Whenever I fly for a long-haul flight, I like to incorporate a long layover period, just to experience another city by only paying for a single airplane ticket. Although the time during a layover is very limited, you can make the most out of it if you have a clear plan on how to spend those short period of time. I like to segmentize my time carefully if I opt to go out from the airport during the layover period.
I know, sometimes, we people feel reluctant to go out from the airport as we do not know what to expect, but don’t worry, I will help you out by proposing an itinerary that you can follow if by any chance you have a 24-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). However, be sure that you check your visa requirement first. You can check here. If you need a visa, then this short layover plan might not be suitable for you. I am sorry. 🙁
Getting out from the airport
Upon landing, from your arrival terminal, head down to the aerotrain to catch up the coach that will head down to the custom and baggage reclaim area. Pass through the customs check and get your passport stamped. The whole security check process may require 1-2 Hours in total, depending on your landing time and whether it is in the holiday season.
Once you passed through the security, head to the Main Terminal Building, Level 3 Arrival Hall to leave your carry luggage at Baggage Solution that opens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The charge to leave your belongings depends on the size and it’s ranging from RM19 to RM51. However, I believe a normal carry luggage will only cost you RM19. I would suggest you to only bring you small backpack or a messenger bag and avoid bringing unnecessary items as you want to travel as light as possible.
Then, find any money changer kiosk to exchange your money. Ask for smaller notes like RM10 or RM20 so it will be easier to do the transaction. I would say RM200 is more than enough for a day trip. Oh yeah, RM300 is about 67US Dollar. However, if you want to avoid the hassle to go through this process, you may opt for a travel card by Travelex. You can pre-order them online and put money in it. This travel card will be ready to use in the local currency. Easy peasy.
When you are ready to go, head down to the arrival terminal and choose your mode of transportation to the downtown. There are two main options;
1 – By using UBER
Thanks to the ride-sharing technology, you can easily find UBER services in KLIA. UBER in KLIA is very common now and you can easily ride on to one of the UBER in KLIA as the fare is considerably cheaper than the taxi. It is best to avoid taxis that are available outside the terminal as most of them are very pricey and usually the drivers tend to target innocent foreigners for extra money. The advantage of riding with UBER is that you can go directly to the place that you want to go, meanwhile if you are using the train, you might need to walk or find another transportation mode to get to the exact location of interest. The disadvantage? Well, obviously, traffic – especially during peak hours.
2 – By using ERL.
ERL is the express train that will go through only 4 stops before you arrive in the KL Sentral (the transportation hub of KL). You may buy a return ticket that will cost you RM100 or if you buy it from their website/kiosk /app, you are entitled to a 10% discount. The journey from the airport to KL Sentral is about 35 minutes max, and once you are in KL Sentral, you are ready to explore Kuala Lumpur! The advantage of using ERL – it is time-saving, only 35 minutes to the heart of KL, meanwhile, the disadvantage is you might need to do extra commute from KL Sentral
Time Elapsed – 4 Hours
Roti Canai for Breakfast
I assumed that you are here in KL during the breakfast time. That is a good time to be in town and to start your amazing day ahead. After a long flight, you might want to indulge yourself with a hearty breakfast. Thus, head to Valentine Roti – best roti canai! Their address is – No. 1, Jalan Semarak, 54000, City Center, Kuala Lumpur. If you are traveling by train (KL LRT), the nearest stop is Damai, and this place is 15 minutes away by walking.
There are so many versions of Roti Canai available, they are all very famous for breakfast, the stature of Roti Canai might be similar as Bagel for the New Yorkers. However, it is common to eat this anytime of the day too. Don’t be ashamed, as we all eat breakfast meals all day, every day. You can ask for Roti Canai with egg, onion, sardines, or even banana! Go through the menu with an open mind and empty stomach!
The usual company for Roti Canai is Teh Tarik. Bubbled tea with condensed milk. It is quite sweet but if you are conscious of your health, order Teh Tarik Kurang Manis – means a less sweet version, please..For recommendation, I will suggest you try a plate of plain Roti Canai (just to give you the taste of original version) and a plate of Roti Planta which is the best seller of the place. All of these will cost you at most RM6 to RM7 ONLY!
Walk to Petronas Twin Towers KLCC
To burn off that extra calories, walk from the Valentine Roti to Petronas Twin Towers, it will be quite a walk, around 20-30 minutes. But, this way you will have the chance to really explore the city and of course, to justify the calories you consumed earlier. But, if you don’t feel like walking, grab a taxi or UBER (better) and you will be there in 10 minutes depending on the traffic situation.
