Airport Review: klia2 – the budget terminal of KUL Airport

AirAsia at klia2

klia2 is the new budget airline terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It opened for passengers on 9 May 2014, replacing the former budget terminal LCCT. The old Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at KUL resembled a tin shed and it wasn’t long before AirAsia grew beyond the intended capacity. While it was ok to use if you were only flying without a connection, it was a tough place to spend if you had an overnight layover.

I was on a flight from Bali to Bangkok and I had to connect in KUL, so I booked a later connecting flight to give myself more time to investigate the new terminal.

Here are some photos and impressions of klia2.

klia2 is huge!

Why is klia2 so huge?

Visit the AirAsia route map and click Kuala Lumpur and you will see why klia2 is so huge. If you are touring around Southeast Asia the chances are that will pass through here at some point via AirAsia.

The first improvement I noticed are air bridges. At the old terminal the planes parked on the tarmac near covered walkways but you were still exposed to the weather.

My flight must have arrived at one of the furthest away gates as the walk to immigration was a trek. It wasn’t busy when I arrived so I waited less than 5 minutes to get my passport stamped. I would be interested to know if there are still long queues during peak hours.

Long Pier
[A long walk.]

Arrivals Shopping

Once you pass through customs and immigration and get outside you are greeted to what looks like a giant shopping mall, which you will need to navigate your way through to exit. It seems to be the same principle as having casinos in the hobby of hotels in Las Vegas. Here you have to fight your way past the shops to get to the transport connections.

Among the shops there is actually a useful addition of a fully stocked supermarket, which is a great idea if you live in KL and are coming home late.

Supermarket in arrivals
[Supermarket in arrivals]

Another clever shop placement is this toy store, for the parents who have been away on business and are looking for a last minute gift for their kids before going home.

[Toy store]


The biggest improvement to the budget terminal has been the connection of the KLIA Ekspres train, which used to only connect the main terminal at KLIA. There was a service where you could get the train from KL Sentral and then get off at the station before the airport and onto a connecting bus, but it was easier to take the direct bus.

KLIA Ekspres at klia2
[KLIA Ekspres at klia2.]

If you prefer to take the bus Skybus and Aerobus (the same companies that operated at LCCT) go to KL Sentral, and the trip takes one hour.


While the new terminal is a vast improvement for sleeping on the floor, if roughing it isn’t your thing then there are two sleeping options. One is the Capsule by Container Hotel. This is a similar concept to a Japanese capsule hotel, with this one using small shipping containers converted into private sleeping quarters.

Container hotel
[Container hotel]

Just outside the terminal is the Tune Hotel klia2, which is the budget hotel chain owned by the same company as AirAsia.

If you want to stay in a hotel without trekking all the way into KL, search for more hotels near Kuala Lumpur International Airport here.


When I talked to my friends who were frequent travellers through LCCT we all agreed that the Food Garden was the best feature of the old terminal. This was a food court near the bus station that was open 24 hours and had free wifi. I’ve spent many a night there nursing a teh tarik while working under fluorescent lights. It was better a better option than camping out in the departure hall.

I’m sorry to report that the Food Garden did not survive the switch from LCCT to klia2. However, there is a good cheap eats alternative at the NZ Curry House which can be found on the ground floor, not far from the bus terminal. Here you will find proper curries and Malay food at decent prices (i.e. not the usual extortionate airport prices). I don’t think you would work here for an extended amount of time like you could at Food Garden, but at least you can get a decent roti canai without having to go into KL.

NZ Curry House
[NZ Curry House]

Scattered around the terminal are the usual familiar food chains and some independent eateries as well. The most unusual restaurant (for an airport) is this organic vegetarian restaurant.

Organic vegetarian restaurant

Airside departures

When you check in you are warned to give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate, and you wil need it as it can be a long walk. After checking in and walking for what seemed like miles, I got to the pier of my flight. The departure area is roomier than the old terminal with more shops and food options (though I would eat in the restaurants outside first).

There is a movie lounge, but it’s not cinema style like there is at SIN airport. This lounge consists of TV screens running the HBO movie channel.

