How to Get Around in Malaysia: A Guide To Malaysia’s Local Transport

bus tickets online
bus tickets online

Malaysia is a cultural mix pot with mouth-watering cuisine, vibrant jungles, and lovely beaches. For some reason, Malaysia appears to be a lesser-known nation in SouthEast Asia. It frequently isn’t included in travel plans for backpackers, and many tourists don’t truly explore it well. The fact that Malaysia is less well-known than other Southeast Asian nations can greatly benefit those who visit. This is because tourist attractions are less crowded, the culture isn’t being damaged by tourism, and travelling through the nation gives you the impression that you’ve found a little-known hidden gem.

Malaysia is a country where you can probably find whatever you’re seeking on your trip. Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands are the places to go if your idea of the ideal vacation is spending the entire day lounging on a beach and taking cool swims in the pristine water. Do you prefer a little bit of adventure instead? Then go explore mountains, thick jungles, and tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands or Malaysian Borneo. We also must not neglect to mention the chance to encounter orangutans in Borneo.

And speaking of wildlife, Malaysia is home to a variety of species. So take a deep breath and submerge yourself to discover a lively underwater environment filled with turtles, sharks, coral, and an abundance of fish. After all that touring, you may satiate your appetite with some of Malaysia’s delectable cuisine. Local Malaysian cuisine, such as Nasi Lemak, Satay, and Nasi Goreng, is mixed with Chinese, Indian, and other flavours.

Malaysia’s public transportation is efficient and reasonably priced. You’ll be travelling by bus, minivan, or—less frequently—long-distance cab for a significant portion of the time, especially in Peninsular Malaysia. Given that there are no ferries connecting Peninsular and east Malaysia, cheap flights are an excellent way to travel the area. Although freeways and quicker buses have partially replaced the Peninsula’s rail system (there is also a tiny portion in Sabah), it still has its usefulness, especially in the interior and on the express run north from Butterworth to Bangkok. For example, in Sarawak, you must rely on boats and occasionally planes for long-distance travel. Sabah and Sarawak also have unique travel quirks. In Malaysia, you can also travel inter-city by bus. All credit to the redBus bus service provider for making bus travel so comfortable, affordable and convenient. You can go on their website and book your bus tickets online.

Travelling in Malaysia by bus

With frequent express coaches between all major cities and villages and much slower local services within, typically, a 100-km radius, Malaysia’s national bus network is extensive and simple to use.

A large Malaysian bus terminal is like a street market where you may find hundreds of enterprises all competing for your business by offering their own ticket booths and staff. However, there is never a violent atmosphere present—touts won’t kidnap your bags or force you onto the wrong bus—and in reality, things go very smoothly. The abundance of bus companies also results in quite regular departures (in practice, hourly or every other hour during daylight hours). Most of the time, you can just show up and buy a ticket for the next bus, but on busy routes like those that go through the Cameron Highlands, you might want to do this a day in advance. Even employees of rival bus companies who work at bus stations can provide you with information on schedules and connections despite the fact that detailed timetables are never available.

Although seats can be closely packed together, most intercity buses are pleasant, with air conditioning and curtains to block out the scorching tropical sun. Unfortunately, buses rarely offer restrooms, although longer trips have rest stops every couple of hours or so, with the option of a 30-minute meal break. Additional luxury or “executive” coaches offer more legroom, as well as on-board TVs and restrooms, for a price that is double the standard cost on a few popular routes, most notably KL-Penang.

The fares are reasonable, but be aware that you can be charged the whole fare or the fare till the next big town if you want to get off the bus in a small town along the way. Local buses are more economical but take much longer for such trips when they are available.

Long-distance taxis

Long-distance taxi ranks are present in the majority of Malaysian towns, typically near the express bus station. Buses often take longer than taxis to travel between cities and towns across the nation. The drawback is that because these are shared services, you have to wait for enough passengers to arrive to fill the four seats in the car. This shouldn’t take too long in most major cities, especially early in the day; afternoon trips may require some fiddling. Usually, the fare is two to three times what it would be on an express bus. Remember that when fuel prices are rising quickly, long-distance taxi fares, in particular, may increase.

The true benefit of these taxis for tourists travelling in small groups is that you can charter one for your trip, paying for the car rather than per person. This not only guarantees that you will leave right away but also gives you the opportunity to travel to places that regularly shared taxis or even buses might not reach directly. In addition, there’s minimal chance of getting ripped off because charter fares to a huge variety of locations, both well-known and obscure, are established by the government and are typically posted on a laminated tariff card (senarai tambang), which you can request to view, or chalked up on a board in the taxi office.

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