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Kuala Lumpur Gay Travel

The budget-friendly paradise, Kuala Lumpur gay travel will make you feel like a queen! Read the gay safety guidelines below. Malaysia is stunning, but is quite closed to gay life.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Traveling to Kuala Lumpur was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I will never forget the nightly prayer calls while strolling the KL downtown, my stunningly cheap KL luxury hotel and the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten!
luxury hotel Kuala Lumpur
luxury hotel Kuala Lumpur
locals in Kuala Lumpur

Gay culture in Malaysia is almost non-existent, however Kuala Lumpur is in fact home to a gay bar! There’s more on that later, but I do want to point out that Malaysia is a society that is quite against homosexuality.

This sentiment is mainly from the government, which has made disheartening claims in recent years. Without a doubt, I recommend visiting this amazing city, but make sure to read the section on gay safety in KL.
gay bars Kuala Lumpur
KL was a place for me to relax in luxury because the living is extremely cheap. If you’re headed up the coast of Malaysia, it’s a no-brainer to stop here. Once I settled in, I never wanted to leave! The most luxurious hotels are so mind-blowingly cheap, I’m sure you will feel the same.
locals in Kuala Lumpur
gay bars Kuala Lumpur
things to do in KL
A cultural melting pot, Kuala Lumpur has strong influences from Indian and Chinese culture which mesh flawlessly with Malay society (it wasn’t always this way!). No matter the cultural background, everyone here is friendly. Taxi drivers love to learn about tourists and give them recommendations on their favorite places to go.
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Is Kuala Lumpur Safe for Gay People?

Most importantly, you must remember that the Malaysia is a strict Muslim country and the government is extremely conservative. In all official capacities, Malaysia is not gay-friendly. This, however, does not mean that Malaysia isn’t safe for gay travelers. In fact, I highly recommend seeing the wonderful culture Malaysia offers. Let me explain.
monkeys in Malaysia
monkeys in Malaysia
gay travel Kuala Lumpur
Gay travelers in Kuala Lumpur must refrain from any public displays of affection. Even though you may see hundreds of white expats (usually on Business), you should still abide by the local customs. Gay public affection would surely attract negative attention.  Other than that, as long as you keep to yourself, there is nothing to worry about in my opinion.
gay travel Kuala Lumpur
Of course it is frustrating and disappointing to live, or even be, in a country where basic LGBT rights do not exist. Gay travelers in Kuala Lumpur cannot act as freely as they could in many western cities. For more information about gay life in Malaysia, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Gay Kuala Lumpur: Where to Stay

Finding a hotel or Airbnb in Kuala Lumpur is unique because staying exactly in the city center is not necessary. Since the city is so inexpensive for the western gay traveler, you should base your choice on the amenities that your accommodation will offer, rather than its proximity to the city center.
Malaysia gay travel safety
Malaysia gay travel safety
petronas towers KL Malaysia

The best Airbnb I have ever stayed in in my entire life was right here in Kuala Lumpur, and I’m not exaggerating. I stayed at Expressionz Professional Suites, a serviced condominium building with amenities that blew my mind (yes, ending with a letter z)

Two infinity pools, a steam room, rooftop gym, sky lounge, café and breakfast restaurant, carport and Wi-Fi throughout the building were just some of the perks. And the price? Less than $35 USD per night!
petronas towers KL Malaysia

In my opinion, you have two options. If you prefer a standard hotel in Kuala Lumpur you will likely end up near the Petronas Towers. This area is great. On Airbnb you will find many other options in private residential buildings outside the city center. Many of these are serviced apartments that house ex-pats who are working in Kuala Lumpur.

best area Kuala lumpur
best area Kuala lumpur
Kuala Lumpur hotels
In any case, taxi rides are so incredibly cheap that you can ride everywhere you need to go within the city for less than $5 USD. Any accommodation that’s within a 15-minute drive from the Petronas Towers will be perfect.

Kuala Lumpur Experiences for the Gay Traveler

My favorite experience in Kuala Lumpur was listening to the prayer calls right before sunset next to the Petronas Towers. KLCC Park has a wonderful little pond where you can sit in the grass and take in the skyline.

gay travel caves Kuala Lumpur
Listening to these elegant prayer calls brings you into a moment where you can feel at ease and appreciate the beauty around you. It is my dearest memory of Kuala Lumpur.
temples in Kuala Lumpur
gay travel caves Kuala Lumpur

Visit the Petronas Towers before it gets dark so you can see the sunset and everything in the plaza light up. Once night falls upon the city, the colorful fountain show begins. This area is not just for tourists. You will find tons of locals sitting around the plaza enjoying each other’s company.

central market Kuala Lumpur
Ampeng Mall is right beside the Petronas Towers. Here you will find the typical luxury brands and international café chains. It’s great for a stroll inside to get some cool air or to treat yourself to some new clothes.
central market Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur hotels

The Kuala Lumpur Central Market might be on your list, but I personally did not find it to be authentic at all. It seems to be a filled with overpriced tourist souvenirs. I’d say you can skip this

Kuala Lumpur restaurants
The area surrounding the KL Central Market has more to offer with some local food stands. Perhaps you want to pass-through just to see it. But, I would not prioritize going to the Central market if you are short on time.

