GETTING AROUND WITHIN KUALA LUMPUR
The transportation is KL is just great. The entire city can be explored by taxi, bus, train and metro. However, the main junctions in KL city center are often extremely crowded (usually from 8am to 9am and from 6.30pm to 8pm). Apart from that you can use public transportation to travel from KL to other cities in Malaysia. You can find a summary of the different ways to get to your destination below. For that matter, when you are staying in the centre of the city, most attractions can be reached by foot. Kuala Lumpur has a modern light rail network that reaches from north to south and east to west (though unfortunately not all stations are connected). Traveling by Kuala Lumpur’s metro is considered comfortable and will provide you the utmost mobility.
RapidKL, KTM Komuter or Monorail
Using the metro is a very popular way of transport in Kuala Lumpur. At each LRT station (Light Rail Transit) there are big maps that tell you all the destinations of the metro in and around the city. You can also get a map at the small counter at each station. Tickets can be bought at the machines or at the counter. You can also buy a daily pass and other special tickets, like the Touch ‘N Go prepaid card that you can swipe when you go through the lrt gate. Fare between two connecting stations usually is RM1.20. There are three LRT lines in Kuala Lumpur. They are RapidKL, KTM Komuter and KL Monorail. Though stations are not always connected; together they do offer the possibility to travel through the whole city. RapidKL and KTM Komuter connect the city center with all the suburbs; while the KL Monorail runs straight through the city center. Tourists will discover that using the KL Monorail is a cheap, easy and fun way to travel through Kuala Lumpur. Though a train arrives at a KL Monorail station every 3 to 4 minutes; do try to avoid the Monorail during rush hour; as many locals use the Monorail to commute between home and work daily. The Monorail transports over 5000 people per hour on a regular weekday. You can use the metro daily between 6 am and 12pm. Tip: Always be weary of pickpockets; as they often prey on unsuspecting tourists.
KL Sentral is the ‘central hub’ for all LRT operators, the trains to KLIA (International Airport) and the trains to other parts within or outside Malaysia (neighboring countries like Singapore and Thailand). Currently a new huge shopping mall is built right in front of KL Sentral. Because of this the quickest route to get from the central train station to the KL Sentral Monorail Station has been blocked. Now you have to walk around the construction site which will take you around 10 minutes.
Bus in Kuala Lumpur
Buses and taxis often go to locations where you can’t get to as easy by metro. Busses go frequently and they depart from almost every LRT station. Do not forget to pay when you enter the bus, this usually costs only a few cents (at most a few RM). You can pay the driver in order to get a ticket, but a machine might be easier. When you do not know the exact price you could ask the driver. Do not try to pay with RM50/RM100 notes, for the driver’s sake. Even though it may not be a lot of money to you, it sure is for most of Kuala Lumpur’s habitants, so try to have enough small change with you. The biggest public bus operator in Kuala Lumpur is RapidKL. Though they did improve over the years; overall service is still often poor. This especially applies to tourists considering taking the bus as ‘fun’ alternative to other forms of transport within Kuala Lumpur. Often there are no signs, no routes, no maps and no current time tables. Waiting for the next bus could take 10 minutes, or 2 hours. As there is no up to date bus information available you cannot find out which bus to take to certain locations. We once spend 2 hours waiting for a bus that eventually never came as they decommissioned that particular route 6 months ago (but forgot to publish).
Taxi in Kuala Lumpur
The easiest (but often also the most expensive) way to travel within Kuala Lumpur is by taxi. Taxis are almost always available at every corner in the city center. The only downside is that some taxi drivers do not want to turn on the meter if he notices that he is dealing with tourists (though locals also often complain). There are several ways to deal with this: You can just boldly get in a cab, and by this give notice that you are not prepared to negotiate the price, this way you force him to turn the meter on. If he, however, does not turn on the meter right away you will have to exit the taxi on your turn. You can also ask the driver to turn on the meter as soon as you get into a taxi. If he refuses you can just walk to the next taxi. Another option would be to directly negotiate about the price, as soon as you enter. However, when doing this, be prepared to overpay, for a fixed price is always higher than the usual fare price. On the other hand, as a tourist in a foreign city, you will not notice when the driver takes a detour or something alike (so he could easily detour when on the meter to earn more). Regular taxi fares for trips within the city center usually never surpass RM15 on the meter. Trips to places outside of the city center usually cost around RM20/RM25 max. After midnight there is a surcharge of 50% on the regular fare (you’ll notice that taxi drivers suddenly don’t mind using their meters anymore).
It is all about supply and demand, and usually you will have to overpay, or search for another taxi. Especially at places where there are fewer taxis then the amount of people that are waiting for a taxi, you will notice that drivers refuse to turn on their meter. For instance when you go to Batu Caves by taxi, be prepared to pay a higher price to get back than what you paid to get there. Also during rainfall when more people than usual rely on a taxi; taxi drivers will not use their meters if they can help it. Another example is around closing time at shopping malls. As everybody needs a taxi at that time; drivers will wait as long as it takes to find a ride on a fixed (higher) price. Around Petronas Twin Towers this practice is done every night by almost all taxi drivers. We were quoted RM40 once for a trip from the Petronas Twin Towers to our former place in Bukit Bintang (normal fare would be around RM5).
However, why we like transportation by taxi is because of the fact that even with a fixed price this form of transport is pretty affordable and often a taxi saves you the trouble of having to walk from LRT of bus stations to your destination. With a taxi you will always arrive in front of the doorstep. Another great thing about taking a taxi is the diversity of the drivers. For instance, when you are driven by a Chinese driver; the taxi is filled by the odor of his incenses. If your driver is Indian he could be singing along to the folksongs of his native country. While you can be talking about politics with your driver in the morning, about soccer with the next one, or about his hatred of other cultures with a subsequent one (the latter happens to us on a regular basis). Tip: Tell the taxi driver to ‘flag down’ to get him to use the meter.
Calling a taxi yourself in Kuala Lumpur
If you have a local SIM card you can call a taxi yourself. Make sure you know your own number as they will often call you back to let you know if they found a taxi. You also need to be able to explain where you are exactly; so they know to which location they need to send the taxi. Below some taxi operators:
- Comfort Cabs: +60-3-62531313
- Sunlight Taxi: +60-3-90575757
- Public Cab: +603 62592020
- Uptown Ace: +603 92832333
- Unicablink: +1300 88 0303