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Kuala Lumpur

Getting there & away

As Malaysia’s principal international gateway and the crossroads for domestic bus, train and taxi travel there’s no shortage of ways in and out of KL.

Local transport

Taxi

Long-distance taxis – often no faster than taking a bus – depart from upstairs at Puduraya bus station. Early in the morning the chances are reasonable of finding other passengers waiting to share on the main west-coast runs to Johor Bahru, Melaka, Ipoh and Penang. Otherwise you will usually have to wait to get a full complement of four passengers or you could charter a whole taxi.

Prices should include toll charges, but some taxi drivers, especially those on the Johor Bahru run, insist on charging extra. For fares see below.

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Land

Bus

** As of April 14th 2011, Puduraya is closed until further notice. ** Buses fan out from Puduraya, KL’s main bus station just east of Chinatown, to all over Peninsular Malaysia as well as to Singapore and Thailand. The only long-distance destinations that Puduraya doesn’t handle are Kuala Lipis and Jerantut (for access to Taman Negara) – buses to these places leave from Pekeliling bus station; and Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu, buses for which leave from Putra bus station.

If you’re travelling to Singapore and want to avoid Puduraya (and who wouldn’t?) there are alternatives. Aeroline (6258 8800; www.aeroline.com.my) runs five services daily (RM80, five hours) from outside the Corus Hotel, Jln Ampang, just east of KLCC. Its double-decker coaches are modernand comfortable. Also offering a moreupmarket service is Plusliner (2272 1586; www.plusliner.com); its NiCE coaches run from outside the old KL Train Station on Jln Sultan Hishamuddin. Its Singapore-bound coaches (RM79.10) leave at least 13 times daily. It also offers a service from here to Penang (Plusliner coach RM26.80, NiCE coach RM57.10).

Car

KL is the best place to hire a car for touring the peninsula; for sample rates see p506. However, navigating the city’s complex (and mostly one-way) traffic system is not for the timid.

All the major companies have offices at the airport. City offices, which are generally open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday, include the following companies:

Avis (2144 4487; www.avis.com.my; Angkasa Raya, Jln Ampang)

Hertz (2148 6433; www.hertz.com.my; Ground fl, Kompleks Antarabangsa, Jln Sultan Ismail)

Mayflower (6253 1888; www.mayflower.com.my/html/car.htm; 18 Jln Segambut Pusat)

Orix (2142 3009; www.orixcarrentals.com.my; Ground fl, Federal Hotel, 35 Jln Bukit Bintang)

Train

Kuala Lumpur is the hub of the KTM (2267 1200; www.ktmb.com.my) national railway system. Long-distance trains depart from KL Sentral in the Brickfields area. The KTM information office (10am-7pm) in the main hall can advise on schedules and check seat availability. A ticket delivery service (2267 1200; 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Sat) can get your ticket to you for RM4.

There are daily departures for Butterworth, Wakaf Baharu (for Kota Baharu and Jerantut), Johor Bahru, Thailand and Singapore; fares are cheap, especially if you opt for a seat rather than a berth (for which there are extra charges), but journey times are slow. KTM Komuter trains also link KL with the Klang Valley and Seremban and in 2008 with Ipoh and Tanjung Malim.

Bus

KL has several bus stations. Chinatown’s Puduraya Bus Station handles most long-distance buses to Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. However, buses to Kota Bahru, Kuala Terengganu and the jetty for the Perhentian Islands leave from the Putra Bus Station on Jln Tun Ismail, and buses to Kuala Lipis, Jerantut and Temerloh leave from the Pekeliling Bus Station at Titiwangsa.

If you’re travelling to Singapore and want to avoid the stress of dealing with Puduraya, Aeroline (6258 8800; www.aeroline.com.my) runs six services daily (adult/child from RM80/50, five hours) from outside the Corus Hotel on Jln Ampang, just east of KLCC, using comfortable, air-conditioned double-decker coaches. Plusliner/NICE (2272 1586; www.plusliner.com) runs a similar upmarket service from outside the Old KL Train Station on Jln Sultan Hishamuddin. There are around eight daily buses to Singapore (adult/child RM80/60) and six daily buses to Penang (five hours) – NICE coaches cost RM27/13.50, Plusliner coaches cost RM58/43.

Car

KL is probably the best place to hire a car for touring Peninsular Malaysia, though driving out of KL is complicated by a confusing one-way system and contradictory road signs that can throw off your sense of direction completely. All the major companies have offices at the airport. City offices – generally open from 9am to 6pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm Saturday – include the following:

Avis (2144 4487; www.avis.com.my; Ground fl, Angkasa Raya Bldg)

Hertz (2148 6433; www.hertz.com.my; Ground fl, Kompleks Antarabangsa, Jln Sultan Ismail)

Mayflower (2144 1188; www.mayflowercarrental.com.my; 42 Jln Sultan Ismail)

Orix (2142 3009; www.orixcarrentals.com.my; Mezzanine Level, Federal Hotel, Jln Bukit Bintang)

Train

KL Sentral station is the national hub of the KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad; 2267 1200; www.ktmb.com.my; info office 10am-7pm, ticket office 7am-10pm) railway system, which extends through Malaysia into Thailand and Singapore. You can buy tickets in advance at the station or get the handy ticket delivery service (2267 1200; 8.30am-5pm Mon-Sat) to speed the ticket to your hotel room for RM4. Services run daily to Singapore, Butterworth (for Georgetown, Penang) and Hat Yai (connecting with trains to Bangkok and other parts of Thailand).

