Driving Guide

Malaysia Driving Guide

Malaysia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-08-12 · 9min read
Malaysia Photo by: pixabay

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia that occupies parts of the Malay Peninsula and Borneo. It is a country known for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, and the Petronas Twin Towers. Before traveling to Malaysia, it's best to know more about this beautiful country by learning more facts about it. If you wish to drive around Malaysia's busy streets, you will need to apply for an International Driving License for Malaysia.

Driving in Malaysia can be difficult, especially if you're not careful enough. Whether you're a local or just traveling and enjoying everything about Malaysia, having the opportunity to drive on its roads can be very exhilarating and a little bit stressful. Even though they have busy streets, Malaysia still has a lot to offer, from street foods to its beautiful attractions that would surely make your trip worthwhile.

How Can This Guide Help You?

One of the gradually developing countries in Asia, this country is one of the safest places you can drive in. However, if you’re a tourist who is simply renting a car in the country, there are some details you need to know first. That’s why we are bringing you this guide to be you virtual travel guide as you drive in this country.

General Information

The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; this means various people within their population have different religions. Even though Islam is the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom to other non-muslim religions. Malaysia's population, divided between East and Peninsular Malaysia, with the vast majority living in the latter.

They show great ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and religious diversity. Because of this diversity, a specific distinction, made for administrative purposes between indigenous people, called bumiputra, and immigrant populations (primarily Chinese and South Asians), known as non-bumiputra.

Geographic Location

Malaysia is a country found in Southeast Asia and just north of the Equator. It has two regions separated by the South China Sea called Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and Borneo's East Malaysia. And according to their federal constitutional monarchy, Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories.

Malaysia has land borders with Thailand (for West Malaysia), Indonesia, and Brunei (East Malaysia) and is linked to Singapore. Also, it has maritime boundaries with Vietnam and the Philippines.

Languages Spoken

Their official language is Malaysian; it is a standardized form of the Malay language, and English became the second language in Malaysia after the 1969 race riots. It is sometimes used for official purposes under the National Language Act of 1967. But in Sarawak, English is their official language in the state alongside Malaysian.

They also have Malaysian English (also called as Malaysian Standard English) and is derived from British English. It is widely used in businesses together with Manglish (an informal form of Malaysian English).

Land Area

Malaysia has a total land area of 329,847 square kilometers (127,350 square miles). It is the world's 66th largest county and the only country that contains land on both mainland Asia and the Malay archipelago.

History

Malaysia had its first evidence of human habitation from 40,000 years ago and are thought to be Negritos. The arrival of traders and settlers from India and China was as early as the first century AD and established trading ports and coastal towns in the second and third centuries. Because of the two races, it had a strong influence on the local culture, and the people adopted the religions Hinduism and Buddhism.

In the 20th century, the British residents were appointed to advise the Malay rulers that resulted in postponing their rights to rule by treaty, making Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan (together as the Federated Malay States) under the British Empire. Malaysia became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations on August 31, 1957, and in August 1963, Malaysia had become an independent country.

Government

Although the Capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, its Federal Government is in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya except for the legislative branch located in Kuala Lumpur. The federal government stuck to and was created by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. They adopt the principle of separation of powers and have three branches (executive, legislature, and judiciary). Also, Malaysia has its respective executive and legislative bodies. This judicial system is a federalized court system operating uniformly throughout the country.

Tourism

Since the 90s, Malaysia has had the phrase "Malaysia truly Asia," because of the Malaysian Tourism Ministry's campaign to promote Malaysia as a world-class travel destination. Malaysia has a lot to offer for you, from the various mouth-watering street foods to its world-renowned attractions, that would make the trip immeasurably rewarding.

And if you wish to drive in Malaysia along with its beautiful cities, make sure to have your International Driver's Permit/License with you to rent a car in the beautiful country of Malaysia.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs in Malaysia

An International Driver's Permit (IDP) is a translation for the domestic driver's license. It allows you to drive private vehicles in the country that recognizes the document. For travelers like yourself, it is an option to go to the destinations quicker and cheaper (especially when traveling in a group). We all know that Malaysia doesn't accept different kinds of driver's licenses. However, countries in ASEAN (South East Asia) can use their local driver's license to drive in Malaysia.

Applying for an IDP in Malaysia is cheap and easy. If you wish to apply for an International Driver's License for Malaysia, you can do so online through the International Driver's Association for faster transactions and results. All you need for your application is a photocopy of your valid driver's license (front and back), a digital passport size picture, and your payment for the IDP.

Is My Local License Valid In Malaysia?

If you're residing in South East Asia, you can use your valid driving licence without an International Driver's Permit. If you live beyond the said boundaries, you will need an International Driving License for Malaysia and your domestic driver's license (like a US driver's license) to drive in Malaysia. Also, let's say your foreign license is in another language. In that case, you will need an English translation of your valid driving licence to avoid any language barriers between you and the local traffic officers in Malaysia.

