Most visitors arriving from abroad will touch down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Situated 50 kms southwest of the city centre in the Sepang district, there are actually two separate terminals of KLIA and the nearby Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). The latter has been recently expanded and handles traffic from budget airlines such as Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways.
Handling more than 25 million passengers ever year, Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the 13th busiest in the world and a major transport hub in Asia. There are many restaurants, bars and shops open 24-hours-a-day including major international brands such as McDonalds and Starbucks.
Generally the cheapest way of getting to and from KLIA and LCCT is by airport bus which costs around RM10 and takes around 90 minutes. The train is the fastest at under half-an-hour but costs RM35, but is best if travelling alone. However, for groups of two or more then a taxi costing around RM75 usually works out better value for its door-to-door service.
The two terminals are around 20kms away from each other by road but an official transfer bus ferries passengers between the two for RM1.50. This can be caught directly outside the LCCT Terminal building or alternatively at the Main Terminal bus depot on the ground floor of the car park C. Beware of touts offering taxis between the terminals as they frequently charge up to RM90 for the short trip.
Getting to town and back
Train from KL Airport
The KLIA Ekspres train links the main terminal with KL Sentral in the heart of KL in just under half-an-hour with at least three services an hour from 05:00 to midnight. Tickets cost RM35 one way. Passengers flying out with Emirates, Malaysia, Cathay Pacific or Royal Brunei can check in their luggage before boarding the train at KL Sentral station.
The KLIA Transit follows the same route and cost as the Ekspres though takes around five minutes longer and stops at three extra stations – Salak Tinggi, Putrajaya and Bandar Tasik Selatan. Alternatively, KTM Komuter trains run to Nilai station where a connecting bus can be caught to KLIA. The whole journey takes two-three hours but only costs about RM8.50. There is no train connection for LCCT so passengers using this terminal should take a bus or taxi.
Bus from KL Airport
There are many different bus companies plying the route between Kuala Lumpur and the terminals with journeys taking around 90 minutes. Services such as Airport Coach leave from bays outside the terminal buildings and arrive at the small bus depot directly under KL Sentral station.
This costs RM10 each way (RM18 return) and services run to town from 06:30-00:30. The Air Asia-run SkyBus has services every 30 minutes from KL Sentral direct to the LCCT for RM9 each way. Star Shuttle have coaches running on the hour all through the day and night from Puduraya bus terminal, a short walk from Chinatown.
These cost RM12 although it is wise to book in advance as they sometimes do not run every service if only a few passengers turn up. Make sure your chosen bus is going directly to the terminal, they should have either KLIA or LCCT on the front.
Taxi from KL Airport
Airport taxis and limousines are available as you exit customs and operate set fares to different parts of the Kuala Lumpur area. Pay at the counter and collect a receipt to be handed to your driver. Journeys to the city centre cost around RM75 and so are cheaper than the train and onward taxi for two or more people. Limousines cost an extra RM25 but the marginal extra comfort is generally not worth the expense.
You will undoubtedly be approached by taxi touts as you exit the arrivals hall offering to take you to town, but these are invariably more expensive than the official vehicles. They will also not be insured or licensed by the authorities so there will be very little opportunity for recourse should something untoward occur.
Often disingenuous touts will attempt to persuade travellers that the train has finished for the day or that the monorail has been closed. Do not believe what they say until you have checked the facts for yourself.
When attempting to get to the airport from the city centre it can be frustratingly difficult to persuade taxis to turn on their meter and try to arrange a fixed fare beforehand. As a general rule you should aim to pay around RM90 for the journey.