Top 17 Hidden Gems in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor To Explore

Top 17 Hidden Gems in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor To Explore

Whether You’re A Local Or Tourist, These Hidden Gems In Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Are Treasure Troves Of Culture, Natural Beauty, And Adventure Just Waiting To Be Explored

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are famous for their iconic landmarks and popular attractions such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Brickfields’ Little India, and Batu Caves. But did you know that beyond these well-trodden paths lie hidden pockets of old meets new world charm, culture, and natural beauty that offer more than a glimpse into the heart and soul of these parts in Southeast Asia?

Though it may seem odd that we’re looking at two states of Malaysia as a whole, it is typically no surprise to locals because of these states’ close proximity and interconnectivity. So much so that most often refer to the two as the Klang Valley.

So join us on a journey through the seemingly-known-yet-not-quite layers of Klang Valley’s urban sprawl, followed by deeper explorations into lesser-known corners of this vibrant metropolis.

These top hidden gems in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor hold their very own story that awaits you, the ever curious traveller, to unearth and explore both outside and indoors.

Top 17 Hidden Gems in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor To Explore, Away From The Usual Iconic Kuala Lumpur Landmarks

Vintage Camera Museum 2. Photo by Gold3 Boutique Hotel.

Photo by Gold3 Boutique Hotel.

1. The Hidden Camera Museum Within The Gold3 Boutique Hotel

Photography enthusiasts, rejoice! Behind the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, also known as Bukit Bintang, lies a hidden Vintage Camera Museum within a boutique hotel that is unique for its extensive collection of vintage cameras and photography equipment from different eras.

Expect an educational and nostalgic experience (I’m looking at you, millennials) with opportunities to see the evolution of how visual memories are preserved across the ages. If you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to step into a darkroom to learn how film photography is processed firsthand. Aside from all that? The chance to capture vintage, Insta-worthy shots in one of Kuala Lumpur's best kept hidden gems.

Tip: Do take note to keep noise to a minimum as it is still a hotel with guests who’ll appreciate the quiet!

Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm, daily

Address: Level 2, Gold 3 Boutique Hotel. 179, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 55100, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Petaling Street. Photo by Dr. Thomas Liptak.

 Petaling Street main thoroughfare. Photo by Dr. Thomas Liptak.

2. Discover Countless Secret Spots & Hidden Gems @ Chinatown, Petaling Street

If I were to cover all the hidden gems and finds of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, this article would be far too lengthy. So let’s get a glimpse into what makes this hidden gem the only area for those who’d like a condensed day trip of hidden gems without travelling far.

For starters, you have Kwai Chai Hong located at Lorong Panggung which brings the roaring 60’s of oriental culture back to life with its traditional aesthetics, while the famous Jalan Petaling is where various stalls peddle their wares, from local handicrafts and Malaysian delicacies, to reproductions of known brands and Chinese medicinal halls hidden along the ground and upper floors selling traditional herbs. 

Jaotim Jazz Bar at Petaling Street. Photo by Woofie AI.
Jaotim Jazz Bar at Petaling Street. Photo by Woofie AI.

Not forgetting hidden eateries like Merchant’s Lane and the Gerai Makanan Sai Kee with old school delicious dai chow fare popular amongst the local elders. It’s also where renowned speakeasies and bars like PS150, Penrose, Wildflower KL, and Concubine KL make their home. But those seeking more intimate experiences after sunset can check out Jao Tim’s jazz shows.

Opening Hours: Varies depending on establishment

Address: Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Bamboo Hills dining enclave. Photo by Bamboo Hills KL.
Bamboo Hills dining enclave. Photo by Bamboo Hills KL.

3. Bamboo Hills

Kuala Lumpur’s latest dining enclave nests amidst lush bamboo landscapes, bringing diners on gastronomic adventures while being surrounded by greenery and flowing streams. 

While more of a date spot or a food hopping adventure for the tastebuds, this verdant hidden gem is also ideal for those seeking to explore the melting pot of Malaysia’s modern day culture where local meets international, one dish at a time. 

Think craft beer flights and woodfire pizza at the Tap Room, Australian dishes infused with Indian spices at Ginger, and authentic Thai cuisine at Nok Yung. There’s certainly something for everyone in this hidden gem for foodies!

Opening Hours: 8am - 12am, daily. Specific timing varies depending on establishment

Address: Taman Bukit Bambu, Off, DUKE, Taman Bamboo, 51200 Kuala Lumpur

Sofea Jane Waterfall. Photo by Shelyn.
Sofea Jane Waterfall. Photo by Shelyn.