Several rental car agencies will ask for documents stating that you are allowed to drive in their country. It will be best to have every form ready to ensure that you won't have any travel problems.

Does an International Driver's Permit Replace My Native License?

No, it does not. Malaysia’s International Driving License is just an additional document for a country that requires you to have. Suppose you are outside your government's jurisdiction, or you want to drive to your destinations while traveling to other countries. This document will serve as consent that you are legally allowed to do so. Remember, this document will not be valid within your state or any other state. It's intended for the said country in the form.

This document also intends to make your travel more comfortable. It eliminates language barriers and other problems that occur when interacting with foreign traffic officers.

What Are The Requirements For An International Driver’s Permit?

Tourists living outside Malaysia and South East Asia need an IDP if they want to drive within Malaysia's roads. Although Singapore is part of the ASEAN countries, Singaporean license holders cannot use their Singaporean license in Malaysia while driving a Malaysian car. So if you're residing in Singapore, you would still need an IDP for your driver's license. IDPs can be issued to anyone over eighteen and has a valid driver's license that is still useful for at least a year.

For example, you're a tourist with an English license (US driver's license); for you to drive in Malaysia, you would still need an IDP. The documents required to apply for an International Driver's Permit for Malaysia are:

  • Photocopy of your full competent driving licence (front and back)
  • Passport size picture
  • Completed form of your application

Keep in mind that you can't apply for an IDP if you only have a probationary driving licence. Motorcycle learner's licence holders are also not eligible to apply for an IDP. You can apply for your own International Driving Licence online for easy transactions and fast service.

Renting a Car in Malaysia

Car hire is a convenient way to travel around Malaysia. There are many car rental agencies in Malaysia, and you can also access almost all of them online. But in all the Malaysian car rental agencies, how can you be sure if the rental company can be trusted? We will tackle the different agencies, their minimum requirements, the necessary expenses, and other car hire info that almost every company provides on this topic. Do note that once you rent a car in Malaysia, your driver's license should always be with you every time you drive.

Car Rental Companies

Once you have your IDP for Malaysia, your next step is to rent a car. You may do this online to have it ready in advance, and it can also save you some cash if you pre-booked it online, or you may also choose to rent a car by the time you get to Malaysia. Here are some rental companies we highly recommend for you:

  • Hawk Rent A Car
  • Europcar
  • Avis Malaysia
  • Hertz
  • Mayflower
  • Orix

These companies listed above offer proper insurance so that you can rest assured that your safety means a lot to them. But of course, if you thoroughly read car rental companies' terms, you might come across some weird sections. Some companies offer an all-inclusive insurance package; this means that it will cover absolutely everything. If you did see something like this, you might want to clarify it with them.

Documents Required

To rent a car, you would need to prepare the required document by the local agencies in Malaysia. These are:

  • Your valid driver's license

Your license must contain a photograph of yourself and have at least a year of validity without any endorsement. Take note that even if you have already rented a car in Malaysia, always bring your driving license with you whenever you drive.

  • A valid ID proof like your passport or Visa

Do keep in mind that your Visa must still be in effect and unquestionable. Any other ID's might get denied at certain places. We highly advise you to have your passport with you at all times. And, some agencies would keep your ID in their custody for security purposes.

  • Four to five passport size pictures

It will depend on the agency if they require you to have a set of passport-sized photographs. Some agencies would require you for three (3) pieces of photos, so it's safer if you bring more.

  • Your International Driving Permit/License

It is a translation of your domestic driver's license. It is highly required for you to drive your way through all the destinations you have planned out. If you still haven't applied for an IDP, you may do so in the International Drivers Association. They have a quick and easy process so that everyone will be able to understand the process.

  • English translation of your local driver's license

If your driver's license is in a non-Romanized letter (e.g., Mandarin and Japanese), you will need an English translation for it. The English translation is not only for car rental companies but also for the traffic officers. It is to eliminate any language barriers.

Vehicle Types

Most tourists that rent a car in Malaysia prefer small cars (five-seater), but this will depend on how little or big your group is. Available vehicles in each rental company are motorcycles, minivans, luxury vehicles, sports cars, SUVs, and compact cars. Make sure you know what you need so you'll find a better option. Don't just settle on the cheapest car hire.

Most car rental agencies include necessary damage and theft protection, and taxes. However, each car's base rates don't have security deposits and the cost of fuel. These terms and the deposit amount may vary from one agency to another. The average price of rentals excludes super collision damage waiver, super theft protection, and personal accident protection.

Car Rental Cost

In Malaysia, prices or car rentals are generally the lowest if you pre-book it online, but this will depend if you booked it during peak season. If you book a car for at least seven (7) continuous days, you will often have the best price per day, and if you booked it for two to three weeks, you could expect a more significant discount.

