Traveling abroad involves a whole lot of planning and making arrangements. Things, like applying for your tourist visa, packing and planning exactly what you’re going to do on your trip, can be stressful.
However, one thing you won’t have to worry about on your trip to Kuala Lumpur is staying connected to the internet.
When you’re on a vacation you can always opt to get a local sim card or pocket wifi in order to get 24/7 internet access. Malaysia is no different.
You can either grab a SIM card that includes some amount of data, or else you can get your own pocket Wifi modem.
In this article, I’ll show you your options for staying connected to the internet while traveling in KL and give you my recommendations for what to choose.
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Getting a sim card in Kuala Lumpur
If you’re interested in getting a local sim card, you can get one at the airport when you arrive. As you’re walking out of the airport you’ll find several Sim card provider counters right at the arrival hall, just after clearing customs.
Some of them even have a “Tourist Sim card package” which usually comes with preloaded credits and a certain amount of call time and data that can be used for the duration of your stay.
Personally, I would recommend you to get the prepaid sim card because they’re the cheapest.
If by chance you’re not arriving at the airport, you can also easily get a SIM card from any convenience stores, the popular ones like 7-eleven, MyNews, 99 Speedmart and even shopping malls in the city center.
As foreigners when purchasing a SIM card, you’ll be required to show your passport/ID as it is required by the local law to register the user. However, occasionally you may come across someone who is willing to sell you a sim card without needing to show your passport.
Which service provider to choose?
There are four main telco providers in Malaysia. They are Celcom, Maxis, Digi, and Umobile. They are all pretty much reliable, however, their signal coverage varies depending on which area you’re in.
All SIM card sizes are available, but some might have to be cut down to accommodate the nano and mini size free of charge.
They are the pioneer mobile operator and the largest telco provider in Malaysia. Celcom boasts the best maximum coverage and also offers a wide variety of SIM card packages from postpaid to prepaid.
Their prepaid SIM card is called Xpax and you can get it for free. You can get the Xpax SIM from any Celcom kiosk in the city or at the airport when you arrive.
However, you will be required to purchase the prepaid credit before you can actually use it. The credit can also be purchased from the same kiosk that you can grab the sim card from.
Celcom Xpax SIM cards comes in a few different packages:
- 1 day (1 GB) – RM3
- 7 days (2GB) – RM10
- 30 days (5gb) – RM30
- 30 days (10gb) – RM50
This is a good place to check current exchange rates.
Maxis is the second largest telco service provider in Malaysia.
Coverage wise, overall they’re pretty good, but perhaps their coverage isn’t quite as extensive Celcom’s.
You’ll find a Maxis store positioned immediately as you clear customs and walk past the people waiting to greet arriving passengers in the arrival hall of KLIA2. You can also find some Maxis stores in most malls in KL.
Maxis’s prepaid SIM cards come with their own SIM card plans.
The starter pack for their SIM cards is called “Fast” packs which will cost you RM10 and comes with free RM5 credit and 300Mb of data, valid for 5 days.
If you would like to purchase additional data, the following data packs are also available:
- 1day (1Gb) – RM3
- 7days (300Mb) – RM7
- 7days (600Mb) – RM10
- 7days (2Gb) – RM30
- 30days (3Gb) – RM38 (I highly recommended this one if you’re going to be here for a week or two)
If you’re going to be in Malaysia for more than 2 weeks, I highly recommend you to get this package:
6. 30days (5Gb+ 100 minutes) – RM50
Digi offers pretty good coverage in areas within the city in KL, however, if you’re visiting some remote areas of Malaysia, the coverage isn’t all that good.
You’ll be able to find a Digi kiosk at the public concourse arrival hall when you land in KLIA2, right next to the Maxis store.
Digi’s prepaid SIM card packages come in two options:
- Digi Prepaid Best (RM8)
– RM5 call credit (valid for 30days) and 300Mb data (valid for 7 days)
- Digi Prepaid Live (RM12)
– comes with the RM8 credit and 300Mb data (valid for 7 days)
Umobile is the cheapest telco service provider in Malaysia.
If you’re only going to visit the cities in Malaysia, you might want to consider getting a Umobile SIM card.
Overall, their coverage within city areas is good, but terrible in rural areas.
Umobile’s prepaid package ” Power Prepaid” can be purchased for RM8.50 and comes with RM5 credit and 1GB data which is valid for 10 days.
Just like all the other telcos, you can find a Umobile kiosk at the KLIA’s arrival hall.
If you want to purchase more data the following data packs are available:
- 1.5Gb data pack – RM20
- 2Gb data pack – RM25
- 7.5Gb data pack – RM30
- 12Gb data pack – RM50
Pocket wifi in Malaysia
The 4 most notable pocket wifi providers in Malaysia are Wiyo MY, Visondata Wifi Rental, Wifi Baby and Wobicom
Wiyo charges you a daily flat rate for their Pocket Wi-fi service.
They’re definitely one of the favorites among tourists in Malaysia as there are no uncertainties or stress over the possibility of roaming bill surprises.
You can find them at their kiosk in KLIA2, however, if you’re visiting other parts of Malaysia, don’t worry, they have a delivery service too.
Number of sharing devices: up to 5
WIFIBABY, it’s one of the go-to options for tourists in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a cheap, portable and convenient option for your data needs.
The daily data limit is capped at 500Mb per day, which is good if you’re just using it to browse through facebook or any other social media platforms.
However, I don’t recommend it if you’re using it for heavy-duty activities like youtube/movie streaming or gaming as they all tend to use quite a lot of data.
Once, you’ve exceeded the daily quota (trust me you don’t want to), streaming becomes very slow, it will drive you crazy!
Number of sharing devices: Only one
Visiondata is not very well known in KL, but they are another option for pocket wifi while traveling here.
VisonData is located at quite a few places in Kuala Lumpur. You can find them at Midvalley, Soho KL and at both KLIA and KLIA2.
Number of sharing devices: Up to 5
Wobicom, it’s one of the best pocket wifi providers for tourists in Kuala Lumpur.
It’s cheap, portable and convenient for your data needs. The daily data limit is capped at 1Gb per day, which is good if you’re just doing some light browsing.
However, if you want to use it for heavy-duty activities like youtube/movie streaming and gaming, you can opt for their unlimited data package which only costs RM30/day.
They also provide absolute convenience by having your pocket Wifi delivered to you. However, their delivery services are limited to the area within KL, KLIA and Penang airport.
Min rental days: 3
Number of sharing devices: Up to 10
If you’re planning to get your hands on pocket wifi during your visit to Malaysia, I would recommend you to go for wobicom as it has the lowest price. However, if you need to make/receive tons of calls, it’s better to get a SIM card instead.
Personally, I use a Maxis pre-paid SIM card. If I’m ever away from Wifi and I want to do something on my laptop, I can just hot spot using my SIM card data. I find it to be reliable, affordable and convenient.
For a comprehensive guide on exactly how much money you need to bring to survive while you’re in Kuala Lumpur, check out my other article.