10 Tips For Interstate Road Trip In Malaysia

Selfie with Petronas Twin Towers

10 Tips For Travelling Interstate In MalaysiaSelfie taken at Petronas Twin Towers

It’s not uncommon for us to grow jaded with the country we are born into and the sense of wanderlust often sends us searching for an escape beyond our Malaysian shores. However, with a land area of over 300,000 km2, it is undeniable that a large part of Malaysia will be left unexplored by many locals. Furthermore, with Kuala Lumpur rising as a bustling hub for the biggest events and parties, you shouldn’t have to miss out even if you reside in the deepest depths of Pahang.

Domestic travel saves you the hassle of visa applications, passport renewals, currency changes and also the difference in languages. If you know how to manoeuvre your way around Malaysia effectively, there’s no reason why you can’t treat yourself to a mini vacation every weekend within your budget and in the comfort of your own country. Below are tips for maximising your roadtripping adventure around Malaysia:

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Economical travel by bus, remember to keep your belonging close to you

1. Choose the mode of transport that best suits your budget and travel companions


Thankfully, public transportation within Malaysia’s capital is nothing less than efficient and convenient. The Mass Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit systems are great for bypassing congestions within Kuala Lumpur, especially during peak periods. The rail systems link Kuala Lumpur all the way to the suburbs of Selangor state, and there's even an Intercity train service that runs by Keratapi Tanah Malayu.


However, it is inevitable that many places are not covered by any rail systems. When you are travelling with family or friends, it could be a more viable option to rent or drive your own car! With car rentals, the total cost of transport can add up to RM 400-500, including petrol costs and toll fees. However, split that cost amongst your posse of companions, and the cost per head might well be worth it, given the level of comfort you enjoy in a private car.

Tip: Typically, if you rent a car in Malaysia for a week, you’d most definitely get a better rate than you would for a day. Most of the time, local car rental companies will discount up to 30-45% of their published daily rates, depending on how popular the car category is. Mayflower and Hawk are usually the top two local car rental companies opted for. Not only will they provide you with discounts, you can also bargain for free GPS, or even a free upgrade to the next tier of car categories.

Coach bus

However, the most comfortable and cheapest option has to be taking a coach bus. There are buses that shuttle between nearly every city in Malaysia. In addition, a direct coach bus can get you to your destination even faster than a train. The larger and more popular coach bus companies are Transnasional, Plusliner, Nice and Aeroline as they offer the cheapest bus tickets, generally costing below RM 100 . For instance, a bus trip from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru costs RM 79 and a one-way VIP bus trip to Penang can go for only RM 60.


Of course, the most convenient option will be to travel by air, with most major cities and towns being equipped with their own international or domestic airports. However, with the average cost of tickets priced at RM 2,000 (for Malaysia Airlines), it is certainly not the option for everyone.

However, if comfort and speed is of your top priority, know the best time to purchase your plane tickets. Typically, the best time to buy is just after Tuesday, on Wednesday morning at 1am. Research has shown that this period is the time when airline tickets are priced the cheapest.

Tip: Use an incognito tab to purchase your air ticket as tickets may be priced cheaper. Cookies are saved when you browse through websites. There is a high possibility that you will get a higher price if your browsing history show a trend of purchasing airline tickets.

Travel safe and fast with Voice Navigation Apps like Waze
Travel safe and fast with Voice Navigation Apps like Waze. Try out the Safe Mode Kid Voice!

2. Know your route

If you intend to travel by car, plan out your route beforehand. Know what is the shortest route, estimated travelling time and plan out which highway to take. Load your GPS map beforehand so that you will always know where you are heading next without the threat of your connection giving out halfway.

The Waze app is a saviour for many drivers on the road, including myself. The app notifies you of traffic conditions, informs you of the shortest route possible and even warns you about police presence nearby. With this first hand information, you will have enough time to replan your route and take an alternative road if required.

With your route in mind, get a TouchnGo card to cut the queues at toll booths.You literally head straight into the toll booth, tap your card and drive away. Hassle-free and convenient.

Ensure that your car is in good condition
Please ensure that your car is in good condition by doing maintenance before a road trip

3. Ensure that your car is in good condition

Having a road trip can bring fun and enjoyable memories. However, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere is not. Avoid this total nightmare by ensuring that car is in good condition to travel and carry you and your loved ones to your intended destination. Have an extra tyre and make sure that someone is informed of your route so that you can always be tracked in the case of an emergency.

