It may sound daunting, but driving up to Malaysia from Singapore is becoming an increasingly popular drive-up holiday. Whether it is a quick day-trip over the causeway or a longer journey to the capital, Kuala Lumpur, this guide is here to help you prepare for the journey.
Is it safe? Something that deters many Singaporeans and foreigners from driving up to Malaysia is concerns for safety. There have been many horror stories about robberies and stolen cars but this is just a basic need to stay alert for driving anywhere else in the world.
Some tips to ensure safety for your car include:
- Planning your route before you leave.
- Always lock your car when you are away even if it is only for a minute.
- Never leave valuables in the car, especially your mobile phones and cash card.
- Park the car in a hotel/secure parking overnight and keep it off the street.
- Use a steering-wheel lock to secure the car after parking
- Install GPS tracking system to your trace car should it be hijacked
- If possible, do not come out of your car to settle any disputes. Drive off to the nearest police station instead.
You should have GPS installed to help you navigate along the highway, but you should expect to be lost occasionally within the town. Do not however be over reliant on the GPS as they often recommend the “shortest” path, which might mean taking small side roads that may cause you to be stuck in a traffic jam. Do your research beforehand to ensure you take the best route available.
Ask for directions if lost or unsure. The emergency lane of the expressway is not the place to stop and check your route. Find a rest stop or service station instead. If you miss an exit, do not panic! Just exit at the next available one.
Preparing to Drive
If you are driving a rental car you will need to check with the rental company to see if it is approved for travel into Malaysia, as some are not. Always bring your license with you as well!
Avoid Driver Fatigue
- Take a break every two hours especially if you are the only driver.
- Avoid drinking before driving
- Pull over and stop when you lose your concentration from sleepiness or any discomfort. Stretching at car stops help to relax your body and refresh you as well.
Those who drive into Malaysia regularly know that at some point in the journey you could experience rain or thunderstorms. The good news is that the North-South highway in Malaysia is one of the safest in the region, but you could also be driving too fast in the wet weather.
On The Journey
Tolls – You will need to pay toll fees to use the highway. You might wish to consider the Touch n' Go System to avoid traffic jams. The Touch'n Go card is a prepaid card where you can load money into it then swipe the card to pay at the dedicated blue-and-yellow signed Touch’n Go lanes at toll plazas. Also note that in cities, parking meters are usually in effect from 9 am to 5 pm unless otherwise stated.
Do plan your petrol refuels as some stretches of road will not have a petrol station for over 40km so monitor your fuel gauge carefully.
Rest & Relax (R&R) pit stops are for food and toilet breaks. Choose to be in the safety of crowds by checking in at popular ones to avoid putting yourself and family as baits for robbers.
Lastly, if you choose to return to Singapore on a weekend or during the school holidays, expect jams of up to three hours at both Woodland and Tuas customs! This is one of the main complaints for those driving up to Malaysia so do take this into consideration.
Enjoy and have a fun road trip!