Kuala Lumpur

7 hour Layover in Kuala Lumpur

Layovers are simply part of travel these days unless you pay more or get lucky. I really don’t mind layovers anymore since they have become part of air travel and give me time to grab some food or stretch my legs. The best part is you should remember you will earn a lot more miles flying on indirect flights then if you fly direct. So you can build up your mileage simply by taking a longer route if you have the time.

I recently had a 7 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur and had never been in Malaysia. I did not want to miss out on getting a preview of a new country so I had researched how much time I needed to see a few major sites and get back for my flight.

I arrived at 6:30am and my departing flight to Phuket was at around 1:30pm. I used travel forums such as TripAdvisor and FlyerTalk to find out how much time I needed to get to the city and back. While I am not a huge fan of TripAdvisor it does have a lot of valuable information. A lot of the basics are covered in the top questions of every forum.

Seat61 is a great site for getting unique and detailed travel info. It is what I used most recently to figure out how to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap and it was spot on.

TripAdvisor is handy for things to do in your short amount of time and how long you need to make it happen. It will tell you if a 6 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur is long enough or if you need 8 or maybe 10 hours. They have an FAQ along the side of each forum that are pretty reliable.

My 7 Hour Layover in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lupur Layover

I read I needed 6-8 hours to get to the city and back since it’s about an hour from the airport. I needed to be back about 90 minutes before my flight. The golden rule is 2 hours for international flights but I checked in a couple of bags with AirAsia before I left so all I would need to do is clear security. Returning 90 minutes before my departure was plenty of time.

The next task was finding a taxi driver who would take me in to the city round-trip, show me some of the highlights, and get me back in 3-4 hours. The bus was not an option since it was so slow and takes around 2 hours to get into the city. I would’ve also needed a taxi once it dropped me off so that was not an option. I negotiated with the taxi stand operator and not the driver. Told him what I would pay and he found me a driver willing to take it. I read online it would be around $80 round trip to do this. I offered $30 USD each way and that was accepted.

He took me to the Petronas Towers, the Twin Towers of Asia. They were amazing (tallest in the world until 2004). There was no time to go in but seeing them was great and all I needed.

Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers

Next stop:

Kuala Lumpur Space Needle. Which I did have time to explore. We got there right when it opened at 9am and went straight to the top. It was $15/person and the view was great. I also noticed that this may have been the most friendly staff I’ve ever encountered or perhaps just the way the people of Malaysia are.

Kuala Lumpur Space NeedleKuala Lumpur Space Needle

From the Kuala Lumpur Space NeedleThe View from the Top

You do not get a great angle of the towers but they are still great to see from this height.

Hindu Temple Kuala LumpurHindu Temple

Chinese TempleChinese Temple Kuala LumpurChinese Temple

Government Building Kuala LumpurGovernment Building

So this is not an ideal way to see a city but it is a fantastic way to spend a layover. I had time to wash up in the bathroom, eat a hearty breakfast, use the free Wi-Fi in the airport, and see some incredible sites in Kuala Lumpur all in 7 hours. And this was all after a 6.5 hr overnight flight from Seoul so there are no excuses not to make the best of any travel situation.

Keys to Maximizing your Layover
  • Research length of layover needed
  • Pre-Check any bags (if needed)
  • Check-in online or in person before you leave
  • Negotiate with your driver (find one who speaks your language)
  • See as much as you can and remember you are making the best of it so have fun
  • Get back to the airport with 90 minutes-2 hrs before you departure (if international)

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I have been traveling to over 100 countries by using the methods I share on this site. My goal is to maximize every trip and make the most of my adventures. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram

  • Natasha

    Thanks, this was extremely helpful information for planning what might be a great lay-over in Kuala Lumpur.

    • It was completely worth the trip into the city to see the towers and enjoy a long layover. Might as well make the most of your time traveling when you have the chance!

