A self-drive itinerary to Malaysia will naturally route south to north, taking in the main highlights of the Peninsular. From the south, Malacca, with its colonial history, Kuala Lumpur - the vibrant capital and further north the coastline and hill resorts of Cameron Highlands with its Straits Chinese influences. Slow the pace with a final stop at one of the many beach resorts on Penang or Langkawi.
- Trishaw to Macalister street for skewers of fish and spring roll pancakes whilst in Penang
- Wander around the shuttered Chinese shop houses of Malacca
- The east coast of Malaysia is one long tropical sandy beach, waiting to be explored
- Go off the beaten track and travel through ancient jungle on the east to west Highway
What do you need to know about this self-drive holiday to Malaysia
Malaysians drive on the left hand side of the road at manageable speeds. The road network in Malaysia is modern and to the nervous foreigner is a dream compared to other Asian countries. Malaysia is untrammelled by bullock carts and wandering cattle, which often make neighbouring countries harder to navigate.
Driving in the big cities, such as Kuala Lumpur or Georgetown can be quite hectic, but outside of these cities the roads are relatively quiet. The efficient North – South Expressway runs the length of the country. The country is safe and organised. We recommend collecting the car after a visit to the vibrant capital.
Malaysia has it all – unspoiled beaches, culture, wildlife and nature. The joy of driving is you can choose where to stop, and where to eat. Be something of a novelty on road side stalls. Take time and hone your photography skills as you pass through paddy fields and ancient jungle. Feel free to bid farewell to your vehicle from time to time to visit islands on the east coast, such as the car free island of Perhentian. Malayasia has a relative absence of car crime when leaving vehicles unattended.
Here at Steppes we highly rate the rugged, deserted coastline of the east, lapped by the South China Sea, peppered with islands that make up protected marine parks. With its evident strong Muslim influence, Malay traditions and local artistry on show at the road sides of sleepy fishing kampongs, the two coastlines are miles apart, not just literally.
Smaller islands, such as Penang, being 70km in circumference can be circumnavigated. Tea plantations in Cameron Highlands offer stunning scenery. Visit one of the pristine rainforests on this peninsula. Belum is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and home to incredible wildlife and the largest concentration of hornbills anywhere on earth.
Where will I stay on this self-drive holiday to Malaysia
Ranging from eco-tourism homestays in local kampongs (villages) to five star resorts, and everything in between, this self-drive holiday covers all the spectrums and experiences on offer in one trip.
When best to visit Malaysia
Ideally avoid the rainy season when planning a self drive holiday. The East Coast Peninsula has rainfall between October and February with many islands inaccessible by public boat at this time. The west coast is best avoided April, May, and again in October and November. March can be considered between seasons on both coast lines. British summer holidays fit perfectly with this destination and makes an ideal family holiday.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.