Malaysia: Local Travel Info
Asia's Rising Star
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Malaysia
Despite concerted efforts, Malaysia does boast a transportation hub equal of Singapore or even Bangkok, but still remains easy to get reach through its good range of airports across the two territories, both catering for regular international and local flights running daily. Although you can fly directly to many cities, at least from neighbouring countries, most international visitors arrive through Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Alternatively, Penang International Airport is the second-busiest in Malaysia. It serves the small island in the north of peninsular Malaysia, while Kuantan, on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, is the gateway to the many resorts which run from Kuantan up to Terangganu.
Getting to and from the Airport in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of Southeast Asia’s busiest air hubs and flights arrive daily from all over the world. There is just one terminal building handling both international and domestic flights and although the airport is a long way from the city, transport links are excellent; with a combination of trains, buses, shuttles, minivans, taxis and limos offering quick travel to the city. Penang's airport is Malaysia's second-busiest, after Kuala Lumpar’s. The airport is rather small, making it a bit crowded and there is just a single terminal building on two levels, but the airport is still serviced by a regular fleet of buses and taxis. Otherwise, Kaunatan is your best bet for connecting flights to Malaysia’s east peninsular and has an intermittent bus and hotel shuttle service - making taxis perhaps the most favourable form of transport to and from the airport.
Travel Costs in Malaysia
Malaysia is served by a good transport system. Once you arrive there is always transport available to you running from the larger cities and towns to even the most remote areas. Getting around the country poses little difficulty: There are various modes of travel such as air, rail, or road. Each mode is efficient, convenient, and affordable. Travelling by road in peninsula Malaysia is popular as it has well-developed network of roads. In Sabah and Sarawak, travelling by four-wheel drive is recommended on unpaved roads, and many remote areas can only be reached by air or river-boats. Travelling by rail is also highly recommended as you get to see the countryside. Malaysia intercity train services are offered by KTMB, a safe, hassle-free and easy mode of travel between cities or to more remote areas of Malaysia. The trains and services are generally good and cheap, although onboard food and condition of toilets can be further improved. The KTM intercity train service is a comfortable and affordable way to travel between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang as well as all the way up to Thailand Bangkok. Most of the KTM intercity train services operate from Kuala Lumpur Central station. In west Malaysia, Malayan Railways connects all the major cities and towns. You can choose from the First, Second or Economy Class and travel comfortably in air-conditioned coaches. In the first and second class coaches, sleeping berths are granted to the passengers. Each express service has a restaurant coach that serves local and continental cuisine. For those travelling by rail, tickets can be purchased 60 days in advance from the date of journey. Children below four can travel free, while those who are above four and under twelve are charged half the adult fare. Foreign tourists can also take 30-day or 10-day Tourist Railpass offering unlimited travel on KTM for the mentioned period.
If you're looking for a cheap mode to get around, buses make the best deal. In big cities, you can find air-conditioned buses that are little expensive than non-ac ones. However, the latter one is easily available in small towns around the country. Interstate buses usually have fixed rates, while intrastate buses charge fares according to the distance covered. In cities, taxis are generally metered but drivers don't use the meters frequently and charge high rates. If travelling by taxi, prefer settling a price prior to getting in, though a surcharge of 50% is levied between midnight and 6am. In small towns, taxis usually charge a fixed rate.
Renting Cars in Malaysia
If you are an experienced driver, and want freedom of movement, consider renting a car in Malaysia. Car hire is easy with the large amount of car rental companies available. All drivers must show a valid driver’s license at time of rental. Additional drivers must meet the same eligibility requirements as the Primary driver. Airports often have car rental that is significantly cheaper than most hotels - getting a rented car from the airport will not only be cheaper and definitely much easier. You can pick it up when you get off the plane and drop it when you leave. No need to worry about a transfer from the hotel to the airport (which sometimes you have to pay for). You should not have to book ahead unless it is a major holiday. There are numerous car rental desks and agents waiting around the doors to the airport. Car rental in Malaysia is an excellent option for all groups sizes and you can easily find cheap car hire and cheap car rental by booking online.
