A cultural melting pot with some of the world’s cheapest 5-star hotels, great shopping opportunities, tasty Malay food, etc. This dynamic city has some interesting stuff to offer. Now, to manage expectations, this city is usually seen as travelers as one of the least interesting capitals in East Asia. But… you should still get there to get see for yourself and make your opinion. It’s very easy to reach from Singapore.
Connections from Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur can be your final destination but also a transit point to reach pretty much any place in Malaysia. What about Malacca, Langkawi, Penang on the west coast or Pulau Sibu, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Rawa, Teman Negara, Perhentians Islands on the East coast.
You can reach Kuala Lumpur by road or by air.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore by plane
Step 1. Fly from Singapore Changi Airport to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Getting there: Tiger Airways: 8:30 PM – 9:35 PM (1h05 flight)
Coming back: Tiger Airways: 11:20 PM – 00:25 AM (1h05 flight)
Return ticket from SGD 100
This is just an example as many companies operate this route (Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Jetstar…), with flights almost every hour all companies considered.
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares. Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight.
Step 2. From Kuala Lumpur Airport to your hotel
The airport is about 70km South from the city (it is FAR from the city center). Check the terminal for the way back as the 2 terminals are 20km away from each other.
- Taxi: Approx RM 80 + toll fees + airport taxes – 1h drive approx to get to the City Center
- Train: KLIA EkspresTrains – Direct to KL Sentral – RM 35/ pax – 30 min ride – departure every 20 min from 5AM to 1AM
- Bus: Airport Coach and Star Shuttles run from the Airport to KL Sentral or Kota Raya near Chinatown – approx RM 10 / pax – 1h drive.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore by the road
You have 2 options:
Option A: Drive your own car (or rent one) – 360 km and 4h30 drive if there is no traffic at the border. To rent a car check out Avis Singapore, you can rent it from the city centre on Havelock Road & Marina Square Mall). It will cost you from (SGD 300) for a 2-day rental. You’ll be driving on a highway (in good condition) most of the way. Check the traffic webcam at the border on the Onemotoring website. Going to Kuala Lumpur, using the Tuas checkpoint can be a good option as there is usually less traffic.
Option B: Take a direct bus. Several companies provide this service: StarMart Express, Golden Coach Express, StarQistna Express, etc. Travel time: 6h drive – booking: www.busonlineticket.com – from SGD 30 / pax depending on the company and the time – frequent departure from 6:45 AM to 11:45 PM to go to Kuala Lumpur and from 8:30 AM to 11:30 PM to come back to Singapore.
Note that getting through immigration and customs at the border can significantly delay your journey. Take a look at About Malaysia tab above.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
The best is to stay in the Golden Triangle as it is central, near to food courts & malls. Moreover it is less noisy at night than Chinatown. There you can find guesthouses, hotels and boutique hotels. Use the below Agoda box and select “Golden Triangle” or “Chinatown” hotel area on their website
or, if you prefer, use
Book now to get the best rates!
To see & to do in Kuala Lumpur
KL has few outstanding buildings besides the Petronas towers, which are amazingly modern. But there is an interesting mix of colonial architecture, brand new buildings and small traditional temples and mosques.
Lively district, where you can easily walk and feel the mix of culture, enjoy a meal in a Chinese stall.
Then have a walk to Merdeka & Sultan Abdul Samad Building. These states buildings, located on Independence Square (Merdeka Square), have a nice colonial style. The area is closed to traffic during weekends. From this place, you can enjoy the most aesthetic buildings, dating from the British times.
Then cast a glance at the Heritage Old Station, a Victorian style building.
Petronas towers & Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is KL’s version of the Central Business District (CBD) located north-east of the old city centre/ Chinatown.
The Petronas towers are the symbol of modernity of Malaysia – they have been the highest towers worldwide for a long time. You can go to the Sky bridge and the observation deck. Visiting Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9AM to 9PM (Closed during lunch time on Friday). Entrance fees: RM 80 / adult & RM 30 / child. Note: Issuing of tickets starts from 8.30am (tickets are limited and issued on a first come, first served basis).
