TRAVELLING WITHIN MALAYSIA
Malaysia has an amazing network of freeways connecting all major cities of the country as well as linking to Singapore in South and Thailand in the North. West to East Coast drive takes around 5 hours on the bus. The bus network is a great way to explore Malaysia as the bus networks offer first-class services with Wi-Fi onboard, connecting hundreds of destinations in the country around the clock.
Central Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur is Terminal Bersepadu Selatan at Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS-BTS). You will be surprised to find the services and facilities available at this facility. Tickets can be booked online in advance.
Average travel time between major cities is as follows:
Kuala Lumpur to Melaka – 1.5 hours
Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bharu – 6 hours
Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh – 2.5 hours
Kuala Lumpur to Georgetown, Penang – 6 hours
Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan – 6 hours
Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu – 9 hours
As you can see that the travel time between the cities is not that much, travelling by bus can be a great alternative if you want to explore the country.
KL airport is located 75km from the city and driving time to Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur is 1 hour approximately depending upon the time of day.
Exploring Kuala Lumpur using a Taxi
You can find taxis everywhere in Kuala Lumpur. There are two services Premier regular ones. Red taxis are regular sedan taxis which can be hired on the meter or fixed price. Blue taxis can take more people and are 50% more expensive than a regular taxi.
A cheap alternative is to book private cars through GRAB, which offers up to 40% on regular travel. The average cost of Premier taxi from KL Airport to the city is 130RM. A budget taxi would cost around $85. A GRAB rideshare car would cost around 65RM. This serves as a good comparison for prices offered by various networks.
Catching a Taxi from KL Airport to KL city
Most taxi drivers are hard to deal with as they would try to make extra money out of the tourist. If booking a premier cab on the airport, the best approach is to go the taxi booking staff on the first floor on KLIA2 and ground floor on KLIA1 and get a taxi coupon for a fixed price for your destination from the airport.
Alternative transport from Airport to Kuala Lumpur City
Alternatively, you can catch KL Express a train that connects both airports to Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, the travel time is 28 minutes, which is the lowest as compared to any other mode of transport. The cost per person is 55RM one-way.
A bus from the airport to city cost around 10RM which is the cheapest way to commute to KL Central from where you can catch Light Rail to the destination of your choice.
WHERE TO STAY IN KUALA LUMPUR?
If you travelling to Kuala Lumpur for the first time, the most recommended area to stay in Bukit Bintang and KLCC.
Bukit Bintang is touristy with a number of quality shopping centres, bars, restaurants and cafes. Most Middle Eastern families prefer to stay in Bukit Bintang because of shopping and quality Middle Eastern restaurants like Maroosh, Amar and Khidr-ul-Maut. Not only that, you can find cuisine from around the world and all major food chains in the shopping centres.
Park Royal Services Apartments only 2 minutes from Changkat Bukit Bintang
Budget Boutique Hotel in Bukit Bintang: Mesui Hotel
Cheap Hotels in Kuala Lumpur City Center KLCC
KLCC, on the contrary, offers more uptown and expensive options as the area is close to the financial hub of KL and caters to business travellers. There are a number of 5-star hotels and serviced apartments located very close to major train stops.
When booking your accommodation online, be mindful of the location of the hotel as transport within the city can take time and incur an extra cost.
For instance, if you plan to travel cheap, ideal locations are Bukit Bintang, Masjid India and KL Central locations offering hundreds of budget hotels and 1-2 star hotels.
If you want to explore local food, nightlife and shopping Bukit Bintang is an ideal location.
Other popular areas are Bangsar and Jalan Ampang, which have more uptown serviced apartments like accommodation. Bangsar and Damansara is the heart of the ex-pat community, therefore, most services cater to western clientele.
Best Places to Eat in Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Bintang area offers a wide variety of street-side cafes and traditional food outlets. Jalan Alor is a must-visit to taste the seafood flavours from Southern Thailand and Chinese Malay community.
International Food Chains in Pavilion KL
Changkat Walk is around the corner which is the centre of nightclubs, bars and bistros, offering a mix of local and continental dishes. Local food is very cheap, for instance, an average meal is less than 10RM. A cup of tea Tarek and Roti Telur (egg paratha) would cost around 4RM.
Food Court in Midcity Mall near Bangsar
Local restaurants are scattered across the city. Most popular local chains are Pelita and NM curry house where you can taste most Malay dishes. The main branch of Pelita is located in Jalan Ampang opposite of Chorus Hotel.
Other popular food styles are Chinese, Thai and Nonya food. Our recommended Nonya food restaurants is Precious Old China restaurant in KL Central Market (Pasar Senai). Average meal per person if you order two mains would cost around 50RM.
Nirwana Maju a popular cheap eatout in Bangsar
Other must-try restaurants include Bijan $$(in Bukit Bintang), Opium$$$, Whisky Bar$$$, Manja Old Malaya etc, Sri Nirwana Maju Restaurant $ serving food on Banana Leaf. Sky Bar in Traders Hotel Shangrila also gets great reviews for ambience. Pappa Rich is another very popular Malay Chain with branches across the world.
MUST DO EXPERIENCES IN KUALA LUMPUR?
Massage and Spa Treatment
Bukit Bintang is popular for the number of massage parlours. You must try one hour massage costing around 50RM. KL is mostly hot and humid and day of outing or shopping will drain you. A foot massage at the end of the day is a great way to revitalize your senses. There are plenty of nice Spas in the city. All major hotels have spas and massage services.
