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Last updated : Nov 2009
Malaysia Getting Around - Internal Travel
Malaysia Internal Travel - Getting Around Malaysia - TravelPuppy.com

During the main festivals particularly the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Pusa, and Hari Raya Haji, internal transportation is terribly hard except that travellers book the tickets long in advance. Domestic express bus tickets go on sale up to 2 months before the festivals and will be sold out in 1 or 2 weeks. Domestic flights are very tight during these periods. For the exact festival dates, contact the Tourism Malaysia office (see Contact section).


Malaysia Airlines (MH) serves most commercial airports in Peninsular Malaysia. In also crisscrosses both Sabah and Sarawak and flies to Brunei. Transmile Air has discounted domestic flights to Sabah and Sarawak.

Domestic airports

Kuala Lumpur Subang (KUL) is 22 kilometres or 14 miles west of the city. The previous major international airport presently provides domestic flights. Most Malaysian states feature domestic airports.

Departure tax: RM6.00.


Ferries frequently sail between Butterworth and Penang and a scheduled passenger service links Port Kelang with Sarawak and Sabah. There are small river boats providing the most practical ways of travelling around in East Malaysia. Even in towns they are the only mean to reach the more peaceful settlements. Boats can easily be hired while taxis and river buses are everywhere.


Malayan Railway (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad or KTM) at Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50621 Kuala Lumpur (telephone: (3) 2263 1422; email: passenger@ktmb.com.my;) operates nearly 2,092 kilometres or 1,300 miles of line.

3 classes of train are available to choose from: the First Class or De Luxe with upholstered seats, the Second Class or Eksekutif with padded leather seats and the Third Class or Ekonomi with cushioned plastic seats. The daytime ‘Express Rakyat’ fast train runs from Singapore to Butterworth, and continues on to Thailand. The Express trains are modern, and some offer sleeping berths and buffet cars. Some trains have air-conditioning. East Malaysia has one line known as the Jungle Railway. It is the major overland route for the Taman Negara National Park and runs along the coast from Kota Kinabalu, then inland up a steep jungle valley to the small town of Tenom. There are 2 major lines operated for passenger service. One travels along the west coast from Singapore and runs north to Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth meeting the Thai railways at the border. The other separates from the west coast line at the town of Gemas and travels a northeastern route to Kota Bharu and Tenom. There is also rail service to the seaports of Penang and Padang Besar on the west coast. The KTM Komuter, travels from Kuala Lumpur to Port Klang (west), Rawang (north) and Seremban (south). There is no rail service in Sarawak.

Cheap fares

Children below 4 travel free; ages 4 - 11 pay half fare. For more details concerning discounted fares, contact Malayan Railway (see address details above).

Special tickets

The Malayan Railway Pass sells tickets in 10 and 30-day passes, providing unlimited travel on all trains through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. These passes can be bought at the stations in Butterworth, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Padang Besar, Port Kelang, Rantau Panjang, Wakaf Bharu and Singapore. Reservations must be made in advance for first-class, air-conditioned trains and a supplement is charged. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance at the Director of Commerce, Malayan Railway, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Kuala Lumpur. Enquire at Tourism Malaysia for further details.


Driving is on the left. Most roads in the peninsular states are paved and signs are clear and well placed. The north–south highway that spans 890 kilometres or 553 miles from Bukit Kayu Hitam (on the Kedah–Thailand border) to Johor Bahru is now fully open since the Sultan opened the last stretch between Tapah and Gopeng. The dual carriageway provides shorter travel times between towns.

Bus: The local bus networks are numerous. There are about 1,000 routes with frequent service in and between all main cities. Four-wheel-drive buses are available in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak while Trishaw's operate in Penang and Malacca which are quite cheap short journeys. Fares need to be agreed in advance.

Taxis: Normal and shared taxis are speedy means for travelling from town to town, but there are delays when drivers get passengers loaded before moving on. Remind drivers to turn their meters on before starting the journey. There is a 50% surcharge for fares between midnight - 6.00 am and an additional RM1.00 charged for taxis reserved by phone. Taxi coupons for fixed fares to specific destinations are available at the airport and at the Kuala Lumpur railway station. Cars for charter are provided by several agencies. Some offer cars on an unlimited mileage basis while cars with drivers are also available.

Documentation: An International Driving Licence is needed. For United Kingdom residents, a national driving permit is accepted, but it must be authorised by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles in Malaysia.


Public transport in Kuala Lumpur is provided by buses, by ‘Bas Mini’ fixed-route mini-buses, taxis and pedi-cabs (Trishaw's) licensed by the Government. Bus fares vary, but the ‘Bas Mini’ have fixed rates. These are used for shorter trips and are fairly tight. The PUTRA Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a quick way to travel around and links to the eastern and western suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. Routes and times are shown in stations with an LRT logo.

Travel times

The following journey times are estimated in hours and minutes from Kuala Lumpur to other centres in Malaysia.
    Air   Road   Rail
0.30 2.00 4.30
0.45 5.00 9.30
Alor Setar
0.45 7.00 7.30
0.35 4.00 -
Johor Bahru
0.35 3.00 6.00
0.45 6.00 7.00
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