Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a modern city that never appears to sleep and is well known for its beautiful skyline, shopping malls, delicious street food, and coffee culture. Many tourists traveling through Asia use centrally located Kuala Lumpur as their hub before heading to other regions. Over the years, we have visited Kuala Lumpur multiple times and found it a lovely place to spend a few days.

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Getting to Kuala Lumpur

By Air

Like Singapore and Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur is globally recognized as an air-travel hub. With two international airports – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or KLIA2, also known as LCCT (Low-Cost Carrier Terminal) – it’s easy to find a bargain deal to Kuala Lumpur from most international destinations. Also, tourists use Kuala Lumpur as a hub to travel to neighboring countries like Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and many more.

Air Asia flight from Bangkok, Thailand
My Air Asia flight from Bangkok, Thailand

The KLIA Airport Terminal is about 60 km from the city center. It takes about an hour by taxi or bus to get to KL Sentral. Almost all the international flights will be landing at either of the two airports.

By Bus to Kuala Lumpur

The distance between Penang and Kuala Lumpur is only 358 km, and by bus, it takes about 5 hours. So the journey is long but comfortable. If you are not looking for luxury, the average cost will be around 30 ringgit.

The express bus leaves from Butterworth station or the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal and arrives at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan in Kuala Lumpur. If you are staying in Georgetown, then getting off at Butterworth and taking the Rapid Ferry is the best option. 

By Train to Kuala Lumpur

Train service from Penang or from Johor Bahru to KL Sentral is excellent, may cost a little more expensive than a bus, but you will definitely have a different experience. The express train takes about four hours from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur station and 3+ hours from Johor Bahru.  

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Getting to Kuala Lumpur By Car

Driving to Kuala Lumpur from any major city in Malaysia could be the best option if you enjoy road trips. The highway system is excellent and Penang is about 358 km, Johor Bahru is only 330 km. However, a car rental is available from Kuala Lumpur Airport. Try to book online in advance for a better rate. 

Getting Around

From Airport to the City

There are two international airports – KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) or KLIA2, previously known as LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). Almost all international flights will land at either of the two airports. The KLIA Airport Terminal is about 60 km from the city center. Getting from the airports to the city center is easy once you understand your choices. Generally, you will need to decide between comfort and affordability.

The fastest way to get to the city is by taking the KLIA express train from the airport to KL Sentral, which takes about 30 minutes. But the cheapest way is by bus. It takes about an hour to get to KL Sentral.

Taxi is widely available at the airport. It is expensive but the most convenient option to get to your accommodation in KL. The average taxi cost is approximately RM 75 (US$ 18), but if you are traveling in a group, it definitely makes sense to take a taxi. If you have a Grab account on your smartphone, then, in my opinion, it is a convenient way to get to the city from the airport.

Getting Around Kuala Lumpur

By Train

Kuala Lumpur has a well-developed rail system and comprises Light Rapid Transit (LTR) lines, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), and monorail lines. In addition, there are two express train line services to and from KL Airport. 

Via Buses

There are a couple of bus companies as part of an extensive city bus network. The Rapid Bus and Metrobus are the most common. Since the train system is well integrated with the bus system, the MyRapid Touch ‘n Go Card will work on all trains and buses. Buses are efficient and cheap, as long as there is no city traffic congestion. 

Taxi and Grab

Taxi in Kulala Lumpur is safe and reliable and can be hailed on the street 24 hours a day. In addition, Ride-hailing apps such as Grab and MyCar are also operational in the city, widely used by tourists and locals alike. All you need is to download their app. I found it a very convenient way of moving within the city.

Driving in Kuala Lumpur

If you prefer driving in Kuala Lumpur, don’t be surprised if you find it chaotic and challenging to find parking, but going out of town trips could be enjoyable as long as you have GPS service. You are allowed to drive in Malaysia for 90 days with an international driver’s license. 

Best Time to Visit

As long as you don’t mind tropical climate meaning warm and humid weather conditions, then Penang is an excellent place to visit all year round. Kuala Lumpur’s average temperature is between 28 – 32 C. I have visited Malaysia many times and bassed on my own experience here is a month-wise break-up of the weather so that you can plan your trip accordingly:

November to January

I have been to Northern, central, Southen Malaysia, including Sabah, between December and January and had a wonderful experience during these months. Absolutely the best time as the skies usually remain clear most of the time, and the weather is slightly cooler for sightseeing and other outdoor activities. Furthermore, since this is the beginning of the year-end holidays, bars and restaurants are full of people enjoying the festive season. 

