Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (How I Saved Us $800 on Flights)
If you recently read my Guide to Traveling to Bali, you'll see that I also planned a little layover in a new city for us to explore! Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was L I T... in every definition of the word. It was beautiful, fun, full of unique experiences and the night life was insane and unexpected! I have a close friend that I met in Los Angeles, although she is from my home state of Maryland as well! She moved to KL (that's how the locals refer to it) about a year ago and I've been dying to see her and catch up! When I was planning our Bali trip, there were a few reasons why I chose a quick layover in Malaysia. I'll explain how the planning went!
So when we were initially looking for tickets to Bali, the holiday season can get pretty pricey! Roundtrip, we were looking at almost $2,000 a ticket which was crazy considering I had seen RT tickets in March for $450. Finding discounted airfare or ways to save on flights is like a game to me... I have many different methods that I use for making sure a few coins are saved that can go into accommodations, or better yet... FOOD!
In this case, I noticed a trend with the cities that are used as layovers between Bali and Los Angeles. After doing some research, I found the major layover hubs to be: Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Xiamen, Sydney, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. So, I made a list of these locations, looked into each to see things to do in each and then looked at direct one-way flights from Bali to each city. It made the most sense to stay in whichever city we picked for one day. So I then did a search for one-way flights from those cities to Los Angeles. Kuala Lumpur ended up being only $60 from Bali and then $400 less for each flight from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles -- DING DING DING! We had a winner!
Remembering that my friend lives there now, it was the PERFECT opportunity for us to see her and explore a new city for a night! I do have to say that this is the best thing to do if you are looking to quickly explore some new places in a region of the world you are already going to be in AND to get a little discount in the process.
Here are some other travel tips I live by:
- Look for flights on Tuesdays - when ticket prices are said to be the lowest for the week
- Use Google flights which provides real time pricing for flights and you can see price by the day so you can determine which day is cheapest for you to fly
- Search for flights in Incognito mode - search often just to see prices to destinations, you'd be surprised what deals you'll find
- Book TWO one way tickets as opposed to 1 round trip - not only does this allow me to control the pricing a little better but is also more reasonable for budgeting AND lets us get better flight times in and out of our destination
- Pick a city close by your final destination and fly there then book a ticket on a more local airline to your destination (i.e. trying to get to London from NY - fly into Oslo first and then to London)
- Use Kayak maps feature to search based on your travel month and budget and the map will show you where you can travel for what cost - LOVE this feature!
- Use AirBnb versus hotels for a more unique and budget friendly stay
- Fly a more local airline (like RyanAir and Kiwi) or travel by train to the next city you'd like to see
- Book in advance and have some flexibility to change your dates should flying a day earlier or later be better for the cost of the flight
- Psst! Skiplagged, Hopper and Skyscanner are some of my favorite travel booking apps!
While in KL, we ate at this cool cafe called Fittie Sense (yes, like 50 cents lol) that had healthy eats and yummy lattes. I tried the Golden Turmeric Latte which gave me all the life I needed! AirBnb came through in the clutch with a beautiful sky scraper in the heart of "KLCC" - the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. This is in the heart of the city and has pretty cool spots for under $50 a night with all the amenities you need and many of the buildings feature an infinity pool with breathtaking views of the entire downtown area. I had my heart set on Dim Sum, so my friend recommended a place called Din Tai Fung which actually has locations in California but we had to try it overseas! The Pavilion KL mall that the Dim Sum place is in is also definitely worth checking out too, it has a ton of luxury (and budget) options and one WHOLE floor is literally a food court with cool spice markets, a grocery store and more!
We went back to our AirBnb and rallied before going out for what would end up being a CRAZY night! Apparently KL has this whole strip of bars and clubs call TREC. You can literally just jump from spot to spot and DJs are spinning anything from international music to Top 40 to hip hop... it is amazing! We ended up at some random ball pit that is also on the strip where you can pay to take a shot and then go into the ball pit and jump around with your friends -- its like being 5 again and was the funnest part of the night! Just DON'T lose your phone in the balls! lol (no seriously though) I can't wait to go back to this vibrant city and definitely recommend it as either a destination during your travels in Southeast Asia, or as a stopover location while heading or returning from somewhere else! You will not regret it!