Looking at the skyline of skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, is one of the great free things to do KL

Top 15 Free Things to do in KL Malaysia in 2023

Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it’s commonly referred to, is the capital of Malaysia and it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia. The Malaysian capital is known for being a vibrant hub for different cultures and religions. You can find modern skyscrapers next to traditional temples. And the best part is that there are so many amazing free things to do in KL. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to see the best things in the Malaysian capital.

Free temples and mosques in KL

Kuala Lumpur is a hub of different cultures and religions. The official religion of Malaysia is Islam but it’s considered a secular state in which each religion can be practised in peace. Some of the best free things to do in KL are visit the different religious sites.

Batu Caves

Visiting Batu Caves is high on the list of the best free things to do in KL. I’d say it’s even one of the best free things to do in Malaysia.

Visiting Batu Caves; From Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves
Best view of Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a limestone cave complex with Hindu temples and shrines. It’s mostly known for the impressive colourful steps leading up to the cave with the gigantic statue of the Hindu god Murugan next to it. It’s almost hard to believe that there is no admission fee to enter the main cave, which is the most impressive one. You just need to spend about $1 for the train to get from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves.

Visiting Batu Caves is often recommended as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, but you don’t really need a full day for it. Getting there takes about one hour one way and you should give yourself about 1 to 2 hours to explore the series of caves and temples.

National Mosque

a mosque with palm trees next to it
National Mosque of Malaysia

The National Mosque of Malaysia is also known as Masjid Negara. It was completed in 1965 in honour of Malaysia’s independence. It can house 15.000 people and is one of the great free things to do in KL.

The national mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks in Kuala Lumpur with its umbrella like shaped roof and the tall minaret. With 73 meters the minaret is one of the tallest in the world.

view out of a window at the national mosque of KL, you can see the skyscrapers in the back
View from National Mosque

When visiting the mosque you need to take off your shoes and you need to be dressed modestly. Women need to cover their hair as well. But you can borrow a robe with a hood at the National Mosque for free.

Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque

old mosque with palm trees next to it
One of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur

The Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque or Masjid Jamek as it’s called in Malay is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur and it’s one of the best free things to do in KL. You can borrow a robe for free to wear in case you’re not dressed appropriately for visiting a mosque.

woman in front of a mosque
You can borrow a hooded robe at the mosque

Personally I liked the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque more than the National Mosque because of the historic architecture. It’s also more centrally located and it is a stop of the Heritage Walk but more on that a bit further down.

Thean Hou Temple

Chinese temple with dragon statue in front
Chinese Temple Thean Hou

The Chinese temple Thean Hou is located a bit outside the city but it’s one of the best free things to do in KL. You can get there by public transport and walking for quite a bit or by taxi. The temple itself is free to visit but donations are welcome.

woman walking down steps in between two temples
Thean Hou was my favourite temple besides Batu Caves

Thean Hou features elements from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. During your visit you can explore the multi story temple as well as a beautiful garden. In the garden you can find countless interesting statues.

Chinese temple with statue in front with Chinese writing
Thean Hou is worth going despite it’s location

We visited during the Chinese New Year festivities so the temple was especially nicely decorated. I highly recommend visiting the temple during this time of the year.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur and it’s located in Chinatown opposite of the Chinese Guan Di Temple.

When we visited Kuala Lumpur the Sri Mahamariamman Temple was unfortunately closed because of some construction work. We were not able to enter the temple and the outside was hidden under scaffolding. It’s supposed to be a very impressive temple though.

Free outdoor activities in KL

Even though Kuala Lumpur is one of the fastest growing cities in Southeast Asia, there are still plenty of free outdoor activities in KL where you’re surrounded by lush greenery.

Relax at KLCC Park

Relaxing in the KLCC Park is one of the best free outdoor activities in KL. The park offers green space right next to the city’s tallest skyscrapers. It’s a popular spot to rest under the shades of the trees or to have a picnic.

In the KLCC Park you can find some amazing trees. The only problem with the trees is that it’s quite difficult to fit the trees on pictures because of their size.

woman standing in front of giant tree
I loved the trees at KLCC Park

KLCC Park is not just a great place to relax it’s also a great viewing point of the Petronas Towers. You can see the twin towers with their reflection in one of the park’s lakes.

Explore the Perdana Botanical Gardens

Visiting the Perdana Botanical Gardens is a very popular free outdoor activity in KL among tourists and locals alike. The massive garden is divided into sections and it probably would take you a whole day to explore all the different sections.

waterfall flowing in pond
The botanical garden is the green lung of the city

It’s the peaceful, green lung in the middle of a metropolis. Walking through the lush greenery gives you the feeling of being in a tropical jungle.

My favourite part of the botanical garden was the lake gardens. It’s a big, beautiful lake surrounded by greenery and with a view of the modern architecture in the back. And next to the lake is a futuristic construction to provide a roof for the guest.

futuristic roof construction in a botanical garden
Futuristic roof construction

The most famous sections of Perdana Botanical Gardens are the Hibiscus Garden, the Deer Park and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. However, not all of the attractions inside the botanical garden are free entry.

