Having worked 7 years in Kuala Lumpur, I love spending my hard-to-get personal time in some places that is not well known as touristic places but at the same time, worth hanging out in.
Now that it’s winter in countries of the northern hemisphere, why not take a break in a tropical city? Here are some of my favourite hang-out places.
#1 Performance Arts
The KL Performing Arts Centre, of KL PAC for short, has plenty of interesting programmes. It hosts not just locally produced entertainment, there are many international groups who had been playing there as well. From theater pieces to musicals, short plays to youth orchestra, there are plenty to choose from.
The foyer sometimes hosts independent exhibitions too! Apart from what’s on its performing arts’ agenda, the building and its surrounding is worth checking out.
The building is in fact a re-modelled old railway warehouse, which now looks like a beautiful combination of modern glass panels blended with the old red-bricked structure. Outside, there is a beautifully landscaped Japanese Garden with a Japanese Restaurant which is placed right next to the Koi Pond, a perfect place to grab a bite before or after the performance that you’re catching!
#2 Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
To catch world-class music/orchestral performance, try the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, or MPO for short.
Housed in the world famous Petronas Twin Towers, the house orchestra consists of international classical musicians who have been providing incredible performances. Apart from that, they also work with local talents with local musical instruments and had build these musical shows into the programme of the MPO, which gives it a great variety!
#3 No black Tie
A hidden gem that is worth checking out is No black Tie. When I say hidden gem, I meant it literally too! To find it, the huge flat wooden door is ‘hidden’ from your view when you reach the address; you would need to pass through a short ‘passageway’ where 2 metres-high tropical plants line its side. Here, you could find different music performances almost every evening. This is worth checking out because it really is a place that you would not have imagined!
If you’re looking for a place where there are boutiques to browse through, an abundance of eating choices, live gigs, art exhibition and the occasional plays all in one place, try the Publika.
From my recollection, there are at least 20 eateries to choose from, one to suit every taste. Remember to take note of the eateries within the supermarket too as you might be pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer! Within the interesting architectural structure, you get to see contemporary sculptures placed at random locations.
The Square contains an outdoor stage surrounded by bars/ cafés from where you get to see live gigs, so don’t forget to check out the agenda to choose which day to visit.
The White Box is an exhibition space where you get to see arts in different forms.
For theatre art, there is the Black Box where you can be entertained with local play productions.
#5 Other Cultural Must-see
Generally, I’m not much of a museum person. However, based on a recommendation of a friend who assist in curating for a museum in London, she had definitely convinced me to pay a visit to the Islamic Arts Museum. And it was definitely worth it.
Apart from the extensive islamic arts coverage, the middle-eastern museum restaurant is definitely a good place to have a meal while you’re there.
Should you be adventurous enough to try a non-fusion Malay meal served in a great ambiance, I would greatly recommend Bijan. It offers an extensive menu of authentic Malay dishes from different regions of Malaysia and the best thing about this restaurant, it’s classy yet not pretentious.
As for particular food not to miss, you should not leave KL without having some Satays, skewered grilled meat served with peanut sauce. Chicken and beef are the general favourites, but if you’re game enough, try the rabbit, the kidneys, or even the chicken tail!
#8 Banana Leaf Rice
Another local favourite is the Banana Leaf Rice, an Indian-origin cuisine served to you on a piece of banana leaf, that comes with rice and different spiced gravies, while you can order other different dishes to go with it.
#9 Cool hangouts
One great place to chill out in is called Palate Palette, a very artsy little café that sometimes hosts arty events like movie screenings, talks, live music etc. Make sure you pay a visit to the first floor to enjoy the quirky decorations; even the toilets are amusing!
Bangsar is an area that offers something for everyone. From independent boutiques lining the many Telawi streets, cosy cafés to enjoy a sip of iced coffee, to nice restaurants that offers all sorts of cuisine, you’d be spoilt for choice and yet wanting for more!
So there you go, ideas to try out in Kuala Lumpur if you ever have the chance to stopover! Feel free to ask me any questions by commenting below!