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Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a huge city, especially if you factor in its sprawling, largely residential suburbs. But despite its size, the overwhelming majority of its hotel accommodations can be found in three major neighborhoods.
City Centre, at the core of the urban area, is Kuala Lumpur’s most historic colonial neighborhood and home to a wide array of hotels. These rooms put you within walking distance of sites like the famous Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur’s independence square.
North of City Centre is Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, a district known for its diverse collection of markets, malls and other shopping centers. This is where you’re most likely to find incredibly cheap hotel deals in Kuala Lumpur, particularly in the compact neighborhood of Chow Kit, located at the district’s northern tip.
Kuala Lumpur Hotel Tips
The selection of hotels in Kuala Lumpur is comprehensive; five star luxury properties, upscale business hotels, mid-range chains, budget hostels and even small, family-run inns can be found throughout the city. While it’s true that you’ll likely find something in your price range in every neighborhood, some areas are more expensive than others. The Golden Triangle, owing to its location at the center of the action, has the city’s highest average rates. Rooms are generally cheap, however, in comparison with other major cities around the world. Five star hotel rates well under $200 help give Kuala Lumpur a reputation as one of the most affordable destinations for luxury accommodations.
Rates are lower in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and City Centre, but the price difference is often small. Always check the finest hotels first to get the best room for your dollar.
Kuala Lumpur Hotel Recommendations
One of Kuala Lumpur’s best features is its incredible skyline, and the most dramatic views can be enjoyed from the upper-floor rooms of the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. This City Centre outpost of the Asian luxury chain has a host of amenities that include a posh cocktail lounge, a spa and health club, tennis courts and three fine dining restaurants.
Also in City Centre, the Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur is one of the best values in the upscale category. The Hard Rock Café and a few other trendy restaurants and lounges are located on-site, so this is a good choice if you want convenient nightlife options.
The best value in town may well be the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, known for its stunning rooftop swimming pool and sharply designed rooms. Though it’s located a little out of the way in the Brickfields District southwest of City Centre, the accommodations are worth the extra travel, and the surrounding neighborhood has its own charming collection of shops and restaurants.
When staying in the Golden Triangle, the Shangri-La Hotel is a distinctly elegant choice, with a lavishly decorated lobby and rooms appointed with modern electronics and fixtures. It makes the most of the tropical setting with a whimsical, palm-lined outdoor pool and a popular poolside bar.
Kuala Lumpur Transportation
The good news about Kuala Lumpur’s mass transit system is that it’s quite widespread, covering virtually every area of interest to tourists. The challenge is that it consists of multiple different transit companies which haven’t coordinated their lines, schedules or ticketing.
Railway systems include the KL Monorail, KLIA Ekspres, Putra LRT, RapidKL and KTM Komuter, and though you’ll need separate tickets for each one, you can purchase these from fare machines at every stop. Some of these stops are labeled on system maps as connection points between two or more lines, but this often involves long walks through tunnels and walkways to get from one line to another. RapidKL also operates bus lines throughout the city, where riders can pay fares on board with exact change. If you familiarize yourself with the system maps before you arrive and plan your outings in advance, public transit is often the most efficient mode of travel.
Taxis are also in good supply, and you’ll usually have a ride within minutes if you walk to one of the city’s numerous and clearly marked taxi stands. You can also hail a taxi on the street, though the busy roads can make this more difficult. Traffic is heavy throughout Kuala Lumpur during the day, so you should allow extra travel time when taking a cab rather than public transit. Standard taxis cannot pick up passengers at the airport, but you can get an affordable ride after your flight to Kuala Lumpur by taking an official airport taxi. Tickets for these cabs must be purchased at kiosks inside the airport.