KUALA LUMPUR ULTIMATE GUIDE
Despite its wide size, Kuala Lumpur has much to offer and it is ranked as the 7th most visited city in the world. Malaysia’s capital is known for its heritage, skyscrapers and cultural diversity, a melting pot of culture from all over the world. During a trip to Malaysia, it’s really worth spending a couple of days in this metropolis to explore its iconic landmarks like the sky-high Petronas Towers, the country’s National Mosque, the historic Merdeka Square, the exquisite colonial architecture, and taste the delightful local food in the atmospheric districts of Chinatown, Chow Kit and Jalan Alor.
- BEST TIME TO GO
The climate in Malaysia is equatorial, always quite hot and humid all years round; therefore, you should often expect rainy days. Anyway, you can visit Kuala Lumpur and the west coast all year round taking in mind that the wettest months are September and October. If you want to visit the East Coast and its beautiful Islands the best period is between March and October (November and December are the rainiest months). In the end, the best time to visit Malaysia as a whole is from June to August. We visited Malaysia in July, and the weather was often cloudy or partly cloudy, but we bumped into quick rains 3 days out of 20 only at night.
- VISA REQUIREMENTS
Before booking the flight, you must check if you are entitled to a Visa exemption, a Visa on arrival or if you need to apply in person at the Embassy/Consulate in your country. Click here to read more information about the Visa requirements.
- HOW TO GET TO KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is served by the primary flight companies and by the well known low-cost company Air Asia. If you are already travelling through South East Asia or you want to reach another Malaysian destination, the best option is to fly with Air Asia that always offers great deals. The best websites where you can find out all the means of transport to reach your destination around Malaysia or Asia and purchase the tickets are Trip.com and 12Go.asia.com.
How to reach the city centre from KL International airport
After landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, you have four options: taxi, bus, Klia Express train or a private transfer.
First of all, you have to buy the ticket at the “taxi counter” in the arrival area, then follow the sign “Teksim/Taxi” and queue up with the other customers (the price is around 90 RM, but if you need more space like Van 9 seaters the price is about 240 RM).
It is the cheapest transport, the ticket to KL Sentral (Central railway station) is around 10 RM, and it takes you 1 hour. There is also a bus to/from Chinatown (stop at Jalan Pudu road, close to Pudu Sentral bus terminal) and it costs 12 RM. Check the official web site of Star Shuttle Bus to see schedule and prices.
3) Klia express
Follow the violet sign to Klia express stop. The ticket to KL Sentral costs 55 RM, and it takes you only 30 minutes. Once you arrive in KL Sentral (KL central station), you can take the tube, the KTM Komuter train or a taxi to reach your accommodation.
There is a taxi counter where you have to buy your ride just a few meters from the taxi stop (a trip to Chinatown is 13 RM).
4) Private Transfer
If you don’t want to catch public transportation, you can also use private transfer. It is an excellent service to directly reach your accommodation above all if you are a group. We can suggest using Kiwitaxi. It is a pre-paid service, and the driver will wait for you inside the terminal with a sign that has your name. A shuttle bus transfer operates typically in an eight-seat van.
Alternatively, you can easily purchase your private transfer from KL International Airport to your Hotel using one the web platform Viator that offers good deals and different choices.
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND KUALA LUMPUR
Going around KL is very easy. You can use the tube, Komuter train (ticket around 1 RM), taxi (average expense 10/15 RM – ask the driver to use the meter), Uber (cheaper than a local cab; download the app for your mobile phone) or the bus.
There is also a free bus service called Go KL city bus: it runs from 6 am to 11 pm with a frequency of 5 minutes. There are four different routes with stops at the main attractions and business centres. Click here to see the official web site with the map of the routes.