  • susan

    Hi Clint, I’m stumble on your website as i’m searching for my KL stopover next May. Actually, I”ve been to KL 2 times before, but never had any experience with lay over. since the next trip will be with my family of 12!yes, it’s quite huge entourage. So i need to find the best fit for everyone to at least enjoy one KL highlight. I’ll be arrive in LCCT at 13:10 from DMK, and my next flight will be at 22:55 to BDO. So i hope with the available hours, we can make a trip to KLCC by KLIA transit and get back right away. anyway, I also visited the KL towers around 6 years ago with some new friends met in hostel. When we were there, the tower is almost close, but yet the staff were extremely nice and they let us came in even for free!what a gesture 🙂

    • Hi Susan, you sound like a KL travel pro! Managing 12 people is no easy task. You definitely have plenty of time to visit the city center and return to the airport before your next flight. I think your best bet would be taking public transportation if the timing worked or prearranging a van to take you into the city. However, I do not recall seeing too many large taxis and one that can accommodate 12 might not be possible. However, breaking up into two groups might make it more manageable and still economical. Let me know if you need any suggestions, have a great time!

  • jamie

    Would you advise going into the city if you have just over 5 hours of a stopover? Thank you 🙂

    • 5 hrs is going to be tough. I would recommend 7 hours but you could do less if you truly just want to get into the city, snap some photos and get out. Some things to consider are being back to the airport two hours before departure. This can be shortened if you have carry-on luggage or can check-in before you head out to see the city. Assuming it is an international flight you will want to give yourself plenty of time. That said, it could be done but when you arrive you need to quickly find a driver and get downtown quickly. Double check his opinion on travel times in/out of the city and go from there. Have a great trip!

  • lyn

    thanks for sharing this info,very helpful..we will have 6 hrs stop over in kuala lumpur..hopefully we can have a trip in the city too. 🙂

    • triphackr

      6 hours should be time to see a few sites. It will be brief but its worth it to see those towers! Have fun!

  • Angie

    Amazing blog post Clint! We also have a 7 hour layover on our way to Bali from Switzerland. I will probably print this and use it as a guide! Did you stop off anywhere to eat? Is the KL airport hard to navigate through on your way back in?

    • Perfect amount of time for a layover. We did stop to eat but it was no place special. The airport was simple on the way back. I actually returned with a little too much time but didn’t want to miss my connection. Have a great trip and let me know if you have any questions!

  • Anastasia

    Hi Clint,I have a 8 hours in KL,flying from Seoul to Sydney With air Asia,I have a question,do I send all my bags all the way to Sydney when I check in at seoul airport do I need to get a boarding pass for next fly from kl to sydney or do I need to check in again at the airport of kL

  • bj

    Hi there
    We are travelling from Melbourne to London but have a layover in kl. Arrive 215pm and fly out again at 11pm. Travelling with 3 children and husband but would like to see some sights rather than just the airport
    Any advice? It’s either the sights or an airport pool are the options!

    • I would hire a large taxi to drive you around for the afternoon. That is plenty of time to escape the airport. Public transportation is an option with that much time but a little harder with 3 kids. Plan out a few major attractions you would like to see and have your taxi driver be your tour guide for the day. You can negotiate a price before you agree to the afternoon trip. Have fun!

    • bj

      Thanks Clint any rough suggestion on approx how much we should pay?

    • I think a large taxi (5-6 passengers) is round $50-60 to the city. Smaller taxis are closer to $20 but whichever you can fit your family on just plan to double that price for the return trip. From there its all about the negotiation with the driver. Work out an hourly rate and add that to create a flat rate for the trip. It isn’t exactly cheap but for a private driver for the day its not bad and nice to get out of the airport.

      You could also look into a private company and plan this before you arrival. That would save you time and any onsite negotiating.

    • bj

      thinking probably space needle and petronas towers are definites any other must sees would you say? also what are the private companies you are referring to? thanks so much for this information by the way – opening up another short sightseeing visit we wouldn’t have done!

    • Those are must sees and I’d try to make time to sit down for a nice meal while you’re there too. Experience some of the food. I haven’t used or booked any private transfers but they do exist if you want to research them and contact one. The taxis are just fine too if you don’t want to bother I was just saying it’s an option to take care of payment before arrival. However, it could be a little pricier. Have fun on your trip!

  • Stacy

    We have a six hour layover in November. So happy to have stumbled on your page!!

    • Great to hear you had a great time and thanks for the trip update!

  • Nee

    I am amazed you didn’t get stuck in the traffic jam. Glad that you enjoyed Kuala Lumpur.

