Arriving in a foreign country is exciting, but can also be nerve-racking, especially just trying to figure out how to get out of the airport. Before we moved to Malaysia, I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely sure where Malaysia was even located on a map.
I knew very little about the country, people, and cultures. If you are planning a trip to Malaysia, possibly moving to Malaysia, or maybe trying to stop by on your way to Thailand or Bali. Here is the first thing you will need to know how to get out of the airport and on to your destination.
Arriving in Malaysia
Most likely you will be flying into Kuala Lump International Airport(KUL). The main terminal is also known as KLIA and the second terminal is referred to as KLIA2.
Did you know?
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the 22nd busiest airport in the world. Ranking just behind New York City’s JFG airport and Jakarta Indonesia’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Kuala Lumpur International Airport sees over 30 million passengers pass through it every year.
Kuala Lumpur its self has over 8 million people and is one of the largest cities in the world. It is the largest city in Malaysia.
Here you will find out how to get from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the City or your final destination. There are many options for transportation including the train, Taxi, and Grab(Uber/Lyft in South East Asia).
Can you take public transportation or a train from the airport to the city?
Yes – there is a train that goes from both KLIA2 and KLIA to Kuala Lumpur’s Sentral Station (Central Station). The KLIA Express Train leaves every 15-20 minutes for the airport and central station.
It takes approximately 28 minutes for KLIA to Central Station, and 33 Minutes for KLIA2 to Central Station. The train originally departs from KLIA2 and will make a stop at KLIA.
Airport (KLIA & KLIA2) to the city (KL Sentral)
The first train departs 04:55 hrs (from KLIA2), 05:00 hrs (from KLIA)
The last train departs 00:55 hrs (from KLIA2), 01:00 hrs (from KLIA)
City (KL Sentral) to the airport (KLIA & KLIA2)
The first train departs 05:00 hrs
The last train departs 00:40 hrs
Check the Schedule for the closest time and departure:
**Pro-Tip~ If you are arriving on most airlines, KLM, ANA, Korean Air, Malaysia Air, Qutar, JAL, Srilankan Airlines, Emirates, Royal Jordanian, Singapore & Silk air you will be arriving in terminal 1 (KLIA). If you are arriving on Air Asia you are most likely arriving in terminal 2 KLIA2.
Where do I buy tickets for the KLIA Ekspres (Express)?
After you get off your plane, you will need to clear immigration. Kuala Lumpur’s immigration lines can be very long depending on the time of day. Prepare yourself, maybe stop at the restroom prior to getting in line.
I’m not exaggerating, these lines move slow! We’ve stood in line with our 3 kids for over an hour in the middle of the night before.
As you near the front of the line, make sure you have your passports for each person in your group ready. Also if you are traveling alone with kids, make sure to have your parent consent form ready.
Next, grab your bags and buy your train ticket
Once you have cleared immigration, you will head to get your luggage. You can check the computer screen monitors to find out which luggage carousel your bags will be arriving on.
After you have all your bags, head the middle of the luggage belts. Look for the Purple/Pinkish round kiosk. Head to one of the self-service computers. This is where you can buy a train ticket/card.
Single Trip Cost: RM55.00 (Around $13.00USD)
Round Trip Ticket: RM 100.00 (Around $25.00USD)
You do save a little money if you buy a round trip. There are also cheaper tickets for kids age 6 to 15 years old, and kids 5 and under are free.
If you are traveling as a family or a small group you can purchase a family pack and save a little more. Check the Kiosk or here for more information.
There are no seat reservations or assigned seats. So just pick the most convenient seat and make sure to keep your eyes on your belongings on the ride.
From the luggage hall to the train
Now that you have your tickets. Get your luggage and head out the customs doors. From here you will look for the KLIA Ekspres Purple/Pinkish signs.
If you are in KLIA you will head to Level 1. You will need to go down two floors. You can take the lifts or the escalators. Sometimes the lifts are crowded in KLIA airport and in Malaysia in general. Once you get to level 1 you will continue to follow the signs to KLIA Ekspres.
Follow the Step By step Photo guide on where to go to get the KLIA Express train from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the city at Central Station:
After gathering your luggage, head to the Exit (Kuluar)
Continue to look for the KLIA Transit or KLIA Ekspres signs for the directions to the 1st floor
Head towards door 7. Then take the elevator or escalators to the left of the door.
Note: Take the elevator with the KLIA Express sign. The left elevator will take you to the KLIA Express Train. If you don’t want to wait for the elevator, you can use the escalators directly behind the elevators to get to level 1.
Once off the elevator or escalators, you will see a ticket counter for tickets or information
Once you have your tickets – just head towards the entrance
Waiting area: You will want to head to KLIA Ekspres Platform-A.
Wait for the train and enjoy the ride.
The train is open seating and no assigned seats. There is space to place your luggage.
