It is hard not to fall in love with the capital of Malaysia: one of the youngest capitals of Southeast Asia wins hearts with its bold youthful and cosmopolitan character. The rich colonial heritage coexists in harmony with state-of-the art skyscrapers, lush parks are a welcome oasis of tranquillity to escape to after the world-class shopping marathons, and ethnic dishes of Chinese, Indian, Muslim and Western cuisine make your mouth water. The Petronas Towers, the highest twin towers in the world, rise proudly in the heart of the capital, commanding views over the modern bustling city.
How to get from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur
Ipoh, the capital city of the state of Perak, sits in the western part of Peninsular Malaysia about 200 km north of Kuala Lumpur. A convenient stop on the route from Penang to Kuala Lumpur and the gateway to Pangkor Island, one of the most beautiful islands off the shoes of Peninsular Malaysia, Ipoh is linked to the Malaysian capital by trains and buses. The journey between the two cities will take you from 2½ hours to four hours.
From Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur by train
After ETS trains were launched between Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Ipoh in 2010, they became the fastest way to travel the route. The first train to Kuala Lumpur leaves at 5am and the last one – at 10.50pm. There are many departures in between, especially from 6.30am to 10.30am, when people residing in Ipoh and working in Kuala Lumpur head to the capital. Ipoh Railway Station is a perfect example of Moorish and baroque European architecture and is often considered the second most beautiful railway station in the country after Kuala Lumpur Sentral: you will have a chance to compare the both stations as you arrive to KL Sentral.
There is no much sense in buying the most expensive type of the ticket for a relatively short journey from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur. All the three types of cars which ETS offers – ETS Silver, ETS Gold and ETS Platinum – are absolutely ok, all providing soft seats. Tickets cost MYR25/35/46 respectively.
In Kuala Lumpur, trains arrive to Kuala Lumpur Sentral, which is also a real architectural delight. A large-scale intermodal transport hub, Kuala Lumpur Sentral is the point of origin of many intercity routes all over Malaysia and Singapore, as well as KLIA Ekspress and KLIA Transit high-speed airport trains. KL Monorail Sentral Station is easily reachable via overhead bridge from KL Sentral.
From Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur by bus
The main bus terminal in Ipoh serving the route between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur is Aman Jaya. It is located 16 km north of the railway station and the Old Town of Ipoh and can be reached by local bus #116 (MYR2.40; 20 minutes) from the railway station. A taxi from the centre should cost you from MYR20 to MYR30. Aman Jaya terminal has shops, restaurants and a huge air-conditioned waiting hall to help you while away the time before the departure of your bus.
Buses to Kuala Lumpur from Ipoh take from 2½ hours to four hours to get to the destination, and travel time depends greatly on the bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur where they are heading. Expect to spend about three hours to reach TBS, the largest transport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, located in the southern part of the capital. Kesatuan Ekspress and Amazin Express, among others, both arrive to TBS. Bus tickets from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur with the majority of operators cost around MYR40.
From Ipoh to KLIA and KLIA2
Note that there is a direct service between Ipoh and KLIA/KLIA2 at a reasonable price (MYR42). To be on the safe side and not to miss your flight, leave at least four hours for the journey from Ipoh to either KLIA or KLIA2. *Star Shuttle Express has three night buses (11.30pm, 1am and 2.30am), two morning buses (7.30am and 9.30am), and three afternoon and evening buses (1.30pm, 5pm and 9pm) all calling to both airports.
From Ipoh to Pangkor island
Whichever the reason of you visit to Ipoh, it is always a good idea to squeeze a day or two into your travel schedule and to visit Pangkor island, which is easily reached from Ipoh via bus and ferry trips.
Pangkor Island is about five times smaller than its more famous neighbour, Penang island, it remains one of the most beautiful islands off the shoes of Peninsular Malaysia. No large-scale parties, but a lot of family oriented fun, sandy beaches, emerald waters and an easy reach from Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh or Penang: it is easy to understand why Pangkor island enjoys such a popularity.
You will have first to get from Ipoh to the town of Lumut, from where the ferries to Pangkor island depart. A bus journey from Aman Jaya bus terminal in Ipoh to Lumut will take you about an hour. From Lumut you will need to take a slow ferry to Pangkor Town on the island. The sea journey usually takes about 45 minutes. Ferries depart regularly from 7am till 8pm and cost MYR10 for the round-trip.
Activities in Kuala Lumpur
With an endless list of museums, churches, mosques and temples, historical buildings, shopping opportunities and natural attractions in and around the Malaysian capital, the time spent in Kuala Lumpur is never enough. You can make your visit as diverse and busy as you wish but by all means try to find some time for a very special experience which visiting of any of the following places can enrich you with:
Petronas Twin Towers are easily a whole-day destination. From getting up to the Skybridge on the 41st-42nd level and to meditating to the intricate dance of the fountains at the foot of the towers after dark, you will hardly find a moment for boredom.
Menara Kuala Lumpur may seem just a humble relative of its more famous counterparts elsewhere but it definitely offers the best view of the city with Petronas Twin Towers right in front of you. The revolving restaurant is a great place for an elegant lunch or diner, too.
Kuala Lumpur boasts many green areas and zoos, but Kuala Lumpur Bird Park located in the scenic Lake Gardens is an absolute stunner, especially if travelling with your little ones in tow. The natural aviary with freely flying birds transports you right in the heart of a rain forest.
Batu Caves with the iconic image of Lord Murugan look cheerful and colourful from outside with all those Hundu deities meeting visitors at the entrance gates just at the foot of the stairs, but the system of million-years caverns at the top does impress even more.
Central Market is every shopping lover’s start destination which combines food venues, shops, entertainment programs all under the same roof of an amazing art deco masterpiece. Central Market gives you a real taste of KL shopping which goes far beyond the exquisite boutiques of Suria KLCC next to Petronas towers.