Relax and unwind in Kuala Lumpur

If you are in Kuala Lumpur on business, it’s easy to feel under pressure, especially if you don’t know your way around. Here are a few ways to relax and unwind in the Malaysian capital.

Get some you-time in on your next trip to Kuala Lumpur. Image credit: iStock
Get some you-time in on your next trip to Kuala Lumpur. Image credit: iStock

As Malaysia’s largest and busiest city, Kuala Lumpur is a place where it can be hard to catch your breath.

The city’s seven million residents are widely spread out across a city woven together by a seemingly endless tangle of congested highways and roads, with multiple business centers dotted throughout.

Why not dedicate some time on your next trip to Kuala Lumpur to check out these relaxing experiences.

Escape into the city wilderness

For most, a few hours spent in the great outdoors is the ideal antidote to city life.

Even within the confines of KL’s concrete jungle, there are pockets of rainforest just waiting to be enjoyed. Whether you are looking for a quick nature fix in the heart of the city, commonly referred to as KLCC, or a relaxing place for an evening jog, Kuala Lumpur’s natural parks are a great way to regain mental and physical equilibrium at the end of a hectic day.

KL Forest Eco Park – wild, diverse jungle

One of Malaysia’s oldest protected jungle areas, KL Forest Eco Park consists of nine hectares of tropical hardwood forest, situated right in the heart of the city. Commonly known as Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), KL Forest Eco Park offers a taste of wild Malaysia and a surprisingly diverse birdlife, considering its central location.

For those staying or working in KLCC, the forest park’s sky-high canopy walkway offers a rare moment of tranquility, and an excuse to stretch your legs.

Kota Damansara Forest Reserve – jogger’s paradise

Located West in Petaling Jaya (KL’s second business center), Kota Damansara Forest Reserve is one of the city’s best spots for jogging and hiking.

Larger, quieter and wilder than the cities more famous parks (KL Bird Park, KLCC Central Park, and the Botanical Gardens), Damansara Forest Reserve has a number of different trails to explore. Runners generally stick to the well-maintained main paths, while hikers can choose from a number of wild jungle tracks.

Find a green oasis within the bustling city. Image credit: iStock
Find a green oasis within the bustling city. Image credit: iStock

Immerse yourself in contemporary art

Art galleries, with their air-conditioned, calm, and quiet settings, are an excellent place to seek some relaxation while gaining cultural insight.

Kuala Lumpur’s contemporary art scene is emerging, and over the last few years has sprouted a number of small independent art galleries. An hour spent quietly appreciating local art is an excellent form of meditation. Take a look at our top picks in Kuala Lumpur.

Wei-Ling has been a firm part of the local art scene for more than a decade, spanning two art spaces within Kuala Lumpur.

The original gallery (located in Brickfields) focuses on traditional Malay art forms, while Wei-Ling Contemporary at Gardens Mall is a space for experimental and modern art.

Both galleries are beautifully designed, offering relaxing environments in which to escape the buzz of the city.

OUR ArtProjects – intimate space within an arts hub

OUR ArtProjects is a small gallery space which showcases emerging Southeast Asian artists, from a variety of disciplines.

The Zhongshan Building, where the gallery is located, is an arts hub with design firms, record stores, and artisanal craftspeople as tenants. After you’ve visited the gallery, pop into Piu Piu cafe for an excellent cup of coffee, or their signature sour lemon shochu cocktail.

Pamper sore muscles with a spa treatment

Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan city and as a result it boasts an extensive range of spa and massage styles originating from all over Asia.

Whether you prefer a classic muscle-melting Thai massage, a relaxing Indian Ayurvedic oil treatment, or a round of traditional Chinese reflexology – Kuala Lumpur is certain to provide.

Explore a range of relaxing treatments across these Kuala Lumpur locations. Image credit: iStock
Explore a range of relaxing treatments across these Kuala Lumpur locations. Image credit: iStock

Thai Odyssey – unwind between meetings

With convenient locations all over the city, Thai Odyssey is the best place for those on a tight schedule.

Thai Odyssey is one of Malaysia’s most well-known and respected spa brands, offering a number of express massages from 45 mins to an hour. An excellent place to spend time between meetings.

Spa Village, Ritz Carlton – an oasis within a city

For those with a little more time, Spa Village at the Ritz Carlton is a little slice of serenity located right in KLCC, a short distance from the Petronas Towers.

Book in for an extended spa treatment (they are famous for their rejuvenating sound bath package), followed by a few hours chilling poolside in their chic, tropical gazebo area.

Relax with a cool drink

Morning or night, Kuala Lumpur has countless cafes and bars that are perfect spots to relax for a few hours.

If you’re feeling the stress, be sure to avoid the busy areas around Bukit Bintang and Brickfields and try these laid back spots instead.

Bean Brothers – the brunch and iced coffee go-to

Located in upscale Damansara, Korean-owned Bean Brothers is one of KL’s coolest spots, with excellent coffee and scrumptious brunch options, served up within a spacious and relaxing interior.

Bean Brothers is a great spot to escape the clutches of KLCC, and get some work done – thanks to high-speed Wi-Fi and generous seating capacity.

Jungle Bird – tropical bar with cool cocktail offerings

Located in Bukit Kiara, Jungle Bird is one of the cites only bars to specialize in rum, offering a wide range of varieties from across the globe.

Kuala Lumpur by day is hot and busy, so one of their cool signature cocktails is the ideal antidote to relax and unwind after-hours. The bar has a laid-back tropical vibe, blending resort aesthetics with traditional Malay touches.


Grace Catherine

Grace is a freelance writer and digital project manager from New Zealand currently based in Mexico City. She is an avid traveler who loves destinations with an eclectic history, a bike-sharing scheme, and plenty of cool animals.