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Transport in Malaysia

Getting There
The country’s national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, currently operates flights to and from ninety-five worldwide destinations. As well as the aforementioned, however, numerous other international airlines fly into Malaysia including Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Air Lanka, Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, Air Vietnam, Alia/Royal Jordanian Airlines, Balkan-Bulgarian Airlines, Bangladesh Biman, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Eva Air, Garuda Indonesia, Iran Air, Japan Airlines, Kampuchea Airlines, Koran Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan Airlines, Phillipine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Royal Dutch Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Sempati Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai International, and Uzbekistan Airlines.The majority of flights from any destination fly into the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which is located about forty kilometres outside the city centre. Once you arrive here you will get a flight to most major towns and cities in the country.

As well as air connections, Malayan Railways also travels between Kuala Lumpur and both Bangkok and Singapore. The journey to or from Singapore takes between seven and ten hours and Bangkok is about two days from Kuala Lumpur.

Your final option for travel to the country is by bus from Singapore or Thailand. Buses from the Ban San terminal in Singapore travel to numerous destinations within the country as do services from Bangkok and Haadyai in Thailand.

Getting Around
There are really only two railway lines in the country but both are efficient, economical and comfortable. The first travels between Singapore and Butterworth, continuing into Thailand and the second branches off this line at Gemas and runs up to the northeastern Malaysia to Kota Bharu. When availing of either of the two services, there are three classes – express, limited express and local. Generally, it is recommended that you take the express services as they only cost about twenty per cent more, only stop at main stations and are much faster than either of the other two options. You will need to book well in advance, however, in order to guarantee a seat.

In order to get the best value for your money with regard to travelling by train in the country, you should avail of the KTM pass. This will give you first class travel at economy rates and allows unlimited travel on any train in Malaysia and Singapore for the duration of the pass (10/30days).

While, rail travel in Malaysia is common, the routes are quite limited and travel by bus is usually the preferred option of public transport. There are public buses which operate on the shorter routes as well as privately owned buses which cover the longer trips. Seats can usually be reserved for either service and buses are fast and reasonably priced. The good news is that there are also many air-conditioned services which operate on both types of route but they do cost a little bit more. Other than that, fares are generally charged according to the distance covered.

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