Generally, you would pay RM170/day ($41) for the smallest/cheapest models of cars. If you rent a car that's close to your departure date, the chances are that the prices are higher, and less expensive models are mostly unavailable.

Age Requirements

For you to have a driver’s license in Malaysia, your age should be at least eighteen (18) years old. Knowing the age requirement is essential if you're renting a car because there are two different fees if you drive across Malaysia; there is a Young and Senior Driver Fee. Young driver fees usually charge when the driver is between 18 to 23 years of age. While Senior driver fee charges from 65 years and above. Senior driver fees may also be higher than the young driver fee, but this will depend on the service providers.

Also, there is a minimum bar on the driver's age on specific models, keeping the parties' safety concerns. Some car rental companies can also add a requirement that young drivers should have at least a year of experience.

Car Insurance Cost

The cost of car insurance in Malaysia will depend on what kind you'll be taking, whether basic insurance or other types of insurances that you think you might need during your trip. The price would also depend on the company that you chose to rent a car. Just be careful when looking at different kinds of car insurance because you might purchase car insurance that includes some details that you don't need. You may also incur additional fees for extra features.

Car Insurance Policy

Car rental companies in Malaysia all offer proper insurance, meaning you can safely rest when hiring a car with them. Just make sure that you understand their terms thoroughly because some companies offer an all-inclusive insurance package, which covers you for absolutely everything. You might pay too much without the need for it.

There are also deductibles, and they are the most important. It's the amount you pay out of your pocket if there is any damage, theft, or other cost involved with the car. Most companies demand you to settle the deductibles upfront by paying more for a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), meaning you wouldn't shoulder the cost for the damage and other problems.

Note that not all companies include deductibles in their rent cost. You might stumble upon a rental company that seems cheap, but this isn't the case because of the extra payment you need to settle. But some companies give you a package that includes a surcharge for the CDW. Also, car theft is rare in Malaysia, and they will only break cars if you have a valuable item that is visible inside.

Other Facts

Aside from the requirements, companies, and insurance expenses, there are other things that you might look into before you seal the deal with the rental company. One tiny detail that they might not discuss is the young and senior driver fee.

What is a Young and Senior Driver Fee?

There is also a driver’s fee that you need to pay online or pick up on top of your rental cost, called Young Driver Fee and Senior Driver Fee. The young driver fee could be anywhere near RM100 ($24), depending on your service providers. If your age is between 18 and 23, the company must charge you with the Young Driver Fee. However, if your age is 65 years or above, the Senior Drivers Fee may be higher. Again this will depend on the rental agency.

Road Rules in Malaysia

If it's your first time visiting Malaysia, you should know that their road rules should be taken seriously. Many self-drive tourists in the country had either got into an accident (minor accidents) or got pulled by police for not following the country's regulations. So before driving in Malaysia's busy streets, take the time to read all of Malaysia self drive rules and regulations to have a safe and secure vacation.

Rules in Malaysia Photo by: Deva Darshan

Important Regulations

Before you start driving in Malaysia, you must be familiar with its rules and traffic regulations on the road. To know these rules and regulations, we have listed them below for you to start your journey.

  • Law on Drinking and Driving

You should also know that it is strictly forbidden to drive under the influence of alcohol and other prohibited substances (i.e., heroin, opium, cannabis, or cocaine) in Malaysia. The maximum blood alcohol accepted is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.

If the authorities suspect that you're under the influence, you will have to pay a fine not exceeding RM 2,000 (482.39 USD) and a prison sentence for no longer than six (6) months. Malaysian drivers and tourists are expected to adhere to this rule.

  • Red traffic light

Many local people in Malaysia that use motorcycles may seem to disregard safety, which may discourage new drivers. One important tip is to know that the red traffic light doesn't always mean "stop" for a motorcyclist. If the light had just changed from green to red, it is best to advance with caution because many drivers will still drive through the intersection.

General Standards

Knowing and understanding some general rules in Malaysia is as important as the rules stated above. Although these rules might also be shared in your home country, you must be aware, and you will continue to practice these rules.

  • Road tax

If you intended to drive a car in Malaysia, you should be aware of their road tax. You can register in the Road Transport Department or JPJ Offices. And to pay, present the JPJ registration card for your vehicle at any Pos Malaysia office, or you may also choose to pay online. Just make sure that your car's insurance is up to date before paying for the road tax.

  • Seat Belt

Wearing your seatbelt should be a no-brainer. Understandably, you should be wearing a seatbelt every time you go for a drive, whether it's in Malaysia or your home country. And if you have someone with you in the car, they must also wear their seat belts. Wearing seatbelts is required by the law, so if they catch you driving without wearing one, chances are you might find yourself paying a fine on your travels just for not wearing your seatbelt.

