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Self driving in Malaysia

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Sydney, Australia
posts: 7
reviews: 39
Self driving in Malaysia

my husband and I are heading to Malaysia in November and have decided to drive! ( Chris is a very good driver!).We will spend around 16 days there.Love Asian food and culture! I thought we should drive from KL,then go to Malacca ,then drive up the east coast and go back to KL via the west coast? Is this a good idea? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! look forward to lots of suggestions!!

36 replies to this topic
Johor Bahru...
posts: 685
reviews: 40
1. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Hi,

West Malaysia generally has a good road infrastructure and easy to drive to the various states via expressway, highway and good rural roads. While Chris is a very good driver, he has to watch for some bad Malaysian driving habits like tail-gating, abrupt lane changes, not using signal lights, motorcyclists not stopping at red lights etc.

Many of the tourist spots in Kl can be visited using light rail, bus, taxi and walking and parking space in KL and Melaka are limited. Just have to be patient finding one and also going through the traffic jams or slow moving traffic in central KL and central Melaka.

November is beginning of the monsoon season in the east coast states of Kelantan, Trengganu, Pahang. Most likely youll experience more rain and most major roads are passable unless the rare heavy flooding.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 7
reviews: 39
2. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Thank you so much for your quick response .It was greatly appreciated.The drivers sound a little like what we put up with in Sydney!You obviously know Malaysia well.

is there any chance you could give me your itinerary that you would do? I really want this to be a good holiday!

thanks so much,

loretta

Johor Bahru...
posts: 685
reviews: 40
3. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

For food and culture, obviously KL, Malacca and Penang cannot be missed. East coast- Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu. With 16 days you could do KL 4days, Malacca 2nights, then head to Kuantan or Kuala Terengganu 1 night, Kota Bharu 1-2 nights, then cross over to Penang for 4days.

Journey times; KL to Malacca town centre about 2.5 hours, Malacca to Kuantan about 5 hrs, Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu 3.5 hrs, KT to Kota Bharu 2.5 hrs, KB to Penang about 6-7 hrs, Penang to KL about 5-6 hrs. Excluding side trips in each city/town. Or you just stick to the west coast- KL,Ipoh, Penang-Kl-Malacca-KL.

Whats attractions have you in mind? beach, mountain, jungle. Lots of info on TA for things to do, restaurants and the specific forums, reseaching the recent threads on specific topics.

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 1,342
reviews: 41
4. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

From my recent holiday in Malaysia (Sarawak & WP) I personally think you would have to be crazy to drive over there.....their road rules and driving practices are very 'flexible' but unfortunately cars are not. Good luck if you plan to drive in the cities :)

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 4,338
reviews: 117
5. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Being a good driver or not, be prepared for some ok driving bad driving and some truly dreadful dangerous driving with lack of care and attention to other road users.

In some local areas the driving can be worse than others, Pahang has some of the worst offenders IMO. Kuantan drivers (and the area) do have a bit of a reputation, (so Im told !!!!). I just thought they were pretty bad and I drove on those roads each day for a few years, I swear I grew eyes in the back of my head and used my side mirrors like my life depended on it...and at times it did. Trucks, bikes are a law unto themselves and the few roundabouts that there are do become a free for all.

Throw into the mix a downpour of rain (even outside monsoon season) learning how to drive or not, when aquaplaning without hitting anyone or avoiding storm drains....in a unfamiliar hire car (careful who you hire from)..oh thats really fun. And yes I know of people that have gone down said drains..

Road maps (even those bought in Malaysia) are ok but are not fully accurate but main roads are well documented, sat navs same thing. Being aware of speed limits on roads (of course will all follow that) as at times the police will do speed checks.

Driving in KL is not advisable unless your used to it and would just use public transport/taxis to get around. Parking can be a pain and really not worth the hassle. Comparing driving in Sydney to KL or anywhere else in Malaysia..well its just not the same. But of course getting used to whichever country your driving in can take time.

However if you do decide to go ahead and hire a car make sure all insurance is in order and your well covered and the car is in fine working order and please, please read up on all the information (plenty of websites) if you are involved in any kind of accident, which of course fingers crossed that will never happen. And if on a long journey keep your tank topped up..

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 4,338
reviews: 117
6. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

...but then again I would not recommend driving in Italy either!!

posts: 115
7. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Loretta

For the first 3 days I suggest you use the public transport first as many attraction in KL are accessibly by public transport (LRT/Monorail). After you exausted of such place and familiar with KL then only you hire a car and explore attractions nearby such as Putrajaya, Fireflies, Batu Caves, Genting Highland, This will save your time

Next destination should be Malacca, I suggest you go to Istana Seri Menanti, in Kuala Pilah using LEKAS highway, it very scenic with mountain, virgin forest and later nice kampung with malay Minangkabau architecture house. From there you use trunk road to Malacca. It is adviseable to go Malacca during weekdays are trafics and crowds is not as bad in weekend

Sydney, Australia
posts: 7
reviews: 39
8. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! this is the first time I have used this forum( will certainly use it again!)

You have all given me some great ideas! we had no intentions of driving in KL ( thanks anyway!)we will pick the car up in KL and leave VERY early early! once we get to Penang we will ditch the car and use public transport/ taxis,then fly back to KL and head straight to Sydney.

We love National Parks and culture/scenic places.

Chris is still keen to drive ( has driven all through Europe, including Italy!).Not sure if I am that keen now....

Hope we don't end up divorced!!!

Will of course ensure we have BIG insurance and will go through Avis/Hertz.

thanks everyone- you have all been so helpful

loretta

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 4,338
reviews: 117
9. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Have a great time, and you know the saying .'Forewarned is forearmed'!

And if you do travel to Kuantan and perhaps stay, when parking in town dont forget to get some parking vouchers from the booths

Johor Bahru...
posts: 685
reviews: 40
10. Re: Self driving in Malaysia

Haha, maybe there's a bit of 'fast and furious' thing going on in Kuantan Drift. Be very alert and extra careful on malaysian roads more so during and after a rainfall.

Since the OP loves national parks, perhaps they can drive, from KL to Taman Negara Pahang, stay 1-2 nights, then to Cameron Highlands via Gua Musang, down to Simpang Pulai, Ipoh and to Penang. I think Chris will like this rural forest route. Just another option to consider.

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