Transport System in Malaysia

Getting around the country poses little difficulty. There are various modes of travel – air, rail, or road. Each mode is efficient, convenient, and affordable.


Malaysia’s transport system is developed and covers up to 63,445 kms, including 1,630 kms of expressways. The main highway connects Thai border and Singapore which is a stretch of 800 kms. The modes of transport are trains, buses, cars and airplanes.

The transport system in East Malaysia is not very developed but Peninsular Malaysia has a developed and convenient transportation system.

With six international airports, most of the cities are connected through airways. Malaysia airlines (MAS) is the official airline of Malaysia, providing with both domestic and international services along with carrier services.

Transportation in Malaysia is excellent, even the very remote areas are well connected by some or the other mode of transport. The main transport hub is the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

Also read: Living in Malaysia

Malaysia Road Transport

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Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to travel in the city. There are air-conditioned buses connecting various places within and outside the city. Non air-conditioned buses are also available which usually run in the smaller towns.
Inter state connecting buses have fixed rates but buses running within the city charge according to the distance traveled.
Taxis run on meter in the cities whereas taxis in the smaller areas or inter state taxis have a fixed charge. It is always better to finalize the deal before taking the taxi.
Several car-hire services are also available, even international ones like Avis. This means that you can hire a car in one city and self-drive it to another and leave the car at a pre-designated stop. Usual car rental formalities apply. You need an excellent road map, an international driving license, and insurance. Payment by major credit cards is also accepted by most companies. Your travel agent or the hotel could provide you with the details.

Malaysia Rail System

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Malayan railways or Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) connects all the major cities/towns in the Peninsular Malaysia. One can travel by rail from Peninsular Malaysia via Thailand and Singapore. First, second and economy air-conditioned coaches are available in the trains.
The Ekspres Langkawi connects Kuala Lumpur and Arau on a daily basis. This train departs nightly reaching Arau in the morning and then leaves for Hatyai, Thailand before heading back to Arau in the evening.

There are express services which have restaurants serving local and continental cuisine. Tickets for these trains are to be booked 60 days in advance. Children below 4 years of age can travel for free whereas children below 12 years are charged half price. 10 day and 30 day tourist Railpass are available to foreign tourist for unlimited travel on KTM for that period.
Senandung Malam connects Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth on a nightly basis. Sleeper berth is available in the first and second class coaches.

Malaysia Monorail System

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The Kuala Lumpur public transport includes the monorail which serves 11 stations covering a distance of 8.6 km in the city centre. Major shopping centres such as Bukit Bintang, Imbi and Chow Kit are serviced by the monorail. It stretches from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station to Titiwangsa Station.

Malaysia Sea Transport

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There are five ports in Malaysia namely Penang, Port Klang, Kuantan, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Ferry/boat services are available to travel around the country connecting mainland to island and island to island. These ferries sail between Penang and Butterworth carrying both passengers and vehicles.
Boats and small river crafts are the best mode to get to the isolated settlements. They are the best way to get to Sabah and Sarawak.
There are holiday cruises which connects Malaysia to the neighboring countries. There are many sea travel services to travel within the country, run by local tour agents.
Some of the country’s islands are served by ferries. Langkawi, for instance, is a good example. There are two places where you can take the ferries: Kuala Perlis or Kuala Kedah. Another resort island that is serviced by a ferry is Pangkor.

Malaysia Air Travel

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Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is located at Sepang which is 50 kms away from the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Over 40 airlines arrive and depart from KLIA including Malaysia’s own airlines, Malaysian Airlines.
Passengers can take connecting flights from KLIA to the major cities in Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak.
The old international airport, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport located in Subang, about 45 minutes away, situated west of Kuala Lumpur, avails only domestic air services.

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