Nearly half a million travellers entered Malaysia from Singapore by road during the 1st long weekend (30th April to 3rd May 2022 - Labour Day and Hari Raya Puasa). As reports by Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) suggest, out of the 491,400 travellers who crossed the border during the long weekend about half of them (201,900 tourists) travelled by car as opposed to 155,700 who used buses and 133,800 who travelled on motorcycles. The statistics rightly suggest a trip to Malaysia is on a lot of Singaporeans' travel bucket lists.
It's a trip that many Singaporeans hope to take in their lifetime. Our neighbouring country has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, culture, and history. If you are one of those seeking more flexibility and adventure, a road trip to Malaysia is definitely the best option to explore the country at its best. From exploring the Batu caves to enjoying water sports at the breathtaking Perhentian islands to hiking in the rain forests of East Malaysia - there are plenty of things to do. But before you set on this journey to unravel all that Malaysia has to offer - here are 10 crucial tips to make your drive into Malaysia worry-free and help you plan a memorable road trip.
If you don't already own a car - don't worry, Drive lah is Singapore's largest peer-to-peer car sharing platform that facilitates short-term as well as long term car rental in Singapore. Our car rental app lets you opt for a car rental from Singapore to Malaysia that too without any surcharge.
Planning Your Trip The Right Way
Whether it is a mini road trip that you are planning to take to Malaysia or a more extended stay - it's best to plan everything ahead of your trip. This will ensure that your friends or family you are travelling with are on the same page regarding the plans. It will also make sure that every day is planned properly and that no places on the itinerary are missed. To help you plan out better, here are a few things you must have predetermined:
Destinations: What places do you want to explore during your road trip to Malaysia? Set your budget for the entire trip and plan accordingly.
Route: Be clear about what roads you will be taking and what will be the estimated travel time to each of your destinations — look out for any attractions on your way from one destination to another you would want to explore.
Rest & fuel stops: Driving at a stretch can get cumbersome for the one driving the car and the companions in the car. Ensure you make stops regularly for refreshments, meals, and going to the washroom. You can set these stops on the map to ensure you don't run out of energy and fuel in your car.
Overnight stay: Make bookings in advance to avoid any last-minute inconvenience. You most definitely don't want to spend time at night searching for accommodation after being tired of the day's travel and activities.
Travel Tested Packing Essentials
With your budget, route, accommodation, and other essentials planned well, the next task to tick off your list is to pack your bags right. To help you pack smart, here are a few things you must carry during your road trip:
An Aux cable
Phone holder if necessary
Clothes according to your destinations
First aid kit
Water bottles and snacks
Listed above are some of the must-haves - you can pack everything that you want for your road trip. However, it's advisable to only carry what’s necessary since the storage for cargo is limited in a car.
Getting The Ideal Car
The number of passengers as well as space for cargo are two primary things you'll have to consider for selecting the car you'll travel in. In case you don't own a car or are looking for one that's ideal for a road trip, Drive lah has an extensive fleet of cars you can choose from. Our fleet offers numerous:
Explore Drive lah, the largest car-sharing platform, to choose a car that best suits your needs. Be it short term car rental, or long term car rental in Singapore, we bring to you comprehensively insured cars you can rent from any location near you. Book yours today for a comfortable road trip to enjoy a comfortable journey.
Imperative Documents & Preparations
When planning to travel to Malaysia, don't forget to have these personal documents in place, as they are mandatory. These include:
Passport: Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months in order for you to enter Malaysia. Be mindful that your passport is stamped upon entry to and exit from Malaysia at the immigration booth.
Driving licence: You must carry your valid driving licence to travel to Malaysia. Your National Driver's License can be used as an International Driving Permit isn't mandatory for Singaporean license holders to travel to Malaysia by road.
Get your money sorted: Although shopping malls and other places have money changers, you'll still need loose cash for shopping at roadside stalls and other smaller shops that may not have access to any kind of wireless payment options.
