Public transport in Kuala Lumpur. For tourists, that isn’t the most common way to come along. Most information is not available in English and the communication with drivers is often a real problem. Anyway, the public transport network of the Malay capital is really good. There are buses, a railway network, a subway, taxis and many alternative means of transport. Our guide to the complicated transportation network of Kuala Lumpur.
As a tourist in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll have to make a choice: Go for a taxi each time or try something new. The public transportation system of KL is rarely similar to the one of European and American cities.
There are no real maps and only few information in English (mostly in the subway stations). Anyway, it’s possible to come along and use the public transport efficiently.
The train system in Kuala Lumpur is actually not the easiest one to come along with. Several trains are underground, others are driving over ground. Usually, the trains are the fastest mode of transport to come from one point in the city to another.
Anyway, there are just a few lines crossing the city center, because the system consists of commuter lines. The Rapid KL trains Kelena Jaya Line, Sri Petaling Line and KL Monorail are the best ways to reach different points in the city.
In all stations, there is information in English available. Buying tickets from machines is not really difficult and cheap at the same time. Other rail services, connecting KL to other cities in the surrounding countryside are the KTM Komuter and KTM Intercity lines. The former are also stopping at other stations in Kuala Lumpur than KL Sentral, the latter are not. Last but not least, there are also the so-called KLIA Express (high-speed train to the airport) and the KLIA Transit (train to the airport that is stopping several times before reaching the airport).
While it is easy to come along with trains in Kuala Lumpur, it’s way tougher to get going with a bus. The bus system is rarely explained in English and the buses are operating all over the city. Problematic is the fact that the system is rarely connected. Next to the state-operated RapidKL buses, there are also several other companies operating buses in the city. Anyway, the RapidKL are the most easy ones to use for tourists.
They are connecting several main hubs with each other and make it easy to get from one point in the city to another. Tickets are cheaper than for the train, yet there is a risk getting stuck in traffic when using buses. All in all, there are more than 200 bus lines operated by RapidKL at the moment. Due to that, it’s important to have a close look which bus you have to take. Most buses are not only driving through the city center, but also connect KL with the surrounding countryside.
When it comes to taxis, transportation in Kuala Lumpur is way easier than in other Asian cities. KL taxi drivers are known to be more honest than the drivers in cities like Jakarta. Due to that, even tourists can hop onto pretty much every taxi. Yet, it’s recommendable to be aware of deceivers.
Always ask the driver to use the taximeter and be sure to have a clue on where you are going. Also, it’s safer for tourists to get a taxi called (by the hotel for example). Taking a taxi is way more expensive than taking the public transport and may not be faster than going by train in rush hour. Anyway, driving taxi is not really expensive compared with the prices of European and American cities.
As Kuala Lumpur is in Asia, there is a lot of “non-public” transport. Several people are offering transportation services with mopeds or other kinds of motorcycles. Moreover, there are rickshaws that are mostly aimed for tourists.
Yet, you won’t find as many special means of transport in Kuala Lumpur as in other Asian metropolises. Tourists should usually stuck to the public one as it’s more reliable and safe. More experienced travelers may get a better fare by haggling about the price for private transportation services.