WHILE living in the city might be pricey, there is thankfully still affordable ways to spend your free time.

With the cost of living rising in Kuala Lumpur, you would be hard pressed to spend a day out without burning a huge hole in your pocket.

With an abundance of malls — not to mention some of the biggest ones in the world (http://list25.com/25-largest-shopping-malls-in-the-world) — it’s no wonder most of us end up becoming mall rats on the weekend.

But if you don’t want to spend your time (and cash) at a shopping centre, there are cheaper — dare we say even free — options.

Here are a few that you can check out:

Be a tourist

  • Heritage trails

Take a walking tour to discover the heritage of the nation’s capital city.

Malaysia Traveller teamed up with PocketGuide to create audio commentaries for walking tours of a few historic landmarks, such as Little India, Chinatown and Lake Gardens (http://www.malaysia-traveller.com/city-trails.html).

To access the commentaries, simply download the PocketGuide app to your smartphone and either listen to it online as you walk for free (not advisable if you are worried about data charges, though) or pay a few ringgit to download the commentaries to listen to them offline.

  • Batu Caves

Hardly needing any introduction, this limestone hill with its series of caves and cave temples is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and is the focal point of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

If you’d like to experience the atmosphere during the festival, be prepared for the crush of people.

Otherwise, you could easily visit any other time of the year and spend a leisurely couple of hours climbing up the 272 steps to the main Temple Cave (which is free to enter) and photographing the resident monkeys.

  • Petronas Twin Towers

Join the throng of overseas tourists and take a selfie in front of the iconic twin towers.

Entry to the Skybridge situated midway up the towers is free. However, as there are limited tickets available each day, it is advisable to be at the ticketing counter early to avoid disappointment.

Get closer to nature

  • While KL is an concrete jungle with its many skyscrapers, there are still some nice green areas that are open to the public and are free, such as:
  • the KL Lake Gardens, KLCC Park and Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, which are lovely for walks, picnics and photography
  • Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the last patch of what was the original rainforest in the city centre
  • Kepong Metropolitan Park, where you can indulge in kite-flying or even fishing

Get physical

Walk, jog or cycle the city roads in DBKL’s campaign to go car-free, which happens every first Sunday of the month from 7.30am to 9.30m

Every Sunday morning from 7am to 10am, the roads around Publika are closed to cars and heavy vehicles as they open to people to cycle, rollerblade, skateboard or even bring out the baby pram.

Even better is that Publika also loans out bikes for free to those who do not own one.

Soak up some culture

  • If you’re an art lover, you could check out some of our local artists’ works at galleries such as the National Art Gallery, Wei-Ling Gallery and Galeri Petronas
  • An all-in-one arts and culture hub to check out would be MAP @ Publika (https://www.facebook.com/mapkl), which hosts art shows, indie film screenings and more (some of which are free)

Get enlightened

  • Libraries are a good option for thrifty bookworms and there are some decent ones around the Klang Valley such as the KL Library, the KL Children’s Library and the Japan Foundation KL Library
  • Take part in a book exchange to meet other bibliophiles — the KL Book Exchange (http://klbookexchange.weebly.com/) meets every first Sunday of the month at Wisma TM open parking from 8.45am to 10.45am. All you have to do is bring a book (or two or more) to exchange for something there.
  • The National Planetarium (http://www2.angkasa.gov.my/planetarium/) is a great place to take kids to ignite a love of space in them
  • Museums such as the Royal Malaysian Police Museum and the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum are fun educational places for children and adults alike to discover history
  • Learn about Royal Selangor, one of Malaysia’s household names and the largest pewter manufacturer and retailer in the world, at its visitor centre (http://visitorcentre.royalselangor.com/vc2/). Guided tours are free but you may be tempted to sink some cash into a pewter product or two at the end of your visit

Be entertained

Go shopping — for free!

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