Travel to Malaysia how do you get here?

Travel to Malaysia

Sharing the northern border with southern Thailand and with Singapore at the southern part of peninsula Malaysia, it is interesting to note that West Malaysia has several alternative entry points into the country.

In addition, the fact that East Malaysia (Separated by the South China Sea) lies on the island of Borneo and shares a common border with Kalimantan Indonesia, this in itself represents an additional possible entry point into Malaysia.

Malaysia is also accessible from southern Philippines through the state of Sabah by a simple boat ride.

Depending on your mode of transportation, be it by air, land or sea, you will normally have a couple of choices in terms of entry points into Malaysia.

Travel to Malaysia - By Air

If you are travelling by air, your main entry will be one of the seven (7) international airports that are located around Malaysia.

The main airport into the country is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA. This airport is the hub for the two (2) major airlines in Malaysia, “Malaysia Airlines” (The National Carrier) and “AirAsia” (Malaysia’s low-fare airline). KLIA is also the destination for over 40 international airlines.

The other major points of entry into Malaysia by air is through the other six (6) International airports:
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport
  • Kuching International Airport
  • Penang International Airport
  • Langkawi International Airport
  • Batu Berendam International Airport in Malacca
  • Sultan Ismail International Airport in Senai, Johore

You can find more information here on airline carriers in Malaysia.

Travel to Malaysia - By Sea

Malaysia is also accessible by sea.

The country havs several ports, the biggest and most modern is Port Klang. The other main ports which are stopover destinations for cruise ships are:
  • Pangkor Island
  • Penang Island
  • Langkawi Isalnd
  • Malacca
  • Kota Kinabalu
  • Sandakan on the island of Borneo

Travel to Malaysia - By Road & Rail

Due to the fact that Malaysia shares common borders with both Thailand and Singapore, entry into Malaysia is also possible by both road and rail through both of these countries.

Peninsula Malaysia has a good road network which connect these two countries to it from both ends of the peninsula. Visitors from Thailand can enter Malaysia through the northern state of Kedah at the Bukit Kayu Hitam immigration checkpoint. From Bukit Kayu Hitam, using the North South Highway, Kuala Lumpur is just 480 kilometres away.

Singapore, on the other hand is connected to Johor, the southern most state of Malaysia, by the “Causeway”.

From Johor, you can take the North South Highway to Kuala Lumpur as well (about 220 kilometres away).

Johor, Malaysia to Singapore Causeway



Rail travel to Malaysia

Rail travel into Malaysia from Singapore is also possible. In fact, it is a more comfortable and faster way of travelling overland into Malaysia.

If you plan to drive from Singapore into Malaysia, you will definitely encounter the atrocious traffic bottleneck at the immigration checkpoints for both countries at the ”Causeway”. If you were to take the express train from Singapore in the morning you would arrive in Kuala Lumpur, by late evening.

Taking the train into Malaysia from Thailand isn’t as straight forward as there are no direct links between Thailand and Kuala Lumpur. You have to take a train from Bangkok to Hat Yai in Thailand to the Malaysian border town of Padang Besar. From there, you need to take another train to Butterworth, the train terminal for Penang. Then from Butterworth, you have to catch another train to the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Note: Malaysian train services are not known for their punctuality and hence your connection might not be as smooth as you think.

On East Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak are linked by the Pan Borneo Highway. Travel between the two states by road is relatively straight forward with a short break when you pass through the Brunei Sultanate.

The distance between Kuching City and Kota Kinabalu City by road is about 1600 kilometres. In addition, you can reach Kuching city by driving from the city of Pontianak in Kalimantan, Indonesia. The journey normally takes 8 hours.

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