petaling Street/Chinatown 
  • Dinner
  • Back to the hotel/Rest

Day 2

  • Breakfast at 9am
  • Stadium Negara, view of KL Tower
  • Chan She Shu Yuen Temple
  • Petaling Street at morning
  • Central Market
  • Lunch
  • Art House Gallery Museum Of Ethnic Arts
  • Masjid Jamek
  • Sultan Abdul Samad Building
  • Merdeka Square
  • KL City Gallery
  • National Textile Museum
  • Dayabumi Complex
  • Petaling Street/Chinatown
  • Dinner
  • Back to the hotel/Rest

Day 3

  • Breakfast at 7am
  • Walk through Pasar Seni Station, view of KL Tower
  • Old Railway Station
  • Ride KTM from Pasar Seni to KL Sentral
  • Free bus from KL Sentral to Sentul Station
  • Ride KTM from Sentul Station to Batu Caves
  • Batu Caves
  • Snack
  • Ride KTM back to Sentul Station
  • Free bus from Sentul to KL Sentral
  • NU Sentral Mall
  • Lunch
  • Ride KTM from KL Sentral to KLCC
  • Petronas Twin Towers at day, view of KL Tower
  • Suria KLCC
  • Snack
  • KLCC Park
  • Dinner
  • Petronas Twin Towers at night 
  • Menara Public Bank at night 
  • Ride KTM back to Pasar Seni
  • Buy Souvenirs at Chinatown

Day 4

  • Go to KL Sentral via Uber
  • Ride Skybus from KL Sentral to KLIA2
  • Arrive at KLIA2
  • Breakfast
  • Buy Souvenirs at a Chocolate Shop
  • Check-in
  • Departure
  • Lunch in the plane
  • Arrive at Davao International Airport

20 Places I’ve Visited For Free

KL Sentral

KL Sentral is considered to be the central transportation hub in KL, as it is the intersection point of different trains and transportation vehicles around Kuala Lumpur. It offers global connectivity and it is seamlessly linking all urban and suburban residential, commercial and industrial areas (Klsentral.com.my, 2018).

Petaling Street/Chinatown 

The Petaling Street or Chinatown is surrounded by hotels and inns, making it a popular heaven amongst tourist like me. Not to mention its accessibility to most of the attractions in KL. That is why it is really convenient to book your stay around this place. Best visited at night, this is where a multitude of traders can be seen hawking all kinds of goods at bargain prices. So if you want to buy cheaper souvenirs, then it’s a place to be. And also, its a perfect location to experience authentic dishes and street foods at affordable prices.

At Night

At Day

At day, Petaling Street/Chinatown is just like a normal street with stalls along the side. Still, you can visit it at daytime when you want to see and buy some stuff.

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Chinatown during the day

Stadium Negara

Stadium Negara, also known as Stadium Tertutup, is an indoor arena located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is where the formal declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya happened on 31 August 1957 and it is the first modern building of the new nation. The stadium was the principal venue in Kuala Lumpur for celebrations and sporting events (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). We were only able to see the outside of the stadium. Still, it was a fulfillment to set foot on one of Malaysia’s historic site. Actually, you’ll be able to enjoy the stroll going to the stadium and also from there, you could see the KL Tower.

Chan She Shu Yuen Temple

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm Daily; Admission: FREE

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple is one of the largest and oldest surviving Buddhist temples in Malaysia. It is characterized by a typical open courtyard and symmetrical pavilions and decorated with colorful paintings, woodcarvings and ceramic fixtures. Built in 1906, the temple was actually the major place of residence during the early days. It is located at the famous Petaling Street and is also known as the Green Temple due to its striking green exterior and Kwang-Tung style roof. It is still a place of worship amongst the Chinese community (kuala-lumpur.ws, 2018). So if you want to feel an ambiance of Chinese worship and temples, then you may visit this place. Plus, it wouldn’t cost you anything.