Also, if you have children under four (4) years of age, you must make sure that you have a child car seat in your car, and they will not be allowed to stay in the front seat.

  • Mobile Phones

Mobile/cellular devices are strictly prohibited when driving in Malaysia. They only allow it if it's connected to a hands-free system like Bluetooth. If you're caught using your mobile phone while driving, you could be fined and lose your driving privilege in the country.

  • Changing lanes

When driving in Malaysia, you should also be cautious when changing lanes, as many motorcyclists don't necessarily follow laws. Many drivers tend to zigzag their way through the road in Malaysia without much regard for other drivers. Statistics have shown that about 60% of Malaysia's road accidents are caused by overspeeding motorcycle riders, with most of them being very young.

Speed Limits

Malaysia has three different kinds of speed limits in their country. On expressways, the speed limit is 110km/h (68mph), federal and state roads have a 90km/h (55mph) limit, and a 60km/h (37mph) limit in town areas. Speed limits in Malaysia are a bit slower, unlike other countries, because of the many road accidents reported due to drivers' lack of safety for others and themselves. The limited speed is slowly helping them decrease road fatalities.

So when you're driving inside Malaysia's roads, you must follow their speed limit very seriously to avoid any accidents you might run into while driving in Malaysia.

Driving Directions

The country is connected by several highways that have demonstrated great help in shortening the travel time from point A to point B. For example, it would only take you three hours to travel 160 miles from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and one and a half hours to travel from Johor to Mensing.

There will also be many tollways that connect these roads. You may pay for them online, or if you want, you can sign up for a SmartTag or a Touch n' Go Card. These cards have a stored value that you can top up at different locations around Malaysia, such as convenience stores and gasoline stations. With these kinds of cards, you can go through tollways a lot faster. Guarantee that your card has enough load, or else your card might get confiscated if it has a low value.

Traffic Road Signs

Now you know the basic rules and regulations of Malaysia, you will now need to know some of their traffic signs. There are three significant traffic signs in Malaysia: Warning, Regulatory, and Information signs.

  • Warning signs are diamond-shaped and have a color of yellow and black, with a few exceptions.
  • Regulatory signs usually have a white background, red border, and black pictograms to understand them because sometimes they are written in Malay.
  • Information signs are a square shape with different color backgrounds.

These signs are also common in other countries because Malaysia follows the international road signs.

Right of Way

The right of way determines who should give way and who should stop in a situation where there would be traffic, such as junctions. Some people might take their right of way too seriously, to a point where they would be willing to cause an accident.

One example is if there is a traffic light ahead and the light turns green, and you see a car advancing from another direction, and yet you pushed your way through because it's your right-of-way, the result would be both of you would collide with one another. Even though technically you are correct, both of you could easily avoid the accident if the other driver just waited for the traffic light to turn green.

You must be at least 18 years of age in Malaysia to have a driver’s license and for you to drive a motor vehicle legally on public roads. Each jurisdiction has its age determination, but commonly it is set at 18 years old.

If you want to experience driving in Malaysia, you need to be at least eighteen (18) years old, and to rent a car, the driver must be at least twenty-three (23) years old and has had a driver's license for one year without any endorsement. Some rental companies enforce a maximum age limit of sixty-five (65) years old.

Law on Overtaking

Overtaking in Malaysia can be difficult because motorcycle drivers tend to zigzag across the road. If you have to, for instance, be late to your traveling schedule or meeting or an emergency has happened to one of your immediate family, then it's worth taking the risk. But be very careful, and it would be best to assume that there would regularly be a motorcycle trying to press through.

You may overtake by going in the far right lane on a three-lane highway. Having to overtake in the far right lane is that Malaysia is a left-hand drive, meaning that the vehicles' steering wheel will be on the car's left side.

Driving Side

If this is your first time driving in Malaysia, you should know that they follow the British system, meaning Malaysians drive on the left side and they have right hand drive vehicles. For instance, the slow lane will be on the very left-hand side of a three-lane highway, while the fast lane will be in the middle of the very right-hand side of the road.

However, many slow vehicles remain in the fast lane even if motorists and drivers are honking and flashing their lights. Highways and expressways frequently have resting areas with gas stations and restaurants.

The Driving Etiquettes in Malaysia

In countries like Malaysia, there are driving etiquettes that need to be followed. To keep up with the peace and norm of the country, tourists need to abide by these driving etiquette to avoid issues and problems. The following are some important etiquettes to be observed by tourists when going there.

Car Breakdown

Having your rental car break down is one of the irritating moments that could occur while on your vacation. Nevertheless, we have listed some scenarios and possible solutions to get you back on your schedule as soon as possible.