The same company runs the KTM Komuter train service around KL.

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Boat

Several private companies run ferries to Tanjung Balai and Dumai on Sumatra in Indonesia from Pelabuhan Klang (Port Klang), accessible by KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral or by public bus (RM3.50) from the small Klang bus stand by Pasar Seni LRT station in Chinatown. Ferries run to Tanjung Balai (RM100, 3½ hours) at 11am Monday to Saturday. Ferries to Dumai (RM100, 3½ hours) leave between 9am and 10am daily. Note that you need an Indonesian visa in ­advance for the crossing to Tanjung Balai.

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Air

KL’s main airport is Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA; 8777 8888; www.klia.com.my), 75km south of the city centre at Sepang. At the international arrivals hall there’s a useful Tourism Malaysia office (8776 5651; 9am-midnight), a Celcom stand (7am-11pm) selling prepaid SIM cards for your mobile phone, and counters for all the main car-rental firms. Note that airline regulations are strictly enforced – only one carry-on bag is permitted and liquids can only be carried on board in bottles of less than 100mL, which must be presented for screening in a clear plastic bag.

All of Air Asia’s flights are handled by the nearby Low Cost Carrier-Terminal (LCC-T; 8777 8888; lcct.airasia.com). Air Asia tickets are best purchased online at www.airasia.com. You can get information and book (using online terminals) at their small office (1300-889 933; 9am-9pm) in KL Sentral station.

Berjaya Air’s flights arrive at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (7845 8382) at Subang, around 20km west of the city centre.

Air

KL’s main airport is Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA; 8777 8888; www.klia.com.my), 75km south of the city centre at Sepang.

All of domestic operator Air Asia’s flights are handled by the nearby Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCC-T; 1300 889 933). Tiny Berjaya Air’s flights go from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (7845 8382) at Subang, around 20km west of the city centre. For transport options into town see p118.

At KLIA’s international arrival hall there’s a useful Tourism Malaysia office (8776 5651; 6am-midnight); a Celcom stand selling prepaid SIM cards for your mobile phone (open 7am to 11pm); and counters for several car-rental firms.

Air Asia’s tickets are purchased online (www.airasia.com); it has a small information office in KL Sentral station (1300 889 933; 8am-10pm). Other airlines with offices in the city:

Air India (airline code AI; 2142 0323; www.airindia.com; 14th fl, Angkasa Raya Bldg, 123 Jln Ampang; hub New Dehli International Airport)

Berjaya Air (airline code J8; 2145 2828; Level 6, Menara Berjaya, KL Plaza, 179 Jln Bukit Bintang; hub Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Subang)

Cathay Pacific Airways (airline code CX; 2073 5101; www.cathaypacific.com; Suite 22, Level 1, Menara IMC, 8 Jln Sultan Ismail; hub Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong)

China Airlines (airline code CI; 2142 4125; www.china-airlines.com; Amoda Bldg, 22 Jln Imbi; hub Beijing International Airport)

Garuda Indonesian Airlines (airline code GA; 2162 1581; www.garuda-indonesia.com; Level 19, Menara Citibank, 165 Jln Ampang; hub Jakarta International Airport)

Japan Airlines (airline code JLN; 2161 1740; www.japanair.com; Level 20, Menara Citibank, 165 Jln Ampang; hub Narita Airport, Tokyo)

Lufthansa (airline code LH; 2161 4666; www.lufthansa.com; 3rd fl, Pernas International Bldg, Jln Sultan Ismail; hub Frankfurt International Airport, Frankfurt)

Malaysia Airlines (airline code MA; 1300 883 000; www.malaysiaair.com; Bangunan MAS, Jln Sultan Ismail; 2272 4260; KL Sentral station; hub KLIA, Sepang)

Royal Brunei Airlines (airline code BI; www.bruneiair.com; 2070 7166; Menara UBN, 10 Jln P Ramlee; hub Brunei International Airport)

Singapore Airlines (airline code SQ; 2698 7033; www.singaporeair.com; 10th fl, Menara Multi-Purpose, Capital Sq, 8 Jln Munshi Abdullah; hub Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore)

Thai Airways International (airline code TG; 2031 1900; www.thaiair.com; 30th fl, Wisma Goldhill, 67 Jln Raja Chulan; hub Bangkok International Airport)

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