With some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests as well as a myriad of sun-kissed beaches and islands, Malaysia is ideal for trekking, snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts. The country’s main carrier, Malaysian Airlines Systems (MAS) operates most of the nation’s international flights, as well as a good deal of internal routes, but cheaper alternatives for domestic travel are sure to be had with low-cost carriers such as Air Asia, Berjaya and Firefly.
Air Asia flights – one of Malaysia’s most popular and Asia’s largest low-fare carrier – run out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2), which is only a short distance away from the country’s main airport terminal, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Meanwhile all Berjaya and Firefly flights are handled by the Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz International.
Also known as the Subang International Airport or Subang Skypark, this aerodrome is located approximately 30km west of the city centre and was once Malaysia’s main airport. These days it utilises only a fraction of its erstwhile vast grounds and has become a no-frills terminal with just one stretch of essential stores and restaurants sprinkled along the strip.
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Approximately 30 minutes away from the city centre, Subang Airport is located in Subang Jaya, Selangor. Before the 1998 opening of the KL International Airport in Sepang, Subang International Airport – dubbed the Subang Airport back then – served as KL's main airstrip and in its heyday it boasted the longest runway in Southeast Asia. Currently the hub for Berjaya Air and Firefly commercial turboprop services, the aerodrome is a utilitarian terminal – stores and restaurants are not as costly as KLIA but things here are not exactly economical either.
The airport’s Terminal 3 was renovated in 2008 – in 2009 it was renamed the Subang Skypark and Firefly and Berjaya Air began operations, plying routes to several holiday destinations including Pulau Tioman, Kota Bahru, Langkawi, Penang, Singapore and Koh Samui. A number of flying clubs – such as the Subang Flying Club and Elite Flying Club – are also located here.
Travelling in Malaysia
It’s relatively easy to get around Malaysia and you’ll find a wide variety of transportation here ranging from light rail transits and trains to buses and taxis. Yet to best explore the beautiful countryside, you should hire a car. You’re bound to come across a few drivers who delight in high-speed shenanigans but for the most part Malaysian drivers are a sane and sensible lot.
Not many people who travel on Berjaya and Firefly flights have check-in baggage, so you’re sure to get your luggage quickly – just follow the signage to get to your respective baggage carousel.
Banks & ATMs
There are CIMB and Maybank branches (units G6 & G7 and G8 & G9) on the ground floor right beside each other – you can withdraw money from the ATMs or go directly to the counters (during office hours) for banking transactions.
If you’re driving to Subang Skypark and you want to park your car for the duration of your trip then head to the car park opposite Terminal 3. It may look a little dubious but at RM1.50 per entry, it’s inexpensive.
MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards in Malaysia although American Express cards are accepted at mostly upscale establishments. If you’re looking to get cash from your card then simply head over to a bank to get an over-the-counter cash advance or stop by at the nearest ATM to make a withdrawal. Many of Malaysia’s banks are linked to international banking networks such as Cirrus, Maestro and Plus.
Malaysian currency is known as the Ringgit Malaysia (MYR). Divided into 100 sen, it comes in denominations of RM100, RM50, RM20, RM10, RM5 and RM1; coins come in denominations of 50 sen, 20 sen, 10 sen, 5 sen and 1 Sen.
There are more than a few eateries at Subang Skypark – McDonald’s is a tried and true no-nonsense option. For your java fix head to the Starbucks outlet at the ground floor; alternatively, Big Apple Donuts & Coffee has a corner lot near the front doors. Meanwhile Noodles – located next to it – is an eatery that serves up a variety of Asian favourites; beside that are Kapitan Kopitiam and Sakura Café & Cuisine. The trendy Palms Sports Bar & Restaurant is a good option for those who want a more stylish eating experience plus it’s the only bar at Subang Skypark. Warung Desa Paku, Butler’s Family Restaurant, Delicious Cuisine & Savoury and Mingo Mingo are small eateries that serve up reasonably priced fare.
If Subang Airport is merely your transit point and you’d like to explore the airport or if you would like to grab a bite to eat before your flight without being hampered by your luggage, then head to the Focus Action Luggage Service counter at the ground floor.
Like most businesses in Malaysia, most restaurants and stores along Subang Skypark’s retail strip impose a 10% service charge and 5% government tax. Tipping is unnecessary but bear in mind that these service charges go to the corporate bigwigs and leaving behind a little extra is thoroughly appreciated by the servers and clerks.
Travellers with Disabilities
Due to the fact that the airport was once Malaysia’s main aerodrome, Subang Skypark is considerably well equipped for travellers with disabilities. The terminal has ramps and the outside pavement is smooth and boasts mini ramps for trolley and wheelchair access. Elevators, restrooms, telephones and numerous other facilities have been outfitted with all the modern conveniences for the mobility-impaired.
If you’ve got one too many bags to carry, then grab a baggage trolley – at no charge – from the curb outside.
There are two major routes to Kuala Lumpur city centre from the Subang Skypark terminal; you can either use the Federal Highway or the Sprint Highway – the drive to Malaysia’s capital will take you approximately 30 minutes.
Public transport access is good with Metrobus and RapidKL buses plying routes to the airport. If you’re looking to catch a bus to the city centre, then the Rapid KL bus #U81 leaves from the bay to the left outside the departure hall – you can purchase your ticket on board. It travels to the Jalan Sultan Mohammad Bus Terminal (also known as the Pasar Seni Station) and makes stops at Asia Jaya and KL Sentral – the fare is RM2.
The journey to the city centre takes you past the old railway station to the bus terminal along Jalan Sultan Mohammed, which is opposite the Klang bus station. The terminus is close to Pasar Seni (Central Market) at the southern edge of Chinatown, which is one of KL’s main areas for budget accommodation.
There’s a Sime Darby car rental service at the ground floor of the airport – rates are reasonable and it’s marginally easier and cheaper to rent a car to explore KL than to take taxis to various destinations in the city centre.
A taxi into the city centre will cost your around RM40/RM50 – you need to buy a coupon from the Teratai Terbilang taxi service counter at the right of the departure hall, in front of the road, which you give to the driver. There are a few taxi touts that will approach you as soon as you exit the arrival hall doors – be sure to stick to the official coupon system as these drivers overcharge and you could find yourself seriously out of pocket. A journey to the city centre will take you approximately 30 – 45 minutes.