Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport head
Home Travel Guide Malaysia Travel Guide Malaysia Transportation: How to Get to & Travel around Malaysia

Malaysia Transportation: How to Get to & Travel around

SKIP AHEAD

Malaysia, nestled in Southeast Asia on the Malay Peninsula and the Borneo island, is a captivating destination brimming with diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and bustling urban centers. Navigating Malaysia transportation to get to and get around this enchanting nation is an expedition filled with immersive experiences, thanks to its well-established transportation infrastructure. Whether you’re arriving via one of its international airports, embarking on a picturesque train journey through the countryside, sailing on a ferry to its picturesque islands, or traversing cities using light rail transit, buses, taxis, or rented bikes, Malaysia offers a plethora of choices for both intercity and intracity travel. Each mode of transport unveils a unique facet of the country’s vibrant mosaic, transforming every journey into an adventure of its own.

How to Get to Malaysia?

By Air

Malaysia boasts a multitude of international airports, with Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) standing as the foremost among them, offering connectivity to more than 100 global destinations. Additionally, travelers can access other regional airports within Malaysia, including Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Langkawi, and Ipoh. Here’s an overview of these Malaysian airports:

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA):

KLIA, Malaysia’s largest and busiest airport, connects to 100+ global destinations. Located 75 km south of Kuala Lumpur, it serves as the primary hub for Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, and Malindo Air. Transport options to the city include the KLIA Express train, buses, taxis, or car rentals.

Penang International Airport:

Penang International Airport, Malaysia’s second busiest, is the gateway to Penang Island, famous for culture, cuisine, and beaches. It’s located 16 km south of George Town, the capital. The airport serves Firefly and AirAsia, offering buses, taxis, or car rentals for city transfers.

Langkawi International Airport:

Langkawi International Airport, Malaysia’s third busiest, welcomes travelers to the beautiful Langkawi Island. Situated 13 km west of Kuah Town, it’s a hub for AirAsia and Malindo Air. Access the city with ease via taxis or car rentals.

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kuala Lumpur International Airport

By Train

If you’re traveling from Singapore or Thailand to Malaysia, you can hop on an Intercity train. These trains offer three main routes: JB Sentral to Tampin, JB Sentral to Tumpat, and JB Sentral to Woodlands Singapore. Pick the route that matches your destination and schedule.

To secure your seats and steer clear of any letdowns, it’s a good idea to book your train tickets in advance. You can do this easily through the KTMB website or mobile app, at station counters or kiosks, and even through authorized agents or travel agencies.

By Bus

For those seeking an alternative to travel to Malaysia from neighboring countries, buses provide a comfortable and budget-friendly option. Several reputable bus companies, including StarMart Express, Star Qistna, and Billion Stars Express, offer convenient services.

These buses are well-equipped with features like air-conditioning, reclining seats, ample legroom, and entertainment systems. They cover various routes connecting Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, such as Singapore to KL, Singapore to Malacca, Singapore to Ipoh, and Singapore to Penang.

Additionally, these operators offer express services with fewer stops for quicker journeys. Booking tickets is hassle-free, as you can reserve your seats online through their websites or mobile apps, or simply visit their ticket counters at various locations.

Bus Between Singapore and Malaysia
Bus Between Singapore and Malaysia

By Ferry

When planning your trip to Malaysian islands like Langkawi, Tioman, Pangkor, or Redang, consider taking a ferry from the mainland or neighboring countries like Indonesia and Thailand. Easily access ferry schedules and pricing information online or at the port locations. Here are some well-traveled ferry routes to Malaysia:

From Singapore: You can embark on a one-hour ferry journey from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor, a port in Johor, Malaysia. This service operates daily, and you have the option to conveniently book your ticket online via Easybook or at the terminal itself.

From Thailand: If you’re coming from Thailand, a seven-hour ferry ride from Satun to Langkawi, a renowned Malaysian island, awaits you. This daily ferry service can be booked online through Direct Ferries or at the terminal.

From Indonesia: Travelers from Indonesia can catch a ferry from Batam or Bintan to Tanah Merah, a port in Singapore. From there, you can seamlessly transfer to another ferry heading to Johor or other Malaysian destinations. The Indonesian-Singapore ferry journey takes approximately an hour and operates daily, with booking options available online at Easybook or directly at the terminal.

How to Travel around Malaysia

By Plane

Traveling within Malaysia by air is both affordable and dependable, with connections to numerous destinations in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching. Additionally, you can easily access neighboring countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia via flights.

