About Malaysia (MY)
Malaysia is a country of both literal and figurative duality, located partially on the Asian mainland, and partially on the northern half of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. The country itself is likewise a mix of modern cities and developing areas in the West, opposite lush, mountainous landscapes of the East. The West Malaysia border is shared by Thailand, and the peninsula is linked to Singapore by a bridge and causeway system. East Malaysia borders on Brunei and Indonesia. West Malaysia’s capital city of Jakarta is defined by towering infrastructure and a cosmopolitan way of life. Elsewhere, the country is known for untamed wilderness and dense jungle vegetation. Some visitors describe Jakarta as a “less expensive Singapore”, while the archipelago shares a sparkling resemblance to the aquatic wonderland of its neighbor, Indonesia.
Getting around Malaysia is likewise a tale of two countries. The urbanized western half is connected by a superb network of roads, many of which are in brand-new or very good condition — compared to other Asian countries — while the eastern half is dominated by undeveloped jungle and rainforest. Highway driving is generally straightforward in the west, but limited to the Pan Borneo Highway in the east. Like many South East Asian countries, motorcycles and scooters are the preferred mode of transportation for the majority of locals; however, most visitors will find it far more efficient and affordable to rent a car. Congestion is prevalent in the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Penang on the western side, while absolutely not an issue in the remote areas of Sabah in the east.
Choosing your car
Malaysia car rentals are supplied by Europcar, Avis, National, Sixt, Budget, and a number of other major brands. Cheap car rentals are most likely found in the economy and intermediate sedan class. However, 7-12 seater minivans and SUVs are the most popular vehicles on Malaysian roads.
Tips and advice
Book your Malaysia car rental far in advance to get the best deals and the prime selection of vehicles. Outside of the major cities, car hire fleets tend to sell out during peak seasons.
Malaysia is slowly but surely embracing the automobile, and there are increasingly numbers of cars on the roads, but that also means a rising number of inexperienced drivers. While driving habits don’t rival India for recklessness, Malaysians are still kind of getting the hang of things.
The most efficient routes are toll roads on the “touch and go” system. Electronic cards may be purchased from toll kiosks at various points along the routes.
Avoid any type of “road rage” behaviors, including offensive gestures. Foreigners involved in traffic accidents are held to a higher level of responsibility, mainly by dint of having more experience. It’s considered a grevious sign of disrespect to lose your cool in a traffic incident.
Malaysian drivers tend to share the Indonesian habit of believing that they’re only responsible for what is directly in front of them, so it’s common for cars to pull out of perpendicular roadways and into the flow of traffic with no regard for oncoming cars. Keep your eyes peeled for this type of behavior to avoid collisions, for which you’ll most likely take the blame.
Red lights are controlled intersections stay red for much longer than most Western drivers are accustomed. “Jumping the red” is common, especially among motorcyclists. Resist the temptation to follow suit.