In the south of the Golden Triangle you can have a look at the Berjaya Times Square mall – what is different there from malls you’ve already seen? Well, there is an indoor roller coaster!
Masjid Jamek Mosque
The Masjid Jamek Mosque also called the “Friday Mosque” is surrounded by the city skyscrapers & a palm trees garden. The architecture is inspired by Indian mosques with a nice set of domes and minarets. Visiting Hours: Daily from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Free admission. Dress properly. A dress will be provided to both men & women and a headscarf to women. Avoid visits on Fridays as it is crowded with prayers (unless you want to feel the atmosphere).
Menara KL Towers
The Menara KL towers are a good alternative if you did not manage to get ticket to visit the Petronas Towers. From the round observation deck – the highest view point as it is located on the top of a hill – you have one the best views over Kuala Lumpur. Visiting Hours: Daily from 9AM to 10PM. Entrance fees: RM 47 / adult & RM 27 / child. Audio-guides are available so you won’t miss anything and get a better understanding of everything you see – 45min tour.
Experience the ambience of lush green tropical rainforest once you step into the free-flight walk-in aviary. If you have never been to a birds park you will be quite mesmerized to walk next to Indian Blue Peacock, Pink Flamingo, etc. Don’t forget to have a look at the activities schedules, so you won’t miss the Eagles show, etc. It’s close to KL Sentral. Take a taxi with meter to get there. Visiting Hours: Daily from 9AM to 6PM. Entrance fees: RM 48 / adult & RM 38 / child.
Batu Cave (Hindu temple) & the Dark Caves
Drive 15 km north of the city, climb 272 steps and you will arrive to the huge limestone caves being a Hindu pilgrimage shrine. You will Hindu worshipers (and quite a few tourists). Visiting Hours: Daily from early morning to 9PM. Free Admission.
On the way back from the temple, few steps down there is a way on the right to the Dark Caves. You’ll experience a journey through a cave full of karst formations and curious living organisms. If you have time on hands only. Visiting Hours: Daily (except Monday) from 10AM to 5PM. Entrance fees: RM 35 / adult & RM 28 / child. Guided tour only – 2km walk – approx 30min.
More info to prepare your trip
What to pack for Kuala Lumpur
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Wifi is available in most hotels and restaurants
- Language: Bahasa Malaysia
- Time zone: Kuala Lumpur GMT +8 hours, no time difference between Malaysia and Singapore
- Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
- Phone: + 60
- Electricity: 220V 50 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
A lot of nationalities are exempt of visa to enter Malaysia. You can check on the Malaysia Immigration website. If you are arriving by:
- By air: On busy weekends, expect to wait for quite a while at the immigration counter
- By land: If you are driving from Singapore remember to have your fuel tank full to 3/4 when crossing the border. Buy a Touch & Go card (to pay for taxes, tolls and fees) and remember to take it with you when going to Malaysia. More details on the card on the Touch and Go website.