Malaysia boasts two prominent airlines: AirAsia, a budget-friendly carrier, and Malaysia Airlines. These options are particularly convenient when you need to catch a domestic flight within Malaysia. Moreover, various international airlines like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Qatar Airways operate flights to and from Malaysia, providing additional choices for your journey.

Booking flights is a breeze, as you can make reservations online or through a travel agent. To find the best deals, compare prices and schedules on platforms like Skyscanner, Expedia, and Kayak. Keep an eye out for promotions and discounts on the official websites of the airlines as well.

By Train

Exploring Malaysia by train offers a fantastic way to discover its diverse landscapes and immerse yourself in the country’s beauty. Malaysia’s railway system provides a convenient and picturesque transportation option for both locals and tourists.

Major railway networks in Malaysia:

  • West Coast Line: Serving as the country’s primary railway artery, the West Coast Line stretches from the Thailand border to the Singapore border, passing through Kuala Lumpur. Currently undergoing an upgrade to a double-track electric railway, this enhancement will bring faster trains and more frequent services, improving travel efficiency.
  • East Coast Line (Jungle Railway): This iconic railway traverses the heart of the peninsula, offering captivating vistas of lush rainforests and charming countryside, providing an unforgettable travel experience.
  • Sabah Railway: Located in Borneo, the Sabah Railway operates within Sabah but doesn’t connect with Sarawak, making it a unique transportation option for exploring this region.
  • International Train Services: Malaysia offers international train services, including the Padang Besar-Bangkok route and the JB Sentral-Woodlands shuttle, facilitating cross-border travel with neighboring countries.
  • Special Trains: For a distinctive journey, consider taking the Sawadee Special from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai or indulge in luxury travel with the Eastern & Oriental Express from Bangkok to Singapore, both offering unique and memorable experiences.
Malaysia Jungle Railway
Jungle Railway in Malaysia

Main types of train services in Malaysia:

The majority of train services in Malaysia operate using electric trains, with diesel-powered trains exclusively running on the East Coast Railway Line and the section of the West Coast Railway Line south of Gemas. Malaysia offers several main types of train services:

  • ETS Komuter:These trains serve four routes in Malaysia: Padang Besar to Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam to Padang Rengas, Batu Caves to Tampin / Pulau Sebang, and Tanjung Malim to Pelabuhan Klang. Komuter services are the most economical but also the slowest among the ETS services available in Malaysia.
  • ETS Platinum: Operating on two long-distance routes in Malaysia, from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth and Padang Besar to Gemas, ETS Platinum trains stop at key stations like Ipoh and KL Sentral, reducing journey times. They are the fastest and relatively more expensive compared to other ETS services.
  • ETS Gold:ETS Gold trains run on three long-distance routes: Padang Besar to Gemas, Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth, and Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh. While they utilize the same train carriages as ETS Platinum services, they are a more budget-friendly option and slightly slower due to making stops at additional stations along their routes.

By Taxi

Taxis offer convenience and flexibility in Malaysia but can be pricey and vary in reliability. Some use meters, while others set fixed rates or negotiate fares. It’s wise to agree on the fare upfront or use apps like Grab or MyCar. Keep in mind that taxis are generally more expensive than buses or trains for long-distance trips.

In Malaysia, you’ll find three taxi types: budget, premier, and executive. Budget taxis are economical but may not always use meters, potentially charging more during busy times. Premier and executive taxis cost more but provide better service and vehicles. You can book taxis in advance online, by phone, or at the airport with fixed-rate coupons.

Taxi fares in Malaysia depend on distance, time, and taxi type. Budget taxis start at $0.77 USD (MYR 3.00) with a $0.33 USD (MYR 1.25) per kilometer rate. Additional charges apply for luggage, phone bookings, nighttime travel, and airport rides. Premier and executive fares vary by company. Use resources like Taxi Fare Finder for fare estimates.

By Bus

Exploring Malaysia by bus is not only budget-friendly but also incredibly convenient. Thanks to Malaysia’s well-maintained road network and robust transportation infrastructure, buses have become a top choice for both locals and tourists.

The extensive bus network, which surpasses the railway system, includes the North-South Expressway, spanning an impressive 966 kilometers (604 miles), making it the country’s longest expressway. Malaysia is home to a multitude of private bus companies offering frequent services at competitive rates.

