Why didn't Malaysia want Singapore
Getting from A to B: Means of Transport and Locomotion in Malaysia
Whether bus, train or plane, ship, taxi or rental car - Malaysia offers you all possibilities to travel well and cheaply. Here you will find everything you need to know at a glance.
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Malaysia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that are quite easy to travel to for backpackers and individual tourists. This is mainly due to the fact that roads and public transport are well above the average for some other countries in the region. This is particularly true of the Malaysian peninsula. In Borneo, on the other hand, many places off the coast are difficult to reach.
Transportation in Malaysia
Travel to the most beautiful destinations in Malaysia is very inexpensive. This applies to all means of transport. Especially for buses and trains, of course, but even if you fly, which in extreme cases can save you more than 10 hours each way in West Malaysia alone, it's still cheap. The reason for this is a wide range of low-cost flights.
Tip: Many buses, trains and planes are fully booked around the most important holidays in Malaysia.
All tips for your trip to Malaysia
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To the Malaysia blog
Flying in Malaysia
There are more than 20 airports in Malaysia, around a quarter of which also have regular international connections in their program. Most tourists, however, come into the country via the new Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA). It is located around 50 kilometers from the outskirts.
The range of flight connections in the interior of the country is large and inexpensive. Here you can find everything you need to know about domestic flights in Malaysia.
Rail travel in Malaysia
There are also some routes that you can cover by rail. The main line runs along the west coast of Singapore via Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth and then to the Thai border. You even have the option of continuing to Bangkok. For railway nostalgics with the necessary change, there is a luxurious option with the Eastern and Oriental Express. The journey from Bangkok to Singapore takes four days.
There is also the so-called jungle line from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu. It got the name because of the charming route through the deep forests inland.
In the state of Sabah on Borneo there is still a narrow-gauge railway. It connects Kota Kinabalu with Tenom.
- Singapore - Kuala Lumpur: 6-8 hours
- Kuala Lumpur - Butterworth (near Penang): 6-8 hours
- Kuala Lumpur - Thai border: approx. 12 hours
- Butterworth - Bangkok: approx. 20 hours
- Kuala Lumpur - Pasi Mas (from here there is a bus to Kota Bharu): approx. 14 hours
Tips for taking the train in Malaysia:
- Train tickets are inexpensive, for example you pay only 17 ringgit (€ 4.20) in 3rd class for the route from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur or 34 ringgit (€ 8.40) in 2nd class from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore .
- In Singapore, tickets cost twice as much as in Malaysia.
- Express trains have sleeping and dining cars.
- You always need a reservation. Therefore, you have to buy a ticket before getting on the train.
- The station in Singapore is called Woodlands.
- If you want to travel a lot and save money, the Rail Pass might be the right thing for you (I have not yet been able to find out whether this offer is still available. The KTMB page linked here has not been online for some time).
Here you can find detailed information about train travel in Malaysia.
Bus travel in Malaysia
West Malaysia in particular has a good bus network. Almost all cities are so easy to get to. There are also bus connections to neighboring countries.
A number of intercity buses also operate on Borneo in Sarawak and Sabah. In the smaller towns it is often only possible to continue by minibus.
In addition to the state buses, there are many private providers. It's worth comparing prices.
You can buy tickets online, in travel shops and at bus stations. Usually you have a ticket with a seat number and no free choice of seat.
The use of minibuses has also proven itself in tourism. These connect the most popular destinations along the coasts and inland. On the one hand this is convenient, on the other hand you usually only travel with other tourists. You may have to change minibuses at a central transfer point.
Here you can find detailed information about bus travel in Malaysia.
Further information on the topic:
Driving a car or motorcycle in Malaysia
The roads in West Malaysia are very well developed, especially the main connections from north to south. There are also some highways that connect the west and east coasts.
The road conditions are less good on Borneo.
If you are going on your own, you have to deal with left-hand traffic first. Overall, however, it should be doable.
Links on the subject:
Traffic rule in Malaysia
Rent a car or motorcycle in Malaysia
To rent a car or a large motorcycle, you need a credit card and an international driver's license. Some global providers are also available in Malaysia. Compared to local rental companies, they are usually more expensive. However, it is easier to borrow the vehicle from one location and return it to another.
If you don't want to drive yourself, it is also possible to rent a car with a chauffeur.
To rent small mopeds, your passport is usually enough.
Ship connections in Malaysia
There are no shipping connections between West Malaysia and East Malaysia, 300 kilometers away on the island of Borneo. For this purpose, numerous boats are on the way off the coasts and on the rivers inland with pylons.
The popular holiday islands such as Langkawi, Penang, the Perhentians or Tioman can be reached by ferry from the mainland.
There is a boat connection from Kota Kinabalu via Labuan Island to Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital of Brunei).
To get inland from Sarawak, you can also use speedboats. Small ships are often the only way to reach remote villages here.
Links on the subject:
The best travel credit card for Malaysia
You can save a lot of money on your travels with the right credit card. Here you can find out which cards you can use to withdraw cash free of charge worldwide and pay in local currency at no additional cost. And who is currently the only provider who reimburses you for third-party fees at the machine, for example in Thailand or Vietnam.
Here is the credit card comparison
Driving a taxi in Malaysia
A taxi ride is usually not expensive. At least if you pay the regular price. Especially in Kuala Lumpur you should insist on a taximeter billing.
Outside of the cities, overland taxis are an affordable option. They are more expensive than buses, but it can be worthwhile for two or three people or more.
In some places there are also shared taxis that only leave when there are enough passengers on board.
Out and about in Kuala Lumpur
During your stay in the Malaysian capital, there are several options for getting around in public transport. These are:
- Public buses
- S-Bahn (Komuter KTM): There are two lines to the suburbs and neighboring districts. Line A runs from the Batu Caves to Port Klang. Line B from Rawang to Seremban. Both go via the KL Sentral main station.
- Airport line: There is also an express connection from the main train station to the airport, the KLIA Ekspres.
- Light Rail Transit (LRT): The elevated railway is a great way to avoid traffic on the streets.
Tip: It's hard to get a taxi during rush hour. I myself have often seen that if a free vehicle ever came, the driver did not want to drive or only wanted to drive at a significantly higher fixed price.
Taxi drivers often use the rush hour to take a break. If you were in Kuala Lumpur at that time, you will know why ...
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About the author
Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and has since written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.
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