4. Jeram Kubang Gajah Waterfall, a.k.a. Sofea Jane Waterfall

Jeram Kubang Gajah Waterfall, also known as the Sofea Jane Waterfall, is a serene natural hidden gem beloved by hikers, ATV enthusiasts, waterfall chasers, and just plain ol’ nature lovers. It features a cascade that tumbles down a large rock slab with little pools ripe for swimming at its base.

This charming site was named after its backstory for both its Malay and English name; where elephants of old bathed here during construction periods, and how the local actress Sofea Jane famously swam at the waterfall. Today, visitors can expect a peaceful retreat with the opportunity for a refreshing swim in its cool waters, right after experiencing the lush greenery of Kemensah.

Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm, daily

Address: Lot 1A, Sofea Jane Waterfall, Jalan Kemensah Ulu, 68000 Klang, Selangor

KL Forest Eco Park canopy walk and KL Tower.

5. KL Forest Eco Park

The KL Forest Eco Park is one of Malaysia’s oldest permanent forest reserves, offering visitors a rare experience to traverse through an actual tropical rainforest within an urban setting. Its close proximity to the city’s iconic skyscrapers allow you the rare experience to go from jungle to concrete jungle within the matter of minutes.

Here, you can experience unique offerings such as a 200m long canopy walk atop suspended bridges where one can take in views of the city’s oldest trees while immersing themselves in the rainforest’s diverse ecosystem, along with sightings of brightly coloured native insects, butterflies, bats, and civet cats.

Entry Fee: RM10/adult with MyKad, RM40/adult without MyKad

Opening Hours: 8am - 5.30pm, daily

Address: Lot 240, KL Eco Forest Park, Bukit Nanas, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50250, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Zhongshan Building, now part of KL's hidden gems where artists gather. Photo by Naomi Reich.
Zhongshan Building. Photo by Naomi Reich.

6. Zhongshan Building

Enter the Zhongshan Building in Kuala Lumpur, a revitalised three-building complex from Malaysia’s past that now serves as an independent creative hub. This creative community space features art galleries with ever changing themes, music stores selling vintage vinyls, artisanal bakeries and cafes where one can kick back and relax with fresh bakes and a cuppa, and even a natural skincare store.

But that’s during the day. Come by during nightfall for hidden music nights, art installations, open shows, and more. Simply check The Zhongshan Building’s IG for latest events, creative showcases, and more before your next visit.

Opening Hours: 8am - 12am, Tuesdays to Sundays (except Tommy Le Baker)

Address: Zhongshan Building, Jalan Kampung Attap, 80-84, Jalan Rotan, 50460, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fireflies Boat Ride at Kuala Selangor. Photo by Visit Selangor.

7. Natural Light Show Of A Thousand Fireflies @ Kuala Selangor

Did you know that you can enjoy a natural synchronised lightshow by fireflies through Kuala Selangor’s Firefly Boat Ride? There are three particular locations within this locale that offer visitors this experience of a lifetime; Kampung Bukit Belimbing Firefly Park Resort, Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park, and Pasir Penambang.

The firefly species found in the firefly boat ride, Pteroptyx tener, is known for its synchronised flashing, which is truly rare among other firefly species. Visitors can partake in a serene boat ride along the river for a safe, close-up view of the fireflies without harming or polluting the habitat.

Opening Hours: 7:30pm - 10:30pm, daily

Address: Kampung Kuantan, 45000 Bestari Jaya, Selangor

Royal Selangor Guinness Book Of Records Giant Tankard. Photo by Cheye C.
Royal Selangor Guinness Book Of Records' Giant Tankard. Photo by Cheye C.

8. Visit A Pewter Smithy @ Royal Selangor

Thanks to social media, most people are perhaps familiar with the art of smithing, especially in relation to Japanese culture - cue Mark Zuckerberg forging a katana. But did you know that Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur in particular, is home to the world’s largest pewter smithy (and the largest pewter tankard, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records)?

As the world’s largest pewter manufacturer, Royal Selangor’s storied history dates back to the late 19th century when it was founded by Yong Koon in 1885. Its visitor centre of today allows you to explore various galleries that narrate the history of pewter making from bygone days, along with rare opportunities to witness live demonstrations of pewter smithing.

Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm, daily

Address: 4, Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya, 53300 Kuala Lumpur

Orchid blooms in the Orchid and Hibiscus Gardens. Photo by Arya the Sneakerhead Pirate.
Orchid blooms in the Orchid and Hibiscus Gardens. Photo by Arya the Sneakerhead Pirate.

