It would have been nice to have a long layover in Kuala Lumpur during the day because it’s puzzling to find out what we’ll do at night. We have a 16-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur due to a modification on our flight with Air Asia.
The Malaysian budget airline is fair enough to bring you to a destination at a low price, but you must be lucky if the flight does not cancel, delayed, or change. We have flown with Air Asia many times and never had any issues. It was our first bad experience with the airline.
I book a flight from New Delhi, India, to the Philippines with a stopover in Brunei for a night. I could select a long layover in Kuala Lumpur during the booking, but I didn’t want to leave the airport as we’ve already been there. Moreover, we don’t have a lot of time on this trip. I choose to fly straight to Manila with a two-hour stopover at Kuala Lumpur airport.
Three Months After The Booking
However, three months after the booking, I received an email that our flight had changed – yet, we were able to reach our final destination on the same day. So it was just a half-hour delay.
Additionally, a second email came after the first mail that our flight to Manila was entirely canceled. Without any consent, they set us on a trip with a 16-hour overnight layover in Kuala Lumpur. We have no choice because we have already arranged everything in Cebu.
I contacted the customer service of Air Asia and never got any reply. I sent emails several times, or maybe I’m on the wrong contact address. So whatever it is, I’ve tried everything – it’s a sucks airline with poor customer service! So I have to adjust our itinerary due to the cancellation of the flight.
Our final destination on this trip is Cebu. Therefore, I booked a separate ticket with Cebu Pacific because Air Asia doesn’t fly to Mactan Cebu. With this obstacle, I have to cancel our flight to Cebu. It wasn’t a big deal for me, as I booked that flight for 400 pesos only and a non-refundable ticket. However, booking a new trip with Cebu Pacific cost me six times more because it’s close to departure day.
16-Hour Overnight Layover In Kuala Lumpur City
We board this flight from Brunei, and during check-in at the airport, they only see our original itinerary with a two-hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur. It seems the staff of Air Asia in Brunei wasn’t aware that our flight had changed. Following the airline’s policy, they printed out the boarding pass and tagged our luggage to Manila.
I explained that our flight was changed and there was no flight to Manila. Thus I showed them the email I received from Air Asia. This whole thing was so confusing; why they’re not informed about the changes to our flight? It looks like communication in the airline company isn’t right.
Somehow, I’ve learned my lesson this time. I usually don’t book a flight far in advance with budget airlines.
However, our holiday falls during the Christmas season. Therefore, I reserve the flights far off in advance, knowing it is the busiest time of the year.
As mentioned, we never had problems with Air Asia; it’s the first time it has caused me stress. Everything I arranged beforehand was a complete muck up, including the car rental in Cebu. What a pity we go through some difficulties with the airline.
Kuala Lumpur airport – Visa And Passport Control
A tourist visa is not required for many nationalities staying in Malaysia for less than 90 days. But your passport must be valid for at least six months upon arrival in the country. And you need to have a return ticket or proof of a document to your next destination.
Whether you are crossing to another country by train or any other transportation, book online – in our case, we have not asked for any document. For sure, print out your itinerary!
We traveled with a Belgium passport and received a three-month stamp upon arrival. As for other nationalities, check with the embassy in your home country before the trip.
Otherwise, check the Malaysian e-visa website. Remember that passport control at Kuala Lumpur airport can take a while. We were queuing for about 45 minutes, arriving in the evening.
Kuala Lumpur Layover? Getting To The City Center
As mentioned, it can take up to one hour before you clear the immigration because the passport control in Kuala Lumpur is disorganized. However, if you have a layover of fewer than eight hours, I suggest staying at the airport to avoid stress.
Although there’s not much to do inside the airport in Kuala Lumpur, by the time you clear immigration and head to the city center, you will already lose like three hours.
Also, remember that Kuala Lumpur is approximately 57 kilometers from the international airport and takes more than one hour in traffic. You must also be at the airport two to three hours before departure. Reaching the city center is pretty straightforward. There are different ways to get to Kuala Lumpur.
Based on our experience (going back to the airport), it takes 45 minutes with a taxi in the morning without traffic and costs 17 euros. However, if you want to reach the city within 30-minutes, the best option is to take the train KLIA Ekspres which costs 12 euros per person. The cheapest alternative for 3 euros is the bus, but it takes longer.
What To Do In Kuala Lumpur At Night?
Somewhat, there aren’t many things you can do on a long layover at night in Kuala Lumpur. You can go shopping and bar hopping, as some are open 24 hours.
We landed in Kuala Lumpur at 7:00 in the evening, and by the time we exited the airport and got to the city, it was pretty late.
We book a hotel in advance in Bukit Bintang to crash down, as our flight departs only at 11:00 in the morning.
However, it shouldn’t be a problem for people who love partying. If you stay in Bukit Bintang, this place turns into a different world at night. These were like the Bangkok Khao San Road, with a bustling nightlife.
We’re not a party-type traveler, though a short visit to a pub we’ll do. We coincidently went to a pub where there were no alcoholic drinks. We were looking for a place with big-screen tv my buddy wants to watch a soccer game. But later, we realized that we were in a Muslim pub, and only carbonated beverages were available.
The Petronas Twin Tower By Night
The Petronas twin tower is open daily until 9 pm, and these were the first thing we’ve done. I have seen all the tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur before, and I have been to the twin tower during the day. And I’m keen to go up to see the city at night. But when we got there, it was already closed. What a bummer.
However, standing beneath the tower at night was brilliant. The striking contrast is so excellent! People take selfies in different poses to get the twin towers in the background. We’re not the only crazy tourist.
The imposing twin tower has a unique structure with a height of 452 meters, the tallest identical building in the world. It’s something you can’t miss during your trip to Kuala Lumpur.
Tip! If visiting the Observation Deck of Petronas, book the tickets online HERE.
Like seeing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UNITED ARAB OF EMIRATES, booking tickets in advance is advisable! As the number of visitors per day is limited.
Getting here: If coming from Jalan Bukit Bintang, take the monorail (the green line). By foot is about a 15 to 30-minutes walk.
The Street Food In Jalan Alor
I love strolling markets and street food during my trip – it’s a place to blend with local people. But on my trip to India, I haven’t tried anything from food stalls due to low sanitation, which is also too risky for Delhi belly.
The street food experience in Kuala Lumpur is just the same as in Bangkok, Vietnam, and Singapore. The food stalls increasingly resemble small restaurants as an excellent place in the evening to watch the vendors preparing the food. The best Malaysian food is offered that is not in the overpriced restaurants.
You’ll find street food in different areas in Kuala Lumpur, but the most popular is Jalan Alor. The stalls may be found on both sides of the road, which have been a go-go place in Kuala Lumpur for years. Jalan Alor has a lot to offer for both its residents and foreigners. So either go for food or take a stroll and be part of the ambiance.
Shopping Or Just Browsing
We needed to buy some stuff because we didn’t have our luggage. So lucky that we could do some shopping here, or it could be a disaster.
Our luggage was tagged for Manila through misunderstanding or lack of communication with the staff from Air Asia, and we couldn’t get to it. We usually travel with a carry-on, but we bought some souvenirs in India that aren’t possible to carry onboard. So that’s why we need to check in our bags.
In some way, we’re in the right area. Bukit Bintang is the tourist center and the shopping district of Kuala Lumpur, a shopper’s paradise. You can shop till you drop, and some stores are open all night.
So there’s something to keep you up.
The range is extensive, from international luxury brands to famous Asian trademarks. I love shopping, and I could go for a whole day browsing some stuff, but I didn’t have a suitcase with me and ended up only buying one dress.
Which Neighborhoods To Stay in KL
Probably one of the most taxing decisions to make. Malaysia’s bustling capital Kuala Lumpur has grown into a metropolis with modern skyscrapers and countless neighborhoods with a different atmosphere.
I have been to Kuala Lumpur twice and stayed for a few days on each trip. Therefore choosing areas played a significant role in my opinion. But, based on my experience, as I’ve stayed in three different places in Kuala Lumpur, my favorite neighborhood is KLCC. However, everyone has their own opinion, and let nobody stops you from choosing places to stay. I prefer quiet areas.
The Three Areas in KL
On my first visit to KL, I stay in KLCC – a district with a popular tourist attraction and various highlights. Best known for the stunning Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC is the city’s business center with many high-rise buildings and is home to several luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
During my second time in KL, I stayed in Chinatown – which has a different atmosphere and a great place to sample the local flavor of Kuala Lumpur. China town is a cheaper version of Bukit Bintang, where you find inexpensive accommodation, shopping malls, and the famous Petaling food street.
This time I abide in Bukit Bintang – the tourist center of Kuala Lumpur and the most popular area to stay for many travelers. You will find a mix of accommodations from luxury and median to budget-class hotels, especially around Changkat Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor. Bukit Bintang is a long street with shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and the famous street food Jalan Alor.
A Basic Hotel In Bukit Bintang
When our flight itinerary changed, the first thing I did was book a hotel. It’s hard to stay awake the whole night, and we still have a long trip the next day. And guess what, for the first time we stayed in Bukit Bintang, I thought this could be great to experience.
We stayed at this hotel on the busiest street (Jalan street). The entertainment center of Kuala Lumpur, where you find everything. Once you step out the door, you’re right away on the shopping street, and the street food in Jalan Alor is only five minutes walk.
It’s my first time staying in Bukit Bintang, and I’m not returning to this neighborhood. The hotel was pretty good, but if you want a restful night– this isn’t the right place. We got a room on the 8th floor, and I could hear the music from bars nearby and ended up awake the whole night. There are plenty of accommodations on Booking.com for a reasonable price.