Since low-cost carrier Air Asia began flying to Perth, we have come to know Kuala Lumpur (and its Low Cost Carrier Terminal) very well. Travelling with the airline has opened up our ability to travel throughout Asia on a budget and to enjoy some great stopovers in Malaysia.
The itinerary you will find hereis one we did in 2010 and includes Penang, Langkawi and Melaka. But we love any excuse for a stopover in KL, and have been back many times since, so have updated our KL itinerary to let you know of our favourite spots.
Malaysia is great value. We don’t often stay in five star hotels, but always find there are good deals to be had in KL so it is difficult not to be tempted. Likewise at other price points you will get great bang for your buck. Shopping is also great fun and the food is excellent just about anywhere you go.
Penang – 2 nights Langkawi – 1 night Kuala Lumpur – 3 nights Melaka – 1 night
Trip taken – 2010
Recommended for We travelled as a couple but this would be a great trip to do as a family or group of friends, as is KL on its own.
Sampling a tropical fruit buffet and great local street food in Penang
Soaking up the vibe, staying in a heritage hotel and eating some more great food in Melaka
Kuala Lumpur’s striking Museum of Islamic Art
Picking up quality souvenirs at Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market.
Spots we missed We are yet to head to Malaysian Borneo and some of Malaysia’s other islands, and we hope to get to the Cameron Highlands at some stage.
Planning a successful first trip to Malaysia
Malaysia is a pretty easy getaway but there are a few things to bear in mind.
1. Negotiating the airports
Kuala Lumpur has two main airport terminals - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and current Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). We are pretty excited that a new low cost carrier terminal – KLIA2 - will open in 2014…the current LCCT isn’t a great place to spend several hours waiting for your next flight.
Up until now, we have planned our itineraries to avoid too many trips to and from KL airports if we are travelling to other places as well. We try to do this transfer just once per trip as both KLIA and LCCT are a long drive from the city centre – over an hour in a taxi. If you need to cab it, there are pre-paid booths at the airports which are recommended to allow you to pay a fixed price, and avoid going on the meter.
Far quicker from KLIA is the train to central Kuala Lumpur, the KLIA Ekspres, which takes about half an hour.
The new KLIA2 will also be served by KLIA Ekspres. Unfortunately the KLIA Ekspres hasn’t extended to the LCCT – bus transfers are required and included in the fare. Unfortunately this means not much time is saved by taking the train – and for that reason and for less hassle, we usually take a taxi to and from the LCCT.
Super budget is the bus – some operators offer point to point transfers. We did this once and it worked fine…it just took a long, long time.
2. Timing tips
Four or five days in KL is about right for a stopover or city-break – giving you enough mealtimes to sample the city’s great food, see some sights, relax a bit and take at least one day trip out of the city, eg. Melaka.
If you have longer than four days, consider a side trip – Penang is a favourite of ours for food and while its capital Georgetown is a big city, it has a much different feel to KL with its charming heritage buildings and more laid back vibe.