Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) - Arriving in a Swanky New Low Cost Terminal

Who knew? I didn't see it coming. But Malaysia has done away with an award-winning low cost airport, the LCCT which used to service budget airlines plying the region. This is the new home of Air Asia as well as Cebu Pacific. The move to get rid of LCCT, an airport that annually wins awards for being efficient and functional, is of course a bit of a mystery. I liked arriving and departing from there mostly because I have gotten so familiar with it; I could walk the premises with eyes closed (well, almost). The only logical explanation for this new terminal is: they want a better looking airport that provides more comfort and convenience than the previous one. "In with the new, out with the old," so they say.

They simply call it KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur international Airport 2, which couldn't be an inferior terminal compared to KLIA. This airport is just gorgeous; the design well thought of. The train service to the capital, the KLIA Express, is within short walking distance, conveniently designed alongside the arrival hallway unlike LCCT where you had to get into a shuttle bus to get to the train station.

The airport's design is similar to the anatomical configuration of an insect, like a dragonfly. From a main trunk of hallways, the arterial branches spread out into bays and piers where the airlines could directly dock. No more shuttle buses or long tarmac walks under the scorching sun or drenching rain. You step out of your airplane and walk straight inside the airport hallways. The walk is, by no means, near, but at least it's within a sheltered and airconditioned hallway. I don't mind this. The halls are decked with plants, incandescent panels, and glass windows - there is so much for the senses to take in.

The immigration hallway looks way smaller than the old one, but there are several of these, located beside each other. Like the previous system, arriving into KL is paperless: no disembarkation/immigration card to fill up. You just have to do your biometrics, i.e. your 2 pointing fingers will get finger-printed, a couple of questions ("how long?", "reason for visit"? - but usually, you will hardly get asked), then off you go.

From here, you walk further (another longish walk) to get to the vast spread of baggage claim. Once you've cliamed your check-in baggage, these go through a security x-ray machine, then out the exit door and into a shopping mall. Just before exiting, there's a Malaysia Tourism counter that can help you with your queries.


One of the first restaurants to greet you out is a familiar name, Old Town White Coffee, followed by Gloria Jeans. There are a good number of shops and restaurants to enjoy. There's a row of ATM machines, and a couple of Money Changers (CIMB Bank usually has good rates. Hong Leong is elsewhere). The best rates are of course in the city; not here, where your $100 always gets the vicinity of 290 ringgit. At the Berjaya Times Square mall in Bukit Bintang (near Imbi, Jalan Pudu), your $100 will get you 310 ringgit. You can also find another Currency Exchange counter at the Bus/Taxi Terminal at the basement, if you're taking the bus to the city (9-10 ringgit per person). A taxi ride to the capital will set you back between 90 ringgit to 110 ringgit (more expensive after 6 to 7PM). KLIA EXpress train tickets will cost you 35 ringgit for a very fast 20 minute ride to KL Sentral. The way to KLIA Express is even closer.


Once in KL Sentral, proceed to the Budget Taxi queue (close to where McDonalds is, then through an escalator). This is a taxi counter near one of KL Sentral's exit doors. There is additional payment if you have bulky luggages, but if it's just a hand carry and a regular-to-medium sized baggage, there will be no additional cost. What usually costs 20 ringgit by metered taxi will only cost you 13 ringgit or so. This is in the Bukit Bintang area (Imbi, Pudu, Bukit Bintang, Thambi Dollah, the BB malls, etc.) However, rides to the KLCC area (the financial district where Petronas Tower is) will probably be between 15-20 ringgit. And you don't have to haggle!


There's a Left Luggage Facility called (surprise!) "Luggage Storage". Spacious lifts will take you to basement parkings and the bus terminals. If you're into renting cars, proceed to the bus terminal. A row of counters will provide this service. Tune Hotel is also closer here than it was in LCCT (so you know that KLIA2 is actually in the vicinity of the old budget terminal). But travel time (as per traffic) is considerably faster. Bus rides from LCCT to KL usually took 1.5 to 2 hours. My return (this time around, via KLIA2) always took 1 hour.


There are plenty of interesting trivias concerning KLIA2 and we shall feature them on our next post - "Departing from KLIA2." You can check that out next.

This arrival from Manila was more than pleasant. I strolled and observed instead of rushing away. In fact, I enjoyed checking out this new airport mall. And why not? Beauty is always a joy to behold.

This is the Eye in the Sky!    

Your plane docks in one of these piers.

You'll see these X-ray machines at the pre-departure bays.

Queue at the immigration counters. Fingerprint of your 2 pointing fingers are taken.

Baggage Claim Hallway

Tourist Information Centre is located just before exiting to the shopping mall.

Left Luggage facility located inside the mall.

ATM machines

Currency Exchange

Shops and restaurants spilling over. This airport has around 200. LCCT had 70.

Elevator button to bus terminal and parking. 

Buy your bus tickets (to KL, the highlands, etc.) here.

Rent your cars here.

Currency Exchange at the bus terminal. The terminal is spacious and has a sprawl filled with chairs. This is a good place to wait. There are also restaurants and convenience stores here. The buses to the city wait just outside (through sliding glass doors) and follow departing hours religiously.

Waiting bays of buses outside. You have to remember that buses to KL stop operation sometime at 1AM and resume at 5-5:30AM; shorter time actually. Compare with LCCT's buses which would stop at 1AM and resume operations at 3:30-4AM.

Taking the train, KLIA Express from the airport to the city (via KL Sentral) is one of the options. Of course if you're scrimping, the bus is the best choice since it will only cost you 9-10 ringgit for a ride that will take between 1 to 1.5 hours, same destination. If you want to go straight to your hotel or a specific destination, then taxis are it. However, this sets you back between 90 to 120 ringgit, more from 6-7 PM onward. Midway between the bus and the taxi is the train, the KLIA Express. It is fast (35 minutes), comfortable (from your airport exit, it's just a few walks away) and it will cost you 36 ringgit.

KLIA Express to KL Sentral has 3 stops: Salak Tinggi, Cyberjaya-Putrajaya, and Bndar Tasik Selatan. From KL Sentral, you can head straight to the Budget Taxi booth where you can avail of 13-15 ringgit rides within the city center. If your destination is Imbi or the Berjaya Times Square area, it will cost you 13 ringgit. The same applies if your hotel is in or near Bukit Bintang, Pudu  or Jalan Alor (Izumi, Radius, Novo, etc.)

Uniqlo is the shop right across the entrance of the KLIA Express ticket counter.

Platform 2 of KLIA Express trains

Platform 1 of KLIA Express trains

Comfort and convenience - and free wifi - could be had in your KLIA Express train.

More Information:

Departing KLIA2

Shops at KLIA2

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