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The Island of the Soul – Gili Air

Gili Air island Image by Chantelle Flores |

Make yourself free from any appointments and connections. We are headed to Gili Air, one of Indonesia’s most sought-after islands.

Put your phone somewhere far away from reach and enter a place you feel the calmest at. You dim the lights and you position yourself in a comfortable reclining position. This is your time – a time of total relaxation, inner stillness and, self-reflection.

You start relaxing your muscles one by one, slowly breathing in and out. You allow the tension to melt away feeling a peaceful sensation flowing through your entire body.

You close your eyes and imagine yourself on a deserted island in Indonesia far away from any form of civilization. An island that is famed for being the Maldives of this Asian Continent.

It’s early in the morning, and you are standing on a white sandy beach admiring the sun slowly rising. Mount Rinjani is silhouetted in the distance. You feel the tropical orange light warm your face and your body. Soft lapping waves gently break on the shoreline. You are feeling content, relaxed and at ease. A light breeze caresses your face and you realize you have this island all to yourself. far away from any form of civilization.

You walk along the beach watching the veil of sun rays dissolve, clearly revealing the neighbouring islands of Bali and Lombok. You gaze off towards a small boat smoothly drifting along the sparkling ocean water coming to rest on a shore which somewhat resembles a port.

Tropical palm trees gently sway in the breeze as a horse-drawn cart called a ‘Cidomos’ awaits the arrival of the guests enthusiastically wanting to explore the paradise you found themselves on. The horse stood firm proudly showing off its show jumping memento and decorations covered in bells and brightly coloured tassels. You reach the realization that the silence of the island can be attributed to the lack of motorized vehicles and you stare at these Cidomos in amazement at the traditional way of life.

The guests step off the boat not perturbed by the fact that the warm waters are lapping at their feet. They pause for a brief moment to appreciate this place of sublime beauty and simplicity. The peaceful looks on the faces are evident and they feel the same energy you felt on your arrival.

You continue walking along a narrow path meandering through native plant species feeling nurtured and still. You suddenly get distracted by the sudden movement of wild animals making their way through the bush. Confused you wonder if this is a deer or a cow. Approaching with caution, you walk closer to have a look – It seems like there is evidence of cross-breeding between both. The body is shaped like a cow, but the head and other bodily features resemble the deer commonly found in America.

As you take a few more steps you reach a simmering lake. The water is perfectly still, like a mirror, free from even the slightest ripple, and you feel its calmness within you. You make your way to an overhead bridge, with no soul in sight and sit with your feet hanging over the edge taking in the stillness and silence this body of water has to offer.

Deeply relaxed you continue along the path for a few more minutes until you find yourself on the other side of the undeveloped island. The 15-minute journey was effortless and calm.

At one time or another, you get a little caught up in the seriousness of life and the responsibilities that you bear. The pressure of day-to-day living has worn you down.

You reclaim your freedom, by undressing and revealing a brightly colour-flattering royal blue bathing suit. You walk into the ocean that awaits you. You feel the sand under your feet and feel the water lapping against your legs inviting you in.

The water slowly reaches your waist and your feet start to pain as you navigate your way over the flesh-piecing coral that is illuminated by the bright sun. You take a deep breath and realize this is an obstacle you must overcome to reach your destination. Calmness envelops you as you float on your back over the coral with the gentle currents pushing you in a direction you need to be in. You feel the motion and are empowered by your mindset to overcome these obstacles as the turquoise waters wash away all your anxieties and worries.

You bravely flip over, fully submerging your entire body and head in the water. You swim against the current noticing boldly coloured fish gracefully swimming around the living coral.

You continue to swim even deeper noticing the colour of the water change to indigo until you find yourself at Bask Nest – a sunken sculpture park that was created to rejuvenate the many fragile treasures beneath the sea. You can fully relate to the 48-life-size human figures that symbolize the intersection between mankind and nature.

You compare yourself to each figure and realize that although sunken serves a purpose to reflect and appreciate your own sunken desires they are still so beautiful that you need to bring them back to life. As you swim inside it, it gives you a radiance and ability to listen to nature and yourself that you would not normally possess and it makes you become aware of more and more of the things that are happening around you.

After enjoying this beautiful memorable sight you continue to make your way towards the shore with renewed energy and hope for the future. As your feet gently touch the sand, your body becomes enveloped by the warmth of the midday sun.

You enjoy the perfection of life and the radiance and vitality it has given you. You slowly open your eyes, bringing the memories of the beautiful island with you, remembering how you felt and all that it has taught you.

