Malaysia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Malaysia
You can drive for up to one year using your own licence plus an International Driving permit, after which time you will need to obtain a Malaysian licence.  Malaysia drives on the left in right hand drive vehicles.

Malaysia’s motorways, known as expressways is considered as one of the best road networks in Asia. They are 30 expressways in the country covering 1,821 kilometres. The main North–South Expressway passes through all the major cities and conurbations in West Malaysia, such as Penang, Ipoh, the Klang Valley and Johor Bahru. The Pan Borneo Highway connects the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak with Brunei. Many main roads are toll roads and the most convenient way to pay at toll booths is via SmartTag or Touch ’n’ Go card.

Roads are generally in good condition on the Malaysian Peninsula, but less so in East Malaysia and many roads may flood after monsoon rain. Driving standards are usually good for Asia from car drivers but motor bikes are likely to weave in and out of traffic and may pull in front of you at traffic lights. Many drivers will accelerate through an amber traffic light rather than slowing so be cautious when setting off after a red light.

Traffic jams are common in major cities especially Kuala Lumpur but driving in the capital generally isn’t as challenging as other cities in South East Asia with well signed roads and drivers who normally abide by road rules. Drink driving rules are strictly applied and police often target areas frequented by tourists and ex pats on an evening so if you want a drink, take a taxi.

For driving in Singapore and Borneo see the pages covering those regions.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Malaysia Car Rental –
Hertz, Europcar,Avis, have outlets here. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites  and Web discount sites such as

We currently have no local car rental partners in Malaysia. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

Malaysia Self Drive Rules-
Most of the big companies won’t allow cars to be taken into Brunei, Singapore and Thailand. There may also be restrictions on taking cars between East and West Malaysia and taking cars on ferries.



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