What to do on a long layover in Kuala Lumpur? A first timer would have plenty of nice options to choose from: See the Petronas Twin Towers and take a stroll around the KLCC, have a walking tour around Chinatown and sample Malaysian street food, go mall hopping in Bukit Bintang area and take a quick shopping spree, and the list goes on.

I had been to Kuala Lumpur several times already. Mostly, because I was flying with AirAsia exclusively during my South East Asian trips in the past and the airline’s main hub was in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

On the start of my Indo-china trip, I had to spend a long overnight layover in Kuala Lumpur on my journey from Iloilo, Philippines to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Itinerary Rundown

Day 1
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Clark to Kuala Lumpur Flight
  • Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA) to City Center Bus
  • Old Kuala Lumpur Station Photo-op
  • Chinatown Walking Tour
  • Bus to KLIA – Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT)
Day 2
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Chiang Mai
  • Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai Flight
  • Chiang Mai: Ancient Temples, Thai Food, Mae Ya Waterfall
  • Indochina: Mainland Southeast Asia

Trip Date — August 2012

Itinerary Notes & Tips

Clark to Kuala Lumpur

The first leg of the journey was my flight from Iloilo to Clark and then another flight from Clark to Kuala Lumpur.

It was already my third time in that year alone to fly out of Clark Airport and it was starting to feel wearisome and unexciting. The effort of transiting via Manila Airport, going through the chaos of Metro Manila’s streets, and then commuting to Clark Airport was already substantial in itself.

After check-in for my flight at Clark Airport, I was surprised that the pre-departure area of the new passenger terminal was already open. Such a big improvement from the old one. The high-ceiling and glass wall that provided a view of the runway reminded me of the Iloilo Airport. Though, I thought the Iloilo Airport was still better in terms of the overall aesthetics.

Kuala Lumpur Layover

I arrived at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal of KLIA around mid-afternoon. Since my next flight was scheduled early morning the next day, I had to leave my large backpack somewhere while taking my short layover tour around KL.

The left luggage service at the airport seemed a bit expensive knowing I could leave my bag at KL Sentral train terminal at much cheaper rates. So, I got on a bus from the airport to KL Sentral and then stored my backpack at the self-service coin lockers there.

There was one thing I always wanted to do in KL but didn’t have good timing before: Take long exposure shots of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and KTM Headquarters buildings during sunset/dusk. Finally, I had the perfect chance to do it.

After dark, I had dinner at the quaint Heritage Station Restaurant of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. The restaurant was a bit gloomy but the food was okay and the prices were cheap.

I still had loads of waiting time before my flight. I circled around Chinatown until the late evening, went back to KL Sentral, and then got on a bus to KLIA.

I could have spent the night at one of the cheap hostels in Chinatown but considering I’d only have a few hours of sleep and I didn’t want to risk oversleeping, I decided to spend a couple of hours at the airport while waiting for my flight.

The food garden (food court) was a decent place to kill a few hours. The airport provided free wifi for up to two hours, which helped to pass the time and there were lots of food options if ever I got hungry.

Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai

I flew with AirAsia, again, for my early morning flight from KL to the Northern Thai City of Chiang Mai.