Driving hire car around Malaysia


 


 



WE ARE PLANNING A HOLIDAY TO MALAYSIA AND WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE THAN KUALA LUMPUR. TIME IS NOT A PROBLEM, WHAT ARE YOUR SUGGESTIONS OF WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE? WE HAVE ALWAYS HIRED CARS AND HAVE BEEN INDEPENDENT ON OUR TRAVELS, IS THIS ADVISABLE FOR MALAYSIA OR SHOULD WE CONSIDER A TOUR? WHAT'S THE BEST TIME TO GO?

B. PIERCE, BIRCHGROVE

Malaysia is perfect for a self-drive holiday, in fact, one of the very best places in all of Asia to get behind the wheel. Road conditions are good, traffic is well mannered and costs are reasonable.

From Kuala Lumpur you could drive east to Kuantan, an easy half-day drive, and spend a couple of nights at Teluk Chempedak, a sweep of sand cradled between rocky headlands and a lively resort area. To the north, the coast road follows the beach, curving inland around the kampongs or where a river trickles down from the hills.

High-quality beach resorts are rare in this part of the world but Tanjong Jara Resort (tanjongjararesort.com) just south of  Kuala Terengganu is a silky exception, a complex of timber bungalows wrapped around a lagoon and overlooking a long crescent of bleached sand.

Further north at Jerteh, turn west to take Highway 4 across the top of Peninsular Malaysia to Penang. This is one of the most likeable of all Asian cities. At its heart, George Town is practically an open-air museum, a sleepy World Heritage zone with a fragrant Little India and a time-warped Chinatown where the shopfronts are being transformed into boutique hotels and smart cafe/restaurants. Thanks to its multi-cultural heritage, George Town dishes up a feast of flavours, with street-food dining that leaves Singapore's famed hawker markets looking pale. Spend a few days here at least.

If time allows, on the way south to Kuala Lumpur to complete the circle, you could make a detour to stay a couple of nights in the Cameron Highlands, a cool, misty world of tea plantations and golf courses, with strong links to its colonial heritage. Best time for this journey would be between March and August, certainly before the wet season strikes the west coast, which usually happens in September.


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