It’s one of those posers isn’t it – is it REALLY worth the effort of leaving an airport and heading into town? So much to consider – immigration, security, transport and then allowing enough time to do it all in reverse so that you don’t actually miss your connection.
While KL airport is not the worst place to while away your time whilst in transit, the city centre is well worth a visit and even just a few hours will allow you experience some of the highlights and main attractions…..
The stunning Petronas Towers are a must – even if you don’t have time to visit the famous sky bridge. I love the elegance of the chrome and stainless steel structure which contrasts with the colourful chaos of Chinatown’s markets and Jalan Alor’s hawker food stalls.
Actually that’s even enough – the Towers, a bit of shopping in either Chinatown or one of the fabulous shopping malls (there’s even one at the Towers with over 300 stores) and then sampling the great street food on Jalan Alor. I’d settle for that!
Planning is very important or your layover will rapidly go downhill and you’ll end up with a wasted day!
Be sensible about time constraints – Allowing for about an hour trip both ways, and a few hours when back at the airport for security etc., I wouldn’t venture into the city with anything less than an 8 hour gap between flights.
Getting in to the city – Depending on your time and money constraints, your options are bus, taxi and train. Bus is the cheapest, taxi the most convenient but the most expensive and train, at 33 minutes, is the fastest.
Getting around – You can walk, use the metro system or download the GRAB (Malaysian UBER) app. The LRT (Light Railway System) will get you from the central station to Petronas in about 13 minutes.
To use GRAB or Google Maps, you will need data. You can pick up a prepaid SIM card at the airport (about €5 for 7 days) but the most popular mobile shops will have long queues. You can order a SIM card online but you still have to collect it upon arrival. It’s a lot of bother for a few hours….
Most businesses accept credit cards but you may need some cash for the hawker stalls. There are ATMs everywhere but it might be handier to withdraw some Ringgits before you leave the airport (we just went to an exchange bureau with no queue as we were walking through the airport and handed them a €20 note).
If you’ve enough time to visit the Skybridge and Observation Deck at Petronas, make sure to book in advance to get a time slot that suits and to avoid long queues at the ticket desk.
Of course there’s more to KL than Petronas, shopping and food!! Check out the Top 10 lists, decide what interests you and what you can fit into an itinerary – but remember – you don’t want to spend all your time on the metro!