For a brief moment you were free from all the memories of the past, and the concerns for the future and free of all forms of responsibilities.

This is the exact sense of meditation and calmness I experienced in the few days I spent in the tropical paradise of Gili Air.

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Indonesia’s Best Dive Sites & Snorkelling Spots: An Insiders Guide

Dive Sites Indonesia. Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri
Dive Sites Indonesia | Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri

Indonesia is an epicentre of biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else in the world.

Its 13,466 islands, some of which are situated in the heart of The Coral Triangle, make Indonesia a diverse paradise.

We have pinpointed this diverse country’s famed dive and snorkel spots to help you plan out your next big adventure.

In this guide, you can explore the dive sites that make up the world-renowned Komodo National Park, famed by UNESCO for its biodiversity and the teeming unspoilt underworld.

We take a look into the underwater sculpture museum of the Gili Islands, and sunken Japanese warships from World War 2, and get up close and personal with manta rays and turtles in Nusa Pinda and what life would be like on a Liveaboard.

Diving in Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Gili Islands

The three small Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air), fringed by white-sand beaches and coral reefs, provide some of the best snorkelling in Southeast Asia.

Because of their close proximity to both Bali and Lombok, they can easily be accessed by a short boat ride.

Diving in Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

The crystal-clear waters of these paradisiacal islands ensure incredible water visibility when viewing its teeming marine life.

Coral reefs surround all of the islands, flaunting both their soft and hard corals. Parrotfish are in an abundance, as well as butterflyfish and surgeonfish, which can often be seen in large schools.

Other things to spot are the shy Moorish Idols or the Sixbar Wrasse.

Diving in Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

The highlight of snorkelling in Gili has to be swimming with turtles, particularly the green sea turtle at Turtle Point. The underwater grassland a few meters off the shores provides an attractive feeding ground for these creatures.

The Underwater Sculpture Museum

Gili Islands. Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

A few meters off the shores of Gili Meno you will find the incredible underwater sculpture museum featuring 48 life-size human figures arranged in a circle. Some of the figures stand together and some are curled up on the ground.

It was created by Britain-born artist, Jason de Caires Taylor who has spent a big portion of his life creating incredible underwater museums, in the likes of the Caribbean, Canary Islands and in the River Thames.

The sculptures are made from pH-neutral, environmental-grade concrete and based on the casts of real people. The idea behind these is to aid the growth of the dying coral reefs, by providing a natural home for new corals to form, thus transforming the sculptures into a reef.

Ship Wrecks and other Wrecks

The Japanese Wreck off the shores of Gili Air is a favourite. It lies at a depth of 45 meters and is completely solitary, which means that there is only sand surrounding it.

The ship was used as a submarine patrol boat for the Japanese during the second world war, yet its initial origin and the reason for its sinking are still unclear today. It was left undiscovered for almost 40 years, and when discovered bullets and empty magazines were found.

Diving in Indonesia. Image by Jakob Owens.

The bounty wreck lies at the bottom of the southwest coast of Gili Meno. It used to be a jetty for the Bounty Cruise Ship to dock back in the day. The top of the wreck features hard and soft corals, proving that the wreck’s rich iron can stimulate coral growth. Be warned though, strong currents will prevent even the most experienced divers from swimming through it or even underneath.

What’s more, is that at this site, you can view loads of car tires, mooring lines and even bikes. A complete mystery as to how these have become housed here.

Another wreck to keep an eye out for is The Glenn Nusa. This tugboat, serving Lombok years ago, was bought over by and deliberately sunken by the Trawangan dive centres in an effort to stimulate a new coral reef.

Best time to visit

The rainy, or monsoon, season runs from November to April, but the rains are not as heavy as on other nearby islands. The dry season runs from May through to October.

The best time to go scuba diving and to enjoy the best weather is between the months of July and August and December and January.

Diving in Gili Islands, Indonesia. Image by Jeremy Bishop.

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida can be visited as a day trip from Bali or as a trip on its own. It has a great variety of dive sites for experienced scuba divers and snorkelling enthusiasts who can enjoy Manta Bay, home to a wide variety of Manta Rays.

Nusa Penida. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.


Snorkelling with Manta Rays will become your favourite activity in this region.

Manta Bay offers the best encounters. The abundance of plankton in these waters makes it the ideal feeding ground for these mesmerizing creatures.

Some Mata’s can grow up to 7 metres and weigh up to 3000kgs. But despite their size, they are completely harmless to humans.

