Friday, 22 April 2011

KLIA & Transfer to Kuala Lumpur

You will have seen below the service update problem I have had so to keep things in perspective I will post the dates the entry relates to until I have caught up. So, 12 hours flight and fast-forward to 5pm Weds 20 April (KL time).

Upon disembarking you will arrive at the KLIA Satellite building. IMO this is an excellent airport and there are countless duty free shops as you stroll along the well signposted route to the baggage reclaim and immigration controls. However, unless you are really desperate to stop at these particular shops I would suggest you make your way with some haste towards immigration as the queues here can be long and take some time to clear. Following the signs you will come to the 'Air Train' connection between the KLIA Satellite and the Main Terminal. This is a short mono-rail type service that runs every few minutes. Once off the transit link again I would bypass the shops and head directly to immigration. Once there the queues can take some time to process. I waited around 20 minutes and the queue was not excessive when I got there. Mis-time it and you could wait for half an hour or more I suspect. The immigration staff though are professional and friendly save for one. I think she had a sister who was an air stewardess.

Once through Immigration there are more duty free shops. Prices I found generally lower than London Heathrow and the range very, very good through the countless stores. Bottles of spirit I think were slightly less than Heathrow and certainly not more expensive. Cigarettes are MUCH cheaper I noticed with 200 Marlboro costing around £10 I noticed. There are also food outlets and such like if you feel so inclined. Having done the tour of the shops I headed to baggage reclaim and found my case had already been offloaded from the carousel and was awaiting my collection. From there it's a short walk through Customs and into level 3 of the arrivals hall.

One of the things I wanted to do was get a local SIM for a mobile number with an internet/data bolt on (see previous post). Once through Customs if you turn immediately left there is a DiGi store from which I was able to purchase a local SIM for RM 10. I also purchased an RM 100 top up voucher and subscribed to an unlimited RM 15 per week mobile internet/data package. The RM 15 is taken off you voucher automatically and will auto-renew each week. It can be cancelled at any time by dialling *116#. For me this is useful as I use an iPhone and use the data element every day for mail, Google Maps and internet etc when out and about (or if you stay in a hotel with no or paid for internet). All you will need is your passport and mobile as the staff there are very helpful and will set the whole thing up while you wait. It only takes a few minutes and for RM 110 I had both mobile phone and internet working before I left the Airport.

Turning back on myself I headed off then to the lifts to get to the KL Ekspress which for me is the best way to travel into KL as you don't get stuck in traffic en route. If you are going straight to the Ekspress Station from Customs you would turn right as you come into the Arrivals Hall but it is all sign-posted anyway. The Ekspress leaves from level 1 and costs RM 35 for a single fare into KL. The trains run every 15 mins IIRC and the journey takes 28 minutes. Be sure to retain your ticket as you will need it for the exit barrier at KL Sentral Station. Once through the barriers at KLSS I headed towards the taxi voucher counter near the exit. Here you buy a voucher, the cost of which will depend on where you want to go. KL is zoned and most hotels will be within the initial zone band I suspect. You can buy two types of voucher. Regular or Executive. I was feeling a bit extravagant so went for the Exec at a cost of RM 25. I believe the regular would have been RM 10 and probably for little noticeable difference. The Exec taxis depart the terminal from the doors to the left of the taxi counter and the Regular from the right set of doors. You hand the large part of the voucher to the driver and keep the small portion yourself. The next driver will make himself known to you as you exit the terminal with your ticket. You don't have to buy a voucher of course but the option is there as it saves haggling with drivers who may not use a meter and prefer to barter for a price. I jumped in the taxi and and took a short drive to my hotel, the Melia on Jalan Imbi, which took about 15 minutes, albeit traffic was a little heavy.

I have to say I found the airport and its facilities to be very good and the travel from the terminal into KL and to my hotel to be completely painless and very reasonable price wise. Top marks from me.

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