9. Orchid & Hibiscus Garden of Taman Tasik Perdana

If you’re looking for a natural feast for the eyes, look no further than the Orchid & Hibiscus Garden found within the expansive Perdana Botanical Gardens in Kuala Lumpur. Here, you’ll get to experience a stunning showcase of vibrant and exotic native Malaysian flora while taking in the fresh air of the city’s green lung.

The Orchid Garden houses up to 120 genera and over 5,000 hybrid orchids, while the Hibiscus Garden is home to a diverse array of hibiscus species in various colours. It is also home to a 4-meter high waterfall which enhances the site’s tranquil ambience while allowing a hint of cooling respite from Kuala Lumpur’s tropical humidity.

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm, daily

Address: Jalan Perdana, Taman Tasik Perdana, Wilayah Persekutuan, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Astaka Morocco at Putrajaya. Photo by Visit Selangor.

10. Astaka Morocco @ Putrajaya

Few would think to explore Putrajaya because of how far it is from Kuala Lumpur, but here’s one not-so secret spot that not many know of. Enter the Moroccan Pavilion located within the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens of Malaysia. This beautiful hidden gem was built to signify the strong diplomatic ties between the two countries of Malaysia and Morocco, while offering visitors a glimpse into majestic Moroccan architecture.

Think colourful mosaic arrangements, quirky decorations, geometrical patterns that delight the eyes, arabesque designs, and a hint of cedarwood that wafts through the air. Astaka Morocco is a must visit destination that is perfect for the ones who enjoy getting lost in architectural marvels.

Entry Fee: RM3/adult and RM1/child

Opening Hours: 9am - 12pm and 2pm - 5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays only

Address: Taman Botani Putrajaya, Lebuh Perdana Barat, Presint 1, 62000, Putrajaya

Kampung Baru traditional Malay home.

11. Hidden Gems Of Traditional Malay Heritage In Modern Society @ Kampung Baru

Kampung Baru offers cultural buffs a rare opportunity to experience Malay culture and traditions firsthand by taking a glimpse into the past of Malaysia’s rich Malay heritage. It is an old small village located within a bustling metropolis that has been preserved for over a century as a historic enclave, so some may think of it as a nostalgic journey.

Visitors can enjoy traditional Malay foods, view olden traditional Malay wooden houses that are built in the distinctive style of olden times which are now rarely found in Kuala Lumpur - where the roof is curved upwards at the edges while the entire house is raised on stilts (much like the refurbished Rumah Penghulu at Jalan Stonor), and even catch sight of chickens and goats traversing through narrow paths.

Tip: Do be mindful and respectful to the daily lives of the local residents as it is still a residential area and their home despite its status as a heritage site.

Opening Hours: 24 hours, daily

Address: Kampung Baru, 50300, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur

The Row at Chow Kit. Photo by The Row at Chow Kit.

12. The Row @ Chow Kit

I’ve been bringing KL-ites and friends from out of town here over the past months, and only a small number of them knew of this not-so secret spot. The Row at Chow Kit is home to a beautifully restored block of 1940’s shophouses which is now a hub for an eclectic mix of boutiques, cafés, and lifestyle offices - making it an old world meets new world kinda spot thanks to the hints of colonial architecture that remain.

You’ll occasionally find community-run flea markets where local artisans come together to sell their beautiful handmade creations, along with locals zipping through the area on their rented scooters (you’ll want to check those out!) before stopping to grab a delicious pizza at Heritage Pizza KL.

Opening Hours: Varies depending on establishment

Address: 22-64, Jalan Doraisamy, Chow Kit, 50300, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan

Mah Meri Cultural Village Home at Carey Island. Photo by Dd James.
Mah Meri Cultural Village Home at Carey Island. Photo by Dd James.

13. Discover The Mah Meri Tribe At Carey Island

This one is more of a day trip, but it’s definitely one of the hidden gems in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor that you must visit. Carey Island is home to the Mah Meri tribe, an indigenous community known for their remarkable mask-making skills and intricate wood carving crafts (which also led to them being known as the masked tribe). 

The Mah Meri tribe have been part of Carey Island for over a century, preserving a way of life rich in rituals and customs amidst the rapid gentrification of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. A day trip there typically includes the opportunity to witness their Tarian Jo-oh and Tarian Topeng, just some of their traditional dances that are essential to their ceremonies, and of course, sampling their local delicacies and partaking in their local craft workshops.

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday only

Address: Jalan Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Bumbun, Kampung Manikavasagam, 42960 Pulau Carey, Selangor

Sungai Sendat Waterfall. Photo by Eddy Zack.
Sungai Sendat Waterfall. Photo by Eddy Zack.