Have a break stop every 2 hours and Avoid Night Driving
Have a short rest at the nearest petrol station when you need to. Sometime they serve free coffee

4. Have a break stop every 2 hours and Avoid Night Driving

For drivers, if you intend to embark on a journey that is more than 3 hours, it is best to have at least a co-driver so that you will not be too tired, which may put you and your passengers in danger. If not, take a break at any highway rest stop once every 2 hours to stretch your legs and rest your mind so that you remain alert for the rest of your journey.

Understand the “road signs” and “signals”
Learn how to read and follow the road signs

5. Understand the “road signs” and “signals”

Malaysians are well known for their friendliness and this extends to the road too. The common enemy of all road drivers is the traffic police and most will do anything to avoid meeting them. In Malaysia, if you see a car in the opposite direction flashing its headlights at you, well this means “Watch out! Police or speed trap ahead! ”

Get some snacks
Having snack on the road will save you time and money

6. Get some snacks

Regardless of whether you are travelling by car, train or bus, stocking up on your own food is never a bad idea. Besides knowing that your favourite snacks are here to accompany on your interstate journey, you get to save money on stopover food and use it for something like better accommodation.

Book your accommodation online
Choose the right hotel by making booking online.

7. Book your accommodation online

Thankfully, hotels are relatively cheap in Malaysia. RM 150 to RM 250 per night are certainly the norm for fine 3 to 4 star hotels, and in fact, rates aren't much higher for even the most luxurious 5 star hotels as well. Often the cheapest avenues to book your hotel stays are through the internet, so it’s important you plan your driving routes and stopovers in advance. Prices are often a lot cheaper on sites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com or Agoda, that provide you with an overview of all the hotels in Malaysia, making it easy for you to find the best offers quickly.

If you are looking for truly 'basement' prices for short stopovers in your route (as low as RM 50 per night), then hostels could be the better choice for you. Not only are they usually surrounded by great bars or restaurants, but you are even given hotel-calibre furnishings in some locations. Accommodation wise, generally the amount you fork out corresponds to the amount of comfort you can enjoy. While “backpacking” hostels are recommended for short stopovers in your roadtrip, some may feel more safe in the comfort of a hotel.

Pack light and efficiently
Just bring your important stuff during travel. For example, your partner hahaha

8. Pack light and efficiently

When you’ll be hopping on and off buses, and in and out of hostels, the key is to pack light and efficiently. There’s no point packing your entire closet of clothes when you’ll only be away for 2 to 3 days!

The best carry-on of choice, would be a decent sized backpack. A 21-litre backpack is large enough to carry a few day’s worth of clothes, while not being too bulky to prevent you from dancing along at your favourite gigs and events! Wear multifunctional and re-wearable clothing like buttoned-up shirts and jeans, and of course a comfortable pair of shoes!! This saves having to pack multiple pieces of clothing that you merely wear briefly (I’m talking to you ladies!)

If not enough cash, your angpow money will come to rescue
If don't have enough cash, your angpow money will come for the rescue

9. Bring enough cash

When travelling interstate, you do not know where the nearest ATM is or when you might be in a situation where you are hard for cash. Bring enough cash so that you are prepared for any situations.

Be aware of your belongings wherever you go. Don't forget and left it in the toilet

10. Most importantly, stay safe

Domestic travellers should still remain vigilant even though you are travelling within Malaysia. Crimes can happen to anyone and are not restricted to foreigners alone. Keep your money in separate places and when going out, store your cash in a moneybag. Whether you’re driving or taking a coach bus, always have a companion when you take a toilet break at stopovers.

Remember to avoid speed trap in Malaysia. Drive safe!!

All in all, when roadtripping around any country, you have to plan your trip according to your needs, budget and companions. The purpose of your trip, the amount of people travelling with you and also the level of comfort you can withstand, all affect the number of options and prices available to you on your trip. But with the right planning, you can be going on a new adventure on uncharted Malaysian territory every week of the year!

Stay safe while travelling with your love one!

"This article was contributed by local cashback-coupon site ShopBack.my. Click here to read more from the ShopBackblog."

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