Zen Remedial & Holistic Massage in Bukit Bintang
Tropical Fruit in Malaysia
Malaysia is a tropical country with a wide variety of tropical fruit which is unique to the region. Do try mangosteen, jack fruit, kiwi fruit, red papaya, lychees and king of fruit Durian which attracts large crowds for Singapore in Durian Season.
Retail Therapy in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a shopping Paradise offering all international brands in clothing and fashion. KLCC Suria is the top-end shopping mall located adjacent to Petronas Twin Tours. Bukit Bintang is home to Pavilion, Sephora, Fahrenheit, Plaza Lo-Yat, Lot 10 and Sungei Wang Shopping Centers catering to all price ranges. Malaysia enjoying a warmer climate throughout the year offers a great variety of summer clothing both for men and ladies.
Sungei Wang Mall form mid-range shopping, Bukit Bintang
Low Yat Plaza for electronics in Bukit Bintang
Berjaya Time Square is home to an indoor theme park and thousands of shops with local and foreign brands. There is a very nice food court on the ground floor offering a wide mix of Malay food.
Mid-city Mall located near Bangsar is one of my favourites. There are a number of very nice Malaysia fusion and traditional restaurants in the food court area.
Central Market (Pasar Sanai) is one of my favourite locations to explore for souvenirs, batik, local art, traditional crafts and gifts. This market is set up in the 1880s is located across from Petaling Street. Kasturi Walk is located adjacent to the markets. This area is great to explore on foot as some of the oldest buildings in the city are located very close to Central Market.
Central Market (Pasar Sanai) in Kuala Lumpur
Royal Selangor is a premier Malaysia Brands for filigree silver products.
Most shopping centres offer tourist cards at the reception where you can claim 10% off on the shopping by showing your passport. Make sure to keep the receipts to claim any GST while boarding the plane on your way back.
Carry your airline ticket boarding pass as some destination and theme parks offer discounts for people travelling on partner airlines. People travelling with Malindo are eligible for a discount at Sunway Resort.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN KL
Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur KL for the first-timers include Petronas Towers, Meara KL, Bukit Bintang, KLCC Aquarium, KL Bird Park, Petaling Street and Pasar Sanai. These locations are landmarks in the city and give an interesting insight into heritage as well as the modern architecture of the city.
Most Booked tours in KL includes:
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT WHEN STAYING IN KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur is home to many ethnicities and cultures. Therefore, you will find a number of beautiful mosques, shrines and temples across the city. Batu Caves is a popular Hindu temple and place of worship which lies on the way to Genting Highlands. Little India is the heart of the Indian population and you can find a number of the south and north Indian restaurants. Sri Maha Mariamman Temple and Choo Sing Tong Temples are very popular amongst Hindu and Chinese Visitors.
Masjid India, Masjid Jamek, Masjid Negara and Masjid Asy Syakirin are must visit if you like to explore Islamic architecture mosques in KL.
DAY EXCURSIONS IN KUALA LUMPUR
Day tours can be organized by your hotels or any tour booking company in the city. Most popular tours around Kuala Lumpur include:
VISIT GENTING HIGHLANDS
Genting is a beautiful location perched in the hills above Kuala Lumpur with several world-class casinos, theme parks and resorts. Genting is an ideal location for couples, families and solo travellers.
A bus from KL central costs around 10RM return ticket to the bus terminal near Genting where you can catch a cable car to Awana Resort. Recent re-development includes a massive shopping centre with world-class fashion outlets.
The lobby of First World Hotel, Genting Highlands
First world hotel in Genting has more than 6000 room making it the biggest hotel in the world. Midweek rates are very low and you can get a room as low as $20/night. Weekend rates are around $100/night.
Food Court in the Shopping Center in Awana Genting Highlands
The outdoor theme park is under construction which will be completed by early 2019.
Shopping Mall at Awana Chairlift
FRASER HILL & BUKIT TINNGI
Fraser Hill is a popular hill destination and is a great spot for a day trips. Fraser hill has a number of walking tracks, lake and nice hotels. Bukit Tinggi is a French Style theme village with Tropicale Colmar Resort. It is a great spot for a relaxed weekend where you can enjoy golf and outdoor activities. Do visit the Japanese Garden near Bukit Tinggi. Japanese Tea Ceremony is an interesting experience in the Japanese Garden.
French Styled Village Bukit Tinggi - Tropicale Colmar Resort
A DAY TRIP TO MELAKA
Melaka is a UNESCO heritage protected destination with beautiful buildings from the Dutch and Portuguese occupation in the last century. Melaka offers a number of resort type accommodation with outdoor activities.
Try Nonya food at Nancy’s Kitchen in Jonker Walk or stop for a cool tropical drink at Geographer Café. Jonker walk is popular for souvenirs and antique shops as well as interesting street food. I visited Melaka for the first time in 2004.
Hard Rock Cafe at Jonker Walk Melaka
There is a lot of development in the last ten years with a number of new 5 star hotels and shopping malls. Eye of Melaka is not there anymore, however, observation towers rotating at 360 degrees provide a birds-eye view of this beautiful city. Take a ride in a richly decorated rickshaw or explore street markets on the weekends.
Antique & Souvenir Shop in Jonker Walk Melaka
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