Getting around Kuala Lumpur on foot is fun! When the traffic becomes so unbearable, you’ll get where you’re going much faster by strapping on your tennis shoes and start walking. Nothing is too far away.
However, the real challenge would be your susceptibility to the hot and humid weather. But don’t let the weather stops you. Just arm yourself with the right clothing, gear, fluids and knowledge of heat sickness symptoms, you will be in good shape to explore Kuala Lumpur by walking!
There are a lot of fascinating places to walk in Kuala Lumpur including Little India, Chinatown, the historical city centre and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where you’ll find the Petronas Twin Towers, a café-studded esplanade, and a beautiful park complete with 1.3km jogging track.
Kuala Lumpur Survival Tips
The following KL survival tips should be able to help you get around Kuala Lumpur by walking.
- Put on the right clothing for walking in the city hot weather. Sweat wicking clothes made of Cool-Max microfibres which not only breathe but also wick sweat away from the skin is the best for maximum coolness. Cotton shirts will also do just fine.
- If your thighs are prone to chafing, choose the bike-style shorts made of wicking, breathable fabrics.
- Never go out into the sun without a hat and sun-glasses. For long walks, consider a hat with a neck drape or get a neck coolers to keep your neck from burning. And, of course – always wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater.
- Heat plus sweat equals chafed skin at your underarms, chest, crotch and thighs. You can prevent chafing by using an anti-chafing product before you walk.
- Put on a good pair of walking shoes to prevent blisters.
- An hour before your walk, drink a large glass of water. While walking drink a cup of water every mile. On long walks, after an hour switch to a sports drink that contains salts (electrolytes) to maintain your salt balance.
- Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat sickness. Heat stroke happens when your temperature and salt balance is off. It can destroys your kidneys and other internal organs rapidly, so stop and cool down at the first signs of heat sickness.
- Traffic can also be a problem as motorists in KL are not particularly accustomed to pedestrians. So, always walk on the sidewalk. If no sidewalk exists, walk facing traffic as far left as possible.
- If you’re using the pedestration crossings to cross the roads, wait until the light is green and the traffic comes to a complete stop. Some motorbikers are so idiot to understand that red means stop.
- When the heat and humidity gets too much, you can just walk into the nearest mall for a bit of cool air-conditioning. Areas like Chinatown, Little India, Jalan TAR and Bukit Bintang have a variety of shops and cafes for you to stop in and cool off from time to time.
The weather in Kuala Lumpur is quite unpredictable. A cloudless blue sky may suddenly turn black and before you know it you may be caught in a torrential downpour with fearsome lightning. Take shelter in a café or shop as the rain seldom last for very long. And, please avoid taking shelter under a tree as you’ll get struck by lightning!
If you’re lucky, you can get massages for your tired neck, head, back, legs and shoulders for free! Just ask for a free demo from a massage chair sales person which normally showcase the massage chair on the ground floor foyer of some shopping complexes. Let him demonstrate what the product can do and you’ll get a free refreshing massage!
Lately, pick-pockets and bag-snatchers on motorbikes have been a problem, especially in Chinatown district, so please be alert at all time.
Heat Sickness Signs
The basic rule of thumb is to start a walk having had 16 oz. of water (half liter), then replenishing with a cup of water every 15-20 minutes. That is about a water bottle-full an hour, about a half liter. End your walk with a big glass of water. That will prevent dehydration – losing too much fluid from your body. Drink as soon as you feel thirsty.
Signs of dehydration:
- Dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, stomach ache, back pain, headache, irritability, decreased urination.
- Hyponatremia (loss of sodium or body salt)
- Sweating removes both water and salts – electrolytes – from your body as you walk.
Depending on the humidity, you may not notice how much you are sweating. For walks of over an hour, replenishing your electrolytes with sports drink is also important to prevent hyponatremia.
It is recommended to drink 1 bottle of sports drink for every 2 bottles of water. Eating salty snacks such as pretzels before and during long walks is another source of salt.
Signs of hyponatremia:
- nausea, headache, cramps, confusion, slurred speech, bloating and swollen hands.