  • Your car has a problem, but drivable.
  • When this happens, it is always advisable to contact the car rental company to let them know something's wrong with the car.
  • However, if it's just a minor and fixable problem, let's say a flat tire, it might be easier to change the tire, given that you have a spare.
  • If you get involved in an accident while driving, you should contact the local police and your car rental company straight away.
  • Your rental car won't start.
  • If the car oil lights up or a central system fails, you don't have any other choice but to stop the vehicle, call for help, and wait for help to arrive.
  • Get to a safe place as best as possible, but if you think it will give more damage to the car, do not proceed.
  • If you're far from a car rental office and there's no other way for the agency to help you, ask them if they can authorize the towing company to pull your car to a local repair shop. If they approve, you need to write down the name of the person who allowed you and keep all documentation associated with the repair so that you may reimburse your money when you return the car.
  • Never pay for a local repair, not until you're allowed to do so by the company. Always get the authorization for repairs, towing, and rental car exchanges.

Police Stops

The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) is a federal police force in Malaysia. Their headquarters' location is Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, and is led by an Inspector-General of Police (IGP). If you've ever stopped by an officer without breaking any rules, you should be able to know your rights to prevent being abused. Below are some of the Red Book's rights by the Malaysian Bar that would inform every citizen and tourist on what you should know if you ever come across this situation.

  • If the officer is not in uniform, politely ask for credentials.
  • If the card is red, the officer doesn't have any jurisdiction over you.
  • If the officer is uniformed, take a record of his/her name and ID number.
  • You're not required to answer anything more than your name, ID card number, and home address.
  • You'll need to obey the officer's directions when he's trying to carry out his responsibility.
  • Police can arrest you without a warrant.

Asking Directions

Malaysians may speak English, but wouldn't it be fun to learn and communicate with them using their native language plus, it could potentially get you better prices in the local market. We have listed some basic phrases that you may need when you ask them for directions.

  • Di man tandas? (dee ma-na tan-das) - Where is the bathroom?
  • Belok kanan / Belok kiri (beh-lock kaa-naan / beh-lock kee-ree) - Turn right / Turn Left
  • Jalan terus (zha-lan te-roos) - Go straight
  • Perlahan sikit (per-laa-haan see-keet) - Slow down

Checkpoints

If you run into a checkpoint, there's nothing to be alarm about. Authorities put checkpoints to see if you have any illegal possessions with you or under the influence of alcohol. Officers will also look into your documents if everything is settled and valid, especially if you're a foreigner.

If you want to plan your ride, you can check online if there will be any checkpoints on the road that you'll take. It's good to know if you only have a tight schedule for your vacation. Checkpoints are common on main roads so always be prepared.

Other Tips

Knowing some of Malaysia's driving etiquette is useful, especially if it will be your first time visiting the country. Below are some other driving tips that you might find helpful if you run into some minor problems.

Can I Drive With a US License in Malaysia?

You would need to have an IDP first to drive in Malaysia. Having a US license won't matter if you don't have an IDP, and besides, you wouldn't be able to rent a car if you don't have your International Driver's Permit.

What If I Drive During the Holidays in Malaysia?

Unlike in other countries, you won't experience traffic jams in Malaysia during the holidays. If you want to drive in Malaysia during the holidays is one of the fastest travel times because most people will be busy preparing for the festivities. If you're going to have a quicker driving trip to Malaysia, you may want to consider planning during the holidays.

What Is A Driving License Number in Malaysia?

A driving license number in Malaysia is the same as your identity card number or Nombor Pengenalan. It can be used for a lot of things, such as checking for your license expiry date online. One example of Malaysia's driver's license number is 801231 11 555 4.

Driving Conditions in Malaysia

Malaysians are friendly and approachable if they are outside the busy roads of Malaysia. But once they start driving, this is where you'll realize that not all of them are friendly. Most of the population in Malaysia are unethical road bullies. These people would follow motorcyclists bumper to bumper, and they don't give signal indications at junctions and speed like Ferrari drivers with their cheap vehicles.

Accident Statistics

Every year, many Malaysian Citizens are either injured or killed because of another accident caused by people who have no regard for others' safety or themselves. But, since 2011, fatal road accidents have started to decline.

Generally, the top cause of medically-certified deaths, together with the police statistics in Malaysia, is road accidents. Police statistics show that the top five reasons for fatal road accidents are: vehicles that crash on their own, eating into other lanes but not overtaking two or more cars, not seeing or noticing objects, animals, or other vehicles in front.

Common Vehicles

Malaysian cars need to resonate with everyone, either young or old, and it also needs to reflect on our best traits. Also, Malaysian-branded vehicles are much cheaper than cars from other countries.

  • Perodua Kancil

Also called Perodua Nippa is a small five-door hatchback vehicle that can fit five people. It is a city car manufactured by Malaysian automobile Perodua from August 1994 to 2009.

  • Proton Gen. 2

It is often simplified as Gen-2 of GEN2. It is a compact five-door hatchback manufactured by Malaysian automobile Perodua that launched in 2004. Domestic sales of Gen-2 were discontinued in 2012 and only produced exclusively for export markets.

