Once a tolerated stop over en route to Penang, we now choose to visit Kuala Lumpur several times a year to enjoy great coffee, good cafe style food and the relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere. KL has evolved into a pedestrian friendly and welcoming metropolis that provides a touch of sophistication after the challenges of living in George Town.
This article outlines a range of options and ideas for visitors to KL. It's not a highlights package or tourist information brochure but more a 'how, when and where' for escapees from Penang looking to eat healthy food, indulge their passion for specialty coffee, walk in green spaces and possibly stay in a local kampong house in the heart of the city.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur ( KL ) :
You can fly but why? Take the bus. Aeroline leaves Queensbay Mall twice a day, costs RM60 one way, takes less than 5 hours and you travel Business Class. You disembark at the Corus Hotel, right in the city centre next to the Petronas Twin Towers.
Tickets available on-line or at the Aeroline office, near to Starbucks, on the outside of Queensbay Mall.
Where to Stay ? :
There are many options for accommodation available at Airbnb. Generally a better experience than staying in a generic hotel, usually cheaper and you'll probably get to interact with the host family.
Why not stay in a Kampong House? We highly recommend the place shown in the photo below and found by clicking this link.
It's only 2 stops on the LRT from the Corus Hotel and then a five minute walk.
Just a Suggestion :-
You've just arrived at the Corus Hotel in KL on the Aeroline bus from Penang. It's 1.30 pm and you feel like a light lunch and a good coffee after the tenuous link to anything considered edible served on board the bus.
If you walk on the same side of the road as the Corus Hotel for about 4 minutes in the direction of the Petronas Towers, you'll come to the Avenue K Mall ( you will see the H & M Store ). Enter the mall, go down two flights of escalators to the Concourse Level and you'll find Urbean Cafe ( right next to Espresso Lab - also serving good coffee ).
After lunch/coffee, it's a 10 second walk to the LRT Station. Yes, it's right there in front of you. Tokens are available from machines. If you're staying at the Kampong house, choose the Kelana Jaya Line and press Damai Station.
A few suggestions for places to visit :
All options listed here are accessible by Public Transport, Walking and the occasional Taxi, Uber or Grab ride. Enjoy your short stay.
KLCC : ( Take the Train to KLCC LRT Station )
The Lake Gardens :
Bangsar Village :
Kampung Baru :
Great Cafes ( specialty coffee and tasty eats ) :
Apart from a handful of cafes in Penang such as MaCallums ( which has great coffee but very average food ), The Constant Gardener ( no food ) ,Cozy in the Rocket, Black Kettle and Just Caffe ( all good food ) , Kuala Lumpur has a slightly more sophisticated cafe scene.
Here's my pick of some of KL's best Cafes, operating hours and how to get there. For more details on the individual Cafes outlined here, you can visit Veronica's blog - birdinthehouse.net.
An absolute must visit. As good as any coffee I've had in Malaysia and the food is excellent. Try the French Toast and ask for raspberry sorbet instead of ice-cream. Simply delicious. This place has the buzz.
Easy to get to. Take the LRT or Monorail to Hang Tuah Station and follow the map below. Should take about 8 minutes to walk there from Hang Tuah.
Address: 2 Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang PH: +60 3 2110 2330
Hours: 8.00 am - 11.00 pm, 7 days a week
Another must visit. Very sophisticated European feel, great breads and pastries. Coffee and meals are really good too. Probably the first place I'd visit in KL.
Huckleberry is at Damansara Plaza, Bukit Damansara. The nearest LRT is probably Bangsar and you can then get a taxi or Uber for around RM10. To make your trip out there even more worthwhile, afterwards you can walk ( about 15 minutes ) to Yellow Brick Rd ( see below ).
Address: 2G & 4G, Jalan Medan Setia 2. Plaza Damansara. Damansara Heights. Kuala Lumpur. PH: 03 2098 7933
Hours: Mon - 7.30 am - 4.30 pm. Tues - Sun - 7.30 am - 12.00 Midnight
Yellow Brick Road
You can walk here from Huckleberry and it's worth every step. Great Melbourne feel, fantastic coffee and food. There's also a really good supermarket in the same block if you need to purchase one of the more exotic things ( like tinned Salmon ) that Penang hasn't discovered yet.
Address: 8 - 7, Jalan Batai. Kuala Lumpur. PH: 03 5481 5033
Hours: 9.00 am - 10.00 pm, 7 days a week.
Bangsar has a few high quality cafes and a good supermarket.
Getting to Bangsar village is not difficult. Either take the LRT to Bangsar Station and then a 15 minute walk ( see map below ) or take a 5 minute taxi ride from Bangsar station.
Inside the main Bangsar shopping mall you'll find Artisan up one flight of escalators. Once our favourite coffee in KL, it's still pretty darn good.
Only cakes available for 'makan' but they're delicious.
Penang cafes ( with the exception of Cozy and Just Caffe ) still persists with awful cheesecake, synthetic cream, spongy, jelly junk that seems to satisfy the young selfie queens. KL has moved beyond that and good quality cakes and desserts are available at all the cafes mentioned in this post.
Dash of Nutmeg
On the same level as Artisan, this place looks really cute. Can't say much more about it because we were too well fed and watered when we found it to sample their wares but I suspect it's ok. Let me know if you go there.
Outside the Mall and about a 5 minute walk up Telawi 3, you will find Ashlyn's. This place serves a range of meals including vegetarian and vegan. After reading the forums describing people's experiences here, we had high expectations. To be honest, we found it over priced and very very average fare. Perhaps we struck them on a bad day. You can't win them all.
A far better choice than Ashlyn's for coffee and food in the Bangsar area, is Pulp. It's about a 15 minute walk from Bangsar Village ( or perhaps take a taxi or Uber ). See map above for directions.
Address: 29 - 01, Jalan Riong, Kuala Lumpur. PH: 03 2201 3650
Hours: M-F 7.30 m - 10.00 pm / Sat & Sun 9.00 am - 11.00 pm
3 Little Birds & Tommy Le Baker
Three Little Birds is another cool place to hangout and grab a good coffee. You could always combine a trip here with a visit to Tommy Le Baker for a great sandwich, baguette or pastry. Both can be reached by taking the LRT to Sentul and taking a short walk.
[ Note: There are actually two Sentul Stations. One is the LRT ( shown on the map below ) and the other is the Komuter station, en route to Batu Caves. Highly recommend that you take the LRT as the Komuter line has very infrequent trains and if you're going to Tommy Le Baker first, it's a rather precarious walk from Komuter Sentul ]
Three Little Birds: D7 (Lot G-18), Jalan Sentul, Sentul, East Kuala Lumpur. If you can find their phone number and opening hours on the internet, then you have more patience than me.
Tommy Le Baker: Unit A-1-3A,, Viva Residency, 3rd Mile Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur. PH: +60 3 4043 2546. Tues - Sun - 8 am - 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.
That's just a few suggestions for people like us - coffee snobs who prefer eating cafe style food over the artery-clogging street food. I'm sure you will find many others but you won't go too far wrong with those mentioned here. Enjoy KL.
Hot Tip: If you have limited time, then don't miss VCR or Huckleberry. Honourable mentions for Yellow Brick Road & Tommy Le Baker.