Another great option (in our opinion the best one if you have a few times) is to take the “Hop on-Hop off” bus. It costs 55 RM for 24 hours, and it is convenient because there is only 1 route (a loop) stopping in front of the main attractions of KL.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN KUALA LUMPUR
So as the big cities, Kuala Lumpur offers a wide range of accommodations, from cheap Hostels to luxury five stars Hotels. One of the best neighbourhood in the city is Chinatown because well located to visit the main attractions. It’s only 10 minutes by taxi from KL Sentral railway station, 15 minutes walk from Pudu Sentral bus terminal where you can catch the bus to KLIA and it’s plenty of budget accommodations, restaurants and shops. We slept at the Swiss-Inn Chinatown, in the heart of the neighbourhood.
- WHERE TO EAT IN KUALA LUMPUR
You have several good options like Jalan Alor (our favourite place, full of cheap restaurants and stands), Chinatown, Little India or Changkat Bukit Bintang. The food is good, and the average expense is around 15/20 Ringgit. Anyway, you can find local restaurants everywhere. Just consider that the restaurants often close around 10 pm.
If you want to have an alternative experience, you should try the ”Dinner in the sky” or the fancy Atmosphere 360 Revolving Restaurant. We ate at the stalls in Jalan Alor, at Leaf & Co. Cafe in Chinatown and at Opium KL in Changkat Bukit Bintang. Click here to find out the best restaurants and read the customers’ reviews.
- CURRENCY EXCHANGE and METHOD OF PAYMENT
The local currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). 1 USD is around 4.35 MYR (May 2020), 1 Euro is around 4.76 MYR (May 2020). You can exchange your currency at the Airport where you’ll find several money exchange shops and ATMs to withdraw. In downtown, there are many money changers with very good rates like Vital Rate, Max Money, NS Cashpoint, UAE Exchange and Metro Exchange. Many of these money exchange chains have their branches in the shopping mall too. Usually, you can convert your currency in the hotels as well, but the rate is higher. The method of payment is mostly cash. Hotels, malls stores and many restaurants accept the credit card.
- NIGHTLIFE IN KUALA LUMPUR
The most famous place for enjoying the Kuala Lumpur nightlife is Changkat Bukit Bintang. It is busy street plenty of international restaurants, cocktail lounges, bars, pubs and, of course, clubs playing all the hit of the moment.
- WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur is a big modern city rich in history, and it is ranked as the 7th most visited city in the world. It is known for its culture, races, traditions and it is furnished by impressive architecture, prominent landmarks, and unique buildings. Click here to find out the top attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND MALAYSIA
The easiest way is to take a flight from KL airport with Air Asia. If you book in advance, you can get very cheap tickets. The other option is by bus, and there are two main bus stations: Puduraya Bus Terminal (Pudu Sentral) close to Chinatown and Bersepadu Selatan Terminal, the biggest Station of KL where you can also leave for Thailand or Singapore.
We suggest to buy the ticket online in advance (or at bus terminal counter always in advance) and collect it at the ticketing counter inside the terminal because the queue is often very long. The KTM Komuter Station is “Bandar Taksit Selatan”, and it takes you just 20 minutes (it costs 1 RM) from KL Sentral. The best website where you can purchase to find out all the means of transport to reach your destination and buy the tickets are Trip.com and 12Go.asia.com.
- TRAVELLER’S SAFETY AND HEALTH
In general, Kuala Lumpur is a safe destination, but, so as in all the big cities, take care of your belongings. Pickpockets risk is quite high, especially among crowds because it happens that they try to snatch handbags, mobile phones and other valuables from pedestrians. Be also careful when you walk along the streets or you wait for public transports because we witnessed people injured by purse-grabbers on motorcycles.
Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and Zika fever are an actual threat in Malaysia and even in Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, take protection measures against mosquitos bites. Click here for more information.
If you ever need medical attention, the health services in Kuala Lumpur are good. Anyway, the best services are provided by private hospitals/clinics that boast the best technologies and often multilingual doctors, but the medical expenses are very high.
Travel insurance: it’s always recommended to take out travel insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and, in case, repatriation. We always do our travel insurance with Worldnomad.com.