The photography guide to Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
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Kuala Lumpur photography guide

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Once a tin-mining village, Kuala Lumpur has grown to become the capital and largest city in Malaysia.

The twin Petronas Towers, once the tallest building in the world, dominate the skyline. These icons of steel and glass juxtapose with colonial architecture dotted around the city.

Excellent air links to the world's major cities and destinations within the region mean that Kuala Lumpur is an excellent stopover, but with great attractions, modern and colonial architecture, superb shopping and dining, the city is a worthy destination in itself.

Most popular Kuala Lumpur photo spots

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The Petronas Towers are the instantly recognisable icon of Kuala Lumpur's skyline, and compositions including this structure instantly conveys a sense of presence. Tours of the towers are available, but I believe the best views are of the towers, not from them.

KL Tower is another skyscraper nearby which offers better photography opportunities including the Petronas Towers.

Batu Caves are a sacred Hindu site to the north of the city which offers spectacular photography opportunities of the shrines within, particular when rays of sunshine or rainfall cascades into the cave.

Petaling Street is the city's famous night market where one can spend several hours haggling for all sorts of clothing, accessories and perfumes. It's a great spot for street photography and people-watching.


Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is exceptionally well connected within the region thanks to a new terminal catering towards low cost carriers. For this reason, Kuala Lumpur is well placed as a stopover city for further adventures in Asia.

Train transfers to KL Sentral station are cheap and easy, though not especially quick. Taxi transfers are affordable and in plentiful supply outside the terminal - look for one of the city's red and white metered taxis.

There are several different types of rail transport within the city, which can be a little daunting particularly at KL Sentral where different lines require different tokens and an array of ticket booths for each. A KL TravelPass simplifies this somewhat - it offers 2-day unlimited rides on LRT, MRT and KL Monorail lines, however KTM Komuter lines are not included. Having said all this, rail travel is very cheap and efficient once you have acquainted yourself with the different railways.

The bus network is cheap, efficient and extensive. A free circular bus route exists within the Central Business District but can be congested at peak times.

Kuala Lumpur is not an ideal destination for travellers with limited mobility. The more modern areas of the city have been constructed and designed with accessibility in mind, but unfortunately the majority of the city can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or buggy.

Grab is the app of choice for locals to hail a car to get around. Fares vary depending on demand, so rush hour should be avoided.

Crime is not a big problem in Kuala Lumpur but as with all major cities, common sense should prevail particularly in areas with a lot of tourists which may be a target for pickpockets.


If you can time your visit to coincide with a religious festival, you are sure to capture some unique scenes.

Chinese New Year brings lanterns, decorations and firecrackers to the city.

Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Cake or Lantern Festival) is a Chinese tradition where children take to the streets with elaborate paper lanterns.

Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, brings twinkling lights to Little India, near KL Sentral.

The New Year fireworks are broadcast around the world and feature the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park lit up in spectacular fashion. You can achieve incredible photos from the windows of one of the nearby hotels but be warned that rooms fill up well in advance and are as a significant premium. In this guide I suggest several options for viewing the fireworks.


Curated By

Mathew Browne Team
Head of tech at PhotoHound. My photography career started a few years ago, but I’m a web developer by trade since 2006 including 4 years as CTO maturing an early stage startup. This experience means I’m able tackle the creative and technical challenges that PhotoHound will face as it grows. My role here is to oversee technical development and innovations, user experience and design. When I’m not coding I’m travelling the world with my wife Louise and son George.
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