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6-Things To Do While in Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport

6-Things To Do While in Transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport


Kuala Lumpur International airport is a gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia. Chances are, if you are traveling to and within this region, you will most likely have a pit-stop in the Malaysian Capital.

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is huge and can give neighboring, top-rated airports such as Singapore Changi and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport a run for their money in terms of the number of things the airport provides to keep passengers entertained while in transit to their next destination.


During my recent trip to Southeast Asia, I had two long layovers in-between destinations. Needless to say, KLIA became more of a familiar place to roam around before I boarded my next flight.

If you are in KLIA, keep these pointers in mind:






There are numerous lounges at KLIA airport at your disposal. After my 20+ hour flight from Chicago to Kuala Lumpur (with a pit-stop in Doha via Qatar Airways), all I could think about was freshening up with a nice hot shower.

Here are a few places to keep in mind:


Sama Sama Hotel

Sama Sama Hotel is adjacent to KLIA Terminal 2 and is easily accessible the moment you get out of customs. The walk takes approximately 10 minutes or you can catch a free buggy that will take you back and forth from the terminal to the hotel lobby.

On my first layover in Kuala Lumpur, I used the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center to freshen up after my 20-hour or so journey from Chicago.  There’s a small fee to use the facility (I don’t remember the exact cost, but not more than $5 USD).

I also left my luggage here during my 10-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur – very convenient if you wish to explore the city during your long layover!

This hotel gets booked rather quickly as many of the airlines’ crew stay over here. I recommend booking in advance.








Sama Sama Express


This hotel is conveniently located inside Kuala Lumpur International airport — perfect for passengers with overnight connections without having to exit Malaysian customs and immigration.

But just like Sama Sama, make sure you make a reservation ahead of time. I tried showing up at the front desk thinking I can get a private room and shower without hassle. It turns out (what do you know….) there are other travelers with overnight connection besides me (duh…)

Needless to say, all the rooms were booked and I had to find another solution.






Tune Hotel KLIA 2


If you didn’t get any luck with availability with either Sama Sama hotels, you may try your luck with Tune Hotel. This transit hotel is connected to the KLIA 2 terminal via a covered walkway.

They offer rooms with modern decor and free WiFi.







Air Asia Lounge


I flew with Air Asia on my journey from Bali to Yangon, which meant a transit in the airline’s major hub in Kuala Lumpur.

But this time, it was an overnight layover. I wanted to be as comfortable as I could so the thought of trying to comfortably sleep on the airport benches was out the window. Unfortunately, Sama Sama Express didn’t have any rooms available. And as I always do, I didn’t think in advance to make a reservation for overnight accommodations.

Luckily, Air Asia Lounge came to the rescue!

Despite not having private rooms,  the lounge has spacious sleeping area on the second floor with comfy bean bags. Additionally, the lounge provides amenities such as office space and showers, not to mention food and beverage services throughout the day.

The only downside to trying to catch rest in the open sleeping area: the snorers (ugh) or the loud talkers (hmmm….). So, find some ear plugs to ensure you are well rested 🙂

Price was approximately around $40 USD.

For other KLIA lounges, click here.





I’m a Malaysian food fanatic.  They are tasty, tasty, tasty, tasty…. (and super affordable)!

I didn’t really mind the long waits in-between flights as I kept myself busy scouring for Malaysian food all over the airport (my go-to is roti with beef rendang)!

My personal favorite is the Quizinn by RASA food court at Gateway Mall in KLIA 2.

(Cash only)!

Click here for other listings of delicious food selections at KLIA.




Spicy, but delicious Malaysian food!



There is a shopping mall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport… a shopping mall!

With over 220 retail stores available at Gateway Mall, there is no reason for you to stare into space while you wait endlessly for your next flight.

Even if you don’t want to spend anything, the Gateway Mall at KLIA2 will still keep you plenty busy roaming around while you wait to board for your next destination.

Read more info on Gateway Mall at KLIA2 here.



One of my all-time favorite activities while in Asia: massages!

Treating yourself to a massage and spa anywhere you travel in Asia is a guaranteed highlight of your trip. The massages are usually of high quality, yet very much  affordable. I mean, where in the U.S. or in Europe would you find an hour’s worth of massage for under $20 USD?!

I, for one, usually leave the massage feeling like a brand new person who nobody’s ever met before.

What else to do when you have downtime before your next departure at KLIA?

Get a massage from head to toe!

Check these places out for massage and spa in KLIA



Not a shopping fan? Nor a massage fan? No worries! KLIA provides a lounging area where you can watch a movie while you wait for your next boarding.

More info here.







If you have an extensive layover in Kuala Lumpur and would like to get out of the airport, visiting the city is very doable.

Within striking distance from the airport, the city center is about a 30-minute ride on the KLIA Ekspres, the airport’s high-speed non-stop train that connects passengers from the airport to Kuala Lumpur city center.

During my first layover in Kuala Lumpur this year, I opted to have lunch in the city itself and visit the iconic Petronas Towers, before finishing with a reflexology massage in the trendy neighborhood of Bangsar.


Word of caution: before you get on the KLIA Ekspres train, make sure you know which direction it’s going!


For my flight out of Kuala Lumpur, I took the KLIA Ekspres to get on from KLIA1 to KLIA2. However, it turns out the train went straight from KLIA1 to downtown. Remember this is a non-stop high speed train that takes 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city. As you can imagine, I was in panic mode the moment I realized the train was taking longer than I expected to get from one terminal to another. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the train was taking me back to the city!

Needless to say, I had to wait 30 minutes to get back to the city to take the next express train that will take me back to the airport. It was a mess!

Luckily, I still made my flight to Bali. However, I would have definitely missed my flight had there not been a 25-minute delay (Thank you, flight angels)!!





Hello fellow trotters! My name is Mick Salas, Filipino-American travel blogger based in Chicago. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Chicago, studied in San Diego, and worked for a French organization for six years. And now I’m traveling full-time!

Read more about my my most memorable travel experiences, favorite destinations, and other fun travel facts here!

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  1. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the website is also very good.

    • thank you!

  2. Thanks for sharing the information, I got to know about the facilities and I am happy that it would be ok to travel with my son as Airport will be providing us the much needed facilities.

    • I hope your trip went well, Amanda!

  3. its actually very common for delay in flight to Indonesia, some people are bother by it, some don’t and one of them is you! :’)

    • I was lucky the flight was delayed to Indonesia!

  4. You failed to mention that the airport is terrible for overnight layover. The hostels are ridiculously expensive and it shuts down mostly after 1:Am. Due to steep hotel prices and the fact Air Malyasia has shitty times as does Air Asia, It is one of the worst airports for a long layover if it is passed 1 AM. I could not even get a bottle of water at 3:30 AM passed security. A place selling horrible food opened at 5 AM. The white coffee shop is the only thing open and it is passed security. It is so full that there is nowhere to get a chair as selfish people sleep across 4. Hard to find a phone charger and just terrible. I slept in Dublin and in Heathrow and in Paris, Moscow and Tokyo, I could not believe how terrible this was. I was sick and could not even buy meds. Even Amman has a place to buy food and meds open at 2aM. This airport takes the cake. It is also hard to find a beer and relax .