Toll Roads

The country is connected by several highways that have demonstrated great help in shortening the travel time from point A to point B. For example, it would only take you three hours to travel 160 miles from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and one and a half hours to travel from Johor to Mensing.

There will also be many tollways that connect these roads. You may pay for them online, or if you want, you can sign up for a SmartTag or a Touch n' Go Card. These cards have a stored value that you can top up at different locations around Malaysia, such as convenience stores and gasoline stations. With these kinds of cards, you can go through tollways a lot faster. Guarantee that your card has enough load, or else your card might get confiscated if it has a low value.

Road Situations

In Malaysia, you will find that the busiest street is the Federal Highway because it connects the city center with many parts of Selangor, making it popular with people traveling to and from work every day. Traffic jams are inevitable in major cities. You may also find that Jalan Sultan Ismail is part of Malaysia's busy streets. The most popular shopping centers in Malaysia, like Sungei Wang Plaza and Lot 10 Shopping Centre, reside and hotels like Shangri-La Hotel and Concorde Hotels are also in Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Motorists in Malaysia have suffered long enough from poorly maintained and pothole-riddled Malaysian roads. The Public Works Department (PWD), Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA), Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) insisted that local roads are as good as anywhere else around the globe when they are "new." Also, PWD states that Malaysia's roads use the same standards as member nations of the World Road Association. Meaning it specifies clear standards for the design and safety aspects of roads. Malaysia doesn't have the best road networks yet but it's still a rewarding experience to drive around the country.

Driving Culture

Malaysia's roads have ranked the 17th most dangerous globally; Many researchers from the University of Michigan have classified this. Many locals were traumatized due to road calamities like convoys and illegal racing by motorcyclists on the DUKE Highway, Genting Sempah-Genting Highlands Highway, KL-Karak Highway, North-South Expressway, and LPT Expressway.

Major road accidents or huge crashes cause damage like people getting injured or killed or government infrastructure getting destroyed. Alarmingly many road accidents involve people of a very young age (students, youths, and young graduates); this causes massive distress to the government as it affects Malaysia's human capital development and economic growth. You may encounter aggressive Malaysian drivers so be careful when you're on the road.

Other Tips

It is also important to know some driving conditions like their speed measurement since traffic roads don't indicate the type of speed their using. You might end up over speeding without realizing it, and you'll end up having a fine.

Are They Using KpH or MpH?

In Malaysia, they use kilometers per hour (km/h). It corresponds to their National Speed Limits called Had Laju Kebangsaan. It applies to Malaysian expressways, federal roads, state roads, and municipal roads.

The National Speed Limits started on February 1, 1989, following the National Speed Limit Orders 989 (Perintah Had Laju Kebangsaan 1989). Like any other country, if the driver fails to obey the speed limit on Malaysian roads and expressways is an offense, which can cost you about RM300 (72 USD) depending on the speed limit and speed driven.

Things to Do in Malaysia

When planning your trip to Malaysia, you'll notice that you can do many things, especially if one of those include driving and finding a job. Finding a job in Malaysia can be challenging for foreigners mainly because the market of job finding is highly competitive but don't lose hope. There's always a job for you if you look hard enough.

Drive as a Touris

Driving as a Tourist in Malaysia can be quite stressful, especially if you're not used to such aggressive drivers. But driving within the country can still be fun and exciting if you understand and follow their traffic rules. Plus, who doesn't want to experience driving in another country and you can also learn so much if you do.

Work as a Driver

If you want a driving job in Malaysia, you should know that there are a few basic qualities you'll need to be a driver in a different country. You would first need to be familiarized, of course, with their driving directions and traffic rules if you insist on finding a driving job since you would be on the road all the time. Next, you would need to have a clean record on your driving license for at least a year. There should not be any ticket violations, suspensions, etc.

Lastly, you would need your working visa, Malaysian driver's license, and residency in the country to fulfill the job you desire for the primary requirements. Your employer might add other qualities and conditions. Just submit your driving licence requirements to get a Malaysian driving license. If you're applying for a truck driving job, you need a Class D car license.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you have a work-related background in the travel industry, it shouldn't be challenging to find a job as a travel guide. But do remember that you would need to know each destination's history and culture to have a chance to work as a travel guide. Other companies might have a minimum requirement of two years in the industry, so it might be best to have more experience before applying as a travel guide in Malaysia.

Apply for Residency

If you want to apply for a permanent residency in Malaysia, you would need to be living in the country for a minimum of five years, but that's not the only thing you would need to worry about, and it does not qualify you for a permanent residency if it is the only requirement that you have.

You would also need your working visa, passport (proving that you have been living in the country for at least five years), a permanent residence form, passport-style photos, and a sponsorship from a local citizen or a holder of a permanent residency. It may take some time to get a permanent residency in Malaysia, but there should be no problem waiting if you insist on getting one.

