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Malaysia by Car: Nature, Culture and Cuisine
Malaysia holds some of the world’s most unforgettable flora, fauna, and food. Along with the Malay people, the country is home to people from China and India, who first started to settle down there some two millennia ago. Explore this diverse culture, one of the oldest deciduous rainforests in the world, and the endless beaches along its eastern cost, setting your own pace behind the wheel of an affordable rental vehicle.
Most visitors to Malaysia will be coming through the main international airport belonging to the city of Kuala Lumpur. Here, visitors can secure an auto rental or enter the city and retrieve one from a number of locations.
The modern metropolis of Kuala Lumpur seems to rise out of the jungle and vegetation. The Petronas Twin Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world, go along with the futuristic feel the city has been adopting for several decades. Drive to the center of the city to visit Chinatown and the nearby Masjid Jamek. Follow the road west and arrive at the Perdana Botanical Gardens to learn about local flora. On your way back in, be sure to stop in Little India to refuel.
A great stop on the way out of the city would be that of the limestone Batu Caves. Continue north, stopping in Ipoh on your way to the island of Penang, an artistic and lushly tropical port of call. Georgetown is home to so much famous street art that there are tours dedicated solely to finding these precious pieces. Penang is also famous for its Malay desserts. Grab a map of food vendors at your place of accommodation.
It would be worthwhile to leave from Penang and head towards to eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. However, on your way there, take your car through the Cameron Highlands to visit the picturesque tea plantations and trek the rainforest. Back on the coast, you’ll find yourself looking out to crystal clear blue water stretching as far as the eye can see.
The official language of Malaysia is that of Malay, but in fact the lingua franca in most areas tends to be English, even with the older generation; an effect of the country’s colonial history. Chinese is also widely spoken, and in fact a lot of the residents speak very little Malay.
The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit. However, many larger businesses and banks will be able to take and change USD. Also, there are many money changers to be found in the urban centers.
When to Visit
Malaysia has several different rainy seasons that affect the east and the west at different times. These rains are not conducive to driving or enjoying the beaches on the east coast. If it is your intention to enjoy the refreshing and pristine waters, then be sure to visit in the drier months of June, July, and August.
If you are not concerned with exercising patience with the weather, but the bustling tourist streets are not to your liking, it is advisable to visit during the months of May or September. During these months there will still be downpours in the west of the country, but they are not very frequent.
Renters do not have to consider much when it comes to hiring vehicles in Malaysia. Throughout the year, prices remain an average low of around $20 per day. If you wish to drop your car off at another location, prices may increase by roughly $4 per day. An example of some deals you can find in Malaysia are as follows:
- Perodua Myvi or similar (mini class) – $24/day
- Proton Saga or similar (economy class) – $25/day
- Proton Persona or similar (compact class) – $26/day
- Nissan Almera or similar (intermediate class) – $27/day
- Toyota Vios or similar (standard class) – $39/day
Nevertheless, there are some points worth making to save on the specific cars. Vehicles of larger sizes will tend to be more expensive. Also, manual transmissions are cheaper than automatic. Make sure to record any pre-existing damages with a photo. Use the search engine features to manage these filters and look for great offers by MERGE Car Rental, Paradise Car Rental, and Europcar.
- It is not unheard of to have purses and bags snatched away from owners by persons on a passing motorbike. Keep such valuables on the opposite side of your person than the street.
- Be sure to wear clothing which is polite and covers most of the div when entering religious places.
- The country is host to a number of major religions, though Islam is dominant. Therefore, alcohol is expensive, and it is advisable to purchase it at the airport. Also, breathalyzer tests are very common, though of course drinking and driving is never a good idea.
- Patience is key to driving safely in the city of Kuala Lumpur, especially if venturing out during the rush hours. Rush hour times are 7-9am, and 4-7pm.
- An international driving permit is required to drive in the country. Carry this document, a domestic driver’s license, insurance and car registration documents in the car at all times. Minimum age to hire an automobile is 23.