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Malaysia | The Ultimate Travel Guide

When to go, where to stay and what to do once you arrive.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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The south-east Asian nation of Malaysia is a world of cityscapes, rainforest, beaches, temples and colonial heritage.Its capital of Kuala Lumpur is a mixture of high-rise, British colonial landmarks and religious temples. Head north and you'll discover the food hub of Ipoh and even further north-east to experience beach culture in Langkawi, an archipelago of islands resting in the Andaman Sea.

Its rich Malay, Chinese, Indian and English history is best reflected in its cuisine, which bursts with the flavours of south-east Asia with lashings of European fare. Hungry for more? Read our guide on when to visit, what to do and, most importantly, what to eat when travelling through Malaysia.

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Getting around in Malaysia

Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur is simple to get around with an easy transport system. The city is also very compact, making it extremely walkable.

Penang may be an ideal city to rent a motorbike as the traffic is less chaotic than in Kuala Lumpur.

Between major tourist cities there are bus, train and plane routes that are commonly used. Renting a car to drive is also common as roads in Malaysia are well maintained between cities.

Travelling between cities in Malaysia

  • Sleeper and overnight trains: Malaysia is well connected by train on the west coast and provides a comfortable ride between major cities. During the day you'll find great views, especially on the Jungle Train which travels from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu.
  • Internal flights: Domestic flights in Malaysia are common because prices are affordable due to the number of budget airlines such as AirAsia and Firefly operating in the country. You can not fly to some of the smaller islands such as Tenggol.
  • Buses: Major cities in Malaysia have their own bus terminals that offer a range of prices depending on how luxurious the bus is. The bus is the most budget-friendly option but also the slowest.

Public transport within major cities in Malaysia

  • Types of transport: MyRapid serves Kuala Lumpur with buses, LRT (light rapid transit), MRT (monorail rapid transit) and BRT (bus rapid transit).
  • Paying for transport: If travelling in Kuala Lumpur for an extended period of time and using public transport frequently it is best to get a MyRapid card. For single journeys a token must be bought which is used to tap on and then inserted into the exit gate when leaving. Tokens can be bought at any public transport station. Fares are based on the distance travelled.
  • Getting to and from the airport: The KILA Express train runs from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the central train station in 30 minutes for RM35. Airport buses bring you to KL Sentral and cost RM18.
  • Best apps for getting around: The Malaysia Transit app suggests the closest station to you, can be used offline and gives you detailed routes.

Car hire in Malaysia

Malaysia is fantastic for driving compared to other Asian countries. It is not recommended to drive in Kuala Lumpur as the driving is chaotic but Malaysia is great for road trips between destinations as the roads are well maintained.

Avis, Hertz, Kasina Baru, Pantas Rent a Car, Mayflower, Orix and Insas Pacific provide car hire services at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Taxis and rideshare in Malaysia

Taxi: Taxis are not legally allowed to pull over in the city but some may. It is best to get a taxi from a taxi stand. Taxis can also be booked in advance online, or your accommodation can help get you a cab.

Rideshare: You can catch a lift wih Grab throughout Malaysia. Uber is no longer operating in the country.

Airport transfers in Malaysia

If you're looking to avoid public transport, which can be slow outside of Kuala Lumpur, and want to get to your accommodation quickly without street, consider pre-booking a private or shared airport transfer.

Shared transfer from Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Shared transfer from Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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