Diving in Nusa Penida. Image by Shifaaz Shamoon


Diving in Nusa is only for the more experienced divers. Possibly a highlight of diving here is encountering the Mola Mola, a weird and wonderful ocean sunfish.

Although you can see these creatures in a number of spots, Crystal Bay’s clear waters are arguably the best spot to see them during the high season. The site’s huge coral pillar, starting at 5m has a white sand base and is teeming with other marine life. You can spot swarms of glass fish, the leaf scorpion fish, angelfish and banded sea snakes, to name a few.

Interestingly this dive site gives way to other unique encounters. That is with bats! Bat Cave can be accessed from underwater, and you may encounter a few small white-tip reef sharks on the way in. It’s quite an experience for those experienced divers.

Leopard, wobbegong and guitar sharks can sometimes be spotted at this dive site too.

Diving in Nusa Penida. Image by Hoodh Ahmed.

Manta Point is one of Nusa’s furthest dive sites, taking approximately one hour to reach. Its coastline is rugged, unspoiled and absolutely beautiful, making the journey to get there worthwhile.

Its abundance of Manta rays is what makes this site. You will watch in wonder as the magnificent manta rays glide over the cleaning stations at Manta Point. Some of the mantas here have wingspans of more than three meters and all have an individually unique black, white or grey pattern on their undersides.

Blue-spotted rays can be found here too, usually on the ocean floor and lying on top of each other.

Other marine life to keep an eye out for are: bamboo sharks, octopuses and Mola Mola.

Another dive site to consider is Malibu Point, perfect for a drift dive and an opportunity to see one of Bali’s wildest sharks, the Thresher Shark.

Sental, PED, and SD along Nusa Penida’s north coast are also great!

Diving in Indonesia. Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri

Best time to visit

You can visit Nusa Penida’s many dive sites throughout the year, but currents may be affected by the monsoon season. The optimal time is when the seas are calm between November and May.

If you are heading there to encounter the Mola Molas, it is best to visit during the months from July to October. This is the season whereby these spectacular animals frequent these waters.

Manta Rays can be spotted all year round.

Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Komodo National Park is located in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago and has been declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The park covers an area of 1,733 km² and comprises of an unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystem.

The coral reefs fringing the coastlines of each of its Islands are diverse and luxuriant due to the clear water, intense sunlight and rapid exchange of nutrient-rich water.

Thus, making it one of the best dive sites in the world.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by James Thornton.

Marine Life

Located in the heart of The Coral Triangle, the global epicentre of marine biodiversity, Komodo’s waters harbour more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Ibrahim Rifath.

Since Komodo is mainly about the big stuff, it is not uncommon to spot an abundance of different shark types here.

You can spot the 1,6m long white tip reef shark roaming the ocean floors. These are usually found at the dive sites of Castle Rock, Crystal Rock, Tatawa Kecil, Cauldron and Tengah.

The shy 2m long blacktip reef shark can be spotted at the dive sites of Tatawa Besar, Karang Makassar, Golden Passage and Cauldron. And seeing that their staple diet is Mantas, you could be lucky enough to spot these gliding past you.

The most dominant of all sharks are the grey reef shark. They are slightly bigger than the other reef sharks in the area, measuring 2.5 metres.

They can be seen hunting schools of fish, lobsters, octopi and crabs. They are super social and curious so don’t be surprised if you have a close encounter with one of these apex predators. The best sites to have encounters with these are the dive sites of Castle Rock and Crystal Rock.

Occasionally Hammerhead sharks, Brown-banded bamboo sharks, and whale sharks can be spotted.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Geoffrey Baumbach.

What’s more is that blue whales, sperm whales and 10 different species of dolphins often frequent these waters.

Don’t go underestimating the macro life in the park though. Cannibal Rock is home to frogfish, pygmy sea horses, nudibranchs and Coleman shrimp. At other dive sites in the region, you can spot crocodile fish, seahorses blue-ringed octopuses.

The small island of Tatawa Kecil has a big reputation with divers. It is an underwater playground with a mix of swim-throughs, small caves, bommies and valleys. Each harbouring a wide variety of fish.

You can expect to see jacks, batfish, snappers, groupers, sweetlips and occasionally a passing ray.

You will appreciate The Cauldron, Batu Bolong, and Pillarsteen dive sites as well.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarrri.


Liveaboards are the next best thing for every professional diver or diving enthusiast.

The idea behind them is to live on a boat for a few days and dive to your heart’s content. These enable you to dive more remote and often better dive sites, and spend your evenings close to nature, and out on the ocean whilst gazing at stars far from the madding crowd.