Drivers License Requirements in Malaysia
Visitors wishing to drive must possess a valid Driving Licence or International Driving Permit.
Driving Rules in Malaysia
Toll fees are levied on all highways throughout Malaysia. It is compulsory to fasten the seat belts when sitting in a car. It is not illegal to use cell phones while driving. As per the Malaysian Law, driving and drinking is firmly frowned upon. Anyone found at fault would expect to face strict penalties. Drivers must use their turn indicators prior to turning. If get involved in an accident, drivers are recommended to avoid confrontational behaviour and should file report to the local police within 24 hours. In the morning as well as evening, traffic gets really heavy and if it rains, then situation can become particularly tricky. Avoid commuting at rush hours. Be alert while walking on the road too, since motorcyclists often take wrong turns to avoid confrontation with heavy traffic.
Buses in Malaysia
Thousands of modern, luxurious buses shuttle between Malaysia cities and towns daily. This is how most Malaysians travel. Unfortunately, it is difficult to procure information on fares and schedules, but you can do that easily once you arrive in Malaysia. Departures are frequent, and you don’t need advance reservations on most routes - except on public holidays. Malaysia has a very good express bus system. Express bus travel is the easiest, cheapest, most popular way to travel between states in Malaysia. The express buses are modern and comfortable, service is frequent, and fares are low to moderate. There are even express bus services between Malaysia and Singapore as well as Thailand. In larger towns there may be a number of bus stations; local and regional buses often operate from one station to another with regular long-distance express buses. In other cases, such as Kuala Lumpur, Puduraya and Pekeliling, bus stations are differentiated by the destinations they serve. Rest stops are made en-route every few hours for toilet, snacks or meals. No smoking is allowed on most express buses. Most express buses are not usually equipped with onboard toilets, so use the facilities in the terminal before your board.
Taxis in Malaysia
Taxis are readily available all across Malaysia and generally metered but beware drivers who don't use the meters: they frequently do so in order to charge higher rates. If travelling by taxi, ensure you have settled on a price prior to getting in, though be aware that a surcharge of about 50% is levied between midnight and 6am. In small towns, taxis usually charge a fixed rate.
Cycling in Malaysia
Cycling in Malaysia is a mixed though mostly very pleasant experience, just be careful of riding in the more built-up areas. People in Malaysia are less interested in cycling than certain other Asian territories. Consequentially, the cities are usually busy and there is little space for a bicycle to go round safely. In the eyes of many locals it's too hot, too dangerous and too arduous to cycle in the busier areas. However, in the lesser visited regions of Malaysia’s hinterland, people are proud you take the time to visit their town. In some areas of the western coast mountain biking has become fairly popular. Kuala Lumpur is for most travellers the first city they visit in Malaysia. Although not bicycle friendly, it is still worth the effort to visit. That said, every year the biggest cycling tour in Asia is held under the name Tour de Langkawi. Cycling along the many miles of beautiful beaches from Kuah to Cenang Beach is a definite highlight with some aw-inspiring sights. In the hills of Penang you will find quite a few mountain bikers and, probably for that reason, there's are excellent bicycle shops all across Malaysia’s larger towns and villages, most of which are very affordable.
Water Transport in Malaysia
Numerous ferries connect various ports in Peninsular Malaysia with Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, whereas Sarawak and Sabah are connected with Brunei, East Kalimantan Indonesia and the Philippines. From Singapore and Phuket, luxury cruises also operate to and from Malaysia. Passenger boats and ferries also run daily from Singapore and Thailand. Penang, Port Klang, Kuantan, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu are some of the main ports that offer entry into Malaysia. Between Penang and Butterworth, coastal ferries sail often transporting passengers and vehicles from the mainland to the island. Besides, numerous ferry/ boat services can be availed for mainland-to-island and island-to-island travel around Malaysia. For getting around in Sabah and Sarawak, fast boats and small river crafts work really well for those looking to reach isolated settlements.
Hitchhiking in Malaysia
Although hitchhiking is a not uncommon method of transport for travellers in Malaysia, the potential dangers are huge and cases of violence and abduction not unheard of so it is not a recommended form of travel.