Oftentimes Kuala Lumpur seemed unwelcoming to foreign backpackers especially after entry to popular attractions such as the Petronas Building and KL Towers were sealed off for ticketed visits only. Thankfully though, I found there were a couple of beautiful sites I could visit for free. If you are considering visiting Kuala Lumpur and need a travel guide on a shoe-string budget, here are my top value-packed attractions I managed to dig in that I found truly thrilling.

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batu caves in kuala lumpur
Photo by Taylor Simpson.

Batu Caves

The four hundred million year old Batu Caves are my first recommendation to any a  backpacker. Here I met a local Mr. Pundir, seated beside the 272 stair-steps leading to one of the most renowned Hindu shrines outside India. With some assortment of paraphernalia to sell Pundir showed me the main cave that’s painted in rainbow colors, insisting that it was the Temple or Cathedral. Next to it were a lineup of other minor caves overlooking the magnificent 140-foot Golden statute of Hindu deity the Lord Murugan. It is Lord Murugan’s largest monument in the world.

From Kuala Lumpur’s central business district, I hopped into a train (charge $1) one way to get here and climb the rainbow stairs.  Looking at the number of people filtering in and out of the dark cave, I gave it a go. You require a bright torch to be able to see the plethora of artifacts that are lined up inside the limestone walls.

Kuala Lumpur Eco Park

Beneath all the glamour of KL’s skyscrapers lies a beautifully preserved Eco Park and the KL Forest. This woodland lies sandwiched between the KL Tower and the city below.  

I hesitated before entering, but I did make my way anyway into the cozy fern house and strode around to discover an intriguing conglomeration of rope bridges all probed to run under the tree canopy. Together with others in the queue, I tried my best to navigate the tight ropes, all the while worrying lest I get written off as damaged in the abyss below. Although you do not get to a high enough point to view a panorama of the whole city, there are great views of the skyline and other urban scenes to be found from vantages here. It was amazing how such a well-maintained botanical park provided peace amid a bustling city life.

Photo by Molly Cochrane.


Petronas A.K.A “The Twin Towers” hover over another beautiful botanical park which is also free to explore. KLCC Park is worth the free visit for the splendor of its grounds and a water show that takes place every night at 8.00 p.m. at the foot of the Twin Towers.

Perdana Botanical Gardens

As you notice from the aforementioned spots, most of the free attractions I’m pointing out here are nature based. Unlike those I have seen in some other cities, Kuala Lumpur’s are uniquely pristine. Perdana Botanical Garden for instance covers a huge space, 226 acres to be precise. I found an interesting exhibition of colorful butterflies in a bamboo playhouse. This park is also home to a couple of sunken gardens of yesteryear including a couple of man-made lakes. What a great way to explore nature at the heart of Kuala Lumpur, so I thought; away from the hustle and bustle of the city around it all for free. Before I had time to discover more of the Park it started raining, cutting short my wonderful expedition a bit. 

Photo by Deva Darshan.

City Exploration

To see an image is to stir a memory. Such is my nostalgic experience of Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur has many hidden attractions you can uncover on your own. If you want to unravel the best of Kuala Lumpur in terms of street works, beer, artifacts, and more, you can do so on foot. There are numerous viewing platforms around from where you can view the city from a zenith. Most of the attractions are within walking distance apart. Eateries within the parks charge exorbitantly for drinks, perhaps a caveat to compensate for the free entry. Happy backpacking!

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