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How many activities can you pack in a 48-hour trip to KL? Answer: a lot! IMAGE: UNSPLASH/@wgzhai

How To Maximise A Less-Than-48-hr Weekend In Kuala Lumpur

Annual leave is precious. Most of us in corporate Singapore get only 14 days of annual leave a year – 16 or 18 if you’re lucky. This means meticulous planning to ensure that we make the most of our annual leave, especially for travel. Personally, I try to plan a long, yearly overseas vacation of about three weeks, which decimates most of my leave, leaving me with only a handful of days for shorter trips.

This brings us to long weekends. In 2024, there are five long weekend public holidays. At the time of this article's publication, there will only be one long weekend left – National Day weekend, 9 to 11 Aug.

But what if you’re itching to activate the 'ol passport, say, this weekend, without using up any leave days?

That’s exactly what I did, with a couple of friends. We flew to Kuala Lumpur (KL) on a Friday night, returning to Singapore on Sunday evening, in time for dinner with the fam and some pickup basketball to (psychologically) shed the KL food weight. Here’s how it went, along with a guide to maximising your weekend in KL...


1. Start the weekend early and travel light

To maximise your weekend hours, start early. While you can take a bus, train, or drive into KL, we recommend flying for efficiency. Flying to KL takes about 3-4 hours, factoring in immigration and waiting time.

Pack your bags by Thursday night and consider taking them to work on Friday, then head straight to the airport after work. Travel light to avoid check-in baggage and reduce travel time.

2. Stay close to your desired attractions

KL is the largest city in Malaysia, with a land area of 243 km2, so you won’t be able to cover the entire city in one weekend. Choose your spots wisely and pick a hotel nearby. Though you might need a longer cab ride from the airport, it’s worth it for easy access to attractions.

We stayed at VE Hotel & Residences which was comfortable, affordable, and offered a suite for all four of us, with a common living area and dining table. It’s located in Bangsar South, about 8min away from Mid Valley Megamall, a great spot for shopping and dining.

Breakfast delivered to our doorstep. | IMAGE: JOVAN LEE

Indomie Ayam Bakar from NALE. | IMAGE: JOVAN LEE

3. Use Grabfood to save time

For efficiency and maximising time, use GrabFood for meals. It delivers authentic KL food right to your hotel lobby and offers dishes from various restaurants (if you’re in a group and need to cater to different dietary needs).

Our Saturday breakfast (pictured above; man, I miss it so much!) featured kway teow, loh mee, and KL chee cheong fun – all the staples for our first meal in KL.

Though we didn’t eat out, the best meal I had was an Indomie Ayam Bakar from NALE. I mean, just look at it!


4. Go all out on Saturday

Saturday is your only full day in a 48-hr trip to KL, so make the most of it. KL has a vibrant nightlife scene, perfect for extending your Saturday night.

If you enjoy cocktail bars and bar hopping, KL's cocktail bar scene is excellent. Here’s our route through three bars, completed in three hours (1-2 drinks per bar) with just one cab ride in between:

Pitt Club KL on Jalan Sultan Ismail. | IMAGE: JOVAN LEE

For those looking to extend the night, one of KL’s hottest nightclubs, Pitt, impressed us with great music, awesome lighting, and stellar service – including choreographed dances when orders arrive.

5. Chill out on Sunday

Sunday is for relaxing activities like shopping, snacking, and... getting a massage.


A popular favourite is Thai Odyssey, known for its foot and aromatherapy massages. Plus points: they're extremely professional and friendly.

For shopping, Mid Valley Megamall offers well-known brands at good value. Imagine VivoCity, but here, the Llaollao Sanum costs $5.

If you’re into arts and culture, check out REXKL for communities, events, exhibitions, performances, screenings, a bookstore, retail, and food and beverage options.

6. Don’t expect much sleep

This isn't a zen, recharge, and recuperate trip. Some sacrifices, especially sleep, are necessary. Even if you skip the Saturday night party, you’ll likely get into KL late on Friday, and want an early start on your planned activities.

You might not get much shut-eye, but you’ll enjoy good food, ample shopping, and great value for the entire weekend. Rest up on Sunday night to refresh yourself for work on Monday.

Full disclaimer: you’ll probably still be mentally in KL all week 😜

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