The Liveaboard life can be summed up as follows “Dive, Eat and Sleep”.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

A typical 4-day tour will give you a maximum of 14 dives, including at least a 1-night dive. This may seem like a lot of diving, but your surface intervals are long and you will find a liveaboard cruise rewarding and relaxing.

On a full day of diving your first dive is usually just before breakfast, then a second dive before lunch. And the third one usually happens sometime in the afternoon or depending on the conditions, in the evening.

Moreover, you would be surprised at just how much you can fit in on a trip like this. In many areas, in between dives, there may be chances to zip over to some of the exotic beaches and islands you are sailing by.

Best time to visit

Planning the best time to visit Komodo can prove a difficult task, as there are so many variables involved that could affect your dive. Different seasons bring about differences in water visibility, currents and marine life.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Wet season

The wet season generally runs from December until March with January and February experiencing a lot of rain. As a result, January to March can have rough surface conditions and currents at the northern dive sites.

Don’t let these weather conditions put you off from diving then. It has its pros. Manta rays, whilst spotted all year round, can be seen in abundance during these months. On average you can expect to see at least 10 circling around you at any given time.

Water visibility is best from November to January, so if you don’t have that much dive experience it is best to plan your trip during these months.

Dry Season

Diving is best during the dry season, typically from May to June and then again from September to October. July and August can have rough seas in the south and at Rinca Island which might not be that ideal.

Pink Beaches of Serai Island, Komodo National Park

Serai Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Far from civilisation and reached only by boat, Serai Island’s beach blushes a rich shade of pink. The boat anchors a few metres from the shoreline to protect its spectacular coral reef, leaving you to swim to shore.

This incredible natural wonder gets its striking colour from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by red microscopic animals called Foraminifera. These live in the coral reefs that surround the beach.

Pink is not the only colour you will see. The island is a marvel of all the colours of a rainbow. The sandstone cliff overlooking the beach boasts a shade of yellow and the trees that surround the beach are lush green. What’s more, these colours are contrasted with its lapping clear blue touriqous waves and blue skies.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Renate Helgerud.

The underwater world is no less fascinating.

Snorkelling here will reveal a beautiful panorama and a healthy and colourful underwater garden. Various kinds of amazing sea biota can be found here, including thousands of different kinds of fish and 70 kinds of sponges.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Milos Prelevic.

Padar Island

Padar Island is south of the Komodo National Park and its underwater will not disappoint you.

The dive and snorkel spots here, boast some fascinating things, including long coral reef walls that have fascinating structures. Some of which you can swim through.

Padar Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

The marine life in this area differs from that in the centre and in the north.

Unique to this area are the huge gorgonian sea fans, schools of devil rays, sea apples, varieties of nudibranchs and other coral species.

Padar Island, Indonesia. Image bySamu Roeh.

The dive site called “The Secret Garden” has a gently sloping reef and is filled with a rich variety of coral bommies and xenia soft corals. These serve as a host for huge schools of reef fish.

Other species of fish worth spotting here are Ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, rhino pia and blue ring octopus.

Padar Island, Indonesia. Image by Samu Roeh.

The “Three Sisters” dive site is all about volumes. Its three submerged pinnacles, ranging from 5,7 to 12 metres are covered in pristine coral, attracting schools of fish looking to feed.

Common to this area is the giant trevally, great barracuda, eagle rays, eels, scorpionfish and nudibranchs.

Padar Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by Jean Wimmerlin.

Similarly, the dive site of “Pillerstein” offers dramatic walls, stunning swim-throughs and huge whip corals.

When the swell is calm you can spot sea apples and whip coral partner shrimp. And if you are lucky, a Devil Ray could come cruising past you.

Best time to visit

Seeing that the best marine life here is seasonal, it is best dived from November through to February.

Padar Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Image by James Donaldson.

Indonesia offers some of the most spectacular dive sites in the world, with diverse marine life and stunning underwater landscapes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, you’re sure to find a site that suits your skill level and interests. From Raja Ampat to Komodo National Park, Indonesia’s dive sites are a must-visit for any diving enthusiast. So pack your bags, grab your gear, and get ready to explore the underwater wonders of Indonesia!

Parts of this guide have been sponsored by Travel Start, South Africa.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Explore our other Asian destinations

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Visiting Kuala Lumpur? Don’t miss these top things to do

Top 10 things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Kuala Lumpur is a popular layover hub for flights in and around Asia. To add to this is that you can pick up some really cheap flights to bordering countries like Thailand and Indonesia. Despite the reason, you found yourself here, this truly diverse metropolis has a lot on offer for just about every kind of traveler.