When you are in KLCC, you will find a mall at the ground floor, an outdoor park with great fountains, a giant aquarium named Aquaria KLCC (suitable for kids), PETROSAINS – a Science Discovery Centre that uses a fun and interactive approach to tell the story of the science and technology of the petroleum industry. However, due to time constraint, you might want to skip all these and maybe go straight to the sky bridge. You can opt for the ‘skip the line’ ticket that will cost you RM142. With this kind of ticket, you have the choice of several departures throughout the day, and you can enjoy fantastic aerial views. This guide will come with an informative, friendly and professional guide.
Time Elapsed – 9 Hours
Check in and refresh yourself
By the time you finish your sky bridge tour, you might already feel really uncomfortable, and might be sweaty too. Malaysia is a very humid country, so the rate of precipitation is very high. Drink a lot of water. I imagine by this time you might feel like freshen up yourself a little bit. It might already be the time for check in for most hotels.
As this is just a layover, I would suggest you go for a simpler hotel that is decent and comfortable enough to just lay your head over and to at least have the roof over your head. However, in this situation, it is crucial to choose a hotel with the best location possible so you will be in the heart of every action and for that reason, I would suggest you check into a hotel in Bukit Bintang area.
You may consider Sandpiper Hotel, that is located at the very heart of Bukit Bintang, the price for one night with complimentary breakfast is only 20USD. Check out the guest review and book here at Hotels.com
Once checked in, get some shower, take a very quick nap, and you will have that energy boost to continue with your quick vacation.
Time Elapsed – 11 Hours
Time to explore the street
You have recharged your energy, in my mind, you most probably be very hungry. For a quick snack, I suggest you find a street cart vendor that sell Malaysian snack foods like Goreng Pisang and other options as well. Look for a coconut or sugar cane juice if possible, that will fresh you up even more.
Then, head down to Petaling Street – the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur, you may do some quick shopping here, but be very careful, this place is well known for the tourist scam. Avoid asking prices if you really not interested, the seller might be frustrated by your action. It is a nice place to visit but use your common sense when shopping. If the price is not making sense, just avoid it.
Also, head down to Jalan TAR (Tun Abdul Rahman Street) for its night market. This is one of the best options nearby city center. This night market is situated near to Masjid India. Amid the headscarf and T-shirt sellers, there are plenty of stalls serving excellent Malay, Indian and Chinese snacks and colorful soy- and fruit-based drinks.
Note that night markets will be opened until 10 pm at night. So you have all time in the world to explore it. It might be the night of your life. A night to immerse in the local culture.
Then get back to your hotel, explore Bukit Bintang at night. This place is very lively at this hour with so many things going on. That is why it is worth it to be in Bukit Bintang for the night. You may want to explore other streets like Jalan Sultan Ismail or Jalan P. Ramlee.
When you fell like calling it a day, get back to your hotel, and have a good night rest to continue your flight tomorrow.
Time Elapsed – 17 Hours
After a good night sleep, and a hearty breakfast at your hotel, you may find a little bit more time to spare, I suggest you visit the Putrajaya Mosque on the way back to the Airport. Putrajaya is a new administrative city built and visioned by the former prime minister of Malaysia – Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. If you are using the ERL, you may want to stop at Putrajaya.
Time Elapsed – 28 Hours
Getting back to the airport
By the time you conclude your mosque tour, you might still have a few hours left to spare. Reserve 4-5 hours for everything that you must do at the airport. From, going through security, finding the terminal and most importantly factor in the time to survive the traffic.
If you feel like eating the last Malaysian Dish for lunch, go to Medan Selera Taman Warisan Pertanian at Putrajaya as well. You can find variety of foods here. From Satay, Nasi Lemak to Coconut Shake, they have it all. That is why I suggest you drop by Putrajaya for a while before you go back to the airport. It is suitable for a last minute tour as it is very near to the KLIA.
Time Elapsed – 30 Hours
Then, it probably the time to say goodbye. You have to go back to the airport by now. I believe with this itinerary, you could get a brief introduction to Malaysia and its culture. Although it is a short trip, it will be a meaningful one and it will long you to come back again to explore a little bit further.
So, who said that a layover is not fun?
What do you think about this plan? Don’t forget to drop your comment below and share your layover experience if possible.
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