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Where is Kuala Lumpur?

An Introduction to Malaysia's Capital City


Merdeka Square, KL

Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo by Greg Rodgers

With Malaysia's bustling capital not being as well known as Bangkok or Singapore, many people want to know: Where is Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur, also known simply as "KL," is the busy, beating heart of Malaysia. Both the capital and most populous city, Kuala Lumpur is an economic powerhouse in Southeast Asia.

Where is Kuala Lumpur Located?

Located in the Malaysian state of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur is close to the center of Peninsular Malaysia. Although Kuala Lumpur is nearer to the west coast of Malaysia, it is not situated directly on the Malacca Strait and does not have a waterfront.

Inside of Peninsular Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is 91 miles north of the popular tourist stop Malacca and 125 miles south of Ipoh, the fourth-largest city in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur is located just east of North Sumatra, Indonesia, and approximately 220 miles north of Singapore. The journey by bus from Singapore usually takes around five hours. Read more about the bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.

The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur contains the city and is one of three Malaysian Federal Territories.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a top destination in Southeast Asia. See where to go in Malaysia for other places to explore.

The Population of Kuala Lumpur

The last government census placed the population of Kuala Lumpur at an estimated 1.6 million people within the city proper. The greater Kuala Lumpur area, which encompasses the Klang Valley, has an estimated population of 7.2 million residents.

Kuala Lumpur is a highly diverse city with three major ethnic groups. A government census taken in 2010 found that Malays make up 44.2% of the population, ethnic Chinese comprise 43.2%, and ethnic Indians account for 10.3% of the population.

Getting In and Out

Kuala Lumpur is well connected to the rest of the world via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (airport code: KUL). The new KLIA2 terminal, approximately two kilometers from KLIA, is home to Asia's most popular budget carrier: AirAsia.

Read more about how to find cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur from anywhere in the world.

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