Without a doubt, the River of Life is one of the newest and most notable attractions in Kuala Lumpur. It was a project helmed by the Government of Malaysia that took 7 years to come to fruition!
That’s a pretty long time—but we’re glad to see how they were able to completely revamp the otherwise boring Klang River into a lively spot!
Now, the River of Life is one of the most iconic things to do in the capital, complete with riverside cafes, bicycle lanes, light and fountain shows, and more. To help you spend a perfect day there, here’s everything you need to know:
Best Time to Go
Since the river is located in an open area, it would be wise to visit it during Kuala Lumpur’s dry season, which runs from May to August and December to February.
Although the capital mostly experiences a humid climate all year long, it’s these months that see the least rain. Just be sure to bring an umbrella and apply sunscreen before heading out to protect yourself from the harmful effects of direct sunlight.
However, do be advised that most of these months are included in Kuala Lumpur’s peak season. This means that you’ll most probably encounter crowds and inflated hotel and plane rates if you schedule your visit during these months.
Things to Know
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
(Check the current exchange rate)
Language: Malay, English
Calling Code: +60
How to Get Around
Trains: Kuala Lumpur features a well-integrated train system that allows pedestrians to get from point A to B in no time. If you’re planning to visit River of Life, the nearest MRT and LRT station is Plaza Rakyat, which is only a 10-minute walk.
Buses: If you want to save money and feel like a local at the same time, take the bus. Several bus routes traverse the route around the River of Life, and it will only take you two-minutes to walk from the nearest bus stop.
Taxis: Meanwhile, if you prefer a more convenient way of getting to the River of Life, you can simply hail one of the many taxis scattered around the city. Some taxis will wait for other passengers while others will let you go on your own.
Car rental: Kuala Lumpur is one of the rare places in Malaysia where we don’t highly recommend renting a car since the traffic can be quite bad sometimes. However, if you want to provide yourself and your loved ones with the utmost comfort and privacy, then go ahead!
Where to Stay
Cosmo Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Address: 13, 15, Lebuh Ampang, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2030 1888
Cosmo Hotel is one of the nearby hotels in the River of Life, but it offers more than a strategic location. This is because this 4-star establishment features neat and spacious rooms that come complete with premium amenities as well as the best views of the city.
If you want to slow down time, there’s also a cafe on the hotel’s premises where you can spend a chill afternoon while sipping on your favourite cup of joe!
Pacific Express Hotel Central Market
Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2022 6888
Pacific Express Hotel Central Market is another 4-star hotel that features a great location and amazing rooms. This time, however, you’ll get the pleasure of spending time on a roof deck pool that overlooks the ever-so-beautiful KL skyline–pretty amazing, right?
The rooms themselves are exceptionally clean, which allows for a comfortable night’s sleep. If you want to get a full rest after exploring the capital, this is a superb choice!
Big M Hotel
Address: 38, Jalan Tun Perak, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2022 2286
If you’re travelling on a budget but you don’t want to stay in one of those capsule hotels, we recommend checking out Big M Hotel. This place is quite literally the definition of affordability meets quality, as it offers cheap but high-quality rooms.
Whether you’re booking one of their standard or deluxe rooms, you can expect to have the same quality of neatness and elegance. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they come with a handful of essential amenities like hot water, complimentary drinks, intercom systems and more.
Hotel Avenue J Central Market
Address: 13, Leboh Pasar Besar, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2022 3338
Hotel Avenue J Central Market is a great choice if you’re looking for something between luxurious and affordable. It features an elegant look and best of all, spacious rooms that can treat you to a comfortable stay.
If you’re looking for a hotel with a chill vibe, this is also a great choice. It features a cafe and lounge where you can just wind down and observe your surroundings while drinking your favourite type of coffee.
Where to Eat
Address: No.18 First Floor, Jalan, Medan Pasar, City Centre, 50050 Wilayah Persekutuan, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 16-235 6666
If you want to get a taste of Nepal’s amazing cuisine, then Restaurant Mandala should be right up your alley! They serve all the staples you’ll find in a Mandala cookbook and offer them affordable sets.
Among these sets, our favourite one has got to be the khasi khana set, which consists of a lentil soup along with chutney and chicken/mutton curry–yum!
Woodlands.my Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 55, Lebuh Ampang, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2034 2399
If you’re a vegetarian but you don’t want to settle for less-than-stellar dishes, stopping by Woodlands is one of the best decisions you can make. This place serves delicious Indian delicacies, all of which are vegetarian-friendly–hooray for inclusivity!
They feature a fairly varied menu that features classic Indian staples like vegetable biryani, paneer tikka masala, chola bathura and more.
Soong Kee Beef Noodles & Low Yau Kee Porridge
Address: 86, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 14-967 1945
Soong Kee Beef Noodles & Low Yau Kee Porridge is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area. It’s your typical no-frills eatery where you’ll be seated in a plastic tool and dine in an open room that’s filled with aroma coming from the kitchen.
As you may have gleaned from its name, its specialty is beef noodles, and we can see why! Their version of this spectacular dish is nailed to a tee, from the texture of the beef itself to the flavour of the broth!
Makan Buzz Cafe
Address: River of Life, Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-242 5217
Makan Buzz Cafe is located on the attraction’s premises so you can expect to be treated to beautiful sights while you’re eating here. This is also thanks to the cafe’s full glass walls and ceilings, which allow for 360-degree panoramic viewing.
Views-aside, however, this is a solid place to check out, as it features a wide array of delicious coffee and non-coffee drinks. You can pair these beverages with one of their pastries if you’re feeling hungry!
LOKL Coffee Co
Address: 30, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 18-968 5515
LOKL Coffee Co is a solid brunch spot we highly recommend if you decide to visit the River of Life in the morning. They serve a myriad of delicious beverages like lattes, cappuccinos and fresh juices, which are perfect to get your day going.
However, the main highlight of their menu is the wide variety of quick bites and brunch items ranging from toasts to salads, pasta and other Western classics. If you’re overwhelmed by their menu, we’d recommend going for their waffles as a safe option.
What to Do in the River of Life KL
Admire beautiful street art
Aside from the river itself, one of the most fascinating sights at this attraction is the selection of mural art splattered on the walls. One of the best examples of this is the building that’s been turned into a canvas, which features a single large masterpiece.
It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to take Insta-worthy photos. Also, if you just want to marvel at the talent of local artists, this is a fun activity to do.
See stunning views from the new observation deck
— From: Milan_Mike1
You can see majestic views everywhere you look when you’re at the River of Life, but the best place to go for stunning sights is the observation deck. Opened in October 2023, this vantage point will let you bask in some of the most picturesque sceneries including the river itself, which it overlooks.
You can either take a lift or walk a short flight of stairs to climb the deck. Either way, it’s going to be worth it, as you can take countless photos of yourself and your loved ones with the River of Life in your background.
Stop by Central Market to buy souvenirs
Address: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 1-300-22-8688
You can’t leave the River of Life without stopping by Central Market. It’s one of the best markets in Kuala Lumpur because of the variety of products you’ll find there, making it perfect for shopping souvenirs!
The things you can buy here range from batik patterns to bags, clothes, jewellery and anything you can think of that you can bring home as a token of your trip. Plus, the community that goes on in this market is worth experiencing, as you’ll get a glimpse of what being a local is like.
Apps to Download for a Trip to the River of Life
Travel Malaysia: A pocket travel guide to Malaysia
Maps.me: Offline map of the world
XE Currency App: Real-time currency exchange rate app
Grab: Ride-hailing app of Southeast Asia
Google Translate: word translation with offline capabilities
CatchThatBus: Bus ticket booking app