Taking a private car instead, like Uber
Would you prefer to just take a car instead of the train? That’s also super easy to do from the airport. When you use a service like Uber or Grab it’s called e-hailing.
e-hailing at KLIA and KLIA2 (Grab – Uber – Lyft -etc…)
If you are looking to use an electronic hailing app like Uber you will need to follow the next steps when you arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
In October of 2019, the Malaysia government implemented new e-hailing regulations and also imposed a new pickup location at both the main terminal(KLIA) and the terminal 2(KLIA2) at Kuala Lumpur international airport.
If you are not staying close to a train station or metro line, I still recommend taking a Grab Car over a taxi. In my experience in Malaysia, taxi drivers are some of the worst drivers. The cars are dirty and they usually smell horrible.
In Malaysia, Uber and Lyft will not work so you will need to download a new app to use during your stay.
I would recommend downloading the Grab app before you arrive and adding your credit card. You can also use another app in Malaysia called MyCar. Grab and MyCar works exactly like Lyft and Uber.
**Note if the app won’t allow you to load your credit card information, wait until you arrive in Malaysia. Sometimes the app won’t work until you are in the region.
Its South East Asia’s version and works really well all-over South-East Asia, as well as while you stay in Malaysia. If you are planning on visiting, Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, or the Philippines, you will need to use Grab.
How to get to the e-hailing pick-up point in Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Once you have gathered your luggage and headed past customs. You will need to book your car through the Grab app, MyCar, or other apps to your hotel or location.
From the airport to the downtown area, you will be looking to pay around RM60 – 80.00 Malaysian Ringgit or around $15 – $20USD for the trip on either app. A taxi will be about the same price. This is for a standard car.
For a van or SUV for more people, a standard rate is around RM140 – 160 Malaysian Ringgit or about $35 – $40USD. If you don’t have Grab, you can pre-book your van or car pick up here.
The nice thing about Grab app and MyCar are that the prices are set and you can view them before booking.
**Pro-tip~ If you arrange your own driver, please use the above prices for a standard rate and always set the price before getting in the car with someone.
Where to pick up your car at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
#1 Step- After Customs walk straight to door 7, but do not exit.
#2 Step – At door 7, Turn Left and take the elevator or escalator to Level 1
Do NOT take the elevator with KLIA Express. You will have to come back up.
Take this elevator
#3 Step – Head to door 3 and text or notify your driver that you have arrived.
eHailing pickup location at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2)
If you are flying into Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia you will be flying into Terminal 2 (KLIA2). Then you will need to follow these steps when booking your eHailing car.
#1 Step- After you have your luggage you will come to the arrival hall.
#2 Step- Pass all the shopping and continue to the main doors
#3 Step- Next, go down the escalator to level 1
#4 Step- Turn Right when you get to level 1
#5 Step- Head to door 5 and text or notify your driver.
These steps may sound and look complicated, but with the photo guide and step by step tutorial, I hope that this makes your trip less stressful.
We have traveled in and out of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport a number of times before and after these new regulations. I will say the new process has helped with traffic at the pick-up places.
In the past, there have been times that traffic for pickup was so congested that it would take up to 30 minutes for my car to get me and they are less than 500 feet away. All while I’m sweating my face off in the hot Malaysia air.
The new eHailing locations make it easy to get in and out of your car and on your way. So follow my instructions step by step and you won’t have any problems.
Taking a car or train from Kuala Lumpur International Airport? Which is better?
If you are staying in downtown Kuala Lumpur or close to MRT (train line station) then hands down taking the train from the airport is the fastest and easiest. Traffic in Kuala Lumpur can get very busy, especially at high traffic time. Taking the train will help you avoid this.
Even if you are not directly off a MRT station, but you can get to Central Station by train, then you are a short car ride away from your hotel or destination.
If you are staying somewhere other than the downtown area, a car is probably your best idea. It will be faster, and probably cheaper to just take a car. Grab car and MyCar are fairly cheap options when compared to using Uber in the United States or Europe.
Getting a taxi Kuala Lumpur airport
If you decide to take a taxi rather than e-hailing, you will go through immigration, grab your bags, and walk through customs. Then you will look for airport taxi Kuala Lumpur International airport. There will be taxi stands right as you clear customs.
You will want to make sure to verify the taxi fare from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. You can use the above prices to Kuala Lumpur Sentral as a guideline (around 80RM for a standard car and 160RM for a van).
Please note I do not advise taking a taxi. I would definitely stick with e-hailing. Go through the extra steps of downloading the apps and hailing a car, you will not regret it, or prebook your private car or van here.
Getting around Kuala Lumpur
Now that you navigated the airport, you’re ready to tackle the city!
You can easily get around KL with the train and Grab car. Use Google maps when in doubt and it will tell you the quickest way to your destination. Relax and enjoy your time in this beautiful city.