Kuala Lumpur Festivals And Events
Festivals and events in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia’s population practices a variety of religions, with Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity taking centre stage, and as a result you will find that a lot of Kuala Lumpur festivals and events are based around religious occasions – with many national holidays to celebrate these auspicious occasions. The biggest and grandest festivals in Kuala Lumpur are Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas, with festivities that include friends and family from all races and religions, turning them into colourful, harmonious proceedings. Besides that, there are also ‘mini’ cultural festivals that take place, such as Awal Muharram, Chap Goh Mei, Thaipusam, and Easter.
It is important to note that while most Kuala Lumpur festivals have fixed dates, others are dependent on the lunar calendar, resulting in dates that vary annually. Besides spiritual celebrations, other special events in KL range from kite flying (Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival) and bicycle competitions (Le Tour De Langkawi) to the Malaysian Grand Prix. We recommend that you check the dates of major festivals before your trip as it can get difficult to find a room in KL during that time.
Date: 23rd January, 2016
Location: Batu Caves
Thaipusam is a colourful annual celebration in honour of the Hindu god Subramanian, with festivities mainly taking place in Batu Caves – a limestone hill with a series of caverns and temples about 13km north of KL. It is a famous festival largely because of the practice of devotees who impale their bodies with long metal skewers during the event.
Celebrated by the city’s Tamil Indian community, Thaipusam is one of the best times to visit Batu Caves. 272 stairs lead to the top and just inside the front door, piles of stone slabs have fashioned out a sort of Norman arch that frames a giant, granite-carved statue of Lord Subramanian. Inside the caves are more exquisitely carved Hindu guardian figures; some statues at Batu Caves, like the four-armed depiction of Prithvi, look deeply peaceful while others (such as the giant, green-skinned Lord Hanuman) are intimidating. Read More...
- How to get there: There are bus services that can take you all the way up to Batu Caves during Thaipusam: simply look for the bus with the paper signage stuck to its window that says ‘Batu Caves’ or ‘Thaipusam’. They start out at the stand near the Pasar Seni LRT station (behind Sri MahamariammanTemple) and the tickets cost RM2 per one-way trip.
Date: 8th to 23rd February 2016
The Chinese New Year is the most important ethnic festival for the Chinese in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the whole of Malaysia. It celebrates the first day of the lunar calendar, and lasts for 15 days. The prelude to the festival is filled with much fan-fare, shopping and events around the city. Chinese around the country will eagerly prepare their homes for the big celebrations and reunions set to take place. As most Chinese in Kuala Lumpur are born in other states, the week before the first day of Chinese New Year is a massive exodus of people from the city to the outstation towns from which they were born ad where their parents still reside. Read More...
Date: 14th February 2016
Whether you are hoping to impress on a first date or just celebrate the most romantic night of the year with a long-term loved one, Kuala Lumpur has a wide range of romantic fine-dining restaurants where you can spend a loved-up night in style.
Come February 14, these critically-acclaimed restaurants go all out with decadent Valentine’s Day menus as well as added extravagance such as candle-lit tables, complimentary champagne, live music and personalised service. Catering to lovebirds with a taste for the finer things in life, we’ve rounded up a quick list of the 5 Most Extravagant Places for Valentine's Day in Kuala Lumpur. Read More...
Date: 11th to 13th March, 2016
Location: Persisiran Tasik Putrajaya, Precinct 2, Putrajaya
Get high at the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, an annual event in Kuala Lumpur that really makes you sit up and take notice. A great way to snap some great travel photos, it takes place near the Putrajaya Lake and is reminiscent of New York’s Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Expect to see lots of colourful, teardrop-shaped balloons but there are also some outrageous, quirkily-shaped ones. Previous participating hot air balloons have included one shaped like Darth Vader’s head, a cat, Doraemon, a clown, a pink elephant’s head and even one shaped like a giant peacock. Read More...
