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A Guide to Kuala Lumpur
Know Before You Go
- Kuala Lumpur is not as a big as it seems. If you book a hotel in the central area, you'll be within walking distance of all of the top attractions, shopping centres and restaurants.
- Pack light and breathable clothes. Malaysia is located on the Equator, and the temperatures soar to dizzying heights. It's also a good idea to pack a raincoat for the showers that tend to happen in the evenings.
- You won't struggle too much with the language barrier. Many of the locals in Kuala Lumpur speak English as well as Chinese, Malay or Indian dialects.
- Do your research and find out prices for attractions before you arrive. It's a common scam to sell fake tickets to tourists outside popular attractions that have no entrance fee.
- Tipping is not customary in Kuala Lumpur. There is a 15% tourist tax that is added to all restaurant and hotel bills.
Getting Around Kuala Lumpur
Walking about Kuala Lumpur is one of the best ways to explore the city. Most of the tourist attractions are close together, but you'll need to make sure you cross the street correctly as the police are known to give on the spot fines to jaywalkers.
If you want a faster way to get around the city, take the train. The RapidKL LRT and KTM Komuter service over 100 stations and it's an efficient way to avoid Kuala Lumpur's infamous gridlocked traffic.
Taxis should only be used as a last resort. Due to the high volumes of commuters, a trip takes much longer than any of the other transportation options available in the city. If you don't want to haggle with drivers, download the ride-sharing app Grab to request a ride.
Buses are the best option for budget travellers. The fares are cheap, and the city has an extensive network. The only downside is that the coaches quickly fill up and the heavy traffic lengthens commutes.
If you're only in Kuala Lumpur for a few days, buy a ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off bus. It services a route that goes past 22 of the city's best attractions. The bus runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and commentary is available in eight different languages.
When is The Best Time to Visit Kuala Lumpur?
The best time to visit Kuala Lumpur is during its dry season. From June to August, the city experiences the least amount of rain, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. The humidity levels will also be lower, making it more bearable to explore the city on foot. The only downside is that it's also peak tourist season, and you'll need to book your flights a few months in advance to lock in lower prices.
If you're travelling on a budget, you'll find the best deals during the monsoon season. The wettest months are October and November, but luckily the downpours don't last the whole day. Hotels, airlines and tour operators slash their prices to make up for this seasonal slump, and there's plenty to do indoors if any activities get rained out.
Culture vultures should plan their trip around one of the city's many festivals. The most popular one is National Day, held every year on the 31st of August. It celebrates Malaysia's independence, and parades, concerts and dance performances are held throughout the day.
Airports in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kuala Lumpur International Airport has two terminals. KLIA1 is where most international flights will arrive. It also has a new low-cost terminal KLIA2 which is served by budget airlines for domestic and Asia flights.
Getting to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The quickest way to get from the airport into the city is with the train. It runs from 5:00 a.m. to midnight and leaves every 15-20 minutes. The trip will take around 30 minutes and costs RMB 100 per person.
If you're on a tight budget, take the Airport Coach Bus. It's not the fastest option, but fares are only RMB 24.10 for adults and RMB 18.10 for children. The bus runs from 1:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and takes 90 minutes to reach the city centre.
Download the ride-sharing app Grab. You can use the airport's free WiFi to request your ride. Alternatively, you can book a metered taxi from one of the agents inside the arrivals hall.