Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) (2024)

Kuala Lumpur is one of the transit cities that we have to choose when traveling between major cities around the world. I have transited the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) many a times as a transit stop when I traveled between Australia and India.

In this post, you will find the things you can do in the airport and how to survive the transit in Kuala Lumpur airport.

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About Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Located in Sepang district, the KLIA is the main and busiest airport in Kuala Lumpur and is one of the biggest airports in South East Asia. Opened in 1998, the airport was recorded handling more than 120000 aircraft movements in a year (2020). The airport is world’s 23rd busiest airport and has two terminals:

  • KLIA Main or KLIA/ KLIA1 or Terminal A-M – This terminal is for full service airlines that are not budgeted airlines.
  • KLIA Terminal 2 or KLIA2 – This terminal is for budgeted airlines such as AirAsia flights.

The distance between the two terminals is 2 kilometres and the best way to travel between the two is by taking buses.

  • Inquire at the information desk and plan your flights properly as it takes time to get between the two terminals. The airport provides transfers between the airports if you have a valid boarding pass.

If you do step out to see Kuala Lumpur, then see the 5 things that you can do in Kuala Lumpur.

Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

5 Things to do to survive the transit in Kuala Lumpur airport

Note: Payment for some of the activities is accepted by below modes:

  • Rest and Go (RNG) App.
  • Cash.
  • E-Wallet such as DuitNow, GrabPay, Touch n Go, QRPay, Boost, among others.

Eat as much as you want

The airport has many restaurants and cafes that serve wide range of food. They have every cuisine that caters for all kinds of travelers. From authentic Nasi Lemak to Italian Pastas, the airport has it all. And the food here is delicious.

Eat - Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Recommendation: Chicken curry with rice at Living Room café

I have mainly had a stopover at Kuala Lumpur airport. I have tried almost all the restaurants at the airport, including their food courts and cafes.

Recently during one of my transits, I tried the the Chicken curry with rice at Living Room café and I loved their food. The chicken was fresh and the curry was delicious. The chicken curry with rice cost me around Malaysian Ringgit 26 per plate.

Even though it is a little expensive, I highly recommend giving this dish a try.

Chicken curry with rice at Living Room cafe - KLIA airport

Laze around in their lounges

KLIA airport has many lounges where you can rest and laze around. Make use of their facilities and get some good rest before hopping on to your next flight.

AirAsia red lounge

Update as on 11 April 2023: This lounge is closed for business from 20 March 2020.

On my way to New Delhi from Sydney during one of my travels, I had a transit of 12 hours at Kuala Lumpur airport. I did not want to go out of the airport hence I searched for the airline lounges that were available at the airport. 

AirAsia has a red lounge where the passengers having connecting flights can rest and take showers before the next flight. The lounge cost about Malaysian Ringgit 78 (approx. 20 USD) for 3 hours.

Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) (2024)

The lounge has variety of facilities like:

  • Sitting area to watch television.
  • Dining area.
  • Kitchen – The cost for the lounge includes breakfast.
  • Showers and toilets.
  • Bean bags in an open area on the first floor.
  • Pods to charge the mobile phones.

The lounge was comfortable but I felt that the sleeping area was not that clean. I would not recommend this lounge for longer durations and is perfect for a quick stop over.

Will I recommend this lounge? Maybe.

Capsule Transit

On level 1 of KLAI2 is the Capsule Transit. It is a convenient and economical way to spend the night in Kuala Lumpur terminal 2. The sleeping pods are designed as capsules and each capsule has a charging point, reading light and a fan.

It’s really cool. The facility also has showers and toilets. And on check-in they provide you with a bag containing fresh towel and a bottle of drinking water.

The capsules are available for 6, 9 and 12 hours. During one of my transits, I took a single capsule for 9 hours and it cost me Malaysian Ringgit 95.

Will I recommend this lounge? Yes! Loved it.

Plaza Premium Lounge

While I was transiting at Kuala Lumpur airport once, I decided to spend my night at Plaza Premium Lounge. I booked the 12 hours access to the lounge for AUD 88 or Malaysian Ringgit 265 (USD 65). This gave me access to the lounge combined with dining area, toilets and showers and the basic buffet.

