Things to Do on a Layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur/ Nomads/ Explore

KL Layover: How to Maximize a Quick Stop in Kuala Lumpur

KLIA Facebook Photo by Facebook/Malaysia Airports

Flying out is always an adventure, especially if you’re visiting your favorite country or going to a place you’ve never been before. But if you’re really traveling a long distance, chances are, you might have a layover before you can hop on a connecting flight to reach your ultimate destination.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the country’s main international airport that connects travelers from around the world, and its location makes it a common layover point for those traveling long distances.

While some may consider a layover an inconvenience, you can turn things around by maximizing the time you have and turning it into a mini adventure. A quick stop in Kuala Lumpur (whether you only have five, eight, or 12 hours on your hands) can bring you to some of the city’s must-visit stops so you can see the city’s iconic landmarks, experience the city life, and even sample its culinary delights.

Let our recommendations below be your guide in turning your Kuala Lumpur layover into a memorable side trip. But don’t forget to keep your flight schedule in mind so you don't miss your connecting flight!

5 hour-layover: Explore gateway@klia2

Once you've arrived at KLIA, it’s better to spend the precious hours you have at KLIA2 where you can find gateway@klia2, the shopping mall within an airport. From KLIA1, proceed to Departure Level 1 located within the main terminal building by following the signs directing you to “KLIA Ekspres.”

The KLIA Ekspres connects the two terminals of KLIA and offers a convenient mode of transportation with a travel time of three minutes. Upon arrival at the KLIA2 stop, follow the signs and directions showing the way to gateway@klia2.

Once there, fill up your stomach with Malaysian cuisine! gateway@klia2 houses different restaurants and cafes so you can recharge before your next flight. Make sure you try the local favourites like nasi lemak and other Peranakan dishes that will tickle your taste buds.

After eating, rest at the Plaza Premium Lounge — relax and take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi connection. There are also food and beverages available should you want to have a snack or a cup of coffee.

If you’re not staying at any lounge area, walk around gateway@klia to see if you can shop for souvenirs or essentials. You can also get a quick massage to help relieve your muscles before you hop on a plane.

8-hour layover: Get a Quick Look at KL

Go to the City Center by following the signs directing you to the Departure Level/KLIA Ekspres Train that will take you to KL Sentral. The journey is estimated to take 28 minutes. From there, ride a taxi or use a ride-sharing service to get to the Petronas Twin Towers, one of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic landmarks.

Take photos of the Petronas Twin Towers and don’t forget to take photos of yourself in front of the architectural marvel, too. Consider buying tickets to the Skybridge where you can marvel at the view of the city skyline. If you have time to spare, walk to the adjacent KLCC Park for a breather.

Famished? Return to KL Sentral and walk to Jalan Alor, a popular street in Kuala Lumpur where you can experience and sample Malaysia’s food scene. Here, you can try the local delicacies and indulge in a variety of dishes. If you’re visiting at night, don’t miss the Night Market where you can do a little shopping, too.

From Jalan Alor, you can then walk to Bukit Bintang where you can shop and check out different boutiques. Since this is known as an entertainment district, expect a huge crowd and be mindful of your schedule.

12-hour layover: Go Beyond the City Center

After getting your luggage, go to the city center by following the signs directing you to the Departure Level/KLIA Ekspres Train that will take you to KL Sentral. The journey is estimated to take 28 minutes. From KL Sentral, your layover adventure begins.

Start with a quick bite at Central Market. A vibrant marketplace that’s considered a cultural landmark, Central Market is home to street food stalls and shops selling batik prints, jewelry, and handicrafts, among others. Here, you can sample Malaysian-style breakfast sets, flatbreads, pastries, and nasi lemak.

After grabbing a meal and shopping, visit Merdeka Square. You can choose to walk or take a taxi to Merdeka Square where you can find the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Take a stroll to admire the surroundings and make sure you take tons of photos.

From Merdeka Square, you can take a taxi to get to Batu Caves where you can climb over two hundred steps to reach the main cave entrance. Batu Caves is an Instagram-worthy spot so make sure you take photos while admiring the shrines and statues.

After Batu Caves, head to Jalan Alor where Malaysia’s vibrant food scene awaits. Make sure you try the local delicacies and grab those refreshments!

Depending on the time you have you can take a taxi or walk towards the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers. Take photos of the impressive architecture and if you have time to spare, purchase a ticket to the Skybridge to see the stunning city skyline.

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