Here is a list of 10 not to miss attractions that will keep you entertained for a few days.

1. Petronas Twin Towers

Top 10 things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The Petronas Twin Towers in the city center are among the world’s most impressive twin skyscrapers and from 1998 to 2004 they were the tallest buildings in the world.

Architecturally, the building signifies the important Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability, and rationality. Its impressive post-modern design will just amaze you. The Towers feature multi-faceted walls of 33,000 stainless steel and 55,000 glass panels that resemble Islamic motifs, unique to the Malaysian Culture.

The exterior isn’t the only thing that is unique. The interior boasts local handicrafts and intricate patterns of ‘songket’ (weaving).  The floor designs are based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating the shape of eight-pointed stars.

What’s more is that each tower weighs 300 000 tons, and to put it into perspective for you, that is equivalent to 42 857 elephants. Say what?!

There are also 1765 flights of stairs that take you to the top. Don’t go questioning your fitness levels just yet, the lifts offer a great alternative to getting to the observation deck on the 86th floor. They are pretty impressive in that it will only take you 90 seconds to reach them. Each of the 10 double-decker lifts reaches speeds of 6.1 minutes per second.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Its impressive height isn’t the only thing that has made this building world famous. The double-decker sky bridge that links the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors is the highest two-story bridge in the world. Despite it offering visitors an amazing view, it also acts as an escape should disaster ever strike.

You daredevils out there will appreciate this. French climber Alain Robert climbed to the top of one of the towers using only his bare hands and without any safety equipment. It took him just under two hours to complete.

2. The best rooftop bar – Sky Bar

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Awarded Asia’s Best Bar Award in 2016, the upscale cocktail Sky Bar, located in the Traders Hotel is something not to be missed. It is one of the only rooftop bars in the city where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Petronas Twin Towers and its surroundings.  

Lounge around on one of their designer furniture pieces, take a dip in their swimming pool, or sip on one of their creative cocktails for sundowners.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


After 7 pm, the bar really comes alive. Guests must be at least 21 years old to enter and party it up with one of their many popular DJs.

3. Light Symphony at KLCC Park

By day, immerse yourself in the modern and vibrating atmosphere of KLCC’s Urban Park.

The park is 50 acres and was originally designed to provide greenery to the areas surrounding it, including the Petronas Twin Towers.  Its 2,000-odd palm trees, 74 different plant species, lakeside pond, and high-pressure jet pool provide tranquillity amidst its city skyline views.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


By night, the park turns into a symphony and puts on a spectacular light show over its lakeside pond. Dozens of water jets shoot up in the air and are highlighted by colorful beams of light dancing about to the beats of the music.

There is no room to get bored. There are five programs featuring 380 individually sequenced defects of water shooting up to a height of 42 m.

4. Spend a night at the Space Hotel

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |



Arguably a favorite experience when visiting the city – A night at a Space Hotel.

Why it’s so cool? Firstly, it is only a two-star hotel (resembling more of a hostel than a hotel), which means that it comes at a fraction of the cost of other hotels in the area.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Secondly, it will give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience of sleeping in a “space-like” setting in a futuristic boutique capsule bed. The pods are in shared rooms, however still private, and come with your own TV, music library and headsets, side table for eating your meal, and the world’s most comfy pillows and plush bed linen. You even have your own ultra retro, colorfully lit, wardrobe for your clothing and bags.

Fancy sliding your way to your abode? The hotel features a slide, from the reception to the ground floor of rooms. It’s pretty entertaining and makes your heart jump on a beach.

5. Batu Caves

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |



A visit to Kuala Lumpur would be incomplete without a visit to the Batu Caves, a mere 30-minute scenic drive from the city center. And for good reason. This temple cave complex boasting many Hindu shrines will give you insight into Malaysia’s deep and diverse religious past.

On arrival, you will be greeted by the very impressive 42.7m high golden statue of Lord Murugan and like other Hindu temples around the world, hundreds of monkeys.  The statue is the tallest one in the world and is made of 1550 cubic meters of concrete and 250 tonnes of steel bars sourced from Thailand. In addition, 300 liters of gold paint was used to give it its finishing touches.  

