The excellent public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is partially responsible for the city's explosive growth from a small tin mining camp in the 1850s to the busy capital of Malaysia.
Despite an expansive network of rail systems, buses, and even a monorail, much of the city's 7.2 million residents don't take advantage. Only an estimated 16% of residents use public transportation, the remaining choose to drive their own vehicles.
Today, three modern light rail transit systems - including a monorail - make getting around the city easier than ever. Kuala Lumpur trains are a traveler's best friend for circumnavigating the city's infamous traffic and checking out the many things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Don't be intimidated when you first see the rail map; tickets are surprisingly cheap and the rail system is easy to navigate.
The Kuala Lumpur Train System
Two massive rail systems known as the RapidKL LRT and the KTM Komuter service 86 stations all over the Greater Kuala Lumpur area. An elevated KL Monorail system connects an additional 11 stations nearer to the city center.
The heart of the Kuala Lumpur train system is the massive KL Sentral station. Opened in 2001 and perpetually under construction, KL Sentral is the largest train station in Southeast Asia! Both major train systems converge at KL Sentral; travelers can access the KL Monorail by only a five-minute walk outside of the KL Sentral station.
Depending on the destination, a train ticket costs between 33 cents and $1.50.
KL Monorail to Bukit Bintang
The Golden Triangle in the center of Kuala Lumpur is easily accessible by taking the KL Monorail from KL Sentral station. The Bukit Bintang monorail station will put you in the middle of the action, or you can access the northern part of the Golden Triangle by riding one more stop to the Raja Chulan station on Jalan Sultan Ismail. A ride on the monorail costs around 50 cents.
Accessing the KL Monorail: Due to construction, travelers must walk five minutes to Tun Sambanthan - the monorail station nearest KL Sentral. Exit KL Sentral station and walk across the street past the construction; signs indicate the way.
Note: Despite being extremely modern, the KL Monorail is often criticized for a lack of facilities to accommodate disabled travelers.
Train to KLCC
Kuala Lumpur City Centre - including the Petronas Towers - can be reached from KL Sentral by taking the RapidKL train north on the Kelana Jaya line (pink on transit maps) to the KLCC Station. KLCC Station is located under the Avenue K Shopping Mall on Jalan Ampang. An underground walkway connects the station to the Petronas Towers and other parts of KLCC.
Kuala Lumpur Trains to the Airport (KLIA)
Travelers that arrive to Kuala Lumpur through KLIA have two rail options for getting to the city. Known as the Express Rail Link (ERL), both trains are faster and easier than making the journey by bus.
- KLIA Ekspres: Faster of the two options, KLIA Ekspres operates direct trains every 20 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight to the KL Sentral station. The 28-minute trip costs $11 one-way.
- KLIA Transit: Also from the KL Sentral station, trains run every 30 minutes between 5:30 a.m. and midnight. The last train from the airport to KL Sentral is at 1 a.m. The journey takes around 40 minutes because the KLIA Transit makes three stops before the airport. A one-way ticket costs $11.
Note: There is no train service directly to Air Asia's LCCT terminal, however it has been proposed. For now, travelers can take the KLIA Transit train and get off at the Salak Tinggi station just before KLIA. A free connecting bus will take you from Salak Tinggi station to LCCT.
Perdana Lake Gardens By Train
The enjoyable Perdana Lake Gardens district - including the KL Bird Park - can be reached by taking either the KTM Komuter Sentul-Port Klang route (red) or the Pawang-Seremban route (blue) north from KL Sentral; exit the train at Kuala Lumpur station.
- Read more about the Perdana Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur Trains to Chinatown
Chinatown is connected to the rest of the city by train through the Pasar Seni station along the RapidKL Kelana-Jaya line (pink on the transit map). The Pasar Seni station is only a 400 meter walk from the Kuala Lumpur station and provides access to Petaling Street, the Central Market, and other places of interest around Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.
Note: Puduraya Station near Chinatown, once Kuala Lumpur's busiest bus station, is closed for renovation. Train service to the station is stopped.
- Read more about Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.
Batu Caves Train
Thanks to a new route opened in July 2010, the Batu Caves - one of the top attractions near Kuala Lumpur - is now accessible by train. Take the KTM Komuter Sentul-Port Klang line (red on transit maps) north to the last stop: Sentul Station.
- Read more about the Batu Caves.