My friend and I were backpacking last April 2014 and decided to have a side trip to Malaysia (coming from Singapore) before going to Indonesia. We only had about 8 hours to spend in Kuala Lumpur before our next flight going to Bali and this is how our brief adventure in KL went.
Crossing borders: Singapore to Malaysia by Bus
Coming from Singapore, one could travel by plane, train or bus to enter Malaysia. We took a midnight bus (cheaper alternative), and that was our first time to cross borders by land. Here is an account of the process:
- At some point during the initial part of the ride, the driver will tell you to get off the bus, you don’t need to bring your luggage yet, just your valuables and passport (remember to have you immigration form completely filled out), and this is when you will be stamped out of Singapore. After this, you will see your bus waiting for you and the rest of the passengers upon exit.
- After some 15-20 mins, you will again hop off the bus, but you need to bring all your stuff this time. This is when your passport will be stamped into Malaysia and your luggage/bags screened. The same bus will again be waiting for you as you go out of the immigration facility, and the bus will now exit the Singaporean border and continue with the rest of the trip.
We arrived in KL at about 6:30AM and the bus dropped us off at the Berjaya Times Square. From Berjaya, we took a taxi going to Stesen KL Sentral Station. Taking a taxi in KL can be quite stressful because for some unknown reason, taxi drivers refuse to turn on their meters so there’s a lot of haggling going on.
The KL Integrated Train Network
This itinerary is a bit tight but easily done given the proper research and planning. The key really is to be familiar with the train system of the City, which will save you a lot of time and money going around. Below is a map of the integrated train network of KL (source: http://travelkl.net/kl-train-network/). For more information on the train operating hours and train frequency, you can checkout this website: http://www.myrapid.com.my/rail/routes.
6:30 – 7:30: Preparations at the Stesen KL Sentral Station
The Stesen KL Sentral Station serves as the hub for KL’s integrated rail transport system. This station is huge and complete with facilities:
- Shower: There are shower rooms on the first floor near the restrooms (RM5 for shower only, RM15 for shower plus towel and toiletries).
- Coin Locker: There is a coin locker area, also the first floor, for depositing your luggage. You need to buy the token at vending machines located alongside the coin lockers and prices depend on the size of the locker that you need.
- Aiport transfers and train tickets. Our next flight going to Bali was scheduled later at 6PM so we already went to buy our KL Sentral-LCCT ticket via the KLIA Transit Line (still on the first floor). This ticket is a combination of a KLIA Transit train ride and a shuttle bus trip that will take us all the way to the low cost carrier terminal or LCCT of the KL International Airport. Train schedule may be viewed here: http://www.kliaekspres.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/KT2LCCT-Full-Schedule.pdf Then, we also bought the KTM Komuter ticket going to Batu Caves (2-way ticket: RM2 going to Batu Caves, but RM4 for the return ticket).
- Other Shops. The Stensen KL Sentral Station also has money exchange shops, convenient stores and restaurants including a food court on the third floor.
You can checkout these facilities and the overall floor plan of the Stesen KL Sentral Stn at this website: http://www.stesensentral.com/buildings_fplan1.php
7:30 – 10:30 : Take train from Stesen KL Sentral Stn to Batu Caves and explore the Batu Caves
We took the KTM Komuter train going to Batu Caves which was about a 30-min ride.
I remember searching for interesting places in KL and the Batu Caves appeared in most of the searches for must-see places, and having been there last April 2014, I must say that I wasn’t disappointed. Upon entrance, I was immediately fascinated by the huge tall statue of Murugan, it was amazing! From the foot of the hill, you need to climb 272 steps to reach the entrance of the cave.
What discouraged me a bit though were the scary monkeys on the steps going up the cave and the biggest flock of pigeons I’ve ever seen that abound the grounds of Batu Caves (sorry, not so fond of them…). There are also restaurants and shopping stores around the area to buy souvenirs.
10:35 – 11:30: Take train from Batu Caves going back to Stesen KL Sentran Stn
After Batu Caves, we took the train going back to Stesen KL Sentran Stn, then we had lunch at the food court and rested for a while.
11:30 – 1:00: Take train from Stesen KL Sentral to KLCC Stn and see the Petronas Twin Tower
Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we just went to see the exterior of the Petronas Twin Tower. From the Stesen KL Sentral Stn, take the Kelana Jaya Line and get off at KLCC Stn.
It’s a bit challenging to photograph the Petronas given its tall structure. From the exit of the train stn, you need to walk all the way to the main street just to have a good photo angle of the twin tower. We were walking around the area under the scorching heat of the sun and these photos were the best that we could take, wish we had more time though…
1:00 – 2:30: Take train from KLCC Stn to Masjid Jamek Stn and explore the Merdeka Square
We went back to the KLCC Stn and took the Kelana Jaya Line until Masjid Jamek Stn. From the stn, you will walk for about 10-15 mins to reach the Merdeka Square. The KL Art Gallery is also nearby (free entrance).
2:30 – 3:00: Take train going back to Stesen KL Sentral
We headed back to the Masjid Jamek Stn and took the Kelana Jaya Line to go back to the Stesen KL Sentral Stn.
3:00 – 4:00: Take the KL Sentral -LCCT via the LKIA Transit to LCCT (or the KT2LCCT)
We retrieved back our luggage from the coin lockers and headed to the airport.