Speaking of paint, the 272 steps leading up to the main cave complex have recently got a new color-do reflecting the eye-catching colors of the rainbow.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


There are three main caves and a few relatively smaller ones inside a limestone mountain and are 400 million years ago. Cathedral Cave is the biggest of them all and shelters several ornate Hindu shrines beneath its 100-m-high arched ceiling. Other caves to check out are the Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, also featuring Hindu statues and paintings, and the Ramayana Cave which depicts the story of Lord Rama.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Getting your fair share of exercise climbing those stairs is not the only fitness-based activity you can do here. Rock climbing is a popular activity, and you can enjoy the 160 rock climbing routes that rise up 150 meters up the limestone mountain. The Nyamuk Wall is the hardest and longest route in the region whereas the Damai Wall, Comic Wall, and Nanyang Wall are great for first-timers. Abseiling and spelunking (exploration of caves) trips can also be arranged.

6. China Town

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Atmospheric narrow, bustling alleyways, old Chinese buildings, and beautiful temples all await you in China Town.

The famous Petaling Street is a great place to start to experience this vibrant area that is deeply immersed in oriental culture, heritage, and history. It is an area that never sleeps.

What’s more is that it is a bargain hunter’s paradise, filled with imitation goods like clothing, electronics, watches, and handbags.

Love street food? There are plenty of opportunities to try out a delightful array of local cuisine.  In front of the Koon Kee Wantan Mee restaurant, you will find a street food vendor selling Apam Balik which are small pancakes made of coconut milk.  They are delicious!

Other Chinese and seafood restaurants can be found at every corner resulting in an interesting mixture of aromas filling the air that is quite hard to resist. While you are there, try out the steamed dumplings, chicken floss sandwiches, deep-fried chicken feet (if you lean that way), Chinese buns, stir-fries, and freshly cut fruit.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Central Market, with its restored art deco facade, is more upscale when compared to Petaling and boasts trendy cafes and art and craft stores.

The market also houses Malaysia’s most popular coffee shop chain – Old Town White Coffee. The coffee shop offers extremely cheap coffee and tastes like no other coffee you will ever taste.

To immerse yourself deeper in the culture visit some of the many colorful temples. A few worth mentioning are the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Shrine, and the elaborate Chan See Shu Yuen Temple. They are hundreds of years old.

7. Kuala Lumpur Tower

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


If you love chasing the best cityscapes in every city you visit then the Kuala Lumpur Tower is your place. It is 276 meters high and the viewing deck is 100 meters higher than that of the sky bridge at the Petronas Twin Towers. In addition, it is also Malaysia’s second-tallest building and the tallest tower in all of Asia.

The design is unique too, in that firstly, the tower head is made of glass and secondly, arranged in a traditional Islamic form of Muqarnas. This construction cost around $ 110 million and its spindle-like apex is visible from almost anywhere in the KL.

The views from up here are just breathtaking, giving way to an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the city. You should plan to visit around sunset, so you can witness the evening fall.

Afterward, enjoy dinner at the revolving restaurant. It provides a spaceship-like atmosphere and serves both local and international cuisine. You can expect a widespread buffet that includes but is not limited to, stir-fried chili crab, venison fillets, and assorted dim sims. Tasty desserts and a selection of cocktails are on the cards as well.

City views and fine dining are not the only things you can enjoy here. The upper ground floor has an 86meter long shopping mall, a reflective pool, a mini theatre, and an amphitheater.

8. Fireflies Night Tour

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Malaysia’s breathtaking city and its light symphony at KLLC Park isn’t the only thing that comes alive at night. Bioluminescent fireflies flash about producing glimmering lights in a synchronized rhythm.

You can find these in the coastal town of Kuala Selangor, where you can enjoy a boat ride along its river banks. You will pass through mangrove swamps where you will catch the colonies of fireflies. It’s pretty breathtaking, to say the least.

9 & 10. Altingsburg Fort and Bird Park

En route to Kuala Selangor for your fireflies tour you will pass by the ruined Altingsburg Fort, now called the Bukit Melawati. It was built by the second Sultan of Selangor in the 18th century to defend the city against foreign invasion.

The hill that it is situated on offers beautiful panoramic views of the Selangor Coast. Other historical buildings like the Altingsburg Lighthouse and The Royal Mausoleum are found amongst the ancient rain trees. Moreso, you can find silvered leaf monkeys, which are a primate descended from the lineage of old-world monkeys.

Top 10 things to do in Kuala LumpurKuala Lumpur | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Migratory birds grace the foot of the Fort at the world-renowned bird sanctuary. There are about 160 species of birds that can be found flying over the sanctuary broads walks, hides, and watchtowers.

Article commissioned by Travel Start, South Africa.

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