Movie Lounge

There is free wifi which runs on a login that lasts an hour, but I was able to use it again after one hour.


After wandering around I went to my departure gate to do a bit of work. The bucket seats are comfortable but I was surprised to see how few power outlets there are. There are some available on the pillars that look like they for the cleaners use. I would have thought a brand new airport terminal would be more accommodating to todays traveller with power outlets and USB chargers.

Seats airside
[The prized seat next to the power outlet.]

Free Water

For me the three signs of a civilised airport are:

– airport train
– free wifi
– free water

So congratulations klia2, you get a 3/3 there.

Free Water
[Free water, as it should be.]

Thumbs Up

While I would still prefer to overnight it at Singapore Changi klia2 is a massive improvement on the old old terminal and I won’t break out into shivers the next time I have to do an overnighter at KUL.


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  1. Would it not still be a risk to drink the water there? I’d still be drinking bottled water just to be safe.

    • Hi Nick, I was worried about the same thing when I first travelled to Asia but all the airports have filtered water systems and I haven’t been sick yet!

    • nick, which country are you from? i’ll make sure that i will only drink bottled water if i happen to be in your country. clearly your country is not very developed.

  2. Hi !

    Thank you for this article !

    I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on August 6 at 8:25, I found a flight that leaves at 9:20 terminal for low cost flights, do you think it is possible to arrive on time (only in 55 minutes knowing that I have baggage?)

    Thank you in advance for your answer.



  3. Nice review on the airport. Seems like a pretty good airport as far as I’m concern. It has all the things you need and I would be glad if all airports are as clean and orderly as this one.

  4. would love more reviews of airports! I always try to research how the airport is before I choose where im landing

  5. As some one who has used the LCCT many times in the past, I am excited to see how awesome KLIA2 is. Can’t wait to connect through it for the first time!

  6. Looks like KLIA2 has lots to offer for a budget airport. I’m going to have to check it out if there is the opportunity to connect there.

  7. Stephen Chey says

    As a frequent flyer in an out of KL since 1997 and a loyal customer of Air Asia I have to say KLIA2 is a massive disappointment. It is such a badly designed and cheaply made terminal I cant see how it will cope with significant volumes of passengers. Its so poorly laid out that I dont think I will be wanting to use it if I have a choice to fly out of the original (superbly designed) terminal instead. KLIA22 looks like it was designed by an architect who had no understanding of what they were doing. Surely that couldnt happen in this country?

    • Klia2 was simply wonderful because you have more varieties on foods and more comfortable than the packed old LCCT.

    • Ole Bisbjerg says


      I have seldom seen anything that was so poorly thought out. The designers have never been to an airport or flown on a plane by the looks of it. Close it down and reopen the LCCT. Sue the designer and use the money to extend the train all the way to the LCCT.

  8. Armin Zhang says

    I will be having a flight from Medan, Indonesia to KLIA2, Malaysia on March 2015. We will have final late flight ETA 11.30pm and intend to stay a night at KLIA2, which is on the floor, as we will by the next morning, take another flight to the Redang Island.

    We, for sure, would like to save-up the accommodation before the next flight which is at 7am, and that’s why we are planing to do so. The problem is that we are not sure whether the airport accommodates us by doing so.

    Therefore, would you kindly share, if there is any spot for transit passengers in spending a night there, like what we’ve planned to do so.

    Hearing yours and thanks.

    • Hi Armin,

      you won’t have a problem sleeping on the floor as I saw people sleeping in the departure area before check in as well is on the airside of departures. You will just have to look around for a place to lay down.

  9. Is there a free shower in KLIA2? Most websites say it’s only a paid shower. But some say there are free showers everywhere.

    • krishnan says

      I didn’t get any reply by the time I flew to KL. But on landing there on the way to and from Cambodia, I found free cold showers (hey, it’s a tropical country and you can manage without hot water) in most of the toilets in the waiting area BEFORE the customs and immigration counters. It’s on the area with all the check-in counters.

