The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia and is also one of the most visited! With an ultra-modern city centre, there are also plenty of historic and cultural attractions as you head into other areas of the city.
Known as one of the cheapest destinations in the region, you can grab some great deals on luxury hotels in this area – and live like a king on a fraction of the budget you would require in European or North American destinations.
We can’t overestimate how big Kuala Lumpur is, however, and getting around can be tricky. The boundaries of different neighborhoods in the city centre aren’t easily defined, and each neighborhood has something different to offer. For this reason, it’s important to gain an idea of which parts of the city would be best for you before you book.
Which is where we come in! We’ve consulted locals, travel experts and bloggers to come up with this list of the seven best neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur. Looking for the best places to eat? Vibrant nightlife?
Maybe you would rather have a calm oasis to escape from the busy city centre in the evenings? Don’t worry – we’ve got something to suit everyone in this bumper guide to Kuala Lumpur.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
At A Glance: Where To Stay In KUALA LUMPUR
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Kuala Lumpur.
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AirBnB Plus properties are hand-selected by staff for their stylish interiors, unique features and great levels of service! This gorgeous apartment is right in the heart of Bukit Bintang – the main nightlife district in the city. It has panoramic views across the city skyline from the small balcony area and is perfect for solo travellers and young couples wanting to hit the local nightlife, shopping scene and restaurants.
Kuala Lumpur is easily one of the most affordable cities in the world – but if you’re on a really strict budget then this three star hotel in the heart of the Chow Kit neighborhood is a great pick! Calm and minimalist, rooms are basic but well designed to ensure a comfortable stay. They also have a great restaurant on-site that offers a selection of typical Malaysian cuisine.
This gorgeous five star hotel truly epitomises everything that makes Kuala Lumpur a great destination! The infinity pool comes with views of the Petronas Towers, and there is also a gorgeous restaurant serving an updated version of Malaysian classics. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, with full room service on offer. This hotel also has one of the highest ratings from previous guests.
Once a small mining village, Kuala Lumpur has accelerated in terms of development over the last couple of centuries! Now home to more than 7 million people, the city has weather British rule, Malaysian independence and contemporary redevelopments. The city is known for its futuristic skyline – but as a major hub for Malaysian culture, cuisine and nightlife it has so much more to offer the average tourist.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, often shortened to KLCC, is actually quite a small neighborhood right in the heart of the city! This is the main business district in the city – but is also home to the most recognisable tourist attractions.
You probably already know about the Petronas Towers, but there are some other great viewpoints of the city from here, and first time visitors are best served staying right in the centre.
Just south of KLCC is Bukit Bintang! This is the city’s main cultural hub, and where you will find the best nightlife. With a wide range of bars, nightclubs and restaurants, this is a must-visit neighborhood for keen partygoers. It is also the largest retail hub in the city, so shopaholics will also love Bukit Bintang.
Brickfields is located to the west of both KLCC and Bukit Bintang, and is home to Kuala Lumpur’s Little India district! This makes it an interesting area of the city culturally, as Indians form the largest expat group in Malaysia. It is also home to the brand new KL Sentral station, which serves the entire city as well as further afield on Peninsular Malaysia.
Sandwiched between Brickfields, KLCC and Bukit Bintang is Chinatown – our top budget pick in Kuala Lumpur! This is already a very budget friendly city, but Chinatown offers some great apartments and basic hotels that come in even cheaper than elsewhere in the city.
As the main hub for the local Chinese population, it also has some great restaurants and cultural highlights that are well worth visiting in their own right.
Over on the opposite side of Brickfields is Bangsar! This is one of the most upmarket neighborhoods in the city – though is still somewhat affordable to many travellers coming from Europe and North America.
For families, this is a calmer neighborhood than those in the city centre, but is still close enough to allow you to enjoy the main sights. For all travellers, Bangsar offers a huge selection of cuisines representing the different ethnic groups in the city – making it the best neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur for foodies as well.
Heading north of the city centre, Chow Kit is our pick for coolest neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur! Within walking distance of all the main attractions in KLCC, this up and coming neighborhood is known for its colourful streets, bustling restaurants and vibrant markets. This is a great area if you want to live like a local whilst visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Finally, we also recommend Subang Jaya to those wanting to head out of the city centre! Though technically not part of Kuala Lumpur, it is in the metropolitan area and is therefore well connected to the city centre.
