Kuala Lumpur, like Singapore, is a major travel hub, so at some stage in your life, you will probably find you will be stopping over there…
Kuala Lumpur is a major hub for international air travel. More and more flights are stopping over in KL, and it is the perfect opportunity to explore the Malaysian capital a little more. In fact, almost all of my international flights in the past 3 years have all had a lay-over in Kuala Lumpur! Whether you are stopping in for a brief few hours on your way to another destination, or you plan on staying a few days, there is always something you can do with your time there…
IF YOU HAVE JUST A FEW HOURS STOP OVER…
When you only have a few hours to kill, it makes sense to wait your time out at the airport. 3-4 hours really is not enough time to leave the airport, find something to do, and check back in with 2 hours to spare. By all means, if you live by the seat of your pants, try leaving… I definitely would not be though!
Whenever we fly AirAsia, our stop overs are at KLIA2.
The best part about stopping over at KLIA2 is that there is actually so much to do within the airport. Once you have done the rounds of the duty free stores, you can head out through security and explore Gateway at KLIA2. It is linked to the KLIA2 terminal via covered walkways, and takes about 5 minute to walk to. I always like to do a last minute H&M and Uniqlo shop, and a bit of price comparing at Pandora and Sunglasses Hut, on my stopovers. When Jenelle and I flew through last year, we even had time to book ourselves in to a 1 hour full body massage at Thai Odyssey!
If you are all shopped out and you have been for a massage, you can opt to book yourself in to the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge. For $25.00 (less if you pre-book, and complimentary for for Flatbed customers), you get access to unlimited wifi, bathrooms and a buffet of food for 3 hours. Access to a lounge has proved invaluable for my slightly longer stop overs. Sometimes I just need somewhere comfortable to sit and get work done. There are less people, there is less noise and I feel more at home. It is also a lot easier to freshen up in the lounge restrooms before your next flight than it is using the public restrooms!
IF YOU HAVE A FULL DAY STOP OVER…
You have a little more freedom when you have 8 or more hours to kill in transit. If you don’t want to spend all of that time at the airport, KL Sentral is just 28 minutes from the international airport on the KLIA Ekspres (tickets are $17.00). The train leaves every 15 minutes, and the ride to KL Sentral is really comfortable. From Kl Sentral, you can get on the metro to just about anywhere in Kuala Lumpur!
If you have never been to Kuala Lumpur before, I would suggest getting on the pink line to KLCC or on the red line to Pasar Seni.
You might not have time to get to both, but getting to at least one of these spots is a must! Oh, and don’t forget to take a little time to wander around the shopping centre at Sentral Station!
The Petronas twin towers (very much a tourist spot and landmark) are just a short walk from the KLCC stop. Even though it is ‘touristy’, it needs to be done. There is a sprawling shopping centre between the towers –Suria KLCC – and some gorgeous parklands you can wander through too. Suria KLCC has a lot of luxury concession stores to lust over, as well as a MNG Mango, Sephora, Uniqlo and Topshop. If you have children, stopping in at KLCC is perfect as there is plenty of room to run around in the gardens, and a big aquarium to explore within the convention centre.
Or, you could choose to get the metro to Pasar Seni. The central markets are just a short walk from the Pasar Seni stop. Again, although quite touristy, it is still fun to have a wander through. I ended up buying some of the most delicious, fresh, hot onde onde, and some amazing vintage knick knacks from an antique store. From the markets, you can walk through to the historic Merdeka Square. The architecture around here is phenomenal as it harks back to the 1900s. It is a stark contrast to the high rises on the skyline! There are a few galleries to explore here too – the National Textile Museum and the City Gallery are great.
IF YOU HAVE A FEW DAYS STOP OVER…
If you know you are going to be stopping over in KL, I would highly suggest extending your stop over and staying for a few days. You can explore KL until your heart is content (and as your time allows). There is honestly so much to do and see in KL! With a bit of extra time, you can do all of the above and more…
Bukit Bintang is a shopping mecca.
It is akin to the Times Square of Kuala Lumpur. Shopping isn’t all Bukit Bintang has going for it – it is an entertainment epicentre. Head to Jalan Alor for authentic hawker style meals, or find a spot and enjoy your evening at one of the trendy bars. There are a host of clubs here too… if you are in to that thing! If you are a thrill seeker, make sure you get to the Berjaya Times Square Theme Park just outside of Bukit Bintang – it is the largest indoor theme park in Malaysia!
It is also worth getting out and exploring the Perdana botanic gardens. The grounds are home to the KL bird park and the KL butterfly park, as well as the Planetarium and the national mosque of Malaysia. It is an absolutely stunning area that you could easily spend a day or two exploring in itself.
En route from the Perdana gardens and KLCC, you will find the Menara Kuala Lumpur – KL Tower. This is another iconic building with amazing views from up at the sky deck. Like KLCC, Menara is an iconic land mark of Kuala Lumpur, so if you can visit (or at least catch a glimpse) it is worth it!