Getting to and around Malaysia

Travelling to Malaysia

By Air:

Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier, currently flies to 95 destinations worldwide. Many other international airlines offer flights to Malaysia, most of which land at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) approximately 35 miles (55km) South of Kuala Lumpur. Air traffic to and from Malaysia is estimated to grow between almost seven per cent a year over the next decade. The new KL International Airport at Sepang has one of the most sophisticated passenger facilities in the region.

Some of the international airlines that fly to Malaysia are Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Air Lanka, Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, Air Vietnam, Alia/Royal Jordanian Airlines, Balkan-Bulgarian Airlines, Bangladesh Biman, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Eva Air, Garuda Indonesia, Iran Air, Japan Airlines, Kampuchea Airlines, Koran Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan Airlines, Phillipine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Royal Dutch Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Sempati Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai International, and Uzbekistan Airlines.

By Rail:

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM), or Malayan Railways, connects to both Singapore and Bangkok. The trip from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur takes 7 to 10 hours; from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur is about two days.

By Bus or Car:

Buses from the Ban San terminus in Singapore travel to many different points on peninsular Malaysia; buses from Bangkok or Haadyai in Thailand travel to both the West and East coasts of Malaysia as well as to Kuala Lumpur. Entering Malaysia by rental car is not difficult from either Thailand or Singapore, and the North-South highway makes travel along the west coast quite convenient (10-12 hours from Singapore to the Thai border).

Getting Around Within Malaysia

By Air:

There are a growing number of domestic airlines serving popular tourist destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Terengganu, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Pangkor, Taman Negara, Kuantan, Ipoh, Penag, Malacca and Pulau Langkawi. These Airlines include Pelangu Air, Berjaya Air and Mofaz Air.

By Rail:

  • Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) or Malayan Railways has an impressive rail network that stretches from north to south and east to west in Peninsular Malaysia. KTM offers a number of special deals for tourists.
  • The KTM Railpass offers all the benefits of first-class travel at economy rates. Railpass holders are allowed unlimited travel on any passenger train in Malaysia and Singapore for the duration of the railpass. The price for adults is US$55 for 10 days and US$120 for 30 days. For children between 4 and 12 years old, the Railpass is US$28 (10 days) and US$60 (30 days).
  • For only US$32, youths (not Malaysians or Singaporeans) below the age of 30 holding the ISIC, YIEE Card, or Youth Hostel Card receive unlimited travel on KTM for 7 days. The Eurotrain Explorer Pass-Malaysia is valid for second or economy class travel on all KTM services in Peninsular Malaysia (including Singapore).
  • A luxury train service, the Eastern and Oriental Express, which is modeled after the renowned Orient Express, is also available. The 41-hour round-trip journey from Singapore to Bangkok and back again passes through Kuala Lumpur as well as some of Malaysia's most beautiful regions.

By Bus:

  • Buses are the most popular form of transport in Malaysia. Air-conditioned express buses and non-air-conditioned regional buses are available from Kuala Lumpur to many other towns in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Buses plying within towns and cities charge fares according to the distance covered. The exceptions are the mini buses in Kuala Lumpur. They charge a standard fare of 60 sen to any destination within their routes.

By Car:

  • Limousine service is available from the airport to hotels in the city. To hire one, please enquire at the taxi counter.
  • Interstate taxis are an inexpensive and rapid means of travel from one state to another. The taxi stand in Kuala Lumpur is located on the level 2 of the Pudu Raya Bus Terminal. Fares for interstate taxis are fixed. Meters are generally not used by these taxis, so you should be sure to negotiate a fare before the journey.
  • City taxis are metered. In Kuala Rumpus taxis are easily recognizable by their yellow and black colour or the new red and white colour.
  • Taxi fares are calculated according to meters. The flagged down fare is RM 1.50 for the first two kilometers and 10 sen for every 200m there after.
  • There is no extra cost for air-conditioned taxis. A 50% surcharge on the fare from midnight to 6 am is normal.

Guided Tours:

Sightseeing tours can be arranged through the Tourist Information Centers or your hotel. All tours are accompanied by licensed tour guides; tour operators are required to be licensed under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism.

Self-drive Tours:

  • Roads in Malaysia are among the finest in the region. Auto touring is an excellent way to see the country via highways that pass through spectacular scenery and roads that pass through quaint villages.
  • An international driving permit or a valid drivers license issued by your government are required to drive in Malaysia. Rates for a car vary from RM60 to RM260 per day. Car rental can be arranged through your hotel or directly with a car rental company.
  • All international rules apply to tourists driving in the country. Minor road offences not involving accidents are compoundable and can be settled at the nearest police station.
  • Drivers on a self-drive holidays should keep in mind that traffic circulation is on the left. At roundabouts give way to the driver on your right. Drivers and front seat passengers are required by law to wear safety belts.
  • The Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) is the national motoring organisation of Malaysia. Tourists who are members of motoring organizations affiliated to AAM are given free reciprocal membership. Petrol (premium) currently costs RM1.10 per liter. Unleaded petrol can be obtained at most petrol stations.


Trishaws (bicycle rickshaws) are less a form of transport than a leisurely mode of touring. Although trishaws are much less prevalent these days, they are still a popular way to tour in Melaka, Georgetown, Kota Bahru, and Kuala Terengganu. Be sure to negotiate the price before you get in. A half day of sightseeing costs about RM25.

Motorbikes and Bicycles:

Two-wheel transport is not generally available for hire in Malaysia. However, a growing number of resort destinations do offer cycles for hire.

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