This neighborhood is a bit calmer than Kuala Lumpur, though it is also home to the Sunway Lagoon theme park – making it another great area for families heading to the city.
Still undecided? No need to worry – we have bigger guides about each neighborhood below with our top hotel picks, things to do and some tips for whilst you are there.
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods in Kuala Lumpur. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
Kuala Lumpur City Center is the main business district in Kuala Lumpur, and is, therefore, home to the towering skyscrapers that the city is known for! There are plenty of lavish hotels, designer shopping malls and upmarket restaurants in this area – as well as a few cheaper options for those sticking to a strict budget.
For first time visitors, KLCC is where you will find the most popular attractions – such as the iconic Petronas Towers! Whilst tourists tend to avoid the central business district in most destinations, it is actually one of the best options for visitors in Kuala Lumpur as many tours depart from this area.
KLCC is also well connected to the other neighborhoods – Brickfields and Bukit Bintang in particular, which are accessible by pedestrian bridge! This makes it a great location for those that want to easily walk around all of the main attractions in the city. If you’re new to the city, this is the place to be to gather your bearings.
Another excellent AirBnB Plus apartment in the city, this accommodation comes with access to a gorgeous pool area that has views of the city centre! The building also comes with a fitness centre and 24/7 reception desk that can help you with any queries such as booking taxis and navigating the city. The apartment itself is stylish, with parquet floors and a dramatic colour scheme.
Not yet booked? Take a look at our favorite hotels in Kuala Lumpur!
KLCC is easily the most expensive neighborhood in the city – but the Holiday Inn Express has brought their brand of budget friendly comfort to the city centre to help you keep costs down! It’s only a five minute walk away from Starlight Gallery, as well as many other city centre attractions. They included a breakfast every morning as part of the rate that has vegetarian options. They also have a small fitness suite.
This gorgeous five star hotel is the best reviewed luxury hotel in the area – and it’s easy to see why! With unbeatable views over the most iconic parts of the city’s skyline, it also has a large pool area where you can kick back and relax after a long day of exploring the city.
They provide a complimentary breakfast every morning that comes with Malaysian, American and European options – and during the day the restaurant offers some of the best local cuisine going.
Brickfields is, first and foremost, the largest Indian neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur – giving guests a fascinating insight into the largest expat group in the cosmopolitan city! The main road is lined with Indian restaurants, clothing stores and bars, as well as colourful decorations and architecture around every corner.
For the purpose of this guide, we also include KL Sentral and the Lake Gardens as part of Brickfields as both are easily within walking distance! KL Sentral is the main train station serving the city – with regular trains to the airport, major city suburbs and further afield in peninsular Malaysia.
The Lake Gardens are just north of KL Sentral and are the largest park in the city centre! This is a gorgeous destination if you just need a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur without having to travel too far. For those only spending a few days in the city before travelling further, Brickfields and KL Sentral are great areas.
This gorgeous apartment is only a short walk from the main train station – and is stylishly decorated in a contemporary style! With three bedrooms that can sleep up to seven guests, this is a popular choice with groups and families that want to stay close to the centre. There is a small study area – perfect for business travellers – as well as two separate bathrooms. The host has impeccable reviews.
Whilst this two star hotel is somewhat basic, it comes with great reviews thanks to the value for money! This is one of the cheapest hotels in the city, and whilst it is within Brickfields it is also only a short trip away from the city centre.
They provide airport transfers for a small fee – which is great for those arriving late or departing early. A complimentary Malaysian style breakfast is provided every morning.
If you want something a bit more upmarket, this towering hotel is located closer to the train station – giving you immediate access to all of the city’s best attractions! There are four restaurants within the hotel offering a variety of different cuisines – and the roof terrace provides excellent views over the Lake Garden as well as the city centre. A complimentary breakfast buffet is included, as well as customer parking.
Kuala Lumpur is unique in that the Chinatown district is actually much more diverse than other parts of the city! This is the historic centre of Kuala Lumpur, and where you will find some of the most important monuments. The city was started by Chinese migrants in this area, and is where the country famously declared its independence from the British empire.
Most of the historic attractions are based around Merdeka Square – but further south, you will find a more typical Chinatown experience! This is not only where you will find some great Chinese shops and eateries, but there are plenty of excellent options for those interested in Malaysian cuisine too.
For budget travellers, Chinatown is surprisingly one of the cheapest parts of the city! There’s no escaping the fact that Kuala Lumpur is a super affordable destination regardless of where you end up, but it’s almost impossible to overspend in Chinatown. Budget aside, Chinatown is a must-visit whether you are staying here or not thanks to the great culinary and historic attractions.
Casa Residency offers a number of apartments in one block in Chinatown – with this being one of their best rated! Sleeping up to five guests across two bedrooms, it is perfect for larger families and groups of friends. All of their apartments have access to an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. They have superhost status – which AirBnB award based on excellent customer reviews and high levels of service.
This three star hotel in the boundary between Chinatown and KLCC is stylish yet subtle, offering great rates on their rooms! They have a dedicated tour desk where guests can enjoy heavy discounts on local excursions and activities. Rooms are basic, yet spacious, with a natural theme to create an air of calm. A complimentary breakfast buffet is provided every morning with Asian and European options on offer.
This elegant hotel is part of the Autograph Collection, known for their subtle grandeur and above and beyond service standards! It is housed within a colonial-era building, and the interiors are designed to reflect the neoclassical style. There is a huge outdoor swimming pool, as well as a great restaurant offering Malaysian and North American cuisine. A breakfast buffet is arranged every morning.
Bangsar is easily one of the most upmarket areas in Kuala Lumpur – and has only recently grown into its own as a tourism destination! With an increase in expat communities over the past decade, Bangsar has changed from a residential district to a great destination for shopping, entertainment and dining.
Located west of Brickfields and KL Sentral, Bangar has great transport links with the city centre! For families, Bangsar offers a peaceful neighborhood that still has some of the excellent attractions that make Kuala Lumpur an attractive destination. If you’re travelling with kids, Bangar is a great place to unwind in the evenings.
This charming two bedroom house can sleep up to four people – or five if you are visiting with small children! It is only a five minute walk from some of the best culinary attractions – including Art Printing Works. Interiors are somewhat basic, but stylish, and the kitchen is well equipped for a few weeks in the city. The host also has superhost status thanks to the great level of service offered.
This hotel straddles the boundaries between Bangsar, KL Sentral and Brickfields – giving you easy access to all three areas! For families, this is a great budget friendly option if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre budget hotels.
Rooms are somewhat basic, but well equipped for a short stay in Kuala Lumpur – and with a few family options available for small families with young kids.
For families that want to splash out, however, this towering five star hotel is the perfect option for living the high life in Kuala Lumpur! They offer some suites that can sleep up to four people, as well as smaller rooms for couples and solo travellers.
It comes with an outdoor swimming pool that is safely contained – so you don’t need to worry about the little ones. Some rooms also come with balconies with views towards the city centre.
Other than KLCC, Bukit Bintang is the most visited neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur! This is where you will find extravagant shopping malls, bustling bars and thumping nightclubs – making it a great destination for party animals. Bukit Bintang has a diverse nightlife that caters to a variety of tastes – whether you want a calm place to drink and socialise, or bouncing club night where you can really let your hair down.
Aside from nightlife, this is one of the biggest shopping destinations in Malaysia – and a must-visit if you want to check out either the luxury brands or the bargain outlets! Bukit Bintang has a youthful atmosphere, and you will have the chance to mingle with both locals and tourists when you are in the area.
There’s a reason this stunning apartment takes our top spot for AirBnB accommodation in the city – it is one of the brightest and most stylish options on offer! Though it only has one bedroom, and is, therefore, best suited to couples and solo travellers, the sofa in the living room also doubles as a bed – meaning it is also suitable for larger groups. The balcony has a small seating area where you can enjoy breakfast with a view.
Gold3 Boutique is one of the best rated budget hotels in the area – perfect if you want to stay near the nightlife without breaking the bank! Rooms are basic, but spacious and well equipped for a short stay in the city.
