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galiano Sep 16th, 2004 08:53 AM

Help with Malaysia transportation
We are planning a trip to Singapore and Malaysia in February and need suggestions on the best way to get around. Our rough itinerary is Singapore / Malacca / KL / Cameron Highlands / Penang / Singapore. We'd like to take the train where convenient but how do we get from say Cameron Highlands to Penang or KL to Cam. Highlands ?

Cicerone Sep 16th, 2004 09:39 AM

1. If your budget allows consider renting a car. Malaysia and Singapore are the two countries in SE Asia where I would encourage people to rent cars and drive on their own. Roads are good, signs are generally in English, and drivers are not too insane (watch some of those lorry drivers in Malaysia.) The route you have could be easily done by car and all in manageable stages of a few hours at a time. Consider renting in Malaysia versus Singapore as it should be cheaper and drop off charges should be less. You can simply go by taxi or bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru in Malaysia right over the causeway from Singapore and rent a car there or at the JB airport. Take a look at Hertz, Avis, etc they all have outlets in JB. Gas is about twice the price as in the US.

2. You could take a bus for probably all legs of this journey. There is a good private bus service for most of Malaysia. There are even executive class buses which are very comfortable. I have done Malacca and Penang by bus from Singapore. Take a look at the following websites:

One of the main carriers is Transnasional Express, but I can't find a website. Phone numbers for it an other carriers are below. You might have more luck with a web search than me:

Transnasional Express 60-3-20705044

Superria Express 60-3-20709410

Express LPMS 60-3-20701676

If calling from the US, dial 011 first. The Lonely planet guidebooks are also usually a good source of bus information.

3. Rail is an option, I have not taken many trains in Malaysia and don't think their system is extensive and certainly not anything like Europe. Take a look at

galiano Sep 16th, 2004 12:23 PM

Thanks very much for the wealth of information. I think we'd like to make this a combination of train and rental car if possible and your comments that it is fairly easy to drive in Malaysia make a rental car a good option. Do they drive on the left or the right ?

dlh Sep 16th, 2004 05:50 PM

Both Singapore and Malaysia "drive on the left". It is absolutely not a problem and you will adjust quite quickly. The highway in Malaysia is great and the drive itself is both beautiful and interesting. I love looking at all of the palm oil plantations that line the highway between JB and KL, and it is an interesting contrast to Singapore. In addition, the bridge over to Penang is interesting with the entire drive from KL climbing a bit through the hills and offering some fun sights on the way (we like stopping at Kelly's Castle). Also, IMO it is a bit more comfortable to drive yourself from KL to the Cameron Highlands as opposed to taking a bus. The final stretch of road up to the Highlands is quite steep and is continually twisting. This can be a bit disconcerting when you are travelling by bus due to the height of the bus and the speeds that some of the buses travel at going into the Highlands.
Cicerone has provided a fantastic list of bus services and other information so there is very little to add other than that many of the private buses show videos to help pass the time, and if you really would like to treat yourself you might consider taking the E&O train for one of the legs of your journey (you don't have to go all of the way to Bangkok). You can do Singapore/KL, KL/Penang, or probably the best suited to your itinerary Penang/Singapore on your return leg. Oh, and the Malaysian Rail Station in Singapore, while it has seen better days, is both lovely and charming. Either way - have a terrific holiday!

galiano Sep 17th, 2004 11:33 AM

Well I've looked at car rental prices and they are a bit high given that we will be staying in each stop for at least 2 or 3 days and the car would likely just sit there. I think a combination of train and bus will likely serve us best. Thanks again for your help. What a wonderful resource this forum is.

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