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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Road Conditions and Safety: Bottlenecks are common in major cities because infrastructure development has not kept pace with the proliferation of motorized vehicles. Multi-lane highways often merge into narrow two lane roads in the center of town and cause congestion. Many streets are narrow and winding. Traffic is heavy during the morning and afternoon rush hours and slows down considerably when it rains. Monsoonal rains can quickly flood roads located in low-lying areas.

Traffic Laws: Traffic in Malaysia moves on the left side of the road, and most vehicles are right-hand drive. By law, you must use your front and back seat belts and must not use your cell phone while driving unless it is hands-free (e.g., Bluetooth). Turning left at a red light is not legal unless otherwise marked. We strongly advise you to carry your passport or Malaysian identification card at all times when driving.

Motorcyclists attempt to circumvent traffic blockage by weaving in and out of traffic, temporarily using vacant oncoming traffic lanes, and running through red lights. Use your turn signals well in advance of turning to alert motorcycles of your intent to turn.

If you are involved in a traffic accident:

  • Call the police immediately. Depending on the severity of the accident, you should call either the emergency number 999 (or 112 from a mobile phone) or the Royal Malaysia Police Operations Center in Kuala Lumpur, 03-2115-9999 or 03-2266-2222.
  • Stay in your car and wait for the police to arrive before exchanging information with other parties involved in the accident.
  • Reports of road rage incidents, especially after midnight, are rising. Avoid confrontational behavior if you are involved in an accident. If you are threatened, leave the scene and file a report with the local police within 24 hours.

Sobriety Checkpoints: Please note that laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced and carry serious penalties. Police operate sobriety checkpoints in many entertainment districts frequented by expatriates. At these checkpoints, all drivers must submit to alcohol breath tests. If you fail a breath test, you will be arrested.

Driver?s License Requirements: International Driving Permits (IDP) may be used for 90 days. The IDP must be obtained outside of Malaysia. If you are staying longer than 90 days in Malaysia you will need a local driver?s license. The Malaysian Road Transport Department recommends contacting a local driving school to arrange all the paperwork. In order to obtain a local license, you will also need a valid work permit.

Many car rental agencies in Malaysia are willing to rent vehicles for a short term to U.S. citizens with valid U.S. driver?s licenses. Nevertheless, if you plan to drive in Malaysia, we strongly urge you to obtain an IDP before leaving the United States. More information on how to obtain an IDP is available on the Driving Abroad section of the Department of State website.

See our Road Safety page for more information. For more information about Malaysian driver?s licenses, contact the Automobile Association of Malaysia. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Malaysia?s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

Public Transportation: There have been fatal and other serious accidents involving long-distance tour buses in Malaysia, particularly at night or in adverse weather conditions. If you plan to travel by bus, choose a reputable company, and avoid overnight routes.

Taxis are metered, but many drivers refuse to use the meter and instead charge a much higher rate, particularly during peak hours, when it is raining or when the passenger?s destination is to or through a heavily congested area. By regulation, metered fares increase by 50 percent between midnight and 6:00 a.m.; meters are programmed to display the higher fee automatically during these hours. Many individuals prefer to book taxi and car services through widely-used smart phone apps both for convenience and fare transparency.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Malaysia?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Malaysia?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Malaysia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (, and the NGA broadcast warnings website select ?broadcast warnings?.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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