Date: 23rd April until 8th May, 2016
Location: Multiple venues
Urbanscapes 2016 is set to rock Malaysia between the months of April and May, welcoming a whole host of globally-renowned headline acts alongside some of the best local talent in the way of live music and performing arts. Spread across three weekends, Urbanscapes 2016 kicks off with a massive food, fashion, and art fiesta at the Urbanscape House along Jalan Hang Kasturi.
Entrance is free of charge, where visitors can enjoy a wide range of delicacies from some of the city’s most prominent cafes and bakeries. There are also numerous workshops available throughout the entire festival, such as terrarium, tote bag painting, calligraphy, and food styling and photography. Read More...
Date: 26th to 29th May 2016
Location: University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Music-wise, Kuala Lumpur has been pretty interesting lately. The last few years has seen acts such as Incubus, Linkin Park, Sigur Ros and Jason Mraz passing through, and later this year heavy metal superstars Metallica are scheduled to perform, much to the delight of the country’s hard rock enthusiasts. Determined to raise the profile of Malaysia even more as a centre for great live music, the KL International Jazz Festival organized by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall is held annually as another platform for fans to enjoy world-class acts. Read More...
Date: Expected from 6th June to 7th July, 2016
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is regarded as the most sacred month by the Muslims as this is when the holy book al-Quran is believed to have been revealed, and when Muslims practice one of the five pillars of Islam: fasting. From dawn to sunset, Muslims all over the world participate in month-long abstinence of food, drink, and sexual activity. Fasting is a very social activity, with Muslims encouraging each other on the act, and mainly getting together for iftar, the breaking of fast ceremony after sunset.Ramab Read More...
Date: 27 June 2016 - 31 August 2016
Location: All around Malaysia
After having been ranked by CNN as world’s fourth-best shopping destination, Kuala Lumpur is finally on the world shopping map, right after big metropolitan cities such as New York, Tokyo and London. Surprising? We think not, and it’s easy to see why, as KL has legions of massive shopping centres and lively local markets all around the city stocking anything and everything under the sun – from international luxury brand name goods to the latest mobile phones. The Malaysian Ringgit also plays a big part of Kuala Lumpur’s attractiveness. Prices are low to suit the local market, and compared to the Aussie and US dollars, the ringgit is a much cheaper currency. Read More...
Date: 6th & 7th July, 2016
Muslims around the world celebrate Hari Raya AidilFitri , which literally translates to 'Celebration Day, after a month of holy fasting, which is referred to as Ramadhan month. During the fasting period, many bazaars which are a form of night market called 'pasar malam' will be held each evening in different places around the country. These bazaars sell mostly traditional Malay delicacies, as the Muslims come here to purchase and prepare food for the breaking of fast at 7pm each day in October. Besides these bazaars, many hotels will provide great dining opportunities to feast on Malay cuisine for the breaking of fast. Read More...
Date: 31st August, 2016
On August 31, 1957, the Union Jack was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted up the flagpole at Dataran Merdeka field in Kuala Lumpur, signalling the birth of a new nation. After centuries of internal strife between warring states, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisation as well as World War II, Malaya, as Malaysia was known then, received her independence from the British. About six years later, Malaysia was created when Sabah and Sarawak joined in the coalition.
During the eve of National Day, the city becomes a riot of colours. Local celebrities and singers take stage in various parts of Kuala Lumpur with free open-air concerts. And when midnight ticks by, fireworks shoot up the sky to mark National Day, carpeting the city sky in explosions of light and sound. In the morning, a parade used to take place past the Sultan Abdul Samad building each year, but now every state takes turns to host the parade. Read More...
Date & Time: 2nd to 4th September 2016
Location: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), 41, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Thinking of travelling? You’re in luck, as the MATTA Fair is around the corner again! For the uninitiated, the MATTA Fair is an annual travel fair that is held nationwide to encourage the public to travel more, either around or outside the country. Organized by the ‘Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (MATTA), the fair, which is happening this year from 11 to 13 March 2016 and 02-04 September 2016, offers some of the best deals for anything travel-related, such as tours, hotel stays and flight tickets. If you’re looking for a cheaper way to travel, then you can’t go wrong with a visit to this much-awaited fair.
