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Malaysia Travel Guide

Malaysia — Airports

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Even though the international airport of Kuala Lumpur is 31 miles south of downtown, this large air facility is still a convenient air hub. The airport can handle about 35 million passengers annually, although it currently accommodates more than 37 million, placing it over capacity. KLIA (as the airport is commonly called) is the main port for Malaysia Airlines, low-cost carrier AirAsia and its subsidiary, Air Asia X.

Flights to Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta are the busiest international flights, with over 230 flights per week to Singapore alone. The only US city served is Los Angeles through Malaysian Airlines, with many American visitors connecting through one of Asia’s other key cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong. Kuching is a very popular domestic connection, as are the routes to Kota Kinabalu and Penang.

There are several terminals on site. The Main Terminal is the largest, followed by Satellite Terminal A, and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal. Satellite A is the main long-haul international terminal, whereas regional flights are handled in the Main area. Naturally, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal services carriers like Air Asia and Tiger Airways.

Aside from regular amenities like restaurants and duty-free shops, the terminals at KLIA also include children’s play zones, a waterfall, VIP lounges and a reputable hotel on site.

The KLIA rail links provide access to the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur. There is also an inter-terminal shuttle at the airport. It is possible to arrange taxi and limousines upon arrival, but it is advised that passengers book these transportation services before getting to KLIA. Public buses and private buses also make transportation to central Kuala Lumpur reasonably inexpensive and most depart every 30 minutes.

Kota Kinabalu International Airport

Kota Kinabalu is the second busiest airport in Malaysia, which serves the city of Kota Kinabalu and the state of Sabah. The facility has seen continual growth in passenger numbers, which coincides with Sabah’s strengthening tourism industry. Nearly five million people fly through the airport each year.

Malaysia Airlines’ MASWings uses the airport as its main hub. AirAsia also flies to Kota Kinabalu from over Asia. There are no direct US flights, so American visitors can transfer through Singapore or Hong Kong.

There are two terminals at the facility. Terminal 1 is the newest building, and serves most international flights out of Kota Kinabalu. Across the runway, the older terminal 2 serves most low-cost carriers. Both offer restaurants, banking facilities, shops, convenience stores, and lounges.

Ground transportation at the airport consists of shuttle buses, mini buses, taxis and car rental. The cheapest are minibuses, serving both the main and secondary terminal. However, taxis are also in abundance and inexpensive, as well.

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