Travel to Kuala Lumpur
Flying to Kuala Lumpur
For cheap fares to cities around South-East Asia, try budget carriers Air Asia (www.airasia.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Firefly (www.fireflyz.com.my). Malindo Air (www.malindoair.com) offers flights within Malaysia as well as in Asia and Australia.
Travel by road
Roads in Malaysia are some of the best maintained in Asia, and driving standards are also higher than you'll find in most neighbouring countries. Traffic drives on the left, and most drivers actually follow this rule. The speed limits are an optimistic 60kph (37mph) in the city, 80-90kph (50-56mph) on main country roads and 110kph (69mph) on highways and expressways. The minimum age for driving is 17 years (16 years for a motorcycle). A national driving licence is required and it is advisable to obtain an International Driving Permit.
The North-South Highway, which extends from Singapore to the Thai border via Kuala Lumpur, has made long-distance driving in Malaysia a relative breeze, although driving in Kuala Lumpur itself is best avoided. The centre of KL is a maze of tunnels and flyovers and the heavy traffic can turn even the shortest journey into a drawn-out ordeal.
Although driving standards around the county are generally good, Malaysia still has its share of drivers who take risks such as overtaking on blind corners, speeding in heavy rainfall and jumping red traffic lights.
The Automobile Association of Malaysia (tel: 1 300 226 226, in Malaysia only or +60 3 5511 1932; www.aam.org.my) is the country's main motoring organisation.
Emergency breakdown services
Automobile Association of Malaysia (tel: 1 300 226 226, in Malaysia only or +60 3 5511 1932). Plusronda (tel: 1 800 880 000, in Malaysia only; www.plus.com.my) provides 24-hour emergency telephones, situated every 2km (1.2 miles) on expressways and toll roads.
The North-South Expressway and Federal Route 1 run south from KL to Johor Baru, which is connected via causeway to Singapore. Heading north, the same routes connect KL with Butterworth/Penang and Bukit Kayu Hitam, on the Thai border near Hat Yai. Tolls apply on the North-South Expressway. To reach the west coast of the peninsula, Federal Route 2 runs from KL to Kuantan, and Federal Route 3 runs on to Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu.
Numerous companies operate air-conditioned services across the peninsula, including the government-owned Transnasional Express (tel: +60 3 4045 8878), in Malaysia only; www.transnasional.com.my).
The main terminal for northbound buses is the revamped Pudu Sentral Station (formerly known as Puduraya) on Jalan Puda Raya, close to Chinatown. This is the place to come for services to Butterworth/Penang and the Thai border.
Most southbound buses, including services to Johor Bahru and Singapore, use the much more efficient Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS; tel: +60 3 9051 2000; www.tbsbts.com.my) on Jalan Terminal Selatan.
Services to the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia also leave from Putra Bus Station, opposite the Putra World Trade Centre, and Pekeliling Bus Station, next to the Titiwangsa Monorail and LRT station.
Time to city
From Melaka - 2 hours; Singapore - 4 hours; Butterworth/Penang - 4 hours.
Travel by Rail
Kuala Lumpur has fast and frequent train connections to other cities in peninsular Malaysia, as well as neighbouring Thailand and Singapore. The main railway station is KL Sentral Station (tel: +60 3 2730 2000; www.klsentral.com.my), located 1.5km (1 mile) southwest of the city centre.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad - KTMB (tel: +60 3 2267 1200; www.ktmb.com.my) operates most rail services in peninsular Malaysia. Trains to destinations on the west coast are generally reasonably fast and efficient, although landslides and technical problems can cause delays, particularly during the monsoon months. Services along the east coast are less frequent, and trains generally stop some distance from the towns that most travellers are trying to reach.
Heading south, there are daily trains from KL to Johor Bahru and on to Singapore. Heading north, regular services run to Butterworth (near Penang), and on to Hat Yai on the Thai border. To complete the same journey in style, the luxurious Eastern and Oriental Express (www.belmond.com/eastern-and-oriental-express) takes three to four days to complete the trip from Singapore to KL and on to Bangkok, with tours and detours along the way.
From Johor Bahru - 6 hours; Singapore - 7 to 8 hours; Butterworth - 7 hours; Hat Yai - 13 hours.