Kuala Lumpur - Getting Around

Date Links: 
Fri 10/06 │ Sat 11/06

Accommodation: Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

KL Sentral floorplan


Kuala Lumpur's public transport system consists of 3 LRT (Light Rail Transit) lines operated by RapidKL, the semicircular KL Monorail looping through the Golden Triangle and the KTM Komuter for trips to the outer northern, southern & western suburbs. Fares are cheap (RM1.2 and up), although connectivity between different lines is poor due to inadequate integration (read: you will also need to buy a new ticket for the next leg of your trip, and will likely get wet if it is raining since connections are not covered). The Touch 'n Go card, which can be purchased for RM10 at major stations, can now be used on all lines except the airport express. 

A few quirks to be aware of: 

1. The Kelana Jaya and Gombak LRT lines, formerly known as "PUTRA LRT", is now known as "Putraline" while the Sri Petaling and Ampang LRT lines, formerly known as "STAR LRT", is now known as "Starline". Signage is a bit inconsistent but is slowly being updated.

2. The KL Monorail's "KL Sentral" station is now a bit of a haul from KL Sentral. The covered walkway and the parking lot that was once used for access has been closed off for construction. To get to the KL Monorail, you will have to walk around the parking lot which doubles the distance you had to walk before.

3. Trains usually follow a timed schedule, with the frequency increased to two/three minutes during peak hours. Take note however that as Putraline is a "driverless" system (unlike Starline where the trains are driven by human drivers), in the event of a train breakdown, service may be disrupted for two hours or more, although such breakdowns are few and far between.


With RM3 flagfall (2 km) and around RM0.90/km afterward, red and white normal taxis are reasonably priced and probably the best way to get around, at least outside the congested peak hours. Bright yellow premium taxis have a RM4 flagfall and also charge a bit more by the kilometre. There are also various small surcharges for radio call (RM2), baggage (RM1 per piece), etc.

While all taxis are supposed to use the meter, when demand exceeds supply or during rush hour, they may ask for a fixed price before commencing travel, which is usually 2-3 times the price when using the meter. This is technically illegal (and reportable), and happens most often with cabbies who lurk outside hotels, stations and major malls, waiting for unwary tourists to come along. Hail cabs off the street if you can, but if you must, at least negotiate hard: RM5 should cover most cross town trips of 15 minutes or so, even with traffic. If you're staying in an expensive hotel, give a nearby shopping mall as your destination instead. Generally speaking, Malay taxi drivers will be more willing to use the meter than Chinese and Indian ones.

It is cheaper to use the meter through the day, although the opposite is true late at night, and especially after midnight, when the displayed meter price at the end of the journey is increased by 50% (ie. at 1AM, if the meter shows RM12, then you have to pay RM12+6).

A few popular places (notably the airport, KL Sentral and Menara KL) enforce prepaid coupon systems, which generally work out more expensive than using the meter, but cheaper than bargaining.

Combining public transport with taxis can sometime make trips quicker if there are traffic jams.

Some taxi drivers will hang around near hotels offering tours similar to those offered by established companies. Feel free to listen to their offers and bargain with them if you like. Some of these cabbies are quite knowledgeable and you may end up with a specially tailored, private tour for less than the cost of an official tour.

If you get so off the beaten track that you need to call a cab:

Comfort Cabs:     603-6253-1313

Sunlight Taxi:     603-9057-5757

Public Cab:         603-6259-2020

Uptown Ace:       603-9283-2333

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