Never heard of Kuala Lumpur? Guess that means you’ve got some exploring to do! A Kuala Lumpur layover is the perfect excuse to get to know Malaysia’s capital city. Epic skyline views and cultural attractions are waiting just outside the terminal, so you better get moving!
Arriving in town
Got your flights to Kuala Lumpur booked? You can expect to fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), which is roughly 34 miles south of the city center. For a cheap and hassle-free way of getting around, ride the KLIA Ekspres into the city, or climb aboard one of the buses, such as Star Shuttles or Express Coach. You can always hail a cab or rent a car in Kuala Lumpur, too. The city is notorious for traffic jams though, so make sure you calculate how much time you’ll need if you brave the six-lane highways.
Layover in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur showcases cutting-edge skyscrapers and innovative shopping malls, but tucked between the contemporary elements are glimpses of the city’s past. Old temples, mosques, and colonial buildings are scattered around Kuala Lumpur, while the locals maintain a deep dedication to their cultural and religious roots.
Once you arrive in the city, search the skyline for the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin skyscrapers on the globe. Marvel at them from afar, or test your fear of heights at the Observation Deck on the 86th floor. You can also wander across the landmark’s Skybridge, it connects the two towers, and is considered the tallest double-decker bridge in the world.
If you’d rather take retail therapy over an adrenaline rush, head to the foot of the towers and shop around Suria KLCC. One of the largest malls in Malaysia, this shopping center offers six stories of retail bliss. The nearby Central Market is another gem for finding local goods and crafts. Saunter through the colorful stalls and cultural performances—we just hope you brought a big enough carry-on bag for all your souvenirs.
Still have hours before your connecting flight takes off? Embark on one of the many day trips from Kuala Lumpur, such as Selangor, home of the Batu Caves. Zip just 9 miles north of Kuala Lumpur to discover these three limestone caves that house temples and Hindu shrines. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by a massive statue of the Hindu god, Murugan, and a 272-step staircase that leads to the Temple Cave. While you’re exploring, look up and spot rock climbers scaling the crags, and keep an eye out for the resident macaques. This little monkeys may look cute and furry, but beware, they’re known for nipping children and stealing food!
Viewfinder Tip: To arrive at the Batu Caves, catch the KTM Komuter train from the KL Sentral station.
We know it’s tricky to limit your adventure to just a few hours, so if you “accidentally” miss your connecting flight, don’t worry, Kuala Lumpur hotels have your back. Whether your layover lasts only a couple or hours or extends over a number of days, you have plenty of time to make your mark on this vibrant city.
What are other quintessential attractions in Kuala Lumpur?