Other Things To Do

Aside from the mentioned activities above, learning how to have a Malaysian driver's license is also vital to remember, especially if you want to have a driving job in the country. Below is detailed information on getting a driver's license in Malaysia without replacing your native license.

What Is The Cost For A Malaysian Driver’s License?

If you wish to apply for a Malaysian driver's license, the price would be around RM2,700, starting from the driving school up to the Probationary License. If you would instead exchange your native license for a Malaysian Driver's License, the price would be different and will depend on what type of license you possess.

How to Apply For A Malaysian Driver’s License

Suppose you're still underaged when your family migrated to Malaysia, or you haven't had a driver's license before moving to Malaysia. To apply for a driver's license, you would need to complete the following:

  • Register to a driving school.

Before you get a Learner's Driving License (LDL), you would first need to register to a recognized driving institution. It is one of the easiest steps because there are over 120 driving schools in Malaysia.

  • Complete the computer test for Malaysia's driver's license.

Once registered, you will be given a handbook with 500 questions about driving on Malaysia's roads, together with a five-hour course where an instructor will go through the basics. It can all be completed in a day, and both the course and computer test for the driver's license in Malaysia have an English translation.

  • Get your LDL and complete the on-road lessons.

Once you got your LDL from the driving school you've registered, a driving instructor is required to coach you on the road, whether you're applying for a D license (manual) or a DA license (automatic).

  • Complete and pass the road test.

Once the driving instructor says that you're capable of completing the road test, you will be scheduled for the exam. Some schools offer free resit if you fail the exam, so make sure to review this in your payment.

  • Drive on your Probationary license for two years.

Now that you have your Probationary license, all you need to do is use it for two years without having it revoked. You are also required to display the P plate on the top left window screen and rear-screen of your car once to know that your driver's license is a Probationary license. Once your probationary period is over, you will be upgraded to a Competent Driving License (CDL) or a class three driving license of Malaysia.

Top Destinations in Malaysia

Popular tourist destinations in Malaysia are stunning, and the country's infrastructure is excellent. It makes travel easy and smooth. Even though Malaysia had always ranked among the most visited countries in Asia, China usually steals attention and number one spot. But Malaysia has a lot of diversity, beauty, and adventure to offer, as exhibited by these top destinations.

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's capital, where all tourists first land when they visit Malaysia and experience the country's multiple cultures, where they either take a quick walk or hop on the extensive train network. The mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian influence means you'll have no shortage of culinary exploits in the city.

Kuala Lumpur Photo by: Niko Cezar

Driving Directions

Getting to Kuala Lumpur wouldn't be difficult since most international flights would need to land in Kuala Lumpur. If you want to visit Kuala Lumpur, it's best to have a flight that would arrive in the beautiful city to make the most of your vacation.

Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur

When you get to Kuala Lumpur, there are so many activities you can do in the city. You can try some of the town's popular delicacies, walk around parks, or maybe visit some of the country's famous buildings. Either way, seeing the city is one of the ventures that you wouldn't want to miss.

Try Local Delicacies

You'll know where the best places in Kuala Lumpur to eat when you see plastic chairs and cement floors that are still splattered by the latest feeding craze, and where a better way to experience it is in Jalan Alor. Seafood, Thai, and Chinese foods are some of the main focuses of the street; with all the street food choices, it can be overwhelming. But if you're looking for a tasty and memorable experience, the Grilled Stingray is the best food to pick.

Kuala Lumpur is no doubt one of the most incredible tourist destinations in Malaysia. Interesting sights like the Petronas Towers, the Perdana Botanical Garden, and the Menara K.L. Towers all take part in Kuala Lumpur's beautiful attraction. These destinations can give you a taste of what Kuala Lumpur is all about and could provide plenty of enjoyable distractions before heading father to Malaysia.

Visit China Town

China town can be compared to New York City since it is a location in Kuala Lumpur where people and shops never sleep. The biggest display in the area is the rows and rows of stalls that sell all kinds of products, from clothes to foods. You can find everything you'll need in China Town, and if you think its price is too high, you can bargain with the seller.

But under that exterior, there are also temples that have been around for years. These temples were built in 1873, and if you can, visit these temples and pay respects to their beautiful designs.

Visit Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a four hundred million-year-old limestone hill that has a one-hundred-year-old temple. It is known because it's a focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam, and its celebration could attract a lot of visitors to the country. Once they get to the area, they could see the colorful exhibition of devotees that carry kavadis or frameworks joined with metal hooks or skewers used when piercing the skin, tongue, and cheeks.

Penang

Penang is one of Malaysia's Big Island on the west coast, where Georgetown's colonial city was made a UNESCO Heritage Site. They offer museums, a seaside fort, historic homes, and a famous street-food scene.

