With the reckless urbanization of the Klang Valley proceeding apace, worthwhile excursions from KL are becoming increasingly rare. The most obvious attraction is 13km north, where limestone peaks rise up from the forest at the Hindu shrine of Batu Caves, one of Malaysia’s main tourist attractions. Nearby, the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) encompasses a small but surprisingly thick portion of primary rainforest, where you can see birds and a few animals within an hour of downtown KL.
Further northwest of KL, the quiet town of Kuala Selangor offers the chance to observe the nightly dance of fireflies, while northeast, Fraser’s Hill is one of Malaysia’s many hill stations, set up in colonial times to allow government officials an escape from lowland heat. The most surreal day-trip you can make from KL is to the very Chinese fishing village on Pulau Ketam, off the coast near southwesterly Pelabuhan Klang, which hardly feels like Malaysia at all.
Batu Caves and Pulau Ketam are easy to reach on public transport, but you’ll need a car or taxi to reach FRIM. About the only package trip widely offered by KL’s accommodation and tour agents goes to see the fireflies; you can do this on public transport, but it’s a bit of a slog and requires an overnight stay at Kuala Selangor.