14. Sungai Sendat Waterfall

While somewhat controversial, the Sungai Sendat Waterfall is a hidden gem within the Batang Kali Reserved Forest in Selangor that is known for its natural beauty and serene atmosphere. The waterfall is clear and cool, with natural river pools and cascades amid tall tropical rainforest trees - which is unusual for a place so close to the city centre.

Bear in mind that the Sungai Sendat Waterfall is typically closed during rainy periods where the waters tend to take on the depths and treacherous nature of rapids, which has resulted in several drowning incidents over the years. But during the dry periods, this waterfall location is a beautiful and safe spot to visit. That said, do keep in mind to adhere to the regulations of the area to stay safe while enjoying the serenity of the place.

Opening Hours: 8am - 6pm, daily

Address: Jalan Kampung Gurney, 44300, Selangor

Masjid India Flea Market during Ramadan. Photo by Colin Paul.
Masjid India Flea Market during Ramadan. Photo by Colin Paul.

15. Masjid India’s Flea Market & Surroundings

Deep within the city lies Masjid India, one of my favourite hidden gems in Kuala Lumpur. Masjid India is a street full of local and international vendors that make their living amidst the old and new buildings that surround the area. It boasts a colourful atmosphere and rich cultural heritage from various parts of South Asia. Think unique things like textiles, sweet and savoury delights, glittering jewellery, and food stalls offering Indian and Pakistani cuisines, with a side of Malay local eateries.

Masjid India’s flea market especially comes to life during Ramadan and Deepavali periods where you can find cultural clothes at affordable prices, along with a variety of homemade festive delights. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Haniffa department store to check out an array of imported groceries and confectionery that are typically enjoyed in South Asia.

Thousand Miles crossbody bag.

Tip: It can get pretty crowded during the festive periods here so do beware of pickpockets! I’d recommend using a secure crossbody pack like the stylish Thousand Miles Crossbody which will keep your essentials safe and secure.

Opening Hours: 9am - 10pm, daily

Address: Jalan Masjid India, City Centre, 50100, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Tapak Urban Dining Street Food. Photo by Muhammad Faizal.
Tapak Urban Dining Street Food. Photo by Muhammad Faizal.

16. Tapak Urban Street Dining @ Jalan Ampang

The Tapak Urban Street Dining spot is popular so it may be a little odd to call it a hidden gem, but those who have yet to explore the city centre on foot may not be familiar with its existence. 

Tapak is basically Malaysia’s first hipster food truck park that offers a variety of dining options, ranging from traditional Malaysian dishes to more international cuisine. Think quesadillas, nasi lemak, chicken rice, churros, curry mee, halal dim sum, you name it - they’ll probably have it!

It boasts a colourful and incredibly lively atmosphere especially during the weekends where buskers and live bands add to its already vibrant nightlife experience. It’s definitely a hidden yet not-so hidden gem to check out for a unique dining experience, and also one I'd typically recommend instead of the overly touristy Jalan Alor food street.

Opening Hours: 5pm - 12am, daily

Address: Persiaran Hampshire, Off Jalan Ampang, Hampshire Park, 50450, Kuala Lumpur

Komune & Taman Tasik Permaisuri. Photo by Lorna Xavier.
Komune & Taman Tasik Permaisuri. Photo by Lorna Xavier.

17. Relax And Unwind @ Komune & Taman Tasik Permaisuri

I honestly hesitated to share this because it is a little not-so secret spot of mine to truly relax and unwind away from yet within the city. But I also do believe that this location is worth mentioning as one of the hidden gems in KL.

Komune is a co-living space located just by the Taman Tasik Permaisuri park, that is widely known as a retirement home amongst millennials and gen Z. But this tranquil haven gives you access to a hotel with service apartment-like facilities that faces the vast Tasik Permaisuri, with a Healthland readily available for you to get fatigue massaged away, a hair salon to get your tresses pampered, and of course, a very accessible lake for you to unwind the stressors of life away through a peaceful walk.

It’s not as exciting as the other locations I’ve shared, but this particular one is simply perfect for the tired hustlers and grinders among us who need a relaxing and affordable staycation without venturing beyond the city.

Tip: Do note that this IS still a retirement centre after all, so be respectful to the long-term residents and hotel guests by keeping noise to a minimum. Also, request for the city view if you decide to stay for a stunning night view of KL's gleaming skyscrapers.

Opening Hours: Varies depending on establishment

Address: 21, Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 2, Bandar Tun Razak, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur