Johor Bahru

Do you need a car in Johor Bahru?

Should you rent a car in Johor Bahru Malaysia > Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings
  • To follow.

Why should you rent a car in Johor Bahru?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Johor Bahru?

Johor Bahru Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€160

 #186/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €150

83/300

 

Free parking score

Total 217 - of which 128 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

59%

#94/300

 
  • To follow.

Why not? Visiting Johor Bahru without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Johor Bahru public transport quick facts

Train score

 

10%

Water travel score

30%

Overall public transport score

30%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

20%

  • To follow.

Ratings

Car rental in - Johor Bahru Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Johor Bahru?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Johor Bahru?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Johor Bahru?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Johor Bahru if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Johor Bahru if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Johor Bahru if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

7

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Do you need a car in Johor Bahru? Yes, a hire car could be useful here.

Would you hire a car in Johor Bahru?

Have you driven in Johor Bahru? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Johor Bahru?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Kota Kinabalu

Should you rent a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Should you rent a car in Kota Kinabalu Malaysia > Kota Kinabalu

There’s no need for a hire car if you just plan on staying in a resort and heading into the centre of Kota Kinabalu. Plenty of buses and taxis are availablein and around the city.

Kota Kinabalu Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Kota Kinabalu?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Kota Kinabalu Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

10%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€120

 #140/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €150

81/300

 

Free parking score

Total 220 - of which 70 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

32%

#199/300

 
  • A car would certainly be useful for visiting places like the orang utan sanctuary at Sepilok. A car is useful for stopping of at on the way. However, this can also all be done by bus. Sepilok is on the same route as Mount Kinabalu National Park, but some distance further. Allow around 7-8 hours to get there. You may still prefer to let someone else drive. There are limited places of intrerest on the way.

[whynot city=”Kota Kinabalu”]

In & around Kota Kinabalu

  • For visiting Mount Kinabalu, or just the Kinabalu national park around it, then we certainly wouldn’t recommend a hire car, as it is just going to stay parked at the entrance. If you are in a group, but don’t want to go by bus, it might be cheaper to pay a taxi driver to take you each way.
  • Mount Kinabalu is one of the most technically accessible mountains in Asia, in that no special equipment is needed to go right up to the 4,096m summit. However, the rapid ascent from sea level can make visitors prone to altitude sickness. If you do choose to make this trip, you will have to go with organised guides, and the number of permits is limited to just a couple of busloads each day, so book well ahead. Either way, a hire car isn’t going to help your ascent!
  • To visit Poring Hot Spring, on the edge of Kinabalu National Park, take a bus via Ranau. Buses from Kota Kinabalu are typically every hour, taking around two hours, with an additional transfer from Ranau to Poring taking about half an hour, every 30 minutes.

Further afield

  • Generally, there are very few driving roads, once outside Kota Kinabalu.
  • For a really impressive train experience, take the train all the way to Tenom. Note that this is not the same as the tourist train, which only goes as far as Papar. However, this full excursion will need an overnight stay in Tenom, in order to see the most impressive parts of the line, which are where it runs through the jungle to the south of Beaufort. There is no road anywhere near the rail line, although there is a main road back to KK from Tenom. You could combine bus and train between KK and Tenom, although I cannot find a way to do this within the same day.
  • Go one better and combine the jungle train and white water rafting.

James says - a few trip notes:


I visited Borneo back in 1990, and I have to say that the state of Sabah is one of the few places I have visited that has a railway system, but that I didn’t manage to use. Granted, I was on a tour at the time, so I didn’t have a chance, and the system has also been cut back from Kota Kinabalu to Tanjung Aru.

North Borneo Railway

When I have the chance to go back again, there’s no doubt that I will go on this jungle railway, and I’m tempted by the option of going rafting at the same time! However, I don’t think the option to see the line in it’s full glory should be confused with the tourist line, which costs RM 345, and only goes as far as Papar. That price might include gourmet meals and free transfers if you are staying at the Sutera Harbour resort which promotes the line, but it misses out on the best of the line, which is the stretch below Beaufort, where it clings to the sides of the muddy river.

Now although you can’t do it in a day, a return trip on the whole stretch of the line is going to set you back a mere RM 15.10, so you could make the trip 23 times for the price of the luxury tourist train!

I’ve listed a few blogs which detail this line, although all were written around five years ago. Seat 61 has some excellent information on booking trains between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to book this trip online. Bearing in mind that it’s basically treated as a regional service, turning up on the day should be fine – but allow plenty of time to get to the station and buy your ticket, as there is only one option to cover the whole line each day.


(Rail) Links

  • North Borneo Railway photos and guide
  • Whitewater Rafting – using the railway
  • Tenom by rail – blog.
  • Sutera Harbour – for the tourist train.

Should you rent a car in Kota Kinabalu? Verdict – no

Ratings

Car rental in - Kota Kinabalu Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Kota Kinabalu if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Kota Kinabalu if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Kota Kinabalu if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

1

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Kota Kinabalu?