Occupying around 25,000sqft of floor space in eight halls of Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur, MATTA Fair 2016 is divided into several sections: namely Asia, Europe, North America and South America so that visitors to the travel extravaganza can browse for deals and services depending on their intended travel destinations. Some of the biggest names in the travel industry such as Malaysian Airlines, Hertz and Berjaya are also offering special discounts on their products and services in conjunction with the fair. Read More...
- Price Range: Adult RM4; free entrance for children
Mid-Autumn Festival 2016
Date: 15th September, 2016
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Cake or Lantern Festival, originating from a time of conflict in 14th-Century China. While Chinese in different countries celebrate it with distinct traditions and practices, all agree that the festival commemorates the summer harvest season of their ancestors, and also the fall of Mongolian rulers in China after a successful rebellion.
On the day of the uprising, the rebel leaders delivered thousands of moon cakes to homes scattered around the city, each containing a letter stating the time and date to rise up. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebellion began and succeeded in driving off the Manchurian oppressors.
In Malaysia, the Chinese celebrate this festival by purchasing and consuming moon cakes with different flavours, including some outrageous ones like durian and coffee! So popular are these moon cakes that many hotels, if not all, stock their own freshly-made pieces for guests to savour. Hotels and resorts around the country take this opportunity to outdo each other with quality moon cakes using creative and innovative flavours and designs.
From the traditional red bean or lotus paste to the innovative ice cream versions, moon cakes are a once-a-year delight. At night on the actual festival, children take to the streets walking around with paper lanterns shaped like animals, vehicles or the traditional Chinese 'Tan Lok' foldable lanterns.
Date: 30th September to 2nd October, 2016
Location: Sepang International Circuit
Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix is the country's biggest racing event attracting thousands of racing enthusiasts from around the world. Informally known as the F1 or GP race by locals, the Malaysian leg of the FIA Formula One World Championship was first included in the 1999 F1 season and, this year, the Grand Prix race takes place at the Sepang International Circuit, about 45 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur city centre.
During this time, expect to see some of F1’s biggest names, along with hordes of racing fans from across the world, all come to Kuala Lumpur, creating a buzz like only international sporting events can. Read More...
Date: 7th to 9th October, 2016
Location: Sepang International Circuit
MotoGP Malaysia 2016 is a highly-anticipated motorcycle racing event in Kuala Lumpur which takes place every year at the Sepang International Circuit. Also known as the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the event also hosts 80 bike-themed booths, on and off-track entertainment, top motorcycle manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia, and not forgetting an impressive line-up of the best riders from all over the world. Read More...
Date: 29th October, 2016
The Indians in Malaysia, predominantly Hindus, celebrate this festival which is also called 'Diwali' or Festival of Lights. During this day, Hindus offer prayers of thanksgiving and conduct cleansing rituals in temples and household altars. To prepare for the celebration, Hindus conduct a massive spring-cleaning of their homes, adding decorative designs made out of coloured rice and placing them on walls and floors. Their homes will also be lit with oil lamps, place strategically around different areas especially on the porch and balcony.
Temples, on the other hand, will be lavishly coated in flowers and offerings of fruit and coconut milk are placed at altars by devotees. Some devotees prepare for this festival by going on a fast or vegetarian diet.
Deepavali is also a time to sample delicious Indian delicacies such as sweetmeats, rice puddings and the ever-popular murukku, a type of fried flour cookie.
On the morning of Deepavali, many Hindus take an oil bath before heading to the temples for prayers and ceremonial rites. The rest of the day, they usually open their houses to guests and call friends or neighbours to feast on delicious Indian food.
Date: Throughout December
The Christmas Celebration is not about shopping, snowmen, jingle bells, pine trees, presents and most certainly not Santa Claus. It is actually to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world as the Bible states. On the eve, Christians around the city and across Malaysia will gather together to have close-knit dinners. Some church groups will organise carolling and sings songs to their neighbourhood while on Christmas Day, they will visit their churches to have praise and worship. Read More...