Kuala Lumpur Restaurants

For some delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, head to Halab Arabic Cuisine. The service was impeccable and the options were plentiful. This restaurant is located in the Arab neighborhood of Ain Arabia on the street named Jelan Berangan.
Kuala Lumpur halal food
Kuala Lumpur restaurants
There are many higher-end restaurants in this area. I stopped into Limoncello for some drinks and watched the sun set. I didn’t order any food but it all smelled delicious, especially the pizza.
Kuala Lumpur halal food

The Batu Caves

Spend an afternoon at the Batu Caves, home to some beautiful Hindu temples. A taxi from central KL takes around 30 minutes with traffic, but before you know it you’ll be hanging with the monkeys!

To avoid the crowds, go in the middle of the day during the week. This is the time I visited and it was mostly empty.
Kuala Lumpur Batu Caves
Kuala Lumpur attractions
Kuala Lumpur Batu Caves
It will likely be hot and humid, so grab a sweat rag, bring water with you and prepare to climb the 272 multicolored steps (it’s really not too strenuous). Inside it is cooler. If you’re lucky, some locals will be participating in a Hindu ritual at the temple inside the cave.
Kuala Lumpur attractions
The cave itself is beautiful and the monkeys are adorable. They will be hopping all around as you climb the steps. Prepare yourself however, as the area suffers from over-tourism. Sanitation is an issue and the poor monkeys feed off of food remnants in trash. I brought some fresh banana to feed them!

Gay Kuala Lumpur: Eat the Street Food!

Some delicious and jaw-droppingly cheap food can be found at Tapak Urban Street Dining. A food truck park with tons of outdoor seating, you can eat to your heart’s content for only a few dollars. Meals range from 7 to 15 Ringgit, which is quite a bargain!
Kuala Lumpur street food
Tapak Urban Street Dining even has a few guitarists for entertainment. I got some spicy Ayam Goreng, and it made me tear up like never before. I can tolerate spicy food well, but this stuff was something else!
Kuala Lumpur petaling street
Kuala Lumpur street food
Kuala Lumpur petaling street
Jalan Alor is a great spot for street food. It is best to go for dinner, or later in the evening. The bustle is fantastic and there are hundreds of options to choose from. Don’t expect fine dining, but any local will tell you that this is the spot to be!

Gay Bars in Kuala Lumpur

BlueBoy is the only known gay bar in Kuala Lumpur, where drag queens perform each night. This is extremely rare for a conservative Muslim country. Although I myself did not attend, I have friends that went. I caution you to use discretion if you plan to visit this establishment.

Stay up to date on any current events related to the LGBT community in Malaysia. The KL BlueBoy gay bar has been raided before, and police have arrested many patrons. Although this only happened a handful of times, it is worth being aware of.

Kuala Lumpur Gay Travel Tips

Kuala Lumpur is not the most walkable city. Some places such as Petaling Street and Chinatown are perfectly easy to walk through, but traversing the city can be difficult because many sidewalks have dead ends or you are forced to cross busy roads.
Of course, I never discourage hitting the streets to get a real feel of what’s out there! If you find yorself walking through the city center, check out the Kuala Lumpur City Walk.
temples in Kuala Lumpur
markets in KL Malaysia
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Chances are if you are staying in a condominium building, you’ll want to order food delivery at some point. I strongly advise to not use the FoodPanda app. It’s glitchy and orders can cancel without notice. I had poor experiences with this application. Instead use the Grab Food app, which links to the Grab Taxi application. It works perfectly.

It may seem counterintuitive, but alcohol is actually cheaper by the glass in restaurants as opposed to buying it by the bottle in a grocery store. No need to stock up as you can get anything from Tiger beer to fancy champagne at reasonable prices in restaurants.
weather in Malaysia Penang
weather in Malaysia Penang
cats in Langkawi

Right near the equator, Kuala Lumpur will be extremely hot and humid all year. Definitely bring breathable clothing and wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy. Read more on five items you can’t be without in Southeast Asia.

Monkey Safety at the Batu Caves

When visiting the Batu Caves, be careful around the monkeys. They are not the most aggressive monkeys I’ve seen, but if you pull food away from them they will bite you.
Batu caves Kuala Lumpur
feeding monkeys Kuala Lumpur
Batu caves Kuala Lumpur
Don’t carry plastic bags with you because they know what is inside and will try to steal it! If you want to feed them, bring a banana covered in a rag. Break off pieces as you wish and let them grab it away.

Gay Life in Malaysia

Malaysia offers zero rights to the gay community. Unfortunately, the government is strictly against LGBT people. Malaysia has gone so far as to advise diplomats not to bring any gay counterparts and even ban any depiction of homosexuality in the media.
Archaic laws reign in Malaysia when it comes to LGBT people. Citizens of Malaysia can be tried in specific Islamic courts, where sentences for homosexual activity are akin to torture. Any type of same-sex sexual activity is strictly forbidden and the government regulates certain web content
hiking in Malaysia
Batu Feringgi beach Malaysia
Penang grocery store food
Keep in mind, while these laws are horrendous and archaic, there are millions of kind-hearted souls living in Malaysia. The actions and opinions of the government do not reflect on all the citizens of the country. Still make sure you follow the Kuala Lumpur gay travel safety guidelines mentioned in the beginning of this guide.
gay beach Penang
All in all, police are not patrolling the streets looking for gay people. The country simply has a long road ahead in protecting the individuals of the LGBTQ people, both citizens of Malaysia and ex-pats.
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Explore more of Malaysia. Check out the gay travel guides to Penang and Langkawi.

Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.

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In 2018, I quit my job to travel the world. My mission is to provide authentic, local gay travel information to gay travelers everywhere.

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