Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide

Getting Around

Kuala Lumpur's ambitious public transport system is sufficiently developed to be fairly efficient and convenient, but much room for improvement lies in its integration. The city, like many developing cities, suffers from paralysing traffic jams periodically throughout the day. In the rush hours, consider combining various methods of transport.

By train

Urban rail comes in four distinct flavours, which are not always fully connected. All lines, with the exception of the Ampang/Sri Petaling LRT lines travel through Kuala Lumpur's main transport hub, KL Sentral. However to reach the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines from KL Sentral involves a simple trip on the Kelana Jaya LRT to Masjid Jamek station.

The LRT is a light rail transit system and is the closest thing to a metro system in Kuala Lumpur, with three lines making up the system. The Ampang line and Sri Petaling line merge at Chan sow lin station and run on the same platform at all stations to Sentul Timur station. This line can be used for access to Chinatown and Pudu Sentral Bus Station at Plaza Rakyat station. The Kelana Jaya line travels through several key tourist areas including Pasar Seni station for Chinatown and the central market, KLCC station for the Petronas Towers and Suria KLCC shopping centre. Additionally you can alight at Masjid Jamek station and transfer to the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines without leaving the ticketed area.
The KL Monorail is an entirely elevated line that loops through the Golden Triangle in a semi-circle. Use this line for access to Bukit Bintang, a major shopping area, or Bukit Nanas, for clubbing at Jalan P. Ramlee and the Petronas towers. Be aware that fares are a little more expensive than the LRT. Is often quite congested but plans are under way to its double capacity, with completion expected sometime in 2013.
The KTM Komuter is a commuter train service and comprise of two lines that meet in the city centre and run out to the suburbs. The service is not as frequent as other rail in Kuala Lumpur and it is not odd for trains to be late either. Despite this the rolling stock is quite modern and fares are cheaper than the LRT and Monorail. The KTM Komuter is great for travel to Batu Caves and Midvalley Mega Mall.
The Express Rail Link (ERL), completed in 2002, runs between KL Sentral and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with 2 types of train services, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA transit. The KLIA Ekspres service runs non-stop between KL sentral and KLIA, taking 28 minutes, whilst the KLIA Transit service stops at Salak Tinggi, Putrajaya/Cyberjaya and Bandar Tasik Selatan en route, taking 36 minutes.

In the past connectivity between the different lines was quite poor but upgrades to the system have helped to integrate a few key stations along the LRT and Monorail lines without purchasing separate tickets. To transfer between the Kelana Jaya line and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines, alight at Masjid Jamek. For transfers between the KL Monorail and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines then alight at either Huang Tuah or Titiwangsa stations. Beyond the above mentioned interchange stations the only way to transfer between lines is to purchase separate ticket for each leg and potentially walk for some of the journey.

The Touch 'n Go card (RM10 at major stations) can be used on all lines except the airport express. Photo ID is required to buy the card and it can only be bought on weekdays and part of Saturday. Concession prepaid cards are available but require proof of qualification.

A few quirks of the Kuala Lumpur Rail Network:

The LRT lines have had various names in the past (Kelana Jaya line was the PUTRA line; Ampang line was the STAR line), don't be surprised to see signage different from the names listed here.
KL Monorail's "KL Sentral" station is not that close to KL Sentral. The way between the two is signposted and generally has a steady stream of people you can follow. Briefly: from KL Sentral leave via the exit by Burger King, go down the stairs, turn left and follow road to the street corner. After crossing the road, turn right and continue until you reach KL Sentral Monorail station.
Trains usually follow a timetable, with the period between trains decreased to two/three minutes at peak hours. However, if the "driverless" trains of the Kelana Jaya line breakdown, services may be disrupted for two hours or more, although such breakdowns are few and far between.
By bus

Double-decker KL Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour buses serve 42 notable places. There is free Wi-Fi on board. An information commentary is given through headphones. Tickets (valid for 24 or 48hrs) give unlimited use during their validity. Children under 5 ride free.

The buses are scheduled every half hour but waits may be as long as two hours due to traffic jams, so try to maximize use of the service outside rush hours.

Two new FREE bus services started 1 September 2012. The purple bus service starts at Pasar Seni and travels to the shopping area of Bukit Bintang where it links up with the green bus service that loops around KLCC.

RapidKL operates a cheap and comprehensive public bus network in and around Kuala Lumpur, but low frequencies (2-3 per hour on most routes) and the near-total lack of signs makes this a poor option for the casual visitor. The buses themselves have clear destination information; so if you happen upon one heading in the right direction, jump on board - though be prepared for cramped waits in rush hour traffic. For those (few) attractions best visited by bus, specific bus information is given at each place of interest on this page.

If you do venture on board a RapidKL bus, it's worth nothing that these buses are broadly divided in three categories:

Bandar (B) routes are city centre shuttles,
Utama (U) buses travel to outlying suburbs
Tempatan (T) buses are feeder services for train stations.

For all three RapidKL routes, you can either buy zone-based single tickets (RM1 for Zone 1, up to RM3 for Zone 4) on board, or use a Touch 'n Go card (not sold on board). In addition, Ekspres (E) services use the highways and cost a flat RM3.80. Buses run from 6AM-11PM or so, with no night services.

By taxi

Normal red and white taxis (RM3 first 2 km, then around RM0.90/km) and bright blue executive taxis (RM6 flagfall + a slightly higher per kilometre rate) are good options if you can get them to use the meter. There are also various small surcharges for radio call (RM2), baggage (RM1 per piece), etc.

Drivers are less likely to use the meter when demand exceeds supply, such as during the rush hour or when it rains. Prices then become negotiable (before setting off) and inflated (2-10 times the meter price). This is illegal but realistically the only thing you can do is walk away and find a different driver (by law they are required to use the meter). A cab hailed off the street is more likely to use the meter than one that stalks tourist spots. If stuck with a driver that won't use the meter, negotiate hard: RM5 should cover most cross town trips of 15 min or so, even with traffic. If you are staying in an expensive hotel, hide your affluence and give a nearby shopping mall as your destination instead.

After midnight, meter prices are increased by 50% (e.g. at 1AM, if the meter shows RM12, you pay RM12+6).

During rush hour it's generally best to combine public transport with taxis.

A few popular places (notably both airports, KL Sentral, Menara KL and Sunway Pyramid Megamall) enforce a prepaid coupon systems, which generally work out more expensive than using the meter, but cheaper than bargaining. Taxis from Pavilion Shopping Mall's taxi counter cost the meter with a RM2 surcharge.

Some taxi drivers will hang around near hotels offering tours similar to those offered by established companies. Some of these drivers are quite knowledgeable and you may end up with a specially tailored, private tour for less than the cost of an official tour. Know the going rates before driving a bargain!

If you get so off the beaten track that you need to call a cab, here are some telephone numbers:

Comfort Cabs ☎ +60 3 6253 1313
Sunlight Taxi Unicablink ☎ 1300 800 222 (www.sunlighttaxi.com)
Public Cab ☎ +60 3 6259 2020
Uptown Ace ☎ +60 3 9283 2333
Keeganlam Executive Taxi services ☎ +60 17 6632696
Executive Taxi Tour Service ☎ +60 14 2675934
By car

Kuala Lumpur has good quality roads, but driving in the city can be a nightmare with massive traffic jams, a convoluted web of expressways and oft-confusing road signage. If driving, be especially aware of sudden lane changes by cars and reckless motorcyclists who tend to weave in and out of traffic.

Do not park at the road of busy districts such as Bangsar or Bukit Bintang because other cars might lock you in by parking next to you in the 2nd or 3rd lane. Use covered car parks or park a bit off the beaten path, and then walk back.

Renting a car is an option for travelling in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia. You may rent a car from the provider below:

On foot

The old centre of Kuala Lumpur fairly compact and the old buildings in various state of repair are great for exploring on foot. Even plodding between the colonial area and the new glass and steel sector (see walking tour below) is enjoyable outside the hottest hours of 11AM to 3PM. Major roads are well lit, making evening strolling undaunting and pleasant. Signs are clear and well placed and pavements are wide and uncluttered, but slippery in the rain. Shady tree-lined walkways provide shade on some of the larger roads. Pedestrian crossings are common and are generally respected by drivers. Jaywalking is technically illegal but overlooked (on-the-spot fine: RM 20/30 for tourists/locals if unlucky).

This circular walking tour (2-3 hr) starts in Chinatown and loops through the modern Golden Triangle, missing the historic buildings of the old centre:

Start in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
Head towards the vertically striped wedge of the Maybank building. Head along Jalan Pudu, passing to the left of Pudu Sentral bus station. After 800 m, turn on to Jalan Bukit Bintang at the Royale Bintang Hotel.
Jalan Bukit Bintang is a major shopping street: stop for coffee at Bintang Walk, or check out the electronics mega-mall, Plaza Low Yat.
When Bintang meets Jalan Sultan Ismail and the monorail, turn left, following the monorail.
After 1 km of Sultan Ismail, turn right on to Jalan P. Ramlee. This lead to the Petronas Twin Towers. Be amazed!
Head back down Jalan P. Ramlee
Merge onto Jalan Raja Chulan near the KL Tower and head back to the Maybank building and Chinatown.

If you're fortunate enough to do this walk on a typical Sunday afternoon you will find a calm and attractive city.

Disabled Travelers

Like many cities in SE Asia, KL presents a great challenge for travelers with mobility impairments. Sidewalks are often in disrepair, curbs are high, and curb cuts are often missing or inadequate. Wheelchair users will frequently find their path of travel obstructed (poorly designed or narrow sidewalks, parked cars, motorcycles, fences, stairs, trees, etc.), and will rarely be able to travel more than 50 meters without having to backtrack or divert to the road. In many areas of the city, it is virtually impossible to travel without an assistant. Crossing the road or having to wheel on the road (in case the sidewalk is obstructed) can be very dangerous, as many drivers do not expect, nor yield to, wheelchair users. You will occasionally find accessibility features like ramps or elevators obstructed or unserviceable. A notable exception are the KLCC and Bukit Bintang areas, where shopping malls and pedestrian areas are built to modern accessibility standards. Public buildings, hotels and malls provide an adequate supply of handicap bathrooms. Much of the rail system is inaccessible, most notably the monorail (which is in the process of being fitted with stair lifts, but is currently off limits). Some buses are equipped with ramps, but they are assigned haphazardly and do not run on a fixed schedule. Many locals will not be used to seeing travelers in wheelchairs, but will be generally helpful.

source: Wikivoyage

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