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Malaysia is a country in South Eastern Asia. It has borders with Thailand to the north, Singapore to the south, and Indonesia to the west and south. Its Capital city is Kuala Lumpur. The country is separated in two parts: the Malay Peninsula, and the north of Borneo Island.
Malaysia is a really great country for hitchhiking. People know what hitchhiking is and they are interested in foreign visitors, so make sure you look like a tourist. On busy roads, waiting times of less than 5 minutes are very common.
There is a real expressway running on the north-south axis from the Thai border, via Kuala Lumpur, towards Singapore. It is pretty easy to get a ride there. In rural areas it's even easier, but lifts will be shorter. On the on-ramps of the highway after the toll booth you can usually hitchhike as well, staff are unlikely to bother you.
Unlike in other countries in Asia, it's not advisable to hitchhike right on the motorway. Police won't bother, but cars are much more unlikely to stop, if they are too fast or there is no safe place to stop.
Drivers usually speak English and stop easily. Cars are modern and fast. Local roads are often in good condition, and are enjoyable to hitch.
You can usually find tasty cheap meals there. Cold showers, a real treat in the hot climate, are often available free of charge.
It can come in handy to know where the car is going before asking, at a petrol station for example. Malaysian license plates are generally black with white letters and Numbers. The pattern is XXX-9999 or XXX-999. The first letter indicates which state the car comes from:
- A = Perak (Capital: Ipoh)
- P = Penang
- W = Kuala Lumpur
- B = Selangor
- J = Johor (Johor Bahru)
- M = Malacca
- N = Negeri Sembilan
- R = Perlis
- K = Kedah
- D = Kelantan (Kota Bahru)
- T = Terengganu
- C = Pahang
- KV = Langkawi (an island in the north-west)
- Q = Sarawak
- S = Sabah. Those states are in eastern Malaysia. If you see a plate with S as a first letter in Peninsular (West) Malaysia, chances are the car is from Singapore
- L = Labuan
- H = Local Taxi
A list can be found on Wikipedia
At the Bukit Ayer Hitam border with Thailand Craig wasn't allowed to ask motorists in the car immigration area for a lift . Go to the rest area and ask there or just walk 5-10 minutes to the first crossing where you can stop cars easily.
with Brunei (East Malaysia or Borneo)
Malaysians are paranoid about immigrations issues, so if you go from Eastern Malaysia to Brunei you get your passport stamped like crazy. To be more specific, as of 2012, there are five border crossings between Kota Kinabalu (in Sabah, Malaysia) and Miri (Sarawak, Malaysia), each giving you two stamps (one when entering, one when leaving):
- Sabah to Sarawak
- Sarawak to Brunei
- Brunei to Sarawak again
- Sarawak to Brunei again
- Brunei to Sarawak once again.
None of these should take long - just a stamp and that's it. You can even tell the officers that you want the stamps on older pages to preserve space. They are all quite understanding.
There is a ferry from Malacca to Dumai, Indonesia (20 USD) and police will give you real trouble if you try to leave by cargo boat (if you can even enter the port. If you make it please inform us here.) In Georgetown there's a small marina with private yachts. But it's easier to get a free ride with a boat in Langkawi. Most of the boats go to Indonesia.
At Entikong crossing, You can get a visa on arrival at this border (25 USD). There is not so much traffic to the border. Once across the border try get a ride with one of the trucks, almost all of them go to Pontianak. Usually many of them go in the afternoon and arrive in the morning in Pontianak.
From Sabah (Borneo) to Indonesia
There are two border crossings to Singapore, from the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru. One is Woodlands checkpoint to the north of Singapore, and the other is Tuas checkpoint to the west. See Singapore for further information.
The official language of Malaysia is Malay. It is quite easy to learn the basics as it is a very easy language. The country has a fair amount of "native" Chinese and Indians who speak Mandarin or Hokkien for the former, and Tamil for the latter. But usually everybody knows Malay (known as Bahasa Melayu). As for english, it is spoken in every level, from zero to fluent, but generally you won't encounter trouble communicating at least for the basics.
Some useful phrases:
- Hello = Selamat pagi (am) / petang (pm) OR Hi
- Good bye = Selamat jalan OR Bye
- Where are you going? = Mana anda pergi?
- I am going to (City) = Saya pergi (City)
- I don't have money = Saya tidak wang
- Can you help me? = Anda boleh tolong saya?
- Please = Tolong
- Thank you = Terimah kasih
- My name is Tourto = Nama saya Turto
- Have you eaten already? = Sudah makan?
- Yes/No = Ya / Tidak
- I don't understand = Tidak faham
- I don't know = Tidak tau
- Do you speak english? = Cakap Bahasa Inggris?
- I know a bit of Malay = Saya tau sikit Bahasa Melayu
- Saya = I / me / mine ; Anda = You / yours
- Hitchhiking = Tumpang (meaning exactly "have a lift" as Hitchhiking is not known in Malaysia)
Bahasa means language, hence Bahasa Melayu = Malay Language, or Bahasa Inggris = English Language. Tidak / Tak is the negative like English Not.
- g is always pronounced as in goat and never as germany
- ny is pronounced as the Spanish ñ
- k at the end of a word is replaced by a throat sound, marking the stop.
- c is always pronounced as the English ch
- j is always pronounced as the English j (like in journey)
- The rest is more or less as the Spanish pronunciation.
If you want to know more and actually learn Malay, this online free set of lessons is particularly good : [|Free online Malay lessons]
Malaysian States and Territories
Malaysia is divided into 13 States (11 in Peninsular Malaysia and 2 in Malaysian Borneo) and 3 Federal territories.
- Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
- Federal Territory of Labuan
- Federal Territory of Putrajaya
- Negeri Sembilan
- The Rich-Mike HitchHike - Malaysia ranks as the 2nd best country out of 20 on the Rich-Mike HitchHike (20'000 km through 20 countries in 100 days)
- User Craig hitched along the Silk Road from Istanbul to Malaysia and wrote about his experiences here: Thumbing Asia From West to East Don't hitch-hike at night! You'd need the luck to get dropped at well lit places. Otherwise people won't stop! Besides that, Malaysia is really comfortable to hitch-hike. I topped 120 km/h average hitching speed!
- MrTweek even hitchhiked in a group of 4 people and even though it was slightly slower than alone, they still made it to their destination without any problems and in 7 lifts.
- Information, tips and personal experiences of hitch-hiking in Malaysia. A 2021 km journey on 40 vehicles (only in spanish), by Marcando el Polo
|States and Territories of Malaysia|
Peninsular Malaysia states: Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur | Federal Territory of Labuan | Federal Territory of Putrajaya | Johor | Kedah | Kelantan | Malacca | Negeri Sembilan | Pahang | Perak | Perlis | Penang | Selangor | Terengganu