February to April

Most seasonal crowds disappear after the year-end holidays, so the area becomes quieter and more affordable. The weather starts to get warmer along with the rise of humidity. Sometimes, it becomes uncomfortable to stroll through the city center for sightseeing activities during midday. However, it still attracts tourists who like to explore in a less crowded environment at their own pace. 

May to October

This is the wettest period when the weather sizzles and humidity rises; hence the city will experience a drop in tourists. It frequently rains to cool down the environment, so your best friend would be a raincoat and an umbrella. But if you happen to be there during the off-seasons, then definitely have the advantage of saving on the travel expense and avoiding high season crowds.  

Useful Information

Visa – No Visa Required

American citizens do not need to obtain a Malaysian visa in advance for pleasure or business trips if they stay less than 90 days in Malaysia. On arrival, immigration officials will stamp your passport on entry. Your passport must be valid for at least six months. In addition, there are around 70 nationalities that have visa-free entry but the period of stay in Malaysia depends on the nationality. Check here if your country of citizenship falls under visa exemption.



Useful Information

Buying a SIM Card for Phone

Unless you have a local Malaysia tourist SIM card or expensive international roaming from your carrier, you won’t be able to keep in touch with your family or get Uber or Grab App service when you have no wi-fi. Therefore I recommend buying a local SIM card.

Purchasing a SIM card (prepaid tourist SIM card) is easy and cheap in Malaysia if you are arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) or Penang International Airport (PEN). There are multiple places, including 7-Eleven, to buy a Malaysian SIM card. Note that you need an unlocked phone to use a local SIM card.

I bought a 7-day 4G plan from Digi with 2 GB of data and 1 GB a day for social networks like WhatsApp and FB for RM 20 ( US$ 5.00)


You will find ATMs all over the city, including Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Currently, the exchange rate is 1US$ = 4.2 RM (Ringgit) at this writing.

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Things to do in Kuala Lampur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has a lot of things to see and do. The best things to do in Kuala Lumpur begin with food and sightseeing. Here are a few things we have done that kept us busy during our visits.

Visit Petronas Tower

We started our sightseeing adventure from Petronas Towers, one of the iconic symbols of Malaysia, which stands as high as 1230 feet (375 meters) above ground. It is unthinkable to be in Kuala Lumpur and not see a slight glance of the twin towers. We found our way to the adjacent KLCC Park and followed the sign leading us to multiple viewpoints for the best view. The best time to visit is before and after the sunset.

kuala lumpur, malaysia
Beautiful Kuala Lumpur city skyline with dramatic sky , twilight scene . Malaysia .

Birds Eye View from KL Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur)

Menara KL Tower is one of the most visited landmarks that should not be missed while visiting Kuala Lumpur. At the top there are different observation decks from which you could enjoy the spectacular 360 views of Kuala Lumpur, such as from the circular Observation Deck and the top tourist attraction Sky Deck at 300 meters above ground, or SkyBox. However, nothing can beat the most interesting revolving Atmosphere 360 restaurant, located 282 meters above the ground where you can enjoy delicious dinner and at the same time enjoy the birds eye view of KL. The best time to visit is during sunset and later have dinner there.

KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur
Birds Eye View from KL Tower

Day Trip to Putrajaya

Putrajaya is a planned city, the federal administrative center of Malaysia’s capital, only about 33 km from Kuala Lumpur. A 20-minute KL Transit Train ride will take you there. The capital is well-known for its architectural masterpieces, such as Prime Minister’s Office, eye-catching Putra Mosque, commercial squares, Lakeside landscapes, etc. A great day trip location from Kuala Lumpur.

Putrajaya, Malaysia
Beautiful lake in Putrajaya

A Visit to Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

If you are visiting Kuala Lumpur with your family and have extra days to spend, visiting Sunway Lagoon is ideal. It is Malaysia’s most famous theme park; whether you love water slides, roller coasters, or haunted houses, the park definitely has activities that bring a full day of fun.