The front desk operates 24/7, providing advice on how to get around the city and some great deals on local tours and activities. The Low Yat Shopping Centre is only six minutes away on foot.
JW Marriott is known worldwide for the lavish hotels – and their Kuala Lumpur offering is no different! With marble floors and desks from the second you walk in, this five star hotel oozes class and luxury from every square foot.
It comes with an outdoor pool, as well with a great restaurant offering international cuisine. On top of all that, they also have a large fitness suite and private tennis courts for guest use.
Though technically a separate city, Subang Jaya is well connected to Kuala Lumpur and often considered as part of its metropolitan area! This is where some of the city’s wealthiest opt to stay, resulting in some attractions that are more on the upmarket end – though there are also some good budget picks.
If you want to stay away from the busyness of the city centre, Subang Jaya is a great option and has a much calmer atmosphere! This neighborhood is packed with green spaces and easy going restaurants where you can sit back and enjoy the local cuisine. It is also well connected to KL Sentral by train, giving you quick access to the more famous attractions.
This apartment is also located a stone’s throw from the theme park – and with two bedrooms that can sleep up to five people, it is perfect for families and big groups that are mostly interested in hitting the park! It is also a short walk away from most of the university campuses in the area, meaning there are plenty of budget friendly restaurants and bars nearby. The host has superhost status.
Only a two minute walk away from Sunway Lagoon, this hotel is a great choice for staying close to all of the main attractions in Subang Jaya! Run by the Apex, who have a great reputation globally, this three star hotel has everything you need for a short stay in the area.
They have family rooms on offer – which are increasingly popular due to the proximity to the theme park. Parking is free to guests.
This hotel is operated by the theme park – making it the best option for easily getting too and from the rides! Rooms are beautifully designed in a contemporary style, and even come with marble bathroom suites.
They have a Balinese spa on-site, as well as a private pool with an artificial beach area. Alongside free parking, they also offer a large buffet breakfast every morning as part of the rate.
Just north of KLCC, Chow Kit was once a bit of a backwater but has grown into a major tourist hub over the past few years! This is one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, and has a truly unique atmosphere. Whilst we wouldn’t really call it a hipster area as it still manages to maintain its traditional aspects, it certainly has a more youthful and up and coming atmosphere.
Chow Kit has managed to retain an authentic atmosphere in a way the city centre hasn’t – though it is still well connected to KLCC by pedestrian bridge! If you want to see what the city centre was like before all the modern development, you can’t go wrong with Chow Kit.
This spacious studio is part of AirBnB’s Plus range, and is one of the best reviewed in the city! As a studio apartment, it is perfect for solo travellers – especially those that are planning a longer stay in the city.
Guests have access to the rooftop infinity pool that comes with views towards the city centre. There are also ornamental fishponds for you to admire, and a fitness suite where you can keep up your fitness routine.
This is one of the newest budget hostels in Kuala Lumpur and it has already managed to gather some excellent reviews! Their on-site restaurant is particularly popular for its innovative take on traditional Malaysian cuisine – and they also offer a complimentary breakfast to guests every morning. Rooms are well equipped with modern conveniences, and are designed to make the minimal spaces feel warm and inviting.
This towering five star hotel has a beautiful rooftop pool with great views across the city – as well as luxurious sun loungers with mattresses and cushions! The in-house restaurant offers international cuisine, and a large buffet breakfast is laid out every morning for guests. There is also an extensive fitness suite, and the 24 hour front desk offers tour bookings, currency exchange and general advice about the city.
Kuala Lumpur is an awe-inspiring destination that is a necessary part of any Southeast Asia itinerary! With vibrant markets, colourful neighborhoods and an ultra modern city centre that’s packed with nightlife, there’s truly something for everyone in the Malaysian capital. It’s also a budget travellers paradise, with some of the cheapest luxury hotels and holiday apartments in the world.
In terms of the best area – we are going to go with Brickfields! This neighborhood has it all – a major transport hub, interesting cultural attractions and only walking distance from most of the major city centre attractions.
That being said, Kuala Lumpur is a huge and varied city – so which neighborhood is best for you depends on what your needs are. We hope this itinerary has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!