National Public Holidays in Malaysia
|Wednesday||January 01||New Years Day||All regions except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Terengganu|
|Tuesday||January 14||Mawlid||Birthday of Prophet Muhammad|
|Tuesday||January 14||Birthday of The Sultan of Negeri Sembilan||Negeri Sembilan only. Always celebrated on 14 January|
|Friday||January 17||Thaipusam||Hindu festival. Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Selangor only|
|Sunday||January 19||Sultan of Kedahs Birthday||Kedah only. Always celebrated on 19 January|
|Friday||January 31||Chinese New Year||1st day of 1st lunar month|
|Saturday||February 01||Chinese New Year||2nd day of 1st lunar month|
|Monday||February 03||Federal Territory Day (observed)||Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Putrajaya only. Anniversary of the formation of the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory in 1974|
|Tuesday||March 04||Anniversary of Installation of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu only. Always celebrated on 4 March|
|Tuesday||April 15||Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City||Malacca only. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7 July 2008|
|Friday||April 18||Good Friday||Friday before Easter Sunday. Sabah, Sarawak only|
|Saturday||April 26||Birthday of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu only. Always celebrated on 26 April|
|Thursday||May 01||Labour Day||International Workers Day|
|Wednesday||May 07||The Sultan of Pahang Hol||Pahang only. Marks the death of a state Sultan|
|Sunday||May 11||Mothers Day||2nd Sunday in May. Not a public holiday.|
|Tuesday||May 13||Wesak Day||Birth of Buddha. Observed on the day of the full moon in May|
|Saturday||May 17||Birthday of the Raja of Perlis||Perlis only. Always celebrated on 17 May|
|Tuesday||May 27||Isra and Miraj||Kedah, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan only|
|Thursday||May 29||Public Holiday||Perak only. Mark the passing of the Sultan of Perak|
|Friday||May 30||Harvest Festival||Sabah and Labuan only|
|Saturday||May 31||Harvest Festival||Sabah and Labuan only|
|Sunday||June 01||Harvest Festival||Sarawak only|
|Monday||June 02||Harvest Festival||Sarawak only|
|Saturday||June 07||Birthday of SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong||Kings Birthday. 1st Saturday in June|
|Sunday||June 29||Beginning of Ramadan||Johor, Kedah and Johor, Kedah, Malacca only|
|Monday||July 07||Georgetown Heritage Day||Penang only. Georgetown was given Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2009|
|Saturday||July 12||Birthday of the Governor of Penang||Penang only. 2nd Saturday in July|
|Tuesday||July 15||Nuzul Quran||All regions except Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak|
|Monday||July 28||Hari Raya Aidilfitri||Eid Al-Fitr|
|Tuesday||July 29||Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||Second day of holiday for Eid Al-Fitr|
|Sunday||August 31||National Day||Independence Day|
|Saturday||September 13||Birthday of the Governor of Sarawak||Sarawak only|
|Tuesday||September 16||Malaysia Day||Became a Federal Holiday in 2010|
|Thursday||September 25||State Holiday||Kelantan only. Allow voting in by-election|
|Saturday||October 04||Birthday of the Governor of Sabah||Sabah only. 1st Saturday in October|
|Sunday||October 05||Hari Raya Haji||Festival of Sacrifice|
|Monday||October 06||Hari Raya Haji Holiday||Holiday in lieu. Second day of Festival of Sacrifice|
|Friday||October 10||Malacca Governors Birthday||Malacca only.|
|Wednesday||October 22||Diwali||The festival of lights. Except Labuan, Sarawak|
|Friday||October 24||Birthday of The Sultan of Pahang||Pahang only. Always celebrated on 24 October|
|Saturday||October 25||Awal Muharram||Islamic New Year|
|Sunday||October 26||Awal Muharram (in lieu)||Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu only.|
|Monday||November 03||Public Holiday||Pahang only. Marks football team winning the Malaysia Cup final|
|Tuesday||November 11||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan||Kelantan only. Always celebrated on 11 November|
|Wednesday||November 12||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan||Kelantan only. Always celebrated on 11 November|
|Saturday||November 22||Birthday of the Sultan of Johor||Johor only. Always celebrated on 22 November|
|Thursday||November 27||Birthday of the Sultan of Perak||Perak only. Always celebrated on 27 November|
|Saturday||November 29||The Sultan of Johor Hol||Johor only. Marks the death of a state Sultan|
|Thursday||December 11||Birthday of The Sultan of Selangor||Selangor only. Always celebrated on 11 December|
|Thursday||December 25||Christmas Holiday||Internationally observed Christian holiday|
* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. When a public holidays falls on a Sunday, the following day will be Public Holiday. There might be some special public holidays in some states. Please refer to this website.