Malaysia | What to do on a stop over in Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a great destination for a stopover or city trip, but also offers many sideways and trips to do from here to other destinations in Malaysia and South East Asia. Kuala Lumpur is also the home base to budget airline Air Asia which offers flights from Kuala Lumpur to many destinations for very low prices.

Public transport in Kuala Lumpur

Sucks! Big time compared with other capital cities in Asia.

We both been to Kuala Lumpur before, and we think one of the most confusing things about KUL is the public transport system, so we kick off with some info which we found kinda handy.

When you arrive by plane you either arrive at the International Airport (KLIA) or if you fly in with one of the budget airlines ( Air Asia, Jetstar, Lion Air, and Tiger air to name a few ) you will arrive at KLIA2, which replaced the former LCCT airport.

The 2 airports are accessible via a 2.2km extension of the existing express train line, served by high-speed electric trains. Both KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit services will be serving the KL Sentral  KLIA2 line, which connects the airport with a non-stop rail service to the city.

With a 30 minute travel time from KL Sentral to KLIA2, the KLIA Ekspres operates every 15- 20 minutes during peak and off-peak hours. The inter-terminal fare between KLIA and KLIA2 only takes 3 minutes.

KLIA Transit is a rail service that runs with a few stops along the way from KL Sentral to KLIA and KLIA2.  The journey takes around 40 minutes and they leave every 20-30 minutes.

We found these ways the easiest and the fastest ways to go from Kuala Lumpur airport to the Kuala Lumpur city and return.

I bet you don’t want to waste your time figuring out all the different ways of transport on a short stopover in Kuala Lumpur, but we must confess it takes a while to get used to all the different lines and Kuala Lumpur`s public transport system is not the most convenient and easiest one we used, but if you get to know it a bit, you ‘ve got a proper map and some patient you ‘ll get there.

The thing with Kuala Lumpur`s public transport is that they have lots of different lines and services but they are all built separately and poorly integrated with each other.

We found a lot of useful info at about KLIA and for info about KLIA2.

You can also go by taxi, but the airport is about 50 kilometre from the city centre and traffic can be really busy, so if you don’t want an immense taxi bill, just go by train.

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Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

Airport hotels in Kuala Lumpur close to the airport itself are rare, but if you take a 15 min taxi drive you find some nice options. We booked a room in the Sri Enstek Hotel, which we found comfy and nice for an airport hotel and has a really decent price. We had a late arrival with our flight from the Maldives and we didn’t want to travel another 50 kilometres to the city, so this was perfect for the night. They do an airport transfer as well if you don’t want to hassle around with taxies. Check out more info and pictures here >   Sri enstek hotel

If you are looking for a good 5-star hotel close to the city, go to the Seri Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
A luxurious and very comfortable hotel, with lovely rooms, very friendly staff and located close to Kuala Lumpur’s main attractions.

Seri Pasific Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Seri Pasific Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur


If you are looking for something comfortable and a bit cheaper than 5-star luxury, the Citin Seafare Pudu hotel is a great option. Located in China Town, comfortable ( small ) rooms and lovely service. Check out more info and pictures here > Citin Seafare Pudu Hotel 

What to do in Kuala Lumpur

We decided we do a walk through the city and catch the highlights of Kuala Lumpur. As we all know, Kuala Lumpur`s skyline is dominated by the 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers. Once, the highest building on earth.

You can choose to go up to the conservation deck and have amazing views over the city. Or you take off on a shopping spree in the massive Suria KLCC which is actually located on the lower floors of the Petronas Twin Towers. At the back of the Petronas Towers, you will find the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, which is definitely worth a visit to relax after all the busy city impressions.

Another place to relax a bit after walking through Kuala Lumpur is the Brussels Beer Café, where we had a great lunch with of course…Bitter balls and Belgium Beer. You will walk across the Belgium Beer Café if you walk from the Petronas Twin Towers to Chinatown ( see below map ) In China Town you find lots of little market stalls, different foods, colours and big bargains day and night.

Kuala Lumpur City Walk
Kuala Lumpur City Walk
What to do around the Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur
What to do around the Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

If you are a shopaholic, don’t miss the golden triangle, which is Kuala Lumpur`s main shopping district.

The Golden Triangle roughly covers the area north of Jalan Pudu, south of Jalan Ampang and west of Jalan Imbi and Jalan Tun Razak. It includes the busy shopping area of Bukit Bintang,  the Jalan Sultan Ismail five-star hotel strip, the Jalan P. Ramlee party street, and the entire Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) which is home to the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC shopping centre, KLCC Convention Centre and the KLCC Park.

If you stay 2 nights in Kuala Lumpur and you travel at average speed without lots of shopping ( then you will need a week ) you can cover all the highlights of Kuala Lumpur

From Kuala Lumpur, you can travel to many beautiful places Malaysia has to offer.  

Don’t forget your lonely planet for Kuala Lumpur!

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  • You are more than welcome. Glad you hear the tips might become handy for your trip to Kuala Lumpur in the future 🙂
    I made a million photos of the Petronas Towers exterior, but never went to the top of it yet.They say the view from there with clear skies is amazing!

  • You are more than welcome Rachelle. We are exactly the same. Using and figuring out the public transport system and do a lot of walking. I think with walking you discover so much more hidden secrets of a city 🙂
    Let us know if you are travelling to Kuala Lumpur.
    Enjoy your day.

  • I’m always so hesitant to leave the airport on a long layover, but sounds like you guys got it down! I always love seeing pictures of the Petronas Towers, they sure do photograph well!

  • Thanks for the heads-up with the public transit system. I love figuring out new cities and their layouts by purchasing rail and bus passes and then just wandering around. Granted, if I have a bit of a layover in KL, I’m not sure I’d want to spend the time figuring it all out, so TIA for the links! Also – I’ve seen so many pictures of those towers and want the chance to stand at their base and just look up! 🙂

  • You are more than welcome! Good to hear you found this article helpful. Kuala Lumpur is definitely a great city for a stop over and we definitely recommend nearby Malacca as well!
    Let us know if you need any more information on Kuala Lumpur or other Malaysian Destinations.

  • Great post! The information on the transportation system is especially helpful! Thank you for sharing and doing the research on this. It seems like a lovely city break when you have a long layover!

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