Kuala Lumpur can feel small as a city when you compare it to major cities around the world.

However, it can be confusing when you want to figure out the best area to stay, especially if this will be your first visit.

In this article, I am going to break down the different areas of the city and help you pinpoint the best area for you to put up, so you can get the most out of your stay here.

Also, I will be showing you the best hotels and hostels within these areas.

Let’s jump right in.

Overview of Kuala Lumpur

It is true to an extent that it doesn’t matter where you are staying in Kuala Lumpur if all you want to do is to visit the attractions that the city has to offer.

Most parts of Kuala Lumpur are connected by train lines and public buses. Even if they are not, you can easily hail a ride using Uber or GRAB these days.

Also, you don’t have to worry about food, shopping for necessities or groceries in Kuala Lumpur. Shopping malls of different sizes, restaurants, eateries as well as convenience stores are all over the city. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes for you to get to a place where you can get what you want.

The experience of living in the different areas, though, can vary a lot, especially for travelers.

Here’s a summary of the most popular areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur and the type of travelers that they are best for:

KL Sentral Area: Best for travelers who have to catch an early bus, train, or flight.
KLCC Area: Best for travelers who want to enjoy living in a 5-star or luxury neighborhood.
Petaling Street / Chinatown Area: Best for budget travelers and those who are into food.
Bukit Bintang Area: Best for travelers who are into nightlife, shopping or both.

Depending on your travel preferences, you might want to stay in different parts of Kuala Lumpur. Of course, you can always choose to move around to experience the vibes of each area during your time here.

KL Sentral Area

KL Sentral area largely revolves around KL Sentral, the main transportation hub that is the meeting point of several train lines and bus routes.

Public transports with a stop at KL Sentral include:

KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit
KTM ETS
LRT Kelana Jaya Line
KL Monorail
MRT Sungai Buloh – Kajang Line
Airport buses
RapidKL city buses
GOKL buses

By putting up in one of the hotels or hostels in this area, you can easily travel to anywhere within or outside the city center conveniently. For business travelers, staying here will also be easier to arrange for meetings as it will be a convenient location for your attendees.

Little India, which is just nearby, goes into “festival mode” when Deepavali is around the corner.

As for room prices, they are more expensive because of the convenience of the location Unless you really need the it, there are better places to stay in Kuala Lumpur if you want to experience the city better or to be closer to attractions that you like.

Pros

Near KL Sentral, the main transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur with public transport to the airport.
Close proximity to attractions like Little India.

Cons

Slightly more expensive accommodation options.
Not many options for things to do around the area at night.
Busy traffic during the day.

Who Is It For?

Travelers who are transiting through Kuala Lumpur.
Business travelers.

Most Popular Hotel in the KL Sentral Area: Hotel Sentral Kuala Lumpur

Hotel Sentral Kuala Lumpur is just 5 minutes walk away from KL Sentral. Along the street where the hotel is, there are also plenty of eateries offering affordable menu items. For those who want to enjoy fancier meals, Nu Sentral, the shopping mall adjacent to KL Sentral should have what you need.

For its room price, the rooms at Hotel Sentral are generally clean and well-maintained despite the aged building. Some guests also commended the housekeeping staffs of the hotel of doing a great job cleaning their rooms while they were out.

However, some guests encountered a stench in some parts of the hotel such as in the lifts or even in some rooms. There were also complaints about the basic amenities provided for each room.

Check Latest Prices and Availability on:

Most Popular Luxury Hotel in the KL Sentral Area: Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral

You will fall in love with Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral the moment you step into its lobby. The trendy business hotel sits right beside KL Sentral and provides its guest with utmost convenience when they are traveling in Kuala Lumpur.

The hotel is one of the best in Kuala Lumpur. Across all hotel booking websites, it scored high ratings on pretty much every aspect of what makes an excellent accommodation provider. Every part of its rooms is spotless and the staffs are very friendly towards guests. Many guests are also grateful for the breakfast provided.

The only minor negatives that come up sporadically are the slow check-in process as well as the poor soundproofing of rooms.

Check Latest Prices and Availability on:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the KL Sentral Area: My Hotel @ KL Sentral

Most Popular Hostel in the KL Sentral Area: PODs The Backpackers Home & Cafe

KLCC Area

The KLCC area is the place surrounding the famous PETRONAS Twin Towers. This area is also where most 5-star hotels in the city are located.

Since it is a very iconic part of the city, the area is very well-maintained. The entire place turn into a beautiful scene at night as skyscrapers, street lamps and huge LED boards light up. Besides, this part of the city is also very walkable.

You might want to stay in this area if the PETRONAS Twin Towers is the highlight of your trip. Many hotels in this area offer an unobstructed view of the twin towers from your room, allowing you to gaze at the majestic masterpiece all day and all night.

