While Kuala Lumpur might be best known for the Patronis Tower, Batu Cave and too many traffic jams, what most people don’t tell you is that it’s also home to a tropical rainforest tucked in the city, Malaysia’s first zero-waste store and plenty of social enterprises doing great work.
We’re rectifying that with our 8Shades’ eco travel guide to Kuala Lumpur, including the best places to stay, eat, drink, shop and see – happy travels!
WHERE TO STAY
Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur
Alila hotel group has strived to make all their properties as green as possible, and Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Aside from energy-efficient measures such as window tinting, they also harvest rainwater for watering plants, and produce their own bottled water for guests using a reverse osmosis water treatment system and recycled glass bottles.
Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur, 58 Jalan Ang Seng, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur upholds the renowned hotel brand’s global sustainability initiatives – meaning no single-use plastics, sourcing locally whenever possible and only using sustainable seafood. Did I mention they have an amazing pool too?
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur
WHERE TO EAT
The Farm Restaurant at Bangsar South
You don’t get more farm-to-table than eating at a restaurant made by the farm itself! All the ingredients at The Farm come fresh daily from their own urban farming lab or from local farms and grocers, meaning their menu is highly seasonal. You also get to enjoy your dishes in this beautifully airy restaurant hung with draping vines and leaves.
The Farm Restaurant at Bangsar South, Unit G-01 & G-02, Level Ground, The Sphere Bangsar South City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
The Hungry Tapir
A vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a full serviced bar, The Hungry Tapir’s Instagrammable interiors make an inviting space for a meal — think pops of yellow and pink with exposed brick walls and greenery. Located in Chinatown, this eatery serves up a fusion menu blending the east and west, but be sure to try their Malay fare.
The Hungry Tapir, 135 Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
WHERE TO DRINK
Go green for your happy hour and head to Terra, with its spacious interior, outdoor terrace and menu of sustainable, organic drinks and western food. Terra only sources drinks that are biodynamic, organic and sustainable with an extensive range of wines, quirky and refreshing cocktails (try the ‘I Am Groot!’) and infused gins available.
Terra, 82, Lorong 1/77a, Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
La Juiceria is a one-stop shop for all your healthy eating needs — but given it started out as a juice company, their drinks remain a signature. Founder Anabelle Co-Martinent became an advocate for daily juices and plant-based foods after they helped her lose weight and feel more energised. La Juiceria offers immunity booster juices, cold-pressed juices and smoothies to choose from; you can even order online and have them delivered straight to your hotel.
La Juiceria, 2, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
WHERE TO SHOP
Having opened its first branch in 2018, The Hive holds the honour of being the first zero-waste store in Malaysia — and now boasts five locations across Kuala Lumpur. Selling bulk foods as well as various zero-waste lifestyle products, head here to buy a zero-waste starter kit to avoid using plastic disposable cutlery for street food during your trip, or to prepare some healthy treats in advance for your flight home.
The Hive, various locations across Kuala Lumpur
Batik is one of Malaysia’s most iconic textiles, so hit up Batik Boutique if you want to buy some Batik clothing, home goods — or even face masks! This stylish social enterprise employs people from marginalised communities across Malaysia, with over 1,500 beneficiaries.
Batik Boutique, Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
WHAT TO SEE
Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park
Did you know that there is a patch of tropical rainforest hiding away in the heart of Kuala Lumpur? Formerly known as Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, this 10.5-hectare park is nestled right beside the famous Kuala Lumpur Tower. You can wander the park by yourself on one of its nature trails or join daily guided tours from the visitor centre to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park, Lot 240, Bukit Nanas, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Unseen Tours Kuala Lumpur
Run by Yellow Hostel Kuala Lumpur, Unseen Tours hires homeless people as guides, empowering those who know the streets best to show visitors all the hidden corners of Malaysia’s capital. Rather than being poverty tourism, these trips focus on showing you the best of Kuala Lumpur – with a street art tour and haunted tour among the experiences on offer.
Find out more at Unseen Tours Kuala Lumpur
See also: 8Shades’ Eco Travel Guide to Bangkok
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