Have you driven in Kota Kinabalu? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Kota Kinabalu?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Kuala Lumpur

Is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur?

Should you rent a car in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia > Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Kuala Lumpur is an intriguing mix of modern skyscrapers and American style suburban sprawl. There’s a healthy balance between downtown and out-of-town places of interest. So what is the best way to make the most of this Malaysian metropolis?

Why should you rent a car in Kuala Lumpur?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

50%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€145

 #170/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €145

79/300

 

Free parking score

Total 1113 - of which 400 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

36%

#176/300

 

Why is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur?

  • Heading up Peninsula Malaysia’s west coast: If you are looking at heading further out, possibly up towards Penang, then hire car might start to look like a reasonable option.
  • Jaunts in the jungle – you don’t have to travel that far in a Kuala Lumpur rental car beyond KL to reach areas which are still carpeted in pristine forest. Be prepared to drive past the palm oil plantations first! Either way, whether you are actually heading towards one of the many national parks, a car is simply the most obvious option here.
  • For a round-Malaysia road trip! Naturally, this would just apply to the peninsula. KL would be the natural place to start such a journey, since it has the best choice of inward flights. Take care right in the north of the country towards the border with Thailand, where there are security concerns.
  • You could also park your rental car in Johor Bahru and head briefly into Singapore. However, it’s not worth the hassle of trying to drive in.
  • Compared to other countries in Asia, Malaysia has one of the best records on road safety.

Ultimately, unless you are already planning on a longer road trip with multiple days on the road and away from KL, the choice about getting a hire car in Kuala Lumpur is still going to be a relatively marginal one.

Why not? Visiting Kuala Lumpur without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Kuala Lumpur public transport quick facts

Train score

 

20%

Water travel score

90%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

60%

  • No need at all to get a rental car in Kuala Lumpur if you are mainly visiting points of interest in downtown locations.
  • Visit Batu Caves by train.
  • Rail and sail (or direct coach) to Penang. It’s easier to manage as a one-way trip if you aren’t having to get a one-way Kuala Lumpur rental deal.
  • Combine a visit to KL with a train journey. Head north to Bangkok or south down to Singapore.
  • Most other major cities in Peninsular Malaysia are easy to reach by train or bus. A rental car is still useful for rural areas (see above).
  • High cost of parking – see below.

If you are looking at options based on using public transport for your time in Kuala Lumpur and then getting a hire car for onward travel elsewhere in Peninsular Malaysia, then look carefully at car-rental prices between the different city centre outlets. However there should be no need to go all the way back out Kuala Lumpur International Airport just to get an decent car rental deal. Instead, you may well find the same deals at Subang airport, which is much closer to the city centre.

 

James says - a few trip notes:


Multi-city trips – best by other means!

Needless to say, if you are looking at a multi-destination south-east Asian trip, we certainly wouldn’t advise hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur and trying to drive it anywhere near Singapore, although you might look at a one-way rental to Johor Bahru. We will also not recommend driving across into southern Thailand, where there are security issues around that border. Furthermore, as far as travel destinations are concerned, the peninsular Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo are very much separate entities.

If you are looking at visiting Kuala Lumpur for the first time, then it would be completely natural to compare the city with other relatively nearby major Asian capitals like Singapore or Bangkok. Your first thoughts of this city may well be of enormous skyscrapers, with the landmark twin Petronas Towers, formerly the tallest buildings in the world, being the most prominent mental image. However, the geography of KL is quite different when compared to some other more densely packed cities in the region.

Modern metros but still chronic congestion?

It’s true to say that Kuala Lumpur does have a sleek and modern metro system, much of it elevated above ground level, but public transport is still relatively poor for a city of this size. Moreover, following rapid economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s, the city of Kuala Lumpur sprawled massively around an extensive highway network, giving it a feel that in many respects has more in common with giant Texan oil cities like Houston or Dallas, than it does with many other Asian megacities.

To the south of the city, out towards the main Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) you will also find the technology focused new town of Putra Jaya, a location which might have some expansive parks, but which is also ultimately built around the car.

Is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur? So does the way KL is laid out make it a natural place to want to hire a car, especially when the roads are of a generally good standard?

Well this is really going to depend very much on what you are here to see and do – if you are just passing through Kuala Lumpur before heading somewhere else, or if you are simply here to see the major urban attractions that the city itself has to offer, then there’s still really not much point in going to the hassle or expense of hiring a car, especially if you are going to need to leave it in one of the city’s giant parking garages.

One of the most impressive natural attractions in the area around Kuala Lumpur is the Batu cave complex, but these are very easily reached at the end of a brief suburban train journey from Kuala Lumpur.


Ratings

Car rental in - Kuala Lumpur Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Kuala Lumpur?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Kuala Lumpur?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Kuala Lumpur if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Kuala Lumpur if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Kuala Lumpur if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

6

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Kuala Lumpur? Yes, possibly

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Miri

Should you rent a car in Miri?