Suria KLCC, a shopping mall between the twin towers, are well-known for the luxury brands it houses. Also, there are many high-end dining options around. Want to shop for branded goods and indulge yourself in 5-star experiences during your time here? The KLCC area is probably the best place for you to stay.

Pros

View of PETRONAS Twin Towers almost everywhere you go.
Well-maintained and walkable streets.
Beautiful at night.
Near KLCC Park, which is one of the few larger parks in the city center.

Cons

Prices for accommodation might be too expensive for some.
Traffic can get busy during peak hours.

Who Is It For?

Luxury shoppers.
Travelers who prefers to stay in a room with a view of PETRONAS Twin Towers.

Most Popular Hotel in the KLCC Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the KLCC Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the KLCC Area:

Petaling Street / Chinatown Area

Petaling Street or the Chinatown area in Kuala Lumpur is a popular place to stay among budget travelers and backpackers.

By staying in this area, not only will you be in close proximity to Petaling Street, attractions like Central Market and those in the Lake Gardens area such as the National Mosque, Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park and KL Bird Park, are all within walking distance. There are many heritage buildings around too if you are into them.

Moreover, you can take the LRT train from the Pasar Seni LRT Station, which just a stop away from KL Sentral. This train station is also an interchange station between LRT Kelana Jaya Line and MRT Sungai Buloh – Kajang Line.

Being so near to Petaling Street opens up plenty of options when it comes to food too. There are many food stalls, restaurants, cafés and eateries in the area that food is the last thing you need to worry about.

Some travelers may not feel safe wandering around this area late at night, though. There are still sections of the area frequented by drug addicts and patrons of illegal prostitution-related businesses.

Pros

Walking distance to attractions in the Lake Gardens area.
Plenty of options for food.
Many options to choose from for cheap accommodation.

Cons

Travelers may not feel safe, especially at night.
Streets are a little dirty and not well-maintained.
Limited nightlife spots.

Who Is It For?

Budget travelers.
Backpackers.
Foodies.
Travelers interested in history and culture.

Most Popular Hotel in the Petaling Street / Chinatown Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Petaling Street / Chinatown Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Petaling Street / Chinatown Area:

Bukit Bintang Area

The Bukit Bintang area is a hotspot for travelers and locals alike. It can be broadly separated into two smaller areas:

Jalan Bukit Bintang Area
Changkat Bukit Bintang Area

Even though the two areas are just sitting next to each other, they are distinctive in their own way and they cater to different types of traveler.

Jalan Bukit Bintang Area

As soon as you arrive at Jalan Bukit Bintang, you can immediately tell what type of travelers will like it most.

Shopping malls and restaurants are lined up along the streets, attracting tens of thousands of people to them every single day. The street is always jam-packed with pedestrians. In fact, traffic here is always slow-moving to allow for the crossing of pedestrians.

Aside from shopping and indulging in the food offered here, there are not many popular attractions around.

However, this area is connected to the KLCC area by the KLCC – Bukit Bintang Pedestrian Walkway so travelers stay here can reach PETRONAS Twin Towers within minutes of walking. You can also take the KL Monorail or the MRT to KL Sentral, before switching to a train line that will bring you to other popular attractions in Kuala Lumpur.

Pros

Plenty of shopping and dining options.
Connected to multiple train lines and bus routes.
Walking distance to Changkat Bukit Bintang, a well-known nightlife hotspot.
Well-patrolled and safe.

Cons

Busy streets can be noisy until late night.
Accommodation options are priced on the higher end.

Who Is It For?

Shoppers.
Foodies.

Most Popular Hotel in the Jalan Bukit Bintang Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Jalan Bukit Bintang Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Jalan Bukit Bintang Area:

Changkat Bukit Bintang Area

There are only a few spots in Kuala Lumpur that people go to for nightlife activities and Changkat Bukit Bintang is probably the most popular.

As dawn approaches, the street is closed off while the bars, lounges and restaurants that will run way past midnight, open up for business. Along the street, there are also plenty of massage parlors for those who are left with a tired body after exploring the city.

There are no hotels along the street. However, if you stay at any of the places highlighted below, you will still be able to drag yourself back in case the night gets too crazy for you.

Avoid staying in this area if you prefer a good night’s sleep instead of an active nightlife. A calm and quiet night never happen here. Consider staying somewhere in the Jalan Bukit Bintang area if you want a place that is quieter but still within walking distance to this nightlife hotspot.

Pros

A very active nightlife scene.
Plenty of options for street food and restaurants.
Fairly walkable streets.

Cons

Very noisy at night.
Heavy traffic at night.
Some parts of the area is a little dodgy.

Who Is It For?

