Getting Around Kuala Lumpur


There are two mass transit system running over and under KL, one a subway that sometimes runs above ground and the other a monorail that always runs up in the air. The two systems are operated by separate entities and do not interchange, even though it can look that way on maps. Make sure which you are working with.

The systems are easy to navigate and well-marked. Tickets are bought from handy machines, but have coins available. The stations are clean and easy enough to navigate.

Keep in mind that for a family of three or four a taxi might cost about the same as the mass transit and be faster and more comfortable. An exception would be during rush hour, or to a busy location where KL's notorious traffic can bite hard.


As mentioned, taxis can be a cheap and convenient way around town, especially with kids. There are a couple of things to think about first, however:

After about 4pm until around 8pm, or at major scenic and shopping sites, taxi drivers are loathe to use the meter and insist on negotiating a fixed fare. That fare is usually two or three times what the meter would show after you bargain a bit, but still often times not so expensive. Decide what it is worth to get into an air conditioned vehicle at the moment before you get angry; we at first got all worked up over the system until we realized we were expending sweat over US$3 at the end of a hot, already sweaty afternoon. Keep in mind also that if one driver is not using the meter, it is unlikely that the guys behind him in the taxi line are gonna treat you differently.

Some but not all taxi drivers will stop if you wave them down on the street. Sometimes you have to wander around until you find a taxi stand. You might look around for a hotel or shopping plaza, where taxis often collect.

Most but not all drivers speak English. You might want to have your destination's address written out, or be ready to use a map for less common places. We never had any trouble with common destinations.


KL is not really a walker's city. Development has been kind of frantic, kind of uncoordinated, kind of haphazard, so sidewalks aren't everywhere, streets and highways exist with no known way for humans to cross and traffic can be intense. Plus it can be really hot and humid. Other than short distances where you can see a clear path, don't assume you can walk from A to B.

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