Should you rent a car in Miri Malaysia > Miri

Situated in Malaysian Borneo just south of the border with Brunei, Miri is an important gateway to the Malaysian jungle, and especially to the hugely impressive Mulu Caves.

Miri Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Miri?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Miri?

Miri Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

70%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€180

 #217/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €X

300/300

 

Free parking score

Total 42 - of which 24 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

57%

#100/300

 
  • We don’t really think it’s worth hiring a car in Miri.
  • You could hire a car to drive south along the coast, or on inland roads which run parallel to the coast.

Why not? Visiting Miri without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Miri public transport quick facts

Train score

 

40%

Water travel score

20%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

60%

The town of Miri itself is compact enough. Although its bustling by Borneo standards, this is no Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. It’s perfectly easy to get between the major hotels on foot, or by taxi if necessary. There are also enough buses scooting around to travel along the coast, and also into neighbouring Brunei. Having said that, despite extensive deforestation, there are still very few roads heading inland anyway, so the main way in and out of Miri by land is the travel along the coast.

  • To reach Mulu National Park for the Mulu bat caves, travel by boat via Marudi, or take ashort hop flight.
  • Other than the road towards the village Long Lama on the Baram River, there are very few other roads which can be driven on.
  • Generally, car hire in Miri is expensive relative to other locations in South East Asia (see pricing tables).
  • Plenty of options just to come to Miri and relax on the beach – but this would be a huge waste if you are coming here from further afield!
  • The airport in Miri is very close to the town centre – you could almost walk it, but you probably won’t want to with a bag, given the usual humid heat in Borneo.
  • There are no driving roads between Sabah and Sarawak, other than routes which go through Brunei. You can make this journey by bus, or a combination of bus and ferry, but you will be unlikely to be able to get a hire car in Miri and get insurance to drive it into Brunei. See our cross border driving pages for more information.It is generally better to fly to Kota Kinabalu instead.
  • There are very few options for one way rental from Miri, since you would only be able to return your car to a location within the state of Sarawak. One such location might be Kuching.

So should you rent a car in Miri? The real reason for coming into Miri in the first place must surely be to head into the jungle, and in particular to trek into the Mulu caves. The best way to reach this area is to travel by river, and a variety of fast boat and slower local services is available. So there really is not much point in getting a hire car here, so our Miri car hire advice is not to bother.

Ratings

Car rental in - Miri Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Miri?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Miri?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Miri?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Miri if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Miri if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Miri if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

1

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Miri?

Have you driven in Miri? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Miri?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Pattaya

Should you rent a car in Pattaya?

Should you rent a car in Pattaya Thailand > Pattaya

Pattaya Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Pattaya is a popular beach resort with locals escaping from Bangkok, but it still falls some way short of more famous destinations like Koh Samui, Krabi or Phuket when it comes to attracting international visitors or longer term expats.

If you’re planning to visit Pattaya as your escape from Bangkok, it’s easy enough to get here by train (weekday service, daily)  or bus, and you can also fly in from various other cities in Southeast Asia.

Needless to say, there is no particular reason to hire a car in Pattaya if you’re planning just to stay around the resort areas, but we would recommend looking into getting one if you’re planning perhaps to look the other way and head inland, and possibly also to drive along the coast.

Why should you rent a car in Pattaya?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Pattaya?

Pattaya Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€155

 #178/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €125

63/300

 

Free parking score

Total 1437 - of which 962 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

67%

#61/300

 
  • For general flexibility.
  • Head out of town and explore the local jungles.

[whynot city=”Pattaya”]

  • No need within the resort.
  • Limited number of driving roads.
  • Not possible to drive into neighbouring Cambodia in a hire car.

Should you rent a car in Pattaya? Maybe! (Yes)

Ratings

Car rental in - Pattaya Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Pattaya?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Pattaya?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Pattaya?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Pattaya if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Pattaya if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Pattaya if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

3

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Pattaya?

Have you driven in Pattaya? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Pattaya?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Penang

Should you rent a car in Penang?

Should you rent a car in Penang Malaysia > Penang

Penang Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

It’s easy enough to reach Penang by land and sea from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, for example, by taking the train to Butterworth and then taking a ferry from there, or by taking a bus across the bridge into Georgetown.

Why should you rent a car in Penang?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Penang?

Penang Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€150

 #175/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €150

82/300

 

Free parking score

Total 346 - of which 207 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

60%

#93/300

 

Penang also has its own airport, and you should have no problem hiring a car here – the roads in Malaysia are amongst the safest in Asia, and some of them are spectacularly engineered.

Why not? Visiting Penang without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Penang public transport quick facts

Train score

 

60%

Water travel score

80%

Overall public transport score

30%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

50%

Penang is an easy enough place to get around using local buses, but a hire car can also be useful for heading back into the mainland and then driving into the rainforest to the east.

Should you rent a car in Penang? It’s far from essential, but it might be worth looking into.

Ratings

Car rental in - Penang Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Penang?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Penang?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Penang?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Penang if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Penang if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Penang if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

4

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Penang?

Have you driven in Penang? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Penang?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: