After the experience with the motorcycle that we bought in Pakistan and the tuk tuk that we rented in Sri Lanka, we were getting used to having wheels. The truth is that after traveling for so long and always doing it as we have done, that is, by hitchhiking and by public transport, there comes a time in your life when you get older.
We love, uh, we love traveling by bus, train, hitchhiking, but we also like the possibilities that open up having our own means of transport and we also love driving, so we got caught by the bug again and we decided to try to rent a car in Malaysia. for a few days. It was much easier and cheaper than we expected, and since we did not find information online about it, we decided to come and leave you with this guide.
How to rent a car in Malaysia
As anywhere, it’s that simple, there are hundreds of car rental companies, among them world-renowned ones and we suppose that the most common thing is to rent it in Kuala Lumpur, we decided to do it in Ipoh for two reasons.
- It is a smaller and more manageable city
- It is a less touristy city in general
And we were also there when we got the question …
The first thing we did was to investigate online about local companies, especially those that discount for longer rentals such as two weeks or a month. We found a couple of options that we contacted via WhatsApp or by calling. Whenever we did it we did it in English (with a hello and a thank you always in the local language) and only once did we have a language barrier so I doubt it would be a very big problem.
Finally we decided on a small company called “Kerata Sewa Ipoh car city rental” the website as well as the Facebook page is not that they give much credibility but being there and being able to move easily we decided to give everything a try. In the end it turned out to be a success.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Malaysia
We rented a Perodua VIVA, a Malaysian car that is really a drag and has little power, but it was more than enough to take us from one side of the country to the other. Prices are around RM80 per day (that’s the cheapest class) but if you want to rent for more than a week you can negotiate a bit. we got to loas 60 RM per day since it was going to be 15 days. In addition, we were able to agree that if we wanted to rent it for more days we only had to contact them and that’s it.
Obviously if you want to rent a bigger or better car then the price will go up.
For the rental we went to look for the car on the outskirts of the city (we took an Uber) and signed a small contract. After giving him a photocopy of our passport and checking the car in detail (photos everywhere) we left with our car to Ipoh and to the adventure through the rest of the country where we discovered other things about driving a car in Malaysia.
The state of roads and tolls in Malaysia
The truth is that we were pleasantly surprised by the state of the roads throughout the country, it is amazing. Although they do not reach the European level of course we cannot complain at all since they are in great condition. Of course, there is a “little problem” that we did not have and are the tolls, which are many.
I think I remember that having a motorcycle, tolls of any kind were not paid, but the truth is that I cannot speak to you from experience in that case because what I said, we decided on a car and you have to pay them every two for three. In addition, it is important to get a card “Touch ‘n Go” of the same type as those used for public transport in Kuala Lumpur (obviously in another category) since all payments are made from the card itself and not in cash or with credit or debit cards.
To get a touch N Go you have to go through one of the toll boxes and buy it for 10 RM, at that very moment put the credit that seems best to you because otherwise it will not serve you at all and with the card loaded you will pay the tolls.
We paid roughly RM100 in tolls during our road trip (on the high side). Obviously they are not at the European price either but without a doubt they have to be taken into account, especially if you are going to have the car for a longer time.
Learn to use the parking system and avoid fines
Another important piece of information is the issue of parking, which works in a very particular way that it took us a long time (and a couple of fines) to understand.
It turns out that in 90% of the places, 100% in the case of cities, the parking system is always paid and the payment is made in a rather special way. In some cases you will find parking meters like the ones you are used to (you put in coins, you get a ticket etc) but they will be very few, in our case we only saw them in two places and hence the fines. When we did not see them, we thought that it would not be paid and when we returned we found very nice little notes asking us to pay. Luckily the fines were 50 RM so even in one case we paid less when paying the fine than we should have paid for parking… all a bit absurd. Fines are easily paid at police stations without much drama.
Well, when you do not see parking meters, do not think that the theme is free, go to a nearby store or kiosk, if you want, carry this photo on your phone while you ask for parking tickets. They will give you these scratch cards and those are your tickets. The name is “Parking coupon”.
It is very important that you know what type of card you are buying, there are whole days, 30-minute periods and even 5-minute periods. As complicated as it may seem, the vast majority of the information is also in English on the card so it is all to put a little interest to learn how they work. The most complicated thing for us was knowing where they were bought but it seems that they are bought almost anywhere so everything is going to the stores and asking and if they don’t have them they will tell you where to find them.
Then, the coupons that you buy in one city will NOT work for another because each one works with its own system. They are all very similar but they depend on another entity, so do not get excited and buy many if you are not going to use them.
Once with the corresponding coupon, simply scratch the data with a coin. Year, month, day and in the case of being a fraction card you will also have to mark the time. If you use more than one card, don’t worry, you can scratch a 30-minute card and then scratch another 30-minute card, yes, at the time of the second mark the end of the first. Then just leave them all lined up next to each other on top of the car’s glove compartment and so quiet.
I know, it seems complicated but it is even fun.
Other tips for driving a car in Malaysia
- Do not trust the weather, it can change and it rains heavily, so be careful when driving if it does rain because visibility decreases considerably especially during the Monsoon season.
- Remember that you drive on the right side of the road and on the right side of the car, so if you do not feel very comfortable with this, it may be better to take an automatic car.
- In general it is easy, it is all quite civilized and the traffic is not heavy but always remember to be attentive to the motorcycles that leave from all sides.
- Take into account the cost of gasoline in your budget, we paid at the beginning of 2018 for gasoline at about 2.20 – 2.50 RM per liter.
It is done! Enjoy your road trip through Malaysia and let us know in the comments if we have forgotten anything.