Kuala Lumpur has been my home for over 10 years, so the city isn’t exactly foreign to me. In fact, being a writer for KL Magazine encourages me to explore new places, savour unique dishes, both local and international, and even enjoy a tipple (or two). There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, from free outdoor yoga sessions to music festivals spanning weeks or months at a time.
How a local spends a weekend in the city obviously differs from one person to another as we all have different preferences, lifestyle, religion and interests. That being said, I’ve compiled a general list of what we tend to do before the inevitable Monday blues.
- Half-Day City Highlights Tour
- Best City Highlights Half-Day Tour
- City Tour After Dark with Dinner
- Private Traditional Cooking Lesson
- Private Half-Day City Heritage Tour with Lunch
- Heritage Buildings & Icon of City Tour
- Private Night Heritage Trails
- Guided Perdana Botanical Gardens Tour
- Evening Street Food Walking Shared Tour
- Private City Street Eats Evening Tour of Chinatown
Travel Expert, Writer and Photographer
I’m a small town girl currently living in Kuala Lumpur since 2007. Between 2014 and 2015, I’ve gone on seemingly endless trips to many beautiful cities around the world, including Melbourne, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Hoi An, and Bangkok.
In the morning, brunch and coffee usually come to minds for most locals during the weekend. KL is teeming with cafés that are heavily inspired by Melbourne’s coffee-loving population, serving not only the usual array of long blacks, mochas and lattes, but also unique concoctions such as cold-brewed teas and coffee, caramel latte, espresso with soda and even rose latte. Food-wise, you can find classic all-day brunch offerings such as eggs benedict, pancakes and baked eggs with toast, though many cafés now offer fusion-style dishes to keep things interesting. My personal brunch spots include VCR Café, The Red Beanbag and Jam and Kaya Café. Read More...
Weekends are great for getting back in touch with nature, so most of us like to wake up in the wee hours of the morning for a hike. There are numerous hills within Kuala Lumpur, where you can find hiking trails with various difficulty levels. Beginners can enjoy some fresh air and exercise at KL Forest Eco Park, while intermediate or advanced hikers can put their fitness level to the test by climbing Bukit Saga, Broga Hill and Bukit Tabur. Alternatively, waterfalls are great for when you need to escape the heat in KL, as most of them are less than an hour’s drive from KL. Personally, I’ve visited and highly recommend Kanching Falls, Chilling Falls and Sungai Ampang Falls (near the National Zoo), if you prefer staying close to the city centre. Read More...
Whenever we feel like being couch potatoes but don’t feel like binge-watching at home, we head to a cinema to catch the latest films. Almost every shopping mall in KL has a Cineplex, whether it’s Cathay, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), MBO Cinemas or Tanjung Golden Village (TGV). A ticket costs at least RM10 (if you’ve signed up for membership), while drinks and popcorn are sold at additional prices. Some places even offer unique features such as movie halls dedicated to families (complete with playgrounds), sofa beds and beanbags, as well as fine-dining before your movie starts, comfort blankets and personal waiter services. Read More...
Run a Marathon
Whether it’s in the morning or evening, there’s always a marathon happening every weekend in Kuala Lumpur. Some of the most popular ones held here include the annual Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Colour Run, Music Run and Nike Run. If you’re up for the challenge, the KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge is a must-try, where you start with an 800 meter-uphill run, followed by a race up a 2,058-step stairway to the top of Menara KL Tower. Other popular races you can join include forest trail runs and obstacle course races, such as Spartan Race Malaysia and Viper Challenge.
Going out at night is a weekend agenda for most locals in KL, and with good reason since the city is full of bars, pubs, nightclubs and speakeasies. While expats and travellers usually make their way to the bustling Changkat Bukit Bintang (popular bars include Pisco Bar, Opium KL and No Black Tie), locals usually hang out in Bangsar as it’s also one of the liveliest nightlife districts in KL. A recent addition here is Shelly Yu’s Bar KL, which offers free selected cocktails every Wednesday between 21:00 and 00:00, while long-time favourites include La Bodega Lounge, Ronnie Q Bar and The Social Bar. Read More...
Most locals can’t miss out on some weekend retail therapy, and one of the best places for shopping is located within the Bukit Bintang district. There, major shopping malls such as Lot 10, Starhill Gallery, Pavilion KL and Fahrenheit 88 are within walking distance of each other. If you’re up for a walk, Suria KLCC is connected to Pavilion KL via the Bukit Bintang - KLCC Pedestrian Walkway. It takes about 15 minutes to reach KLCC, but the bridge is completely covered and well-ventilated so that pedestrian can travel safely and comfortably. Read More...
Join a Free Workout Session
If there’s one thing we love about our city it’s free fitness classes, from running clinics and boot camps to outdoor yoga and Pilates. Also called community classes, most of these free workouts take place on Saturday mornings, with renowned fitness brands such as Lululemon Athletica Malaysia and Lorna Jane Malaysia hosting free yoga sessions at their flagship stores in Kuala Lumpur. Another popular option is the hour-long Weekly Community Yoga Class at APW Bangsar, which is held every Saturday from 09:00. If yoga isn’t your cup of tea, there are many running communities and boot camp enthusiasts offering free sessions at public parks such as KLCC Park and Desa Parkcity.
As much as we love hipster cafés, forking out RM10 for an Americano every weekend is out of the question, so we often flock to a local restaurant, fondly called mamak or kopitiam, for a more budget-friendly breakfast (sometimes even lunch and/or dinner). A variety of authentic Malaysian dishes can be enjoyed here, including nasi lemak, roti canai, wantan mee and toasted Hainan bread with half-boiled eggs. Locals usually pair their meal with a glass of teh tarik or kopi, and the total bill rarely exceeds RM16 per person. Read More...
A staycation is gaining massive popularity among locals who don’t have the luxury of travelling overseas (or even outside the city) for the weekend. For those on a tight budget, there are plenty of charming guesthouses, hostels and backpacker inns that also offer free breakfast, Wi-Fi access and toiletries without any additional charges. If you’re willing to splurge, five-star hotels like The Majestic KL, Traders Hotel and Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur are highly recommended options. Read More...
Going on a road trip, whether with family or friends, is another popular activity, especially during three-day weekends (which happens quite often in Malaysia). Accessible within a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, the historical Malacca town is typically the first option, followed closely with Ipoh and Penang. These quaint towns are known for their relatively traditional settings, relaxed lifestyles and, of course, mouth-watering dishes you won’t normally find in KL. Read More...
Going out for dinner lets us to reconnect with our loved ones, whether it’s with the entire family or just our significant other. One of the best things about living in KL is its seemingly endless choice of cuisine, from Malay, Indian and Chinese to Korean, Japanese, Spanish and Italian. Personally, if my partner and I are planning on a romantic evening, Café Café and Tamarind Springs Kuala Lumpur are popular spots. If we’re dining with the family, we would more likely go to a Chinese restaurant where we can order plenty of dishes such as fish, pork, vegetables and rice to share. Read More...