One of the key advantages of bus travel in Malaysia is its cost-efficiency. Buses typically offer a more economical option compared to train travel, allowing you to access a wide range of destinations across the country without straining your budget. Booking bus tickets has also been simplified, with convenient online platforms like Easybook. These user-friendly websites provide access to tickets from renowned bus operators such as Transnasional, Konsortium, 707, Sri Maju, S&S, Starmart Express, and more, streamlining the booking process for travelers.

By Boat/Ferry

Malaysia, known for its captivating islands and coastal wonders, offers diverse boat and ferry travel options tailored to your destination and budget. Here’s a helpful guide to plan your journey:

  • Peninsular Malaysia Islands: Explore Peninsular Malaysia’s islands like Langkawi, Penang, Pangkor, Tioman, Perhentian, Redang, and Lang Tengah with ease. Multiple ferry services operate from west and east coast ports, including Kuala Besut Jetty, Merang Jetty, Mersing Jetty, Tanjung Gemok Jetty, Lumut Jetty, and Kuala Perlis Jetty. Secure your ferry tickets conveniently online via platforms like Easybook or Direct Ferries, offering competitive prices and diverse schedules.
  • Borneo Island Exploration: Venturing into Borneo, encompassing Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, as well as Kalimantan in Indonesia and Brunei, often begins with flights or bus journeys to major cities. From there, set out on boat or ferry expeditions to uncover smaller islands and coastal villages. Prominent Borneo destinations include Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Sandakan, Semporna, Labuan, Miri, Tawau, and Tarakan. Arrange transportation through local boat operators at ports or jetties or conveniently book online via platforms such as Borneo Express or Borneo Adventure.
  • Travel Between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo: If your itinerary involves traveling between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, note that direct ferry services are unavailable. Opt for the economical route by taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Pontianak in Kalimantan, followed by a boat journey to Kuching in Sarawak. Alternatively, for a quicker option, fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and then embark on a boat ride to Labuan in Borneo.
Malaysia Sipadan Island
Malaysia Boat

By Bike/Scooter

Exploring Malaysia on a bike rental is a fantastic way to discover the country’s diversity and beauty. You can conveniently find rental services in major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi, many of which offer gear and delivery options. Before renting, familiarize yourself with traffic rules, carry a valid driver’s license and international driving permit (if you’re a foreigner), and prioritize safety with helmet use and adherence to road regulations. Plan your itinerary to experience Malaysia’s historical, cultural, and natural attractions, from the Petronas Twin Towers and Batu Caves to Cameron Highlands and Langkawi Island, with inspiration available on this website for motorcycle adventures in Malaysia.

Bike rental expenses in Malaysia can fluctuate based on the bike type and rental location. Here are some typical costs:

  • For motorcycles, prices can vary, ranging from RM70/day for a scooter like the Honda Beat to RM1,175/day for a larger motorbike such as the BMW K 1600 GT.
  • In Kuala Lumpur, you can find rentals like the Honda Wave Alpha starting at RM50/day and the Honda Scooter Vario starting from RM60/day.
  • On the island of Penang, bicycle rentals typically fall in the range of 10 to 20 RM/day.
  • In Melaka, bike rental options include around RM3 per hour or RM10 per day.

Some of the most sought-after routes for biking or scootering in Malaysia:

  1. The coastal route from Kuala Lumpur to Penang meanders through historically-rich towns like Malacca and Ipoh and offers captivating vistas of the Strait of Malacca.
  2. The mountainous journey from Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highlands, ascending to an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level, provides a refreshing escape from the city’s heat and humidity.
  3. The adventurous trail from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, traversing the Kinabalu National Park and the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, offers a glimpse of Malaysia’s vibrant wildlife.
  4. The idyllic path from Kuching to Bako National Park, traces the Sarawak River, weaving through mangrove forests and charming fishing villages, culminating in a pristine beach adorned with unique rock formations.

Contact us on

code

More Travel Tips & Ideas

Sample Itineraries for Your Inspiration

Plan your tailor-made trip with 1-1 help from our travel experts.

Lost your password?

A TripAdvisor award-winning China travel agency organizing diverse private and mini-group China tours. We offer in-depth experience, free cancellation, flexible & safe trips.

Email

WeChat/Whatsapp

Call

(+86)17392484719
(08:00-21:00 Beijing Time)

Send us a quick inquiry

    I prefer to be contacted via: