The public transport system in KL is extensive and you have many options for navigating the city. It may all look a bit confusing at first, but we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll share everything we know about getting around Kuala Lumpur for tourists and the best ways to do so.
What do we cover in this guide?
Getting around Kuala Lumpur – A Full guide for using public transport in KL
Kuala Lumpur is a thriving metropolis with great infrastructure. You might be surprised to find out that the city has a great public transport network. Trust us when we say that getting around Kuala Lumpur is a piece of cake.
Afterall, KL is home to over 7 million people…and a whole load of tourists. That’s a lot of people who need to get to a lot of places. Between the locals, commuting to work and the tourists who simply want to enjoy the city, you better believe that an efficient transport system is necessary to keep the city ticking.
How to get around Kuala Lumpur for tourists
KL is a very modern, Southeast Asian city. Honestly, the city has many aspects that rival western cities for comfort and convenience. The transport network is one of them.
The public transport network in KL is vast, cheap, and easy to use. The network is made up of light (LRT) and mass (MRT) rail transit lines, as well as the KL Monorail, KTM Komuter line, and Express rail line (ERL).
It might all look a little confusing, but we’re here to help. So, let’s discuss each of the transit options down below.
KTM Komuter – Best for getting to & from the Batu Caves
The KTM Komuter is Kuala Lumpur’s main train/subway network. The network has two lines that run from Tanjung Malim to Port Klang and from Gemas to Batu Caves.
To put it simply, these two lines are more convenient for locals rather than tourists looking to get around KL. Unless you know something we don’t, you likely won’t use this line other than for getting to and from the Batu Caves.
You can take the KTM line from KL Sentral straight to the Batu caves. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs between RM2 to RM3.
MRT (Mass rail transit) – Best for exploring the heart of KL
The MRT line runs from Sungai Buloh to Kajang and is arguably the best, rail-based, way to get around Kuala Lumpur for tourists.
You probably aren’t interested in visiting either of the end stations. However, the MRT line runs right through the heart of KL with stops at the national museum of Malaysia (Museum Negara), Central Market (Pasar Seni), Merdeka Square and Bukit Bintang.
The fare between Museum Negara and Bukit Bintang (the two endpoints that you’ll most likely visit) costs just RM 1.80, which is extremely cheap!
LRT (Light rail transit) – The best way to get to the Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur’s light rail transit network has 3 lines. These are the Ampang Line (route 3), Sri Petaling Line (route 4) and Kelana Jaya Line (route 5).
The Ampang line (route 3) and Sri Petaling Line (route 4) don’t have stations at any popular attractions. So, these will largely be unused by tourists.
The LRT Kelana Jaya (route 5) line does, however, run from KL Sentral to Central Market (Pasar Seni), Masjid Jamek and onwards to KLCC (The Petronas Twin Towers).
The KLCC LRT station is the only public transport station in the area, meaning that the Kelana Jaya line is the perfect way to get to the Petronas Towers.
The fare from KL Sentral to KLCC (Petronas Towers) is just RM 2.40!
KL Monorail line – Best for getting to KL Eco Forest
The KL monorail line is the smallest line of them all and, for tourists, not all that convenient.
There are just 11 stops on the monorail line and only two of these, Air-Asia Bukit Bintang and Bukit Nanas (for reaching the KL Eco Forest) might be of interest to you.
Getting from KL Sentral to Bukit Nanas on the monorail line costs just RM 3.10!
ERL (Express rail link) – Best for getting to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The express rail link is a slightly confusing one. This is because it technically has two routes (6 and 7) that actually operate on the same tracks, with the same starting and endpoints.
Route 6 is the ‘KLIA Express line’ whereas route 7 is the ‘KLIA Transit line’ and they both cost the same to use.
So, what’s the difference? Well, the only difference is that the KLIA Express (route 6) is a direct link between KL Sentral and the airport. The KLIA Transit (route 7) on the other hand, links KL Sentral to KLIA but also stops at all of the stations in between.
Obviously, as it has no stops, the KLIA Express line is the better (faster) option for tourists who just need to get to KLIA or KLIA 2.
Getting from KL Sentral to the airport, on either line, costs RM55.
Buying Tickets and Passes for public transport in Kuala Lumpur
Now that you know everything you need to get around Kuala Lumpur, let’s talk about how you can pay for your rides.
Of course, there is always the option to pay in cash. This requires turning up to the station and purchasing a single fare ticket from the automated ticketing machines or ticket desks. You will need to pay the exact fare between the two stations you wish to travel.
