If you find yourself in Kuala Lumpur with only a day to spare, here’s a satisfying itinerary for a little family to enjoy!
Take a stroll to Merdeka (Freedom) Square.
The pursuit and attainment of independence for any country subjected to colonialism is something worth commemorating. At Merdeka Square, the Union Flag was lowered and the Malay flag was raised. It’s a beautiful open area with lovely fountains and a pavilion. In the evenings, folks gather to watch football (soccer) there around the big screen.
While you’re there, take out your free visitor map, and navigate your way to…
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.
This museum is amazing and informative. There are table-sized models of some of the most significant and beautiful mosques throughout the Muslim world. It felt like we took a global mosque tour in under 15 minutes!
The museum also has displays showing art and artifacts throughout the Muslim world. Additionally, you can learn about mosque architecture, the history of the Islamic caliphate and dynasties, and learn about the art of Arabic calligraphy. If you need a break, you can step outside and sit around the fountain garden or grab a bite to eat at the museum’s restaurant.
Once you’re refreshed, head over to…
The Butterfly Park.
Yes, folks, a beautiful garden with much more than butterflies! In the lush, green environs, you’ll also find fish, frogs, and (my favorite) TURTLES! After exiting the garden, there are display cases of rare beetles and bugs, and…more butterflies!
After a refreshing nap (important for little travelers and big travelers, alike), pop in to pray or visit one of the local mosques like Masjid India or Masjid Jamek.
Then take a stroll to Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. What for?
Water Lily Vegetarian Restaurant.
It’s time to fill your tank with delicious, halal, vegetarian food. With pages and pages of veggie dishes and all kinds of meat imitations, it was tough deciding what to order but we eventually settled on Sweet and Sour “Chicken”, “Fish”, Steamed Broccoli and Mushrooms, and Fried Mei Noodles.
If you’re feeling under the weather or recovering from a cold (as we were), try the Chinese Lemon Honey Drink. And if you need something to “tie you over” until your meal comes, there’s a great assortment of Chinese steamed buns, stuffed with all kinds of vegan treats. I had a delicious Red Bean Siu Bao.
If you’re ready to retire, a great budget hotel, right in the mix of everything on Jalan Masjid India is…
Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek.
The hotel itself is a little tricky to find and the rooms are super-Asian! Neat, simple, and compact! The room was adequate and the cost includes buffet breakfast. The breakfast isn’t continental- it’s as diverse as the guests. Breakfast might include pancakes, nasi goreng (fried rice), curry dhal, and baked beans- a truly global way to start you day, even if it feels like dinner time.
Another note to be said about Kuala Lumpur is that their public transportation system is well-integrated and efficient. Big props to KL for that! You can navigate your way through the city as well as to and from the airport without relying on cabs or tour guides. Not only is public transpo important for the environment, it’s also great for the pocket, if you’re trying to travel on a modest budget.