      Drinking water once you clear customs is a problem. We found only one — yes, only one — water fountain, near gate 8. There’s usually a long line there, but if you don’t want to fork out 3-5 Ringit for a tiny bottle of water, this is the place to head to.

      • Hi Krishnan, sorry I missed your first message! Good to know about the showers.

        I was back at KUL again recently and had the same problem finding the drinking fountain. Spent ages walking around until I found it.

  10. Such a good review! As a malaysian myself, i was ashamed to not realised all these stuff since I usually arrive just in time and have friends to fight boredom together. But this time I’ll have to travel alone on a budget, have to arrive there in midnight for my 6am flight (oh the joy of budget travelling) and have no clue if it’d be ok to wait 5 hours before my flight. Your review made it sound like it’d be fine… Lol. Thanks.

  11. Is the toys r us positioned before or after the immigration counter for passengers arriving at KLIA2? I have three hours of transit at KLIA2….so was wondering if I could spend some time at the toys r us with passing through the immigration. Please reply and Thanks.

  12. Sorry for the typo….it should be ….”so was wondering if I could spend some time at the toys r us without passing through the immigration”. Please reply and Thanks.

  13. I’m due for a long transit on my Return from Bali to Japan. I’ve never done a long transit before, so booked the hotel (samasama) for the first 6 hours.
    What are the options for food airside? Is there an observation deck airside?
    If not much is happening airside, is it possible to go through immigration? If so would you recommend it, as the airport seems huge but even looking at a map I can’t work out what is where!
    So nice to be able ask a seasoned traveler, thank you so much!

  14. Free water, it’s a con….if yo don’t have your own receptacle you won’t be able to get any water.
    The mafia run KLIA2 does not allow for the selling of water in bottles to force people to buy them at extortionate prices on the plane!

  15. Chrissy Thompson says

    I will have a 6hr stopover in KLIA2 in December, arriving in at 4.40am and departing at 10.40am, can you get the train over to the other terminal and would it be worth it or should I just pop into the Premier Lounge?

    • The first train from KLIA2 departs at 4.55am and it takes 5 minutes to get to the other terminal. If you have access to the Premier Lounge then I would go over there for sure!

  16. James Wang says

    Non-Malaysians flying to KLIA2 beware! You may be randomly stopped by immigration officers to be questioned at the office. If you’re stupid enough to comply, you’d be asked for money, or be detained. I personally know 3 person who was detained thus for a day until someone paid up. They told me about 100 people are being detained there like this.

  17. klia2 is frustratingly big and filthy. What a waste of money!

  18. Just wanting any advice…
    We are travelling from Gold Coast Australia to Jakarta and have a 3 hr layover at KLIA2. Both flights are airasia and we are wondering if we our luggage is transferred automatically or do we need to pass through immigration, collect our baggage and check in again?
    Any info on this would be great.
    What is the deal with passport control? is is something needed to be done before passing through immigration?

  19. Hitendra Desai says


    We are travelling from India to Bali on 22 Sept 2016 by airasia flight. Lay over of 10 hrs at KLA2. We are arriving at 7 AM by airasia and departing at 5 PM by airasia. Any tips or suggestions??
    Can we have access to Mall and basic amenities of airport??
    How costly is the vegetarian food at airport??

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Hitendra, if you haven’t been to KL before then you may consider visiting the city for a few hours. The train takes about half an hour to get to KL Sentral and there would be enough time to visit the historic colonial buildings.

      If you are flying through with a direct connection then you wont be able ot go outside the terminal. I did recall eating a vegetarian meal in the airside of the airport, but sorry I don’t remember the details.

  20. Are there any showers in the transit hall at KLIA2 ?

  21. Klia2 is build for catering more growing number of passengers in klia since old lcct only can handle 15m peoples but klia2 can handle 45m peoples…..beside if u want to sue…..sue the government of malaysia instead….since they decided to close lcct

  22. Hi I will be meeting my best friend who will be coming from the Philippines and I am coming from Brunei in KLIA2. Any suggestion on which place is the best meet up point. It will be her first time travelleing alone and I am just worried we might be lost among the crowd, I have a feeling it will be a peak time ( 31st December 10-12 Noon)


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