KL Sentral (Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur)
Officially the station is named "Stesen Sentral" but most people refer to it as "KL Sentral". KL Sentral, or Kuala Lumpur Sentral, is a development project that is currently under construction all around the train station. It is planned to be finished by 2012 and will include new office towers (CIMB tower), hotels (like the St.Regis in addition to the already existing LeMeridian and Hilton) and a shopping mall (Nu Sentral). Until Nu Sentral is finished, you will have to walk around the construction site when you are coming from the KL Sentral Monorail station. Once the shopping mall opens in 2013, you will be able to walk right through to it from the Monorail station.
Constuction along Jalan Tun Sambanthan:
to the left is the KL Sentral Monorail station with the future pedestrian bridge linking the station to Nu Sentral shopping mall (KL Sentral train station is just behind Nu Sentral). Currently you have to walk around the construction site
KL Sentral development plan (the train station is the flat square building in the center)
image courtesy of klsentral.com.my
The train station itself was opened in 2001 and replaced the beautiful old Railway Station which served the trains in KL since 1910. Now only local KTM Komuter trains stop at the old railway station. KL Sentral, said to be the biggest railway station in Southeast Asia, is a transportation hub connecting local trains (LRT and KTM Komuter), long-distance trains (KTMB - to Thailand, Singapore, Kota Bahru), KLIA Express (express train to KLIA airport), Airport buses to LCCT (Skybus, Aerobus) and KLIA (Airport Coach) as well as Local RapidKL buses. The Monorail station "KL Sentral" is nearby but not directly connected to the train station. The LRT station of the Ampang Line is located above ground while the KTM Komuter train, KLIA Express and the long-distance trains are underground.
Things to do at KL Sentral
There are plenty of restaurants (McDonald's, KFC, Subway and several local restaurants), shops and a market in the main hall to keep you entertained as you wait for your bus or train. Once the Nu Sentral shopping mall will open just across, there will be plenty more things to do.
Just across the exit at the KLIA Express departure area is Sooka Sentral. Sooka Sentral is a "Lifestyle Centre"offering a food court, spa, gym and a dance club.
From the same exit you can also walk to Brickfields in 3min (just walking along the exit ramp for cars to Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Once you get to Jalan Tun Sambanthan turn right and you will get to "Little India" in Brickfields - an area with many Indian shops and restaurant. Well worth a vist!
Read more about it here: A walk through Brickfields
Even though the Lake Gardens and the National Museum is right opposite of KL Sentral, it is virtually impossible to get there directly since you will have to cross several major highways. Hopefully the city build pedrestrian bridges in the future (as there are currently build at several places in KL). It would would easier to talk the LRT to Pasar Seni and walk from there.
View KL Sentral in a larger map
main hall, inside KL Sentral station
Taxis from KL Sentral
If you take a taxi from KL Sentral, make sure you buy the taxi coupon at the upper level. The taxis downstairs at the bus stop will overcharge you.
Be aware that the taxi counter is closed between 4am and 6am in the early morning. So if you arrive at KL Sentral at that time you are most likely to be overcharged. The normal rate of a taxi to hotels in the city center is RM13 (with a 50% surcharge after midnight - the midnight surcharge already starts at 11.45pm) with a coupon, while some tourists have been charged prices up to RM50 once the coupon counter closes.
Read this article in the local The Star newspaper about the taxi mafia at night:
Taxi drivers operating in KL Sentral charge high rates after 2am
Note: after the criticism in the newspaper article the opening times of the taxi counter was extented from 2am to 4am
location of the taxi counter at the upper flower between the exit facing Hilton and the KTM (long-distance train) ticket counters
Luggage Check-in at KL Sentral
There is a great service if you are flying with Malaysia Airlines or Emirates. If you take the KLIA Express train to the airport, you can already check-in and drop-off your luggage at KL Sentral. The check-in counters are right across the KLIA Express ticket counter at the KLIA Express depature area. You need to buy the train ticket first and present it at the check-in counter to use this service.
Buses from KL Sentral
Most tourists come to KL Sentral to take bus to LCCT airport (flying with AirAsia). The buses stop at the basement level below the train station - so brace yourself for a dose of noise and air pollution with the engines of the buses running non-stop (and the constuction around) in the confined space. Besides the buses to LCCT (Skybus or Aerobus - buy tickets straight at the buses), you can also find ticket ticket counters for Airport Coach (to KLIA) and to Genting Highlands at the same place. The local RapidKL bus are at the other end of the basement bus area.
From right to left: Skybus (RM9, to LCCT Terminal), Aerobus (RM8, to LCCT Terminal), Airport Coach (RM10, to KLIA)
List of transport providers in KL Sentral:
KTM Komuter (Train Service within the Klang Valley)
KTM Intercity (Trains to Singapore, Thailand and the East Coast)
LRT - Kelana Jaya Line (Light Railway within Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya)
ERL (KLIA Express, KLIA Transit) (High-speed train to Airport - 28min, the Transit stops in Putrajaya)
Monorail (doesn't connect directly to KL Sentral, the stop is across the road)
Airport Coach (linking KL Sentral with KLIA airport)
Aerobus (linking KL Sentral with LCCT airport terminal)
Skybus (linking KL Sentral with LCCT airport terminal)
Rapid KL Bus (local bus network)
train arriving at the KL Sentral LRT station