Experiences / Malaysia / The Philippines

A Cosmopolitan Escape: From Manila to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur (KL)

One of the most inexpensive journeys out of the Philippines via airplane is to travel to the amazing city of  Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. With a population of about 5.6 million and its southern location in East Asia, ‘KL’ is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures, religions and foods. The city with the two identical towers, namely the Petronas Twin Towers is definitely worth a weekend-trip. KL has evolved from a British Colony Capital into one of Asia’s richest cities today. The city is young, vibrant and enjoys a wide variety in music, art and events.

Leaving Manila


There are a number of airlines catering the route Manila-KL. Recommended direct flights are offered by Zest Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Malaysia Airlines (if you want to splurge a little). Consider that you have to show proof of next outbound journey of the Philippines if you are on a tourist visa and you fly Zest Airways or Cebu Pacific.


The journey to KL will start from Manila’s NAIA Airport or Terminal 3, if you are flying with Cebu Pacific. Make sure you know which Terminal you are flying from and avoid complications. Tell your taxi driver the airline and terminal number.

Be aware that the Cebu Pacific Terminal is very small, it is advisable not to get there too early, and even though it is an international flight it should be enough to be there 1 hour to 1.30 h before your flight. The airport is very small. Even though most flights are delayed and do not take off on time, you should not rely on it. But there is nothing to be found on the gate, such as restaurants or shops. Only a few little stands will provide you with cup noodles and something to drink.

NAIA on the other hand is rather crowded. It is better to get there too early than too late, if you arrive around 2 to 3 hours before departure you should be fine.CIMG2555

Arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

After a 4 hour flight, you will arrive in Malaysia. The terrain observation leads to the impression that it looks somewhat similar to the tropical terrain found in Mindanao. Tens of thousands of rubber trees are leading up the runway of the KL International Airport (KLIA).

You will most likely be taxied to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport (KLIA), a newly constructed terminal for budget airlines. The LCCT was designed for the low-cost business model of budget airlines. Don’t expect to find aerobridges or rail connectivity. The airport is situated in the Sepang district, approximately 50 km from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

After passing through immigration, collect your baggage, and within a few minutes you can step out of the terminal which looks like a shopping centre with several restaurants, fashion brands and shops lined up.

There are several options of getting from KLIA to the city centre.

KLIA Express to Kuala Lumpur

If you like to get to the city fast, you may take the KLIA Express Train to KL. Take a short bus ride to a close by train station, where you can hop on the KLIA Express, futuristically designed with wave forms. The entire journey to KL Sentral (Main Train Station) in Kuala Lumpur takes about 40 minutes.


The drivers that hang around the airport and KL Sentral will try to scam you. If anyone approaches you asking you where you want to go, do not trust them: they will be shameless in inflating the price for you and lying about the unavailability of other options.

From KLIA: Only Airport Limo limousines and budget taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. Buy coupons for these taxis at the Airport Limo counters just before you exit the international arrivals gate, or just outside the domestic arrivals gate. Insist on a budget taxi (fixed fare, RM74.80 to Kuala Lumpur), as the misnamed “premier” cars (RM100) are no better in quality. Given the price of the KLIA Trains, taxis are a reasonable option for anyone not travelling alone (so long as you don’t let yourself get ripped off).

To KLIA: Any taxi can bring passengers to KLIA, including Kuala Lumpur’s metered red-and-white taxis, although getting drivers to use the meter is hard work. If you fail in getting them to use the meter, make sure you agree on a price before setting off and should cost RM80 to RM100 in total and should include the airport surcharge (RM12) and expressway toll fees (which taxis get at half price).


The other method of transport is via bus. It is a comfortable journey, running every 10-15 minutes directly from the bus stations at the airport to Sentral. Buy your ticket at one of the stands located besides the exit. A ticket will cost you about 3 RM for one-way.

The bus stations are not far from the terminal, only about 5 minutes walking. The buses will surprise you with their large and comfortable seats. It is a good chance to get a first impression of the city as the Highway takes you along the outskirts of KL and you get a good view of the Centre. You will be dropped off in Sentral and then carry on to your personal destination.


There is no need to bring money in cash with you. There are ATMs directly at the airport.


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