Historic Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square is, also known as Independence Square, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur. This historical landmark is where the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time in 1957. The square becomes spectacular at night, a great place to visit as the entire area lit up for the light display. This cultural landmark will definitely be part of your trip if you take a guided city tour.

Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur
Merdeka Square (Independence Square)

Visit Tugu Negara (National Monument)

The Malaysian National Monument or Tugu Negara is a 15 meters tall bronze statue surrounded by a pool with fountains, a pavilion, and gardens.

National Monument, KL, Malaysia
Tugu Negara (National Monument)

Quick Stop at National Mosque of Malaysia

The National Mosque of Malaysia, also known as Masjid Negara is an icon of the country’s culture and history. Therefore, this cultural landmark will definitely be part of your trip if you take a guided Kuala Lumpur tour. The mosque with a 73 Meter-high minaret is so huge that it has a capacity of 15,000 people at a given time.

The National Mosque of Malaysia
The National Mosque of Malaysia

Visting Sri Mahamariamman Temple

The Sri Mahamariamman temple is one of the most famous and oldest Hindu temples in Kuala Lumpur. This South Indian-style temple is located in Chinatown. Therefore it’s easy to get there.

Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya
Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya

The Istana Negara (National Palace Royal Museum)

The Royal Museum is located in the old National Palace, or Istana Negara, the official residence of the King and Queen of Malaysia. The old Istana Negara has been converted into a museum and is open to the public.

Climb the colorful stairs to the Batu Caves

Baru Caves is about 16 km north of Kuala Lumpur, a large limestone cave that is more than 400 million years old. The colored staircases are one of the main attractions or even more popular and well-known than the Batu Caves themselves. This site is a highly visited site, especially during the weekend. 

Visit Kuala Lumpur Chinatown

When I think of Chinatown first thing that comes to my mind is delicious street food, authentic Chinese restaurants, lively and colorful lantern-filled surroundings; Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is no different. Visit the famous Petaling Street for the real Chinatown experience that comes alive starting late afternoon and onwards.

Must Visit Little India in KL

Kuala Lumpur’s Little India is located in the Brickfields district, a vibrant community for Indian cuisine and culture. It is only a short walk away from KL Sentral monorail station, absolutely worth a visit. Indians, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans have lived there for years and freely practiced their traditions and culture where you will feel like you landed in India.

Day Trip to Genting Highland

Genting Highlands is a resort developed on the peak of Mount Ulu Kali at about 1800 meters that includes hotels, casinos, shopping malls, and a theme park. It is located about an hour away (35 km) from Kuala Lumpur’s Terminal Pekeliling or KL Sentral to Awana Station by bus. Then continue to Awana SkyWay Cable Car to Genting Highlands ( SkyAvenue Station ).

Cable car to Genting Highlands
Cable car to Genting Highlands, a 10 – 12 minutes hike was a great experience.

Don’t miss out on getting off the cable car midway to see the Chin Swee Caves Temple. This Taoist temple is built in the most scenic location in Genting Highlands. There are two casinos, Casino de Genting and SkyCasino, and apart from gambling, there are other tourist attractions to entertain visitors.

The Chin Swee Caves Temple is situated in the most scenic site of Genting Highlands.

Delicious Food I Tried in Malaysia

Traditional Malaysian street food apam balik – thick soft pancake with peanuts, bananas, peanut butter and sweet corn. Street market in Georgetown, Malaysia.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PH Suites at Pavilion Bukit Bintang, KL

Located in Kuala Lumpur, a 6-minute walk from Starhill Gallery and 1,800 feet from Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, PH Suites at Pavilion Bukit Bintang provides a microwave, fridge, wellness area, sauna, and much more. Popular points of interest near PH Suites include Sky Malaysia, Berjaya Time Square, and Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. If you are driving your rental car, they offer private parking for the guests.

Flixses Suites at Platinum KLCC, KL

Flixses Suites at Platinum KLCC is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and provides accommodations with a fully equipped kitchenette with a dishwasher, a microwave, fridge, a washing machine, and more. Popular points of interest near the apartment include Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC, and Petrosains, The Discovery Centre.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? Any cool tips to share?

Over the years I have visited Malaysia multiple times, but during this particular trip, I was flying out of Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur for 4 days then flying to Penang for a few more days. It was a great experience and definitely loved it. Hope my story has given you some idea and motivated you to plan a fall trip. 

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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