The best way to survive a long layover (more than 6 hours) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is to get out of the airport. For citizens of the Indian Sub Continent, the Malaysian Government offers transit without visa – a visa that allows you to enter Malaysia without a Malaysian Visa for a maximum of 120 hours (~5 days) – if your destination is any one of the following –
- New Zealand
- United States of America
- South Korea
and, if you travel either by Malaysian Airlines or Air Asia. For more details about transit without visa, you can read here.
If you are not from the Indian Subcontinent and still have a long layover, I suggest you apply for a Malaysian visa before your travel. Once you have your Malaysian visa, you can step out of the airport.
Now that you have stepped out of the airport, what next?
You can either take the KLIA express (can be boarded right from the airport) and head to Putrajaya – a city closer to the airport and is often overlooked despite its beauty or, you can take the KLIA express and head straight to Kuala Lumpur Central.
A return ticket to Putrajaya on the KLIA costs roughly around 18 RM (Malaysian Ringgit) and a return ticket to KL Sentral costs 110 RM and can be purchased at the KLIA Express ticket booth.
Once you have purchased your tickets, board the KLIA Express and in 20 minutes, you are at Putrajaya. You again have two options here. You can either visit the city via public transport or take a cab. But another better way to look around the city would be to hire a cab (located right next to the Putrajaya Sentral Bus Stop) for 80 RM that takes you to all the prominent tourist spots within 2 hours. You can pay more if you need more time at each of the tourist spots. We preferred the 2 hour drive around the city. You are assigned a cab and the driver takes you around the city and stops at each tourist spot for 10 minutes (average). He stops longer at the Putra Mosque and at the Perdana Putra (both at walking distance from each other) – the more popular tourist spots. This option is very similar to the Hop on – Hop off bus, the difference being, you given much less time at the each place and you can’t change cabs.
A few of the places covered by the cab on this 2 hour tour –
- Putra Mosque – Located on the banks of the Putrajaya lake, the Putra mosque is a sight for sore eyes. With its trademark Pink dome and huge minaret, a glimpse of the Putra mosque is a must on a trip to Putrajaya. This mosque is Putrajaya’s most distinctive landmark.
- Perdana Putra – Located a stone throw’s away from the Putra Mosque, the Perdana Putra, with its distinctive green dome, houses the office complex of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
- The Bridges of Putrajaya – The Putra Bridge, Seri Perdana Bridge, Seri Bakti Bridge, Seri Gemilang Bridge and the Seri Wawasan Bridge are some of the popularly visited bridges in Putrajaya that are known for their unique and distinctive design.
- Millenium Monument – An obelisk built to commemorate important periods and milestones in the nation’s history.
- Anjung Floria – A flower garden with a Chinese temple. A nice and quiet place for a long walk and some relaxation.
- Putrajaya International Convention Centre – The main convention centre in Putrajaya witha distictive architectural design.
Some of the places covered by the cab may not be of interest to you. In that case, you can simply request your cab driver to skip those places and take you only to those places you are interested in. That way, you get to spend more time at the popular and more significant tourist spots.
The other option, where you visit the city on your own via a drop-off cab or public transport, can work out to be both expensive and time consuming – you don’t need to spend so much on just a layover. You can save that cash for your actual destination. The hired cab option will show you around the city in 2 hours. This gives you ample time to head to KL Sentral, visit the Petronas towers, grab a lovely dinner and head back to the airport, just in time for your next flight.