Central Market

Opening Hours: 10:00AM – 10:00PM Daily

Central Market is considered a one-stop market for Malaysian collectibles, handicrafts, and souvenirs. A Malaysian cultural landmark, Central Market has been classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department (kuala-lumpur.ws, 2018). Inside, we saw nice-to-have items which cost less compared with those in shopping malls. You can actually enjoy window shopping as you see rich cultural handmade crafts. On the other hand, the second floor has several restaurants and a food court serving Asian cuisine. So you don’t need to worry about exhausting yourself strolling around as you can conveniently dine in at any affordable restaurants in this place.

Art House Gallery Museum Of Ethnic Arts

Opening Hours: 10:30AM – 7:00PM Daily; Admission: FREE

You can find this museum inside Central Market on the second floor.  It’s a private gallery, owned by Mr. Leonard Yiu, filled with treasures and very strange objects of all kinds and origins. So if you are into tribal pieces, then this is definitely your place. Whether you are looking for some fine pieces to decorate your home or you are just interested in the ethnic arts of Borneo, this place should be the highlight of any trip to Central Market. It has been described as the best antique shop cum art gallery in town (Malaysia-traveller.com, 2018).

Masjid Jamek

Opening Hours: 8:30AM-12:30PM & 2:30PM-4:30PM Daily; Admission: FREE

Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque), officially Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is situated at the confluence of Klang River and Gombak River. It is just actually a few minutes away from Central Market. The mosque is always packed with devotees and also tourists. This is definitely a must-visit place to appreciate the ancient architecture with a combination design of different cultures. It may not be something special to Muslims but for all other religions, this is indeed a place worth a visit. The locals dubbed Masjid Jamek as the “Friday Mosque”. If you intend to visit Masjid Jamek, unless you are a Muslim coming to perform your Friday prayers, Friday will not be a good day to visit as worshippers mostly fill in the place on this day. Ensure that you observe the decorum of the place as this is a place of worship. Take off your footwear when entering the mosque and be sure that you are dressed appropriately. Muslims are generally conservative when it comes to dressing, so revealing clothes will not be appropriate, no matter how comfortable you might feel in them (Kuala-lumpur.attractionsinmalaysia.com, 2018). 

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building used to be home to several government departments. Its uniquely Moorish designs and clock tower are widely photographed. It is located opposite Merdeka Square and it’s a few minutes walk from Masjid Jamek.

Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square is located just opposite of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It has been the venue for annual National Day parade and celebration. Merdeka Square is a giant field with perfectly green lawns and a centerpiece of the tallest flagpole in the world (95m) proudly displaying the Malaysian flag. Beside the flagpole is a giant TV screen with a mix of flashing advertisements and religious messages (kuala-lumpur.ws, 2018).

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Merdeka Square

KL City Gallery

Opening Hours: 9:00AM-6:30PM Daily; Admission: 10RM

Found just beside the Merdeka Square, KL City Gallery is a little air-conditioned museum that provides a history of KL  where you can get some great photo opportunities and be able to take home souvenirs from the gift shop. The 10 RM entrance allows you to spend the 5 RM at the coffee shop. So it is actually worth the visit especially when you come by at a time that there are fewer visitors. Anyhow, never miss taking a  photo opportunity at the giant I Love KL signage.

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I LOVE KL photo-stop

National Textile Museum

Opening Hours: 9:00AM-6:00PM Daily; Admission: FREE

National Textile Museum is located in front of Merdeka Square just along the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It is a heritage building previously occupied by various departments and institutions. The exterior is definitely a nice picturesque photo opportunity. Inside shows all the various nation’s costumes, how they are made as well as the jewelry worn in those days. The costumes were beautifully designed and embroidered. It’s definitely a must see place.

Dayabumi Complex

Dayabumi Complex is a major landmark in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It houses several commercial facilities and is one of the earliest skyscrapers in the city. The building was designed in a modern Islamic style (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). As tall as 515ft, the building can already be seen while you are at the Central Market. However, to get a better view, Dayabumi Complex is just a few walks away from National Textile Museum.