  • Zafar Khan

    Hi Clint, my fligh lands in KUL at 10AM and my connecting flight is at 9.15 PM. I want to be back in Airport by 7.30 PM, considering getting out of airport and getting a taxi would take 30-45 Minutes, so I have about 8-9 hours, -2 for travel from and to Airport. So now i got 6-7 hours. Do you think thats good enough to cover all places you mentioned, including going inside the towers? Can I do may be a little more than these places? And most importantly, how is the traffic in KL? Thanks!!

    • Absolutely! 6-7 hrs is plenty of time to get around. Traffic can be bad but you have the additional buffer time. I didn’t go up the towers but if you book it in advance that might be an option. You might be able to find additional info on their site but you have plenty of time to see some highlights.

      https://eticket.petronastwintowers.com.my/

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  • Baban

    Hi Clint,
    I am traveling from Singapore to India and have layover in KL. My flight reaches kl at 3:30 pm and connecting flight is at 10:00 pm. Can u suggest what places I can visit. Would it be safe to go in city for timely return.

  • JP

    Hey that’s a great blog you have. I am just wondering what procecures to follow to get out of the airport and get back. My friend and I (20 years old ) are planning a trip from Manila to Indonesia and from Indonesia to Cambodia. On both flights we are planning to have a lay over of more than 10 hrs in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore so we could explore the place. Do we have to go through the immigration to ask for pemission if we could go out of the airport? What should we do? I hope to hear a response from you. That would be great. Thanks.

    • darling bud

      this might be too late for this respond, but can be reference for other person. for layover. u dont need permission, u can simply store luggage at airport if you dont intend to carry it around but bring along ur passport with you. once out from airport, u can take bus, taxi or ETS( fast train direct to city-kindly see schedule before buying the ticket).from there, plan your journey.. make sure. time to and fro airport-city is 1 hour. kindly deduct 2 hours from ur layover time.

  • Henrry Nicholas

    thanks for sharing this info

  • Iyey Ponce

    Hi Clint,

    How about inserting Batu Caves on this trip? Would it suffice the time to get back at the airport?

    Thanks! You rock!

    Iyey

    • darling bud

      you can make it if you skip the government building (Putrajaya)

  • Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite places in Asia.

  • akumla

    hi ! clint , I am travelling to Bali and have a layover of 10 hours at kuala lampur and I plan to go visit the city. I am travelling by Malindo airline, the airline told me that I have to take my baggage at Kuala Lampur and then check in again later, Do you think that would consume time??
    thanks
    akumla:)

    • darling bud

      yes, you have to take your beg with you if it is not transit flight. but you can store it at the airport (pre checked) if you dont need it along with you..

      as long as u have sufficient time back to airport. it should be no problem. make in min 2 hours before depart must be at airport. to ensure smooth operation..

      10 hours of layover.. (2 hours back n forth airport-city-airport) u only have 8 hours for visiting..

      what time will u reach in Kuala Lumpur?

  • Olena Kagui Kahujová

    Thanks for the great post 🙂 I have a 12.5 hour layover there in August (yes, I plan trips WAY in advance) and I was worried that it wouldn’t be enough time. Now I know that I can do it! I’ll be writing my own post about this once I do it but I’ll make sure to link yours too 🙂

  • Catherine

    Hi sir! Just wanted to ask if I can still take picture of the famous petronas tower even if it is close? Coz I will have my layover Monday.. And as I researched, the tower is close every Monday.. is it still.possible to capture it and have some good shot with it?

    • hairi

      The twin tower is divided into corporate and shopping mall. The access to mall is daily. You have to pay if you wanna enter the twin tower bridge.

  • Hairi

    Hi, i’m from malaysia. Next time you are in Malaysia, kindly use the ERL (express railway link) which offers direct KLIA-KL Sentral access. From there, you can take LRT to KLCC or any other place in Kuala Lumpur

  • I would like to say that, this would be so much amazing for me and for sure others too. I really like this way of sharing and wanna share with others too.

  • jodie berends

    Hi Clint, I am doing my first international trip in March, on the way back we have a 12 hour layover on a connecting flight, is there any tips you can give us? it is a party of 2 check checked bags, we get in at 10:20am depart at 10:40pm. thanks in advance.