I recently spent a week in Malaysia and had the chance to roam around their beautiful 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 in Kuala Lumpur as part of your Malaysia itinerary.
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is huge (it’s so big you can justify making your own Kuala Lumpur itinerary just hanging out at the airport) 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 Instagram sponsorship 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, check out the places below on where to rest at KLIA2 hotel, places to eat, lounge, and a lot more.
1) GET FRESH AND CLEAN
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 HIGHLY recommend booking in advance.
Sama-Sama is a great Kuala Lumpur International hotel !
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.
Aerotel Malaysia – Airport Transit Hotel (klia2) offers accommodations located within gateway@klia2. Guests can enjoy drinks at the in-house bar.
PLAZA PREMIUM LOUNGE
Located at Level 2 m of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Gateway, Plaza Premium Lounge Malaysia is a transit hotel with air-conditioned rooms offering free WiFi, food and beverages. It is within a 2-minute walk to ERL Train Station at KLIA2.
CAPSULE TRANSIT HOTEL
Designed for transit travelers, backpackers on-the-go, and frequent fliers, it allows those who needed a place to crash overnight, or recharge before catching the next flight. It is great for a short stay, and for people who are trendsetters, value-smart, and eager to experience a Capsule styled lodging without worrying about lengthy stop-over.
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.
2. GO EAT
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)!
Check out the restaurants below while at KLIA!
The flavours of Malaysia. They servesignature local cuisines such as nasi lemak, nasi ayam istimewa, fried kueh teow, curry fish head, hakka fried rice and etc. The choice of food is Malaysian local cuisine depict of multi races country.
This casual eatery brings together all the Malaysian taste and flavours into one place. Malaysian Wok is the perfect restaurant for those locals longing for a taste of home after a journey abroad, and for foreigners who are in a rush to sample the best of Malaysian cuisine the moment they alight from their flights.
Soul Chicken is founded by a Korean couple who have been operating Korean restaurants specialising in Korean fried chicken, in Kuala Lumpur for over a decade. We offer original tastes of Korean fried chicken and some all-time Korean favourites like Kimchi Fried Rice, Chicken Bulgogi, and Korean Spicy Ramyoen.
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!
Thai Odyssey provides local and international travelers a deserving respite. Described as an oasis of soothing calmness, the tranquility within transcends languages and cultures. Opened with 5,670 sq ft of serene ambiance, and adding more body-contoured foot massage chairs, there is always a space to set the mood for well being in travel.
5. HANG OUT AT THE MOVIE LOUNGE
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.
6. EXPLORE KUALA LUMPUR
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.