So before Christmas I visited Asia for the first time ever and I absolutely loved it. Malaysia is so full of culture and wonderful people and even just choosing photos for this post is tempting me to book another flight already.

I've picked just a few of the places I would recommend to anyone visiting Malaysia for the first time and some of the things that you must do whilst you're there.

Batu Cave steps - Malaysia | The Dress Diaries

Batu Caves

This was our first stop after arriving in Kuala Lumpur and one of the most talked about by travellers in Malaysia. There's a mere 272 steps (get your FitBit ready) to reach the top and you'll be greeted with statues and stalactites galore. Not to mention the cheeky monkeys that surround you on the way up, this is a really memorable experience although take a deep breath if you're not a fan of heights.

Note: Practical shoes always, the steps can be super slippery if it's been raining (which is a lot in monsoon season)

Petronas Towers at night - Kuala Lumpur

Rooftop Bars

There's a huge array of rooftop bar highlights in KL that tourists rave about. We wanted to experience the Heli Bar (drinking on a helipad? yes please) however we were unfortunate enough to choose a night where the bar was holding a private function. Safe to say we were gutted and lots of whinging occurred but to no avail. A pal who continued his travels in KL after we left later sent us a snap from the rooftop and believe me, you don't want to miss it like we did. *sob*

Reggae Mansion is a party hostel with another noteworthy rooftop bar - good prices, good people and a spot of karaoke if that takes your fancy. Our rendition of Taylor Swift was quite something to behold. You get a superb view of the KL Tower and it's a great place to meet fellow travellers.

Trader's Hotel is just a short walk from KLCC station and is home to the Sky Bar. This place has the best view of the Petronas Towers in the city and is the perfect photo opportunity. The drinks are pretty reasonably priced (for Malaysia - imported alcohol is not cheap!) for the party atmosphere and it's definitely worth a visit.

Feeding an elephant in Malaysia | The Dress Diaries

Elephant sanctuary in Malaysia

Elephant Sanctuary

We really wanted to see some elephants during our stay in Asia, so we headed to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary on a day tour from KL. The drive is about 90 mins from the city but absolutely worth the trip.

It's a beautiful hideaway and we were given lunch at a local cafe just outside, whilst it absolutely chucked it down with rain. The rain didn't cease when we finally met the elephants, which may or may not have resulted in an elephant EATING MY UMBRELLA and therefore causing an absolute scene. I was mortified but at least it's a funny story for everyone else. And the elephant was fine (and probably a bit smug, for that matter.)

The baby elephants are adorable, of course. Usually on the tour, there's a chance to bathe the babies in the lake but unfortunately the water levels had risen too much (thank you, monsoon weather) and the tiny ones couldn't stand up in it. Although we missed out on this, feeding them was such a great experience. If you're an animal lover, this is definitely a place to put at the top of your list.

Note: We booked this as part of a combined tour with the Batu Caves. It was fab value and although transport is cheap, it was so much easier than making our own way around.

Bright peacock in the gardens in Kuala Lumpur

Waterfall in the gardens

In the beautiful gardens in Kuala Lumpur

Botanical Gardens

Within walking distance from the central station or a short train ride away, Kuala Lumpur is home to beautiful botanical gardens and KL bird park. We spent a good few hours here as there's just so much to see (and we might've got lost loads once or twice.)

The bird park is a free-flight area, so once you get over the initial worry of a bird shitting on you or flying at your face, it's surprisingly great. There are some beautiful birds and gardens throughout and luckily, we picked a glorious day to explore them.

If birds aren't your sort of thing, the botanical gardens themselves are great to wander around for a while. There are a number of museums to choose from in the area as well as a planetarium; something for everyone you might say.

View from the bottom of the Petronas Towers - Malaysia

Christmas Tree - Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers

A typical tourist destination but you still can't quite comprehend the sheer size of Kuala Lumpur's own twin towers when you emerge from the KLCC station beneath them.

It's a perfect place to appreciate the varied culture of Malaysia whilst watching people try and fail to take successful selfies with buildings. As we visited in December, the Christmas decorations were out in full force. The candy-cane and fairy-light covered tree behind the towers was one of my favourites, especially accompanied by a light show at the fountains beside it in the evening.

The towers aren't a hidden gem by any means but it's certainly not something you want to miss whilst in Malaysia.

Note: Amazing visit during the day but also head there at night for a completely different atmosphere (and Instagram shot!)

Hope you enjoyed my little round-up of things to do in Kuala Lumpur, I would absolutely recommend this city if you're contemplating visiting Asia. It's beautiful even in the midst of skyscrapers, plus the people are just so lovely!

Have you ever visited KL, or would you like to?