This is great if you only plan to travel once or twice. But, if you want to use the transit lines regularly, this can quickly get time-consuming. Especially as lines at the machines are common.
Luckily there is a better way…
The KL Touch ‘n Go Card
Kuala Lumpur’s touch and go card is a stored-value card you can use to pay for public transport.
The empty card itself costs RM10 and then you’ll need to add some cash in order to pay for your journeys.
The Touch ‘n Go card is great, as you can simply tap in and out of stations as you travel. The fare will be calculated and automatically withdrawn from your card. Much quicker! It can be used on all of the lines we discussed above.
Good to know:
The Touch n’ Go card can also be used to pay for RapidKL buses and used as payment at a number of the city’s eateries and convenience stores.
NEW: The enhanced KL travel pass!
We once criticised KL for not having a more tourist-friendly travel pass. The kind that other cities, such as Singapore, do have. That was before the ‘enhanced KL travel pass’.
This new option costs just RM70 and has great benefits. It gives you one ride on the KLIA Express (which usually costs RM55 alone) and 2-days of unlimited riding on the LRT, MRT and KL monorail lines!
Good to know:
Once your 2 days of unlimited riding has expired, the card can be used as a regular Touch ‘n Go card. This means that you can add more cash and carry on travelling if you wish to do so!
Where can you buy the Enhanced KL Travel Pass?
Ticket Counters at:
- KLIA Platform, Level 1
- KLIA & KLIA2 International Baggage Reclaim Hall
- [email protected], Level 2
- Departure Hall, Level 1, KL Sentral
For more information, take a look at the links below:
More great ways to get around Kuala Lumpur for tourists
The rail transit network is vast and good enough to see you through your trip to KL. However, there are other great ways to get around the city which you may find to be cheaper and/or more convenient.
Go KL City Bus – The COMPLETELY FREE Kuala Lumpur Hop on hop off bus!
Arguably the best way to get around all of the main tourist sites in KL. This is the city’s answer to the popular ‘hop on hop off’ bus system. However, KL does it differently, as it’s completely free to use. Talk about encouraging tourism, eh?
There are four lines that, all in all, have stops at tourist hot spots like KLCC (The Petronas Towers), Bukit Bintang, Museum Negara, Chinatown and many more.
The buses are comfortable, air-conditioned and offer free wifi! What’s not to like?
Every 5 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during non-peak hours.
Monday – Thursday: 6:00 – 23:00,
Friday – Saturday: 6:00 – 1:00,
Sunday: 7:00 – 23:00
Taxis and E-Taxis – Best for getting door to door in KL
Of course, just like in every other city around the world, Taxis are on offer to ship you around.
There are local taxis, however, they’re notorious for not using their meter and ripping off tourists and locals alike. We’d advise against using them.
The Big Blue Taxi company can be hailed online or ordered at a counter by some of the city’s tourist hotspots. However, we’ve found them to be a complete rip-off and approaching western prices.
The other, and best option, is to order a taxi using Grab. We’ve found them to be the most reliable and cheapest, with fares up to 50% cheaper than ‘Big Blue’.
Grab fares in and around the city centre vary between RM5 – RM15. With most around the RM10 region. We have taken Grab from the city centre to the Batu Caves for just RM20 and all the way to the airport for RM65.
*Be aware that during peak hours or when it’s raining heavily, online taxi fares will usually experience a ‘surge’ surcharge.
Walking – Best if you’re looking to stay active!
One thing we love about Kuala Lumpur in comparison to other Southeast Asian cities is that walking is a feasible option. The most central areas of the city have good pedestrian walkways and many traffic lights, which cars & motorbikes actually (90% of the time) pay attention to.
If you like being active, travelling at a slower pace and seeing more along the way, then walking might be the best option for getting around Kuala Lumpur for you.
Just be warned that the city gets very hot, so always bring water. On the contrary, heavy downpours occur almost daily (usually in the late afternoon), so bring an umbrella or have a back-up plan.
How long does it take to walk around KL?
You can expect to walk from Bukit Bintang to KLCC (Petronas Towers) in approximately 20 minutes.
Getting from Bukit Bintang to Central Market and Chinatown will take around 25 minutes.
Did we answer all your questions for getting around Kuala Lumpur?
By now, we hope that you have all the knowledge you need to travel around KL with ease. Whether you are using the vast public transport system, the taxis or on foot, we hope we’ve given you everything you need to know.
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? We’d love to know if you found our information useful, or if you think we missed anything. In any case, we’d love to hear from you, so, don’t hesitate to drop a comment down below!!
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