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Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia. It has an area of 243 km² and a population of around 6.5 million.
Recognized as a ‘global city’ and a large cultural melting pot, Kuala Lumpur has many major shopping malls, cheap 5-star hotels, night markets and restaurant choices.
There are 11 districts including Bukit Bintang which lies in the centre. Bukit Bintang is the city’s shopping and entertainment district which covers Jalan Bukit Bintang and surrounding areas. The other main areas are:
There has been an increasing number of gay venues in KL as a result of the city’s internationalisation. The scene is discreet, and venues changes quite often because homosexuality is still illegal.
In addition to a handful of gay businesses, there are some ‘straight’ Bars & Clubs that host ‘gay-friendly nights’. These venues would not identify themselves as being ‘gay’ but offer nights (usually Friday or Saturday) that attract a large number of gay customers.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) located 50km to the south of the city and has two terminals. The main terminal is used by ‘full service’ airlines. The ‘Low-Cost Carrier Terminal’ is used by AirAsia, Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. The LCCT and Main Terminal share the same runway but are nearly 20 km apart by road. There are frequent shuttle services between the two terminals.
There is an excellent train service between the Main Terminal and ‘KL Sentral’ station that takes just 28 minutes. If you arrive at the LCCT, then you need to take the shuttle to the Main Terminal. Be aware that taxi drivers at the LCCT can give the appearance of being airport staff and try to direct you towards a very expensive taxi bus service.
KL’s public transport system is fairly efficient, though the challenge lies in its integration. A good alternative to public transportation is Grab or Uber, as many taxi drivers refuse to use the meter and want to an expensive flat rate.
There are four kinds: LRT, KL Monorail, KTM Komuter and KLIA. The LTR is like a metro, but most tracks are elevated above the ground. Fares are cheap and the map is easy to understand.
There are double-decker ‘KL Hop-On Hop-Off’ sightseeing tour buses with free WiFi on board. An information commentary is given through headphones. The RapidKL runs a cheap and comprehensive public bus network in and around Kuala Lumpur, but the low frequencies and lack of signs make it a challenging for tourists.
Taxis are a convenient although many drivers to refuse to use the meter. The city’s rail coverage is good enough so you shouldn’t need a taxi to most hotels and major tourist spots.
Kuala Lumpur’s old city centre is compact are great for exploring on foot. Pedestrian crossings are generally respected by drivers. Jaywalking is technically illegal but often overlooked.
Most gay tourists stay within the Golden Triangle area – KL’s main shopping and nightlife district.
This area includes the shopping (and gay) area of Bukit Bintang, the Luxury Hotels on Sultan Ismail, P. Ramlee entertainment street and the entire KLCC (Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC Shopping Centre, KLCC Convention Centre and KLCC Park).
For hotel recommendations and online booking, visit our Kuala Lumpur Hotels page.
Petronas Twin Towers – KL’s iconic landmark, its skybridge and observation deck.
Bukit Bintang – an area in the Golden Triangle that has the most shopping outlets.
Suria KLCC – one of Malaysia’s premier shopping destinations located beneath the Petronas Twin Towers.
Ampang Park – one of Malaysia’s first shopping centres located located near Suria KLCC.
Thean Hou Temple – Chinese temple with panoramic views of KL (picture shown above)
Aquaria KLCC – a state-of-the-art 60,000 ft² oceanarium.
Islamic Arts Museum – large open-plan museum with an impressive collection of Islamic artefacts.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park – Semi-wild habitat for many different species of mostly Asian birds.
Batu Caves – 400 million year old limestone formations and temples located 11km north of KL.