Visit the historic Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square is also known as Independence Square or Dataran Merdeka. The square played an important role in Malaysia’s history. It was on this square that Malaysia’s independence was declared in 1957 and the Malayan flag rose for the first time. To this day there are parades still held at the square.

big colonial building
View from the Independence Square

The square itself is nothing special, to be honest, it just looks like a huge field with a very tall flagpole. It’s actually the tallest flagpole in the world. Next to the square is the colonial Sultan Abdul Samad Building which looks very impressive.

Bit letters saying "I love KL"
I love city signs to take pictures with

On the south side of the square, you can find the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. There’s a I love KL sign in front which always makes for a great photo opportunity.

Walk the Heritage Walk

The heritage walk is one of the great free things to do in KL since it brings you past so many must-see sights in Kuala Lumpur like the Merdeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque.

view from a bridge to a colonial building with many trees next to it, in the background there are modern skyscrapers
You’ll come past many beautiful sights on the Heritage Walk

You’ll see way signs and informational plaques on the way. This short walk is the perfect way to explore Kuala Lumpur during your first time in the city.

River of Life

The River of Life (ROL) is a government project to transform the Klang River into a vibrant waterfront. You can go for a walk next to the river and enjoy the scenery. On the river walk you come by some amazing street art.

view from a bridge to a mosque and modern buildings behind it
You get an amazing view of the city

The Klang River Bridge is the best place to see the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque surrounded by the Klang River. When we were there, there was even a fog machine next to the river. It created an mystic fog on the river.

Other free things to do in KL

There are even more free things to do in KL, from incredible architecture to strolling through a traditional market. You can even go see a roller coaster inside a shopping mall.

Look up at the Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers or Petronas Twin Towers as they’re also called are the most iconic landmarks of Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world. They’re in the modern part of town surrounded by other skyscrapers.

Looking at the skyline of skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, is one of the great free things to do in KL
Petronas Towers on the right

You can pay to enter the Petronas Twin Towers but the best way to comprehend their size is to marvel at them from the outside.

Wander through Chinatown

Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is known for its rich heritage. It’s located in the Kuala Lumpur city centre and it’s home to some of the best sights in the city, like the central market or the Sri Mahamariamman Temple.

Chinatown in KL
Entrance to Kwai Chai Hong

My favourite part of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is Kwai Chai Hong, a project dedicated to bringing visitors back to the glory days of Chinatown in the 60s. You can enter the courtyard for free and there are countless Instagrammable spots in the middle of the free art installations.

Graffiti of two boys playing and a girl looking out the window
Amazing art in Kwai Chai Hong

Petaling Street

Petaling Street is a street in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur but since it’s the heart of shopping in Chinatown it get’s its own section in this list of free things to do in KL.

You can see stalls selling everything you could ask for in a market, from clothes to souvenirs and food. Even if you don’t want to spend any money I recommend to check out this bustling street full of tourists and locals alike.

woman drinking a coconut in a busy street
I had a fresh coconut in Petaling Street

It’s the perfect place if you’re in the mood for some street food. You can also find some delicious vegan food in KL near Petaling Street.

Stroll through the Central Market

I’ve been to many markets in South East Asia and none were like the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur.

Central market Kuala Lumpur sign in front of the real market

The Central Market or pasar seni as it’s called in Malay is in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It’s an ideal place if you’re looking for some souvenirs. Everything was organised and almost quiet compared to some other markets. So it’s the perfect market to get acquainted with Southeast Asian markets.

Strolling through the central market is one of the best free things to do in KL. Of course, you can spend some money at the market for souvenirs or some snacks. But even just watching the hustle and bustle of Malaysian day-to-day life at the market is worth seeing.

Sign over a street saying Kasturi Walk
Don’t miss the stalls next to the central market

Don’t miss out on the Kasturi Walk right next to the Central Market. You can find some more stalls there.

See a theme park inside a shopping mall

To be honest I’m neither a theme park person nor a shopping mall person. But when I heard there’s a theme park inside a shopping mall I had to check it out. So, I went to the Berjaya Time Square Mall and expected to immediately see a big rollercoaster. Turns out I actually had to look for it, the mall is just so big! You see many signs though pointing out the location of the Berjaya Times Square Theme Park.

The Berjaya Time Square Mall has 19 stories and you can spend hours and hours in it. So it’s a perfect thing to do in Kuala Lumpur when it rains. There’s even an all-vegan restaurant in the food court of the mall.


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Best things to do in KL

It’s amazing how many free things to do in KL there are. You can visit the most beautiful temples and mosques for free. Relax in one of the many green areas in the city, or do some other free outdoor activities in KL in the parks. But you can also spend hours or maybe even days exploring gigantic shopping malls or different markets.

I hope you have an amazing time in Malaysia’s capital. Let me know in the comments if I forgot any great free things to do in KL!

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