Sleeping in Airports

Kuala Lumpur Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur Airport Sightseeing
Photo Credit: pat138241 / iStock

Kuala Lumpur International Airport is home to two light and bright terminals. Modern and home to everything you may want on an airport layover, food courts, shopping and even a movie theatre, Kuala Lumpur Airport is consistently rated highly by your fellow travellers. Arguably, it is a destination in its own right!

Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant, thriving city and cultural melting pot. In the central business district alone, you will find Little India, Chinatown, and Malay influences too. Although located 55km from the city centre, Kuala Lumpur Airport has impeccable transport links into the city that run around the clock.

Airport Overview

Kuala Lumpur Airport, for many people, is little more than an airport lounge to wait in for your next flight. If you have more time, at least six hours, consider jumping on one of Kuala Lumpur Airport’s many public transport options and heading into the city to explore and get some fresh air! Getting into the city and back takes an hour, so getting out into town is better suited to travellers with extended layovers. Allowing two hours of travel time to and from the airport and then at least one hour to check back in again, you’ll need at least a six-hour layover to visit Kuala Lumpur’s city centre. Check out our Kuala Lumpur Airport Guide for more information on the airport.

Kuala Lumpur Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur:

Hop On Hop Off Tour

The Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour is the best way to see Kuala Lumpur, especially if you’re short on time. The tour features 23 different stops and is the perfect way to see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time. The Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour stops at all the major sites like the KL Tower, the Petronas Towers (KLCC) and Chinatown, as well as hidden gems like Little India and Bird Park.

Tickets for the tour cost RM 55 and are valid for 24 hours; these tickets can be purchased online in advance, at the airport arrival hall (after immigration) or by an authorized hotel or agent.

The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is very well signposted and easy to find. Each bus stop has a bus shelter, which is very handy given that when it rains in Kuala Lumpur, it pours! The buses are clean and run very close to schedule.

  • Time Required: The time you spend on the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour is entirely up to you and your time allowance. Remember that getting from the airport to the city centre takes about an hour. If you get the metro line to KL Sentral, this is reduced. Stops like Chinatown and Bird Park warrant a stay of up to an hour. Stops like the KL Tower and KLCC Towers can be seen and photographed in 15 minutes each if you’re not venturing inside! On an 8-hour layover, you could visit up to four stops on the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour and give yourself plenty of time to explore them, too!
  • How to Get There: From KLIA, both terminals, catch the KLIA Ekspres to KL Sentral and catch the Hop On Hop Off Bus. KL Sentral is stop 11, so it is a great starting point. Alternatively, get the Star Shuttle to Jalan Pudu, walk 250m into Chinatown and catch the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus after you’ve explored that area. A taxi from the airport will take 50 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic, if you ask to be taken to KL Sentral.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Kuala Lumpur bus tours, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Eco Forest Park

If you’re on a long-haul journey it’s safe to assume that some fresh air and some nature will do you the world of good! Look no further than Kuala Lumpur’s Eco Forest Park. The Eco Park is a real-life city jungle! Did you know that Kuala Lumpur is the only city in the world to house a natural rainforest in its city centre?

Home to a wonderful array of plants, the Eco Forest Park offers free entry to all! The Eco Forest Park is a great chance to reconnect with nature and explore the city from above! The park has high-rise walkways that allow you to walk amongst the treetops. When the leaves part, you’re welcomed by spectacular cityscape views.

The park is clean and well-kept, and the walkways, although made of rope and wood, are sturdy. This is arguably Kuala Lumpur’s best-kept secret and the perfect spot to escape should the bright lights and air-conditioned airports become too much!

  • Time Required: If you walk fast, you can get around the park in half an hour, even less if you’re super fit and can run up the steps! An hour is ample time to walk around the park leisurely. If you wish to stay longer, there are many shady spots to sit with a book.
  • How to Get There: You can get the Star Shuttle to Jalan Pudu/Chinatown, which takes 50 minutes, and walk up to the Eco Forest Park, which takes around 15 minutes. Or take a taxi from the airport right to the park gates, this will take 50 minutes.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Eco Forest Park, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Kuala Lumpur Tower

The Kuala Lumpur Tower, also known as the KL Tower, is the city’s most iconic skyline building. The KL Tower pierces the skyline at a whopping 1,379 ft tall! If you have more time, why not book in for lunch, brunch or dinner at the KL Tower’s restaurant, Atmosphere 360? Tables must be booked online in advance. The restaurant serves brilliant food and offers breathtaking views over Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, the restaurant revolves, so you see the city differently every moment you look down!

  • Time Required: If you want to stand Granth at the KL Tower and take a photo, you can do it within 15 minutes. If you book a table at Atmosphere 360, then you get two hours on the table. To get from KLIA and KLAI2 to KL Tower by public transport you should allow yourself an hour, likewise with a taxi.
  • How to Get There: If you get the Star Shuttle to KL Sentral, the KL Tower is a 10-minute walk away; KL Tower is well-signposted and very obvious to see! Alternatively, take a taxi right to the door! Both journeys will take one hour.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting KL Tower, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Batu Caves

Kuala Lumpur Batu Caves
Photo Credit: VladyslavDanilin / iStock

If you want to avoid the busy city centre but still want to experience some Malaysian culture, then head over to the Batu Caves. Set just the other side of the city from the airport, the Batu Caves are an important Hindu shrine complex. This limestone hill is said to be 400 million years old! The Batu Caves are one of Kuala Lumpur’s top attractions and are easily visited during a daytime layover.

Many monkeys live around the temple, so remember not to feed them, or they’ll all come out and play! The Batu Caves are an excellent excuse to stretch your legs, too! There are 272 steps to climb!

  • Time Required: It takes one hour to get from the airport to the Batu Caves, and you should allow yourself at least two hours to explore before heading back to the terminal. The Batu Caves are better suited for a more extended layover.
  • How to Get There: The best way to get to the Batu Caves is by taxi, thus bypassing the city centre. A taxi from the airport to Batu Caves will take an hour if the traffic is reasonable.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Batu Caves, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Kuala Lumpur Airport Guide for information about luggage storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: