Getting around Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has an efficient and inexpensive public transport system of buses and trains, overseen by Rapid KL (tel: +60 3 7885 2585; www.myrapid.com.my). Integrated tickets and passes are available on all trains and buses that come under the scheme. MyRapid Card is a reloadable smartcard, which deducts the fare each time you travel. However, the interchanges between the various commuter train lines can be confusing, and it can take a while to get used to the system. Fortunately, English is almost universally spoken, so communication is never a problem.
Rapid KL operates two cross-city Light Railway Transit (LRT) lines. The Kelana Jaya Line runs between Kelana Jaya and Gombak via KL Sentral. The Ampang Line links Sentul Timur with Ampang on one branch and Sri Petaling on the other. For easy access to the main tourist spots in the centre, Rapid KL also operates the KL Monorail, which zips between Titiwangsa and a stop close to, but not inside, Kuala Lumpur's Sentral Station.
As well as Rapid KL services, KTM (tel: +60 3 2267 1200, in Malaysia only; www.ktmb.com.my) provides trains to the suburbs using long-distance railway lines. The two lines, Tanjung Malim-Sungai Gadut and Batu Caves-Pelabuhan Klang, intersect at KL Sentral.
Buses run by Rapid KL and Metro Bus (tel: +60 3 5635 3070) supplement the train network, connecting the various stations and running along most major streets. However, most visitors stick to the trains, as the routes and the complex system of bus classes and fares can be confusing.
Taxi ranks are found in fixed locations throughout the city, and taxis can also be flagged down in the street, though drivers may only pull in if they can do so without losing their place in the traffic queue. Officially, fares should be on the meter. In practice, most drivers demand a fixed fare. Be prepared to haggle, and don’t be surprised if drivers flatly refuse to go to certain locations during rush hour. Public Cab (tel: +60 3 6259 2029) and Sunlight Taxi (tel: +60 3 9200 1166, in Malaysia only) offer pre-booked cabs.
Roads are generally of good standard, but the one-way system and the tangle of flyovers, underpasses and tunnels can be confusing. Traffic slows to a snail's pace during rush hour; travel by commuter train at this time if at all possible. The ubiquitous scooters are a constant hazard in the city, and not just to their own riders.
Car parks are mainly located at large hotels and city-centre shopping malls. Free public parking, on the other hand, is non-existent in the centre.
There are plenty of international car hire companies, and vehicles are well maintained. Companies include Avis (tel: 1800 882 487; www.avis.com.my) and Hertz (tel: 0330 365 3001; www.hertz.com.my). Drivers must usually be at least 23 years old and have held a full driving licence for two years. It is advisable to hold an International Driving Permit.
With its perilous traffic and bewildering road system, Kuala Lumpur is not a town to negotiate by bicycle.