Published on February 13th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Malaysian Road Trip Ideas You Can Do On A Weekend
We have some of the best road trip destinations in the region.
Text by Jennifer Dawson
Every year 25 million people visit Malaysia, and the diversity of the landscape makes it the ideal country to do a road trip. Malaysia has a network of 250,023km of roads to explore, and the longest expressway covers more than 800km.
If you’ve only got a weekend for your road trip, you’re best setting a much shorter driving goal though. The roads in Malaysia are varied, the expressways are sleek and easy driving, but if you’re exploring the forest areas, it’s the perfect opportunity to test your 4×4 out on the rugged dirt roads.
Ipoh to Penang Island
The drive from Ipoh to Penang is straightforward along the AH2, covering a distance of only 160km. There is a speed limit of 110 km/h, but don’t be tempted to go any faster, as there are speed cameras along the way. If you want to take a more scenic route, you could take a detour along Federal Route 1 through Bagan Serai. Route 1 is the oldest federal road in Malaysia with a limit of 90 km/h.
You will need to cross the toll bridge to get onto the beautiful Penang Island, for a small fee. Alternatively, if you’re planning to explore Penang on foot, you can park at the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal and take the ferry across.
If you’re taking a break, staying in an eco-lodge with family is a sustainable way to have a vacation, without leaving a large carbon-footprint. It is also a great way to experience staying in nature. Once you are in Penang, you can experience some of the best street food in Malaysia.
Petaling Jaya to Fraser’s Hill
Petaling Jaya, generally known as PJ by the locals was originally built as a satellite township for Kuala Lumpur, but is now a city in it’s own right, and has some great roads to drive. Your first stop on the journey to Fraser’s Hill will take you on the AH2 towards Rawang.
From here Route 1 will take you to Kuala Kubu Bharu. This stretch of road is very popular with cyclists, so you will need to be aware of them when passing. From Kuala Kubu Bharu, take federal Route 5 to Fraser’s Hill. This route takes you through the middle of the Titiwangsa mountain range and is pretty windy, but also beautifully tarmacked and smooth.
The road is a demanding drive with many blind turns, so make sure that your suspension system and brakes are up to scratch before you set out. The road up to Fraser’s Hill is also a full-on climb, so you will expect to spend a lot of time in 2nd or 3rd gear. Look out for wild boar and monkeys on the road, and if you’re driving in the early morning, you will likely find yourself in thick fog due to the altitude.
Ulu Yam to Gohtong Jaya
Ulu Yam is one of the main towns in Selangor, and is well known for its surrounding waterfalls, which can make a nice pitstop. From this busy urban landscape, you’re going to head up to a town located in the clouds. Gohtong Jaya is in the Genting Highlands on a plateau that is 5km from the peak of the mountain. From Ulu Yam, head east on the B113 – this road is popular with supercar drivers, as it’s smooth-flowing and well-sighted.
There are some great views of the countryside too. As you pass the Empangan Batu Lake, the road is heavily cambered as with many steep stretches both up and downhill. The second part of the journey takes you onto the B66 straight to Gohtong Jaya. You’ll find this route less crowded than the B113, and there are plenty of overtaking places along the way.
Kuala Lumpur to Pahang
The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Pahang takes a few hours along the E8. There are three toll plazas along the way, with the fees being RM6.00 for cars. An hour from Kuala Lumpur is the town of Bentong, which is a good place to take a pit-stop.
If you want a more challenging drive on the dirt tracks, a 20-minute drive from Bentong is the Bukit Tinggi Forest Reserve, a must-see if you love nature. Make sure that your car has good tires if you’re driving through the more remote areas of Malaysia, and it is always a good idea to arrange breakdown cover from companies like MyAssist or Carput. The road onwards to Pahang from Bentong is scenic, taking you through forest and palm plantations.
Pahang to Terengganu
If you want to extend your Pahang road trip, a scenic drive to Terengganu on Route 3, will take you along the coast with spectacular views of the South China Sea. This road has been recognised by Harian Metro and the National Geographic Society as being one of the best coastal roads in Asia.
The road is windy in places, but well-maintained, unlike the old road to Terengganu which is just a dirt track. The beaches at Terengganu are a great place to stop and take in the scenery at the end of your road trip.
Exploring Malaysia by road is easy, and you will be able to make plenty of stops along the way. From forest tracks, to slick expressways, you can enjoy some great driving and see some incredibly beautiful scenery.