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Dayabumi Complex view from the Central Market

KL Tower view from Pasar Seni

KL Trip would never be complete without seeing the KL Tower. I mean, it is the seventh tallest telecommunication tower in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule of listed places to visit and budgeted itinerary, we were only able to see the KL Tower from Stadium Negara, Pasar Seni station and from KLCC. There are a lot of attractions and activities to do in KL Tower, of course, accompanied by expenses. The observation deck alone costs Php 500 – Php 600 so if you’ve got enough budget and time then you can go for it.

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station/Old Railway Station

The Kuala Lumpur railway station or old railway station is notable for its architecture, adopting a mixture of Eastern and Western designs. The building is a favorite sightseeing attraction in the city due to its gorgeous façade for beautiful photo opportunities. It used to be KL’s main railway hub until 2001 when KL Sentral took over much of its role (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). Just near Pasar Seni station, you don’t want to miss dropping by this place for a good photo.

Batu Caves

Opening Hours: 7:00AM-8:00PM Daily; Admission: FREE

Batu Caves, just a few kilometers away from KL, is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu (Stone River), which flows past the hill. It is the tenth (Pattu in Tamil) limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of a nearby village. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is said to be around 400 million years old (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). Here are the directions to get there. And if you want to see a glimpse of what’s inside, then you can also check this vlog.

NU Sentral Mall

Opening Hours: 10:00AM-10:00PM Daily

NU Sentral is easily accessible from KL Sentral, Malaysia’s largest rail transport hub with a direct link to Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal where over 160,000 commuters frequent the transit daily. It is an eight-storey mall with large green rooftops and a multitude of entertainment spaces and alfresco dining. So if you want an exciting shopping experience, then you can come to this place (kuala-lumpur.ws, 2018).

Suria KLCC

Opening Hours: 10:00AM-10:00PM Daily

KLCC Mall is another popular shopping destination you’d want to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Found under the famous Petronas Twin Towers, you can actually visit this place not just to shop but to check on PETRONAS Art Gallery, also known as Galeri PETRONAS, Aquaria KLCC, a world-class oceanarium, and Petrosains Discovery Centre, a high-tech science discovery center within the mall (Suriaklcc.com.my, 2018).

KLCC Park

KLCC Park is a 50-acre garden set close to Suria KLCC shopping center where you can relax and enjoy the view of the famous Petronas Twin Towers.  On the park grounds is a 10,000 sqm manmade lake (Lake Symphony) with a 43m bridge that cuts across. Definitely, Lake Symphony is the reason most people frequent the park; it has water fountains that can shoot water up to a height of 42m. These daily water shows occur at noon and in the evenings and are popular with kids. Besides the various waterfalls, fountains, cascade and reflecting pools scattered around the park, there are a variety of facilities at KLCC Park including a  children’s playground, a 1.3km-long jogging track, shelters and benches, patterned footpaths and sculptures. On KLCC Park’s western stretch is a public children’s swimming pool (kuala-lumpur.ws, 2018).

Menara Public Bank

Menara Public Bank is among the tallest building in Malaysia. Standing at about 558ft tall, this building might be just an ordinary Malaysian structure at day. However, during the night, you will be captivated by its lights. Found in front of the Petronas Twin Towers, every tourist will never miss a photo opportunity with this beautiful architecture.

Petronas Twin Towers

Opening Hours: 9:00AM-9:00PM Tue-Sun; Admission: See here

The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers (Malay: Menara Petronas, or Menara Berkembar Petronas), are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. The buildings are a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). You see, KL trip will never be completed without this attraction so undeniably this attraction almost runs out of tickets in a day. So if you’d really want to climb up the tower then better book tickets online ahead of your trip.