Penang Photo by: fototrav

Driving Directions

From Kuala Lumpur, depending on the traffic and road conditions, you can get to Penang at least 3 hours and 45 minutes. There might be other roads to get to Penang, but taking the scenic route can be great for first-time visitors.

  1. Take Lebuhraya Utara to Selatan/E1 to Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu/Route 3113 in Gelugor.
  2. Continue on Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (Route 3113)
  3. Drive to Jalan Macalister in George Town.

Things To Do in Penang

View the Mural Paintings

Many artists, famous or not, leave markings in the form of murals where you will see along the street of Georgetown. Their paintings are recommended cafe shops, places to visit, and things to do on the Island. Officials don't remove them as a sign of respect for the artist, and it adds atmosphere to the Island.

Try the Street Foods

Like any other place in Malaysia, Penang also offers street food and is considered one of Southeast Asia's best locations. The waterfront esplanade is known as Gurney Drive in Penang, lined with stalls and eateries for trying local Malay, Chinese and Indian treats.

Visit the Waterfall Hilltop Temple

The temple at the hilltop is called Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple, and it is one of the oldest Hindu temples on the island that was built to dedicate the deity Murugan. If you want to visit the temple, you would need to climb 500 steps up the hill, and if you make it to the top, you will get to see a 180 degrees view of the Gurney and Mount Erskine. This waterfall hilltop temple is one of the main attractions of the festival in the town.

Visit the Penang Ghost Museum

The Ghost Museum is one of a kind in the country and could only be found in Penang. This museum has a detailed explanation of each religious and cultural folklore creature. When you visit this extraordinary museum, taking pictures of the wax exhibits is allowed, but you can't touch them.

Malacca

Malacca, or spelled locally as "Melaka," is the stop if you want to experience the cultural, historical, and colonial sites. Tourists are rarely disappointed by the old town in Malacca. With its relaxed vibe, people sometimes decide to stay around for a few days.

Malacca Photo by: Kaszojad

Driving Directions

From Kuala Lumpur, you may either take a 1 hour and 55-minute drive via Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/E2 or a 2 hour and 17-minute drive via Lebuhraya Selatan/AH2/E2.

  • Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/E2
  1. Take Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/E2 to Lebuh Ayer Keroh/Route 143 in Durian Tunggal.
  2. Take exit 231-Ayer Keroh from Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/E2.
  3. Continue on Lebuh Ayer Keroh/Route 143 to your destination in Taman Costa Mahkota, Melaka
  • Lebuhraya Selatan/AH2/E2
  1. Take Lebuhraya Persekutuan/Route 2, ELITE/AH2/E6 and Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/E2 to Lebuh Ayer Keroh/Route 143 in Durian Tunggal.
  2. Take exit 231-Ayer Keroh from Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/AH2/E2.
  3. Continue on Lebuh Ayer Keroh/Route 143 to your destination in Taman Costa Mahkota, Melaka.

Things To Do in Malacca

If you ever stumbled to the town of Malacca, there are several things you can do while your there. Also, staying for a few days wouldn't hurt your schedule since it's a place where you can get some peace and relaxation.

Visit Historical Heritage

Whenever you visit Malacca, you will always be greeted with the history of the city. In Stadhuys, Asia's oldest Dutch building (now the Melaka Historical Museum) offers beautiful civic architecture that every tourist should never miss. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and has a scenic walk from flower-filled gardens and patios to the Chinese quarter's trophy houses.

Take a ride at the Taming Sari Revolving Tower.

If you want to go to the Taming Sari Revolving Tower, you'll know right away where it's located in Malacca because of its height of 110 meters. The trip to the tower takes up 20 minutes: eight minutes to ascend, five minutes at the top of the tower, and seven minutes to descend. When you get to the top of the tower, you will see the whole city to the coast. Also, when you get to the top, don't forget to take a good photo for you to remember.

Walk around Stadthuys

Stadthuys is one of the popular landmarks in the city. A building around the area dates back to 1650, making it the oldest structure built throughout the Dutch colonial period. It was modeled on the town hall in Hoorn, Netherlands. Before, it was built to be the local town hall and where the governor resides, but now, it is the home of the History and Ethnography Museum.

Shop at the Jonker Walk Night Market

Jonker Walk Night Market’s location is at Jalan Hang Jebat, and it is open every Friday to Sunday and starts after the sunsets. This night market has various merchandise, from local street foods, souvenirs, antiques to local handicrafts. There are also electronics available in the market. When going to the market, trying their street foods is highly recommended.

Even if Malaysia's roads can be quite stressful and challenging, the memories of famous locations will be worth it. Also, there's the fact that it's better to self-drive than to go on expensive tours since you have the freedom to plan your activities and match them at your own pace. You wouldn't have to worry about the tour's tight schedule, and you can always have a moment of relaxation at any day and any time if you feel like it.

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