Traveling through the mountain trails of Nepal, the jungles of Laos or even through the beaches of southern Thailand will wear you out after a while. Many long-term adventurers will remedy this by checking into a SE Asia mega-city to recharge with all of the comforts that consumer culture offers.
Our checklist for the ideal SE Asia oasis includes tons of cheap eating and drinking options, a huge choice of traveler-friendly budget hotels, international-class shopping and plenty of sightseeing spots to keep you occupied. Bukit Bintang is Kuala Lumpur’s shopping and entertainment district (check out our in-depth video guide of the area).
Hotel Soleil: great views, value and location
In the heart of Bukit Bintang you’ll find the 3-star Hotel Soleil. It offers great value in a prime location plus amazing 5-star views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
The hotel attracts mainly ‘dark skinned’ guests. Most of the staff are Indian Malaysians, while many Indians, Africans and Middle Eastern people stay here. In other words it does’t have an expat vibe, but definitely has an international one. The rooms are clean, the views are awesome and the service is friendly.
If you check the Hotel Soleil’s Google reviews, you’ll find a lot of negative ones. In our opinion the Hotel Soleil offers more than what you can get from any other 3-star hotel in the area. While you usually get what you pay for, the Hotel Soleil gave this reviewer more than what expected.
- Book directly on their website for deep discounts
- Smoking and non-smoking floors are available
- Buffet breakfast available
- Clean rooms with amazing views
- Strong air-con, good water flow, hot baths
- Decent selection of English cable TV options
- The expat bar district is right outside the hotel
Why Kuala Lumpur is our favorite mega-city in SE Asia
Twenty years ago, Bangkok’s Khao San Road hit all points for a SE Asia traveler oasis with perfection. It was friendly, social, convenient and cheap – a mecca of laid-back international tourists, friendly locals and breezy social mixing.
Over the years a stream of deadbeats, scammers and addicts turned the locals sour. Today Khao San Road is packed tight with sketchy low-budget travelers and jaded fighty locals.
You’ll get ladyboys aggressively offering blowjobs, shady expats asking you for money and jaded vendors telling you to pay up or sod off. Passed out boozers is a common site most evenings.
In contrast, Malaysia is a Muslim country. The locals are gentle and civilized. Everyone speaks English. There is no overt prostitution. The entire Bukit Bintang area is family friendly.
Evening entertainment options include getting a foot massage, watching sports in the pubs along bar street, or enjoying Asia food among Chinese tourist families – good wholesome fun all around.
To learn more about the Bukit Bintang area check our video tourist guide here: https://planetasia.org/visitor-guides/bukit-bintang-best-kuala-lumpur-holiday/