Food For Filipino Taste Buds

I am a picky food eater, sorry! 🙂 For some reason, though I’d really want to explore Malaysian cuisines, my body won’t just take it. This is definitely one of my weaknesses when going to places. So for anyone who’s like me and you’d want to make sure you are spending on a food you will definitely eat up then you can consider these:

Malaysian Roasted Chicken, Chicken BBQ and Milk Tea in Chinatown

First night in KL and we have no idea where to eat. The good thing was that just near our hotel there are multiple affordable food stalls offering roasted chickens and ducks. Well, one thing I know is that as long as it is chicken, then I’d be able to eat it up. P.S No Roasted Chicken photo available, I’ve eaten it up before remembering to take a photo of it 🙂

Wok Rice

This is actually Chinese cuisine. As mentioned, Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures and definitely, you’d see many Chinese around KL. It’s a dish of cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or a frying pan and is usually mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, seafood, or meat. Actually, we’ve mostly eaten WOK Rice while in KL.

Nasi Ayam Uncle Chin

It is a Chinese Malaysian favorite of fluffy seasoned rice served with roast chicken and accompanied by special chili, ginger, and garlic sauce.

Fast-food Chains

McDonald’s

I first thought that McDonald’s menu is entirely the same across different countries. When I entered the fast-food chain and looked at the board, I had a hard time choosing what to eat. Lol! One reason is that they don’t serve chicken meals (chicken + rice) for breakfast so I have to choose something else and two, I don’t trust the aroma of all other breakfast meals. Well, one thing I could say for a fact is that Malaysia uses really strong spices and herbs in their cooking. So to save time and avoid a “don’t-know-what-to-order” look at the counter, you may want to try these meals which are manageable for your sensitive Filipino tongue. I’d say manageable because you can still tolerate the taste in spite the strong flavors of the chicken, sausage, and bun.

KFC

Same with McDonald’s, meals in KFC have strong aroma too especially the rice. Chicken meals are served with Malaysian rice and unfortunately, there’s no option for an ordinary homecooked rice. However, I’d say it is still manageable for a Filipino tongue because for me, only the rice tastes different. Other than that, you can dive in for a decent Filipino meal of chicken, fries, and salad.

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Chicken Meal + Fries + Salad

Wendy’s

Among the fast-food chains I’ve eaten in KL, Wendy’s has the most decent Filipino taste. There’s an option for a homecooked rice so it was way better than KFC. The chicken tastes a lot better than the other two above.

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Golden Chicken Rice Combo & Nasi Ayam Combo

Other Than That…

Here are the two things you’d want to try in KL. These are really good treats 🙂

Mango Feast of Hui Lau Shan in KLCC Suria

I love mangoes. So for those who want to chill after a hot sunny walk looking around the Petronas Twin Towers, then you can try this treat. It’s a three-menu mango dessert – and my favorite is the third one, the ice-cream-cake-like Mango Crisp 🙂

Hot Malaysian Kopi of Quizinn in KLIA2 Gateway

I’m a coffee lover, and a day without coffee is really not my thing. I don’t want to exaggerate it, but this is the best coffee I’ve tasted so far. Literally, this is my top 1 as of this writing. It is so rich and it really fitted my taste, enough bitterness, and sweetness. I can’t say anything more, but YOU MUST TRY IT. You’ll be surprised how a delicious coffee like this was made so affordable.

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Hot Malaysian Kopi

Breakdown Of Expenses

Here’s a breakdown of my whole KL trip in Philippine Peso. 

KL Trip

 

Well, I guess I didn’t break my bank account just to travel to Kuala Lumpur. 🙂 How? 

Personal Budget Tips

Here are some of my personal tips to spend less on a DIY Budget Itinerary:

  • Don’t travel alone, the more the cheaper.
  • Prioritize FREE attractions; unless you really have that one attraction you’d die for, so if you have the extra budget then go for it.
  • Draft your itinerary with a seamless affordable route. (See my DIY Itinerary)
  • Use your feet, WALK more. (Well, for free rides KL has this Go KL bus! Try this.)
  • Stay in an accessible, ‘nearest-to-attraction’ hotels (Check inns in Petaling Street)
  • Ride on public transportation, instead of taking taxis, etc. (Use KTM Trains & Uber)
  • Eat on time – when you get hungry you crave for anything and it tempts you to spend more!
  • Buy souvenirs in Chinatown.

This wraps up my Kuala Lumpur trip. Hope this will help you with your future budget travels. Feel free to leave a comment!

#livefreelovehard 

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