Nightlife enthusiasts.
Party-goers.

Most Popular Hotel in the Changkat Bukit Bintang Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Changkat Bukit Bintang Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Changkat Bukit Bintang Area:

Outskirts of the City Center

Most travelers exploring Kuala Lumpur will stay in the city center for the convenience. However, you can consider staying somewhere in the outskirts too.

Many locals, even those who are working in the city center, choose not to stay in the city center because it is less busy in the outskirts. Moreover, it is still quite convenient since many of the areas around Kuala Lumpur are connected to the city center via the LRT or MRT train service.

If you prefer a more peaceful living environment, especially if you will be staying here for a longer period of time, the following are some of the best areas to stay in:

Bangsar

Bangsar is a large, laid back residential area just outside the city center for affluent locals and expatriates who will be staying in the city for months or even years.

Many of the activities here are centered at the Telawi area, where you can find restaurants offering international cuisines, pubs, bistros, bars and eateries running late into the night. The area is even busier on Friday nights, cafés and during the weekends. During the day, you can also shop at the many boutiques in this area.

Bangsar is also a popular go-to place who people who are into arts, music and all kinds of stage performances. Live bands performing at restaurants is fairly common around here. On almost every weekend, there will be some art exhibitions or live music performances held somewhere in the area.

There is no popular attractions around, but since you have Bangsar LRT Station and Bandar Sri Damansara MRT Station serving the area, the city center is just a few minutes away.

Pros

Calm living environment.
A fairly amount of options for nightlife activities.
A lot of activities centered around art and creative performances.

Cons

No well-known attractions around.
Room prices for hotels here are similar to those in the city center.

Who Is It For?

Travelers for a long term stay.
Expatriates.

Most Popular Hotel in the Bangsar Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Bangsar Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Bangsar Area:

Petaling Jaya

Petaling Jaya is a city under the state of Selangor instead of Kuala Lumpur. However, since it sits right next to the capital of Malaysia, some travelers and expatriates also consider it as an ideal area to stay.

Upon entering the city, you will notice how sparse its population is as compared to the city center. Because of this, there are also more greenery and everything seem calmer.

Petaling Jaya is home to a number of large and medium-sized shopping malls. They never fail as crowd magnets, especially during the weekends or public holidays. Cars will form a queue of several kilometers just to enter the parking area of these malls.

Aside from the malls, there is also more variety when it comes to dining options. Eateries, restaurants and food stalls serving different cuisines are all over the city. Also, there are some pretty unique attractions in the area too.

For example, Sunway Pyramid is a shopping mall with an exterior that mimics an actual pyramid with a sphinx. Inside the structure, you will find an indoor ice skating rink. Just beside it, there is a large water theme park called Sunway Lagoon.

Pros

Many shopping malls and eateries in the area.
Sparse population as compared to the city center of Kuala Lumpur.
More greenery.

Cons

Traffic can get busy, especially during peak hours.
Takes around 20 minutes to an hour to reach the city center by car or by taking a public transport.
Not many hotels or accommodation options that are convenient for travelers without a car.

Who Is It For?

Travelers planning to stay longer in Kuala Lumpur.
Travelers who want to live like a middle-class local.

Most Popular Hotel in the Petaling Jaya Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Petaling Jaya Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Petaling Jaya Area:

Cheras

Cheras is on the Southeastern side of Kuala Lumpur’s city center. The area borders the Imbi area of Kuala Lumpur where Berjaya Times Square and the popular night entertainment hub, TREC KL are located.

It is an area under rapid development and because of ongoing constructions, traffic conditions are poor on most days. The crime rate of the area is on the high side, which may be concern some travelers.

On the bright side, hotels in Cheras are cheaper than other areas around Kuala Lumpur despite its short distance to the city and the connectivity brought about by the different train lines.

Cheras is home to the longest night market in Kuala Lumpur – Taman Connaught Night Market, which takes place every Wednesday night. In this area, there is also an IKEA together with several other shopping malls serving your needs for daily necessities.

Pros

Cheaper accommodation options as compared to other outskirt areas.
Many malls in the area.
Close proximity to the city center.

Cons

Dense population.
Bad traffic conditions and poorly-maintained roads.
Higher crime rates as compared to other areas.
Not many hotels or accommodation options that are convenient for travelers without a car.

Who Is It For?

Long term travelers looking for cheap accommodation options.

Most Popular Hotel in the Cheras Area:

Most Popular Budget Hotel in the Cheras Area:

Most Popular Hostel in the Cheras Area:

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Wayne Liew
Wayne fell in love with traveling and every aspect of it when he traveled to Singapore in 2013. He is a newbie when it comes to traveling and he loves chatting with other travelers to learn from their experiences. Are you a traveler? Let's connect!

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