The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, may be one of the younger cities in the Southeast Asian region but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the kind of place that prefers an early night. When you’ve finished sightseeing for the day, have a quick wash and brush-up then head back out into the city. Here are my top picks for where to explore on a night out in KL:
Scrumptious dinner with a city backdrop
Photo by Robert M
Get one of the best views of the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower at Troika Sky Dining. The 24th floor of the building houses four dining establishments to cater to your preferences. Witness the beautiful sunset of the city as light turns to dark at Feugo, a South American tapas bar and restaurant. Don’t despair if you’ve already made dinner plans because you can always go for a glass of wine and take in the city’s skyline at Claret, a cosy wine bar that has an outdoor terrace.
Or perhaps you’ll like to go all out and indulge yourself in a gastronomic delight. If that’s the case then head over to Cantaloupe where famous head chef Christian Bauer offers a diverse menu with French, Italian, Greek and Spanish influences. With floor-to-ceiling angled glass windows it’s a great way to enjoy a view of the city in a weatherproof space!
Partying at the heart of KL
Changkat Bukit Bintang is the place to be for its impressive list of restaurants and nightlife venues. Located behind Jalan Bukit Bintang, the convenient location makes it a trendy drinking hole for locals and tourists alike. The street comes with bright lights and thumping music as people unwind after a long day. Be sure to check out the buildings which are mostly refurbished colonial shop houses – these two-storey buildings were once used as business establishments on the ground floor and residential areas for the owners on the second storey.
There are many hidden gems packed into this small boulevard – it is known as the ‘United Nations of Fine Dining’ after all. The plethora of food available can be overwhelming but if you take time to browse all the establishments, I am sure you will be able to find something tantalising to your tastebuds. I suggest going to Dining in the Dark if you are adventurous and want to experience eating in complete darkness – the mystery of the dishes you have enjoyed throughout the night will be revealed to you at the end of the meal.
Authentic night market experience
A night out in Malaysia would not be complete without a local night market where vendors sell delicious street food, fruits and vegetables and a variety of other goods on the street. Petaling Street is commonly known as ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ which is Cantonese for ‘Starch Factory Street’ – this is related to the history of Yap Ah Loy, the founding father of Kuala Lumpur, opening a tapioca mill on the street where the tubers from his farms were ground into flour.
Today, it has become one of the most famous street markets and tourist spots in the country. Completely pedestrianised with a roof cover constructed to protect visitors from the harsh sun or heavy rain, the lively night market is filled with hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of goods at cheap prices. Haggling is part of the culture so you can definitely find great bargains and you won’t have to worry about communication problems since English is widely spoken.
Local street food paradise
Photo by David McKelvey
With so much food to discover in the city, it’s hard to settle on a single place to eat. If you’re willing to brace the humid heat for an outdoor dinner or supper, go to Jalan Alor where you’ll be able to find almost all the local street delicacies on offer. A popular eating venue for its sheer variety of food, get a feel for the local culture as you sit down on plastic stools at open air tables for your meal.
A notable dish is Wong Ah Wah’s chicken wings – marinated with a blend of soy sauce, spices and seasonings and then grilled to perfection with a crispy and slightly charred skin. Also try the signature Hokkien mee, KL’s version uses thick noodles which are fried with lard and dark soy sauce. Rice, noodles, seafood, desserts or snacks – whatever it is you’re craving, a trip to Jalan Alor promises to deliver.
Musical night out with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
Dress up smartly for a cultural experience at the Philharmonic Orchestra Hall where the world-class outfit of professional musicians will enthral you with classical melodies. Located in the Petronas Twin Towers, its architecture is inspired by 19th century European concert halls with simple and elegant wood finishings. The acoustics of the hall maximises the natural quality of the sound in the hall and the lighting system is splendid.
There are a range of performances which extend beyond classical music – take a look at the season calendar. The concert hall is famous for its Klais Pipe organ which is the backdrop of the stage making for an extra special musical evening.
A walk down memory lane
A historical landmark of Malaysia, the Merdeka Square (Independence Square), this was the location where the Malayan Flag was hoisted on August 31, 1957 signifying Malaysia’s independence from British rule. It is also a popular venue for many outdoor festivals, carnivals and the Merdeka Day Parade which is held yearly on August 31.
Surrounding the square are old landmarks like the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, National History museum and Royal Selangor Club. At night, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building lights up in a spectacular burst of colour which highlights its blend of colonial and Islamic architecture – this is definitely a building worthy of a picture or two.
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Where did you go on your night out in the city?