Malaysia — Transportation
Malaysia Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are readily available for tourists in larger cities like Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, but in the smaller towns and villages you’re on your own. Fare are generally not metered, and if you even see a meter insist the driver uses it or negotiate a rate before you depart. In places like Kuala Lumpur, taxis come in red and white (“budget,” which are a little less roomy and a little more run down); blue (“premium”); and yellow colors. Comfort Cabs (+60-3-6253-1313) and Public Cab (+60-3-6259-2020) are two of the more popular cab companies found on the Malaysian peninsula. Be careful of unlicensed taxis at airports and other tourist locations as it is a common scam.
Car rental is especially convenient if you are traveling up and down the western coast, which boasts well-maintained highways. Major airports and larger cities have reputable rental companies available, just be wary of crazy motorcycles and careless motorists in cities like Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Water Taxis
Local ferry services have daily connections to international destinations, including Singapore, Sumatra and even as far as Phuket in Thailand. There are also hourly and half-hourly routes around the east coast of Malaysia.
Malaysia Trains and Buses
In larger cities, such as Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, inner-city bus networks make it easy for tourists to get around. The capital rightfully has the most comprehensive system in the country, called the RapidKL. However, lack of information like timetables or route maps makes it difficult for tourists to use. Instead, the KL Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing shuttles are a much easier option.
Traveling between cities in Malaysia can be inexpensively done by bus. Almost every city and town has cheap routes to other destinations that are pretty quick since the western highways are in good condition. Transnasional and NICE/Plusliner are two of the largest bus companies, but be sure to book seats in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during the peak season.
Both the peninsula and Borneo have trains. However, these two regions are extremely different when it comes to rail connections. Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad is the main company servicing the peninsula. Long distance trains are cheap, and reasonably reliable, but the jungle trains in east Malaysia are far from convenient. Cabins are third class at best, and the service is very slow. Getting around by bus is a much better option when in Borneo.