I have stayed at various lounges before and I know what to expect from a lounge. And because of this, I was disappointed as I did not like the Plaza Premium Lounge at all. The lounge was very small and it had very basic and uncomfortable chairs.

Each one of us who stayed at the lounge struggled with the chairs. I used two chairs to sleep and I do not like keeping my legs on the chair, but this time I had no choice. There were not many charging points as well. There were only few just below the two televisions they had.

The bathrooms and showers were dirty. There was water everywhere on the floor – which was very awful. However, the lounge did have unlimited internet and the online booking was simple.

I definitely do not recommend the Plaza Premium lounge for a night stay. If you just have only couple of hours in hand then maybe yes!

Will I recommend this lounge? Definitely No.

Sip your coffee

The airport has plenty of cafes including the Costa Coffee. You can spend a couple of hours sipping and enjoying your coffee. I love my cold coffees so a café is definitely my first stop over at the airport during my transit in Kuala Lumpur airport.

Sip a coffee - Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
Costa Coffee

Get a massage

The airport has many vending machine massage chairs where you can pay and get a good massage. Unfortunately, they no longer have open massage and spa centres that they had a few years ago.

The cost for the massage are:

  • 10 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 10. Paid either by cash or Rest and Go (RNG) App.
  • 20 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 20. Paid either by cash or RNG App.
  • 40 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 20. Paid by DuitNow QR.
  • 60 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 30. Paid by DuitNow QR.
Get a massage - Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
Massage Chairs

Shop till you drop

The airport is home to many international and local shops. They have all kinds of things to buy. Ranging from local souvenirs to the international brands such as Michael Kors, they have everything. Definitely go spend some money purchasing some beautiful products.

Shop - Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Bonus thing to do – Go watch your favourite movie

KLIA airport has introduced a movie lounge. You can pay and watch you favourite movie now at this lounge. This is surely one of the coolest things to do while surviving your transit in Kuala Lumpur airport.

The cost for the movie lounge are:

  • 10 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 10. Paid either by cash or Rest and Go (RNG) App.
  • 20 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 20. Paid either by cash or RNG App.
  • 40 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 20. Paid by DuitNow QR.
  • 60 minutes – Malaysian Ringgit 30. Paid by DuitNow QR.
Movie Lounge - Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
Movie Lounge

Hotels at KLIA Airport

If you have more number of hours during your transit or want to spend a night at a hotel, then these are definitely some of the hotels at KLIA airport that you can check out:

  • Sama Sama Express Hotel (5 star hotel) – Inside the airport.
  • Tune Hotel (3 star hotel) – Inside the airport.
  • Movenpick Hotel (5 star hotel).
  • Hotel 99 Sepang KLIA (3 star hotel).

Affordable transportation between Kuala Lumpur city and KLIA airport

Don’t listen to the KLIA Information desk! The lady suggested that I take Kuala Lumpur (KL) express train to KL Sentral and then take another train to wherever I wanted from the Sentral. And she mentioned that it would cost me RM 55 per person.

I then asked her how much the taxi would cost and to which she informed that it would be around RM 100. Since we were two of us traveling, the train would have costed us RM 110 for two people. On listening to this I had decided taxi as a better and cheaper option.

But the affordable option to travel from/to the airport is the bus. The bus between KLIA and KL Sentral costs Malaysian Ringgit 12 per person. The tickets can be bought at the ticket counter in the bus stop. But while traveling to the airport, make sure you buy the ticket to the correct terminal.

  • Note: KL International airport has two terminals – KLIA Main and KLIA Terminal 2.

Closing Notes

There are many things to do while in KLIA airport. There are massage centres and there is also a Starbucks before checking in where one can spend time. The KLIA airport is a nice place to spend few hours to a day exploring while enjoying your transit in Kuala Lumpur airport.

In case you are staying in Kuala Lumpur and extend your trip to Langkawi, then definitely scuba dive at Pulau Payar island.

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