Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia!
Getting around Kuala Lumpur is difficult when you are not familiar with this place. There are a few options you can choose. You can either drive, get around on foot or take public transports. I will suggest you to drive only if you know the direction and have someone with you who knows how to get around the city.
Driving or Travel on Foot
Besides, using a GPS for getting around the city is also highly recommended. You can use a GPS to guide you when you are either driving or on your foot. But before using a GPS, make sure you update the map to the latest version as the changes in direction of streets and highway can be quite dramatic. Also have a paper map with you for cross checking with your GPS. The GPS can sometimes be wrong.
Driving around the city is not recommended as there is a high chance of you getting stuck in a traffic snarl. Sometimes you can be stuck in a traffic jam for hours, therefore wasting your precious travel time. But exploring the city on foot is not advisable as heat, heavy traffic, air pollution and a lack of sidewalks make walking around difficult. But areas such as the Golden Triangle are pedestrians friendly. You can walk safely within these areas. Therefore, the best option is to make use of public transports.
If you are going to walk around the city.
- 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 11:00-15:00.
- 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 hrs) starts in Chinatown and loops through the modern Golden Triangle, missing the historic buildings of the old centre:
1. Start in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
2. 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.
3. Jalan Bukit Bintang is a major shopping street: stop for coffee at Bintang Walk, or check out the electronics mega-mall, Plaza Low Yat.
4. When Bintang meets Jalan Sultan Ismail and the monorail, turn left, following the monorail.
5. After 1km of Sultan Ismail, turn right on to Jalan P. Ramlee. This lead to the Petronas Twin Towers. Be amazed!
6. Head back down Jalan P. Ramlee
7. Merge onto Jalan Raja Chulan near the KL Tower and head back to the Maybank building and Chinatown.
- Remember to take remain alert when you are walking by the streets. Snatch thieves are quite common nowadays. My advise is NOT to wear any sling bag or purses especially for women where the thieves can easily snatch it while they are on a motorcycles.
If you’re fortunate enough to do this walk on a typical Sunday afternoon you will find a calm and attractive city.
Taking Public Transport
Kuala Lumpur has a rather efficient public transport system. The transport system consists of a network of rails, public buses as well as cabs. For example, the rails alone can reach a lot of places within the Klang Valley. The railway is a network consists of KTM, the national railway system; Light Rail Transport (LRT); the monorail; and KLIA trains to and from the international airport.
The Hub of Public Transportation
The main transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur is at KL Sentral. Whilst not being in a central location, KL Sentral offers connections to and from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Main Terminal with the Express Rail Link (ERL) high-speed trains called the KLIA Expres and KLIA Transit; bus connections to the KLIA – KLIA 2 or the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (KLIA2/LCCT) through coaches such as the Skybus; intercity trains to most major cities in Malaysia as well as Singapore and Thailand with Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM); as well as Light Rail Transit (LRT) and KTM Komuter trains within the city of Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs. KL Sentral also is an important bus stop for the city Rapid-KL city buses as well as a stand for taxis with a proper taxi counter.
These rail networks are interlinked with each others with Kuala Lumpur Central Station (Stesen Sentral in Malay) being the hub of the city’s rail network. The KTM Komuter trains are useful for out-of-town destinations such as Shah Alam, Klang, and Seremban to the south. KLIA express runs direct to KLIA airport while KLIA Transit stops at Putrajaya. LRT and the monorail cover the city with numerous stops.
The monorail system is not within KL Sentral itself but fairly close. The Sentral monorail station is just across the road from KL Sentral behind the new construction site, if you arrive by train go down to Bus arrival Bay at ground level. Follow signs past bus’s then cross the bus/taxi way entering the covered walkway to left of construction site, walk about 300m and you will then see Monorail Track. Monorail has links to all the other lines and is just about within walking distance of all the Kuala Lumpur Lake Garden attractions.
LRT and Monorail Map
For a view of the Kuala Lumpur transit map, click on the following thumbnail:
Travel by Buses and Cab
Other than trains, you can also take buses. The Rapid KL buses are the most sophisticated and they covers a lot of places in the Klang Valley. You can get an unlimited day travel ticket fom Rapid KL. If you are in a hurry and do not want to wait in line for buses, you can go for a cab. The fee is fairly cheap in Kuala Lumpur compared to most of the developed cities.
How to Hire a Cab around Kuala Lumpur
Hiring a cab in Kuala Lumpur can sometimes be quite challenging. There are some rules that you want to follow in order for you to enjoy a safe and fun vacation in Malaysia. You will want to take a cab that uses meter instead of charging you arbitrarily. Also you need to take some safety measures when taking cab as there are reports where tourists got robbed after they were taken to an unknown place. Here is a post about how to safely hire a taxi in KL.
Have a safe and enjoyable trip in Malaysia!