What is terminal M at Kuala Lumpur international airport?

people lining up to get water at KLIA M

What is terminal M?

“Terminal M” is KLIA1.

The “M” stands for “main”. It’s sometimes referred to as “terminal M” in order to distinguish it from KLIA 2, but oftentimes it just causes confusion among travellers.

How many terminals does Kuala Lumpur airport have?

There are 2 terminals at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

KLIA (sometimes referred to as KLIA M or KLIA1) and KLIA2.

What’s the difference between KLIA 1 and KLIA 2?

KLIA and KLIA 2 are different terminal buildings at the same airport.

KLIA is mainly for international flights and is the home of Malaysian Airlines and other international carriers.

KLIA 2 is mainly for low-cost carriers and is used by Air Asia.

However, don’t get confused and think that they’re separate airports, instead, they’re just different terminals at the same airport.

KLIA1 seems to be older and less modern than KLIA2.

Personally, I find KLIA2 to feel a lot like a modern shopping mall that also happens to have aeroplanes arriving and taking off.

KLIA1 / KLIA M on the other hand feels more like a trip back in time to a place with less-enticing food options.

How far apart are the terminals?

KLIA and KLIA 2 are only 2.5km apart from one another.

You can easily transfer between KLIA and KLIA 2 via the KLIA Express.

The entire inter-terminal journey will only take you about 3 minutes and costs RM2 (about $0.50)

How far is KLIA from the city?

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport is 55 kilometers away from KL Sentral, which is the main transportation hub in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

Best ways to get from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the city.

If you’re looking to travel to Kuala Lumpur city from the airport there are quite a number of options that you can choose from to get there.

In fact, I also wrote an in-depth article covering all of your options to get from the airport to the city which you might find helpful to plan your journey.

KL Airport Bus Shuttle

Taking the bus from the airport is the cheapest way to get to the city center.

It’s the best way for you to get to KL Sentral without paying any additional charges for your luggage and belongings if you’re traveling with oversized sporting equipment and you’re on a tight budget.

Travelling by bus to the Kuala Lumpur city centre is an enjoyable and relaxing journey. You’ll be sitting in a vehicle that’s well equipped with air conditioning and padded seats.

If you plan to take the bus to the city centre you can purchase the tickets at the airport coach counters at the ground floor of either KLIA or KLIA 2.

Tickets cost RM12 (about $3) and the journey takes about an hour, depending on traffic.

KLIA Express Train

The KLIA Express train is definitely not the cheapest way to get to KL Sentral, but it’s certainly the fastest.

If you want to catch the KLIA Express train, head to level 1 of the KLIA terminal or Gateway at the KLIA 2 terminal.

It’s going to cost you RM55 ($13.5) for an adult ticket and RM25 ($6) for a child (2 to 12 years old).

You can also get a return ticket for RM100.

KL Transit Train

The transit train shares the same tracks as the KLIA Express, but it costs a little less.

The only difference is that it makes a few extra stops along the way to KL Sentral (Salak Tinggi, Cyberjaya/Putrajaya, and Bandar Tasik Selatan).

It’s an alternative to the KLIA Express train and might also be more convenient if you’re not headed all the way to the city centre.

However, if you just want to get to the city centre as quickly as possible, take the express train instead.

KL Airport Limo & Taxi Services

The airport limo and taxi services is another way that you can get from the airport to the city centre.

The limo used isn’t like the luxury sedan that you probably have in your mind. In fact, it’s just an ordinary sedan or an MPV.

It’s far from being the cheapest option, but it might suit you if you’re travelling in a group.

Most cars provided by the airport limo and taxi service can seat about 3-4 or maybe even 5 people, plus luggage.

However, take note that the airport taxi is different from the regular taxis that you’ll find waiting outside the airport. The airport taxi is generally cheaper and charge a fixed price depending on where you’re heading.

Regular taxi drivers, on the other hand, will often try to trick you. If you’re looking to use the airport taxi service you can purchase tickets at the airport limo counter in the arrival hall.

GRAB

Grab is my personal favorite option for getting from the airport to the city and back when I’m travelling with my surfboards or when I’m travelling with one or more people.

Grab is basically an Asian version of Uber. It’s more or less the same thing.

The pricing with Grab is transparent, so you won’t have to haggle and negotiate the price unlike with regular taxi drivers. Grab charges you a fixed fee depending on where you’re travelling and how busy it is at that time of the day.

If you’re travelling during peak periods, you can expect that it’s going to cost you slightly more. Grab is usually more convenient than using a normal taxi and also safer, as all of the vehicles and drivers have an inspection before they’re allowed to carry customers.

If I were you, I’d definitely go for Grab instead of an airport or normal taxi.

I typically pay around RM85 each way for a Grab to the centre of the city from the airport.

As mentioned above, if you’re travelling with someone else, this will work out cheaper than you both getting the train.

Are there any hotels at the airport?

If you’re looking for hotels near the airport you’re in luck. 

Sama-Sama Kuala Lumpur International Airport, formally known as Pan Pacific is located next to KLIA’s main terminal building.

It’s linked to the KLIA building through a sky-bridge which is only a 5-minute walk away.

Sama-Sama is the perfect hotel if you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a short stopover at KL airport.

Sama-Sama Express – Airside Transit Hotel.

The Airside Transit Hotel is great if you’re looking for somewhere to stay during your transit. It’s just next to Gate C5, which is located in the satellite building (inside the terminal structure).

At Sama-Sama express, you can get everything that you’ll need to have a comfortable stay without ever needing to leave the airport or even passing through customs.

If you’ll be arriving at KLIA 2, don’t worry. Sama-Sama Express is also available at KLIA 2, it’s located on Level 3 of the International Departure Hall.

Tune Hotel KLIA.

Tune hotel is perfect if you’re looking for a budget hotel near the airport.

It’s located directly next to KLIA 2 and you can get there through a covered walkway. The location of the hotel is very convenient. It’s just a 5-minute walk from KLIA2.

However, if you want to get to the KLIA 1 terminal, you can get there using the Express train which takes about 5 minutes to get from one terminal to the other.

KLIA M conclusion

I hope this article helped to clear up any lingering questions that you may have had about what exactly is terminal M at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

Personally, I think it’s quite confusing to have one terminal building referred to by 3 different names.

KLIA, KLIA1 and KLIA M. They’re all the same terminal.

But hey, don’t blame me, it wasn’t my idea!

KLIA2 is a nice, modern airport terminal building, while KLIA feels a bit more tired and in need of a makeover.

Make sure you check out my other articles on:

Safe travels!

Marty Spargo

I first visited Malaysia as a tourist in 2004 and frequently returned for short visits over the next decade or more before moving to Kuala Lumpur to live in 2018. I live and work in KL, but remember what it's like to see the city for the first time as a tourist, so I try to create helpful articles with that in mind. You can read my full bio here.

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