Unlike Thailand, you won't find tuk-tuks or motorcycle taxis in Kuala Lumpur. Regardless, KL is fairly easy to navigate. Here are a few options for Kuala Lumpur transportation to help you get around the city.
First, read this Kuala Lumpur travel guide.
Walking in Kuala Lumpur
While sometimes crowded sidewalks and traffic can present obstacles, all the tourist sights around Kuala Lumpur are perfectly walkable. For days when energy is lacking or the weather is not cooperating, the three expensive rail systems will move you around for cheap.
Although sometimes the walk/don't walk indicators do not function, the Police in Kuala Lumpur has been known to crack down on jaywalking, sometimes giving an on-the-spot fine to tourists!
Trains in Kuala Lumpur
With bustling KL Sentral Station -- the largest train station in Southeast Asia -- serving as the hub, three ambitious rail systems tie the city together. The RapidKL LRT and KTM Komuter train service over 100 stations, while the KL Monorail connects 11 more stations dotted around the city center.
Although seemingly complex at first glance, the trains are actually a well priced and fairly efficient alternative to plying through Kuala Lumpur's infamous traffic.
Taxis in Kuala Lumpur
Taxis should be a last resort for getting around Kuala Lumpur, both because of the cost and the need to inch through traffic-clogged streets. If you must use a taxi, insist that the driver uses the meter; they are technically required by law to use it but often try to name a price instead. The red-and-white taxis are the cheapest, while the blue taxis are more expensive.
Taxi drivers who loiter around bus and train terminals to stalk tourists are typically the ones that want to haggle rather than use the meter. Even once the meter is turned on, don't be surprised if they do a few circles to run up your fare!
Kuala Lumpur Buses
Buses in Kuala Lumpur are an extremely cheap option for getting around the city, however, they are frequently crowded and make frequent stops in heavy traffic.
Many long-haul buses from Kuala Lumpur to destinations such as Penang and the Perhentian Islands depart from the newly renovated Puduraya bus terminal -- now called Pudu Sentral -- near Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.
- Read more about using buses in Asia.
The KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
You'll occasionally catch a glance of the double-decker hop-on-hop-off buses circulating throughout their 22-stop route. The tour buses hit all the major sights in KL, offer commentary in eight languages, and as the name suggests, you can get on and off as many times as you like between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. with a single ticket purchase.
While the buses are supposed to pass by their stands every 15 minutes to collect passengers, many customers report waiting much longer; the buses are subject to city traffic like all other road vehicles.
Kuala Lumpur Airports
- KLIA: The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (airport code: KUL) is an impressive, glass structure located about 31 miles south of the city. KLIA services most transcontinental flights into Malaysia, however, the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal, was added in 2006 to service budget flights around Malaysia and to other parts of Asia until KLIA2 opened.
- KLIA2: The new KLIA2 terminal opened in May 2014 to replace LCCT as the main hub for budget carriers. The brand new terminal is located only two kilometers from the main KLIA site.
- Subang Airport: Subang Airport (Airport code: SZB) was Kuala Lumpur's primary airport before the opening of KLIA in 1998. Today, the airport only services small planes mostly to island and vacation destinations around Malaysia such as Tioman and Langkawi. Subang Airport is the hub for the small budget airline Firefly, which flies as far as Koh Samui, Thailand; Medan, Indonesia; and Singapore.
Getting from KLIA
- By Train: The most efficient-but-expensive way to get from KLIA to the city is via the KLIA Ekspres train which runs to KL Sentral Station every 15 - 20 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight. The journey takes around 28 minutes. If for some reason the KLIA Ekspres train is not running, you can also take the KL Transit train which cost the same but takes around 36 minutes with a few additional stops.
- By Bus: Budget travelers with more time than cash can take the Airport Coach Bus to KL Sentral station; the journey can take over 90 minutes depending on traffic.
Buses from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
As of 2011, many buses from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore leave from the new Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) bus terminal located south of the city in Selangor. You can reach TBS via three primary rail systems: the KTM Kommuter, the LRT, and the KLIA Transit.