SG Arrival card (SGAC): Three days before your return to Singapore, you need to feel your SGAC declaring your travel and health details. You can submit these details as an individual or for a group of up to 10 people.
Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP)
For those vehicles registered in Singapore, a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) is required to allow these vehicles into Malaysia. It is mandatory to enter Malaysia by crossing the border on land. To get your VEP before you hit the roads for your road trip to Malaysia, you must first register online via the VEP-JPJ portal and update your personal details as well as that of the car you are going to drive to Malaysia.
Once you get the confirmation of successful registration, you'll have to take the car to one of the four official centres to get your tag installed. These centres are:
Gelang Patah Southbound rest stop.
Plaza Angsana Open Carpark.
Pandan rest stop.
Lima Kedai Toll Plaza.
The next step is to be prepared with the necessary documents for verification at the centre. These include:
VEP confirmation slip.
VEP-RFID tag appointment slip.
Photocopy of your passport.
Copy of your latest insurance cover note.
Registration documents of your vehicle.
Once the Vehicle Entry Permit-Radio Frequency Identification VEP-RFID tag is installed, it is valid for up to 5 years. Having a VEP isn't just a mandatory rule but also helps in eliminating car cloning as well as car theft across the border. Once you have got the VEP, the Touch 'n Go card comes next on your road trip to Malaysia checklist.
Touch 'n Go (TNG) Card
Touch 'n Go (TNG) cards come in handy to pay checkpoint tolls on your road trip. For a seamless experience, you can opt for Ez Link x Touch 'n Go card, which is a dual currency smart card that can be used cross-border for contactless payment at highway tolls on your road trip to Malaysia. TNGs are just like the NETS cash cards that we have in Singapore, which are integrated into our cars' In-vehicle units (IUs). Other than paying highway tolls, your TNG car can be used to pay charges at the immigration booth, electronic road pricing (ERP), and car park fees when in Singapore. In Malaysia, you can use the TNG card to pay for:
Checkpoint toll charges
Retail and dining
You can easily top up your card at numerous reload locations, such as shops, 7-11 stores, and petrol stations across Malaysia. However, the Touch n' Go e-wallet app simply makes it easier to add balance to your TNG card via your smartphone.
Yes, Car Insurance Is A Good Idea
Can Insurance gives you the peace of mind that in case of any mishap, you are covered for liability. Whether you own a car or are planning to rent a car in Singapore for your road trip, car insurance is definitely worth investing in for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. With us at Drive lah, you can opt for car sharing and rent a car for a day (short term car rental in Singapore can be your option for a one-day trip to Johor Bahru and back) or opt for a long term car rental in Singapore in case you want to take a longer trip to Malaysia.
On top of everything - for a safe car rental experience, our fleet is comprehensively insured by Tokio Marine and NTUC Income. With Drive lah, your safety is our priority.
Checking If Your Car Is Safe For Travel
All mandatory formalities are taken care of, suitcases packed, and a car ready to explore the roads of Malaysia, but wait - here are a few things you must check before you set off on your journey. Road trips involve travelling long distances, so ensuring that your car is in optimal condition will help you prevent any damage to the car and make a convenient journey. Check if:
The headlights are in proper working condition.
The Tires haven't worn out.
Windscreen wipers are functioning.
The brakes are operating properly.
Internal accessories and features such as air conditioner, speakers, GPS, Bluetooth, and the like are in working order.
Additionally, be well aware of the fuel efficiency of the car you are going to drive, and don't forget to get it optimally fueled before you depart. Keep an eye out for nearby petrol stations throughout your journey. Well, if you aren't already aware of the 3/4 tank rule, here is what you need to know - it's mandatory for you to have at least three-quarters of your tank full with fuel before you exit Singapore. Failing to do so will either require you to take a U-turn and get your tank filled with fuel or face a fine of SGD 500.
Entertainment On The Go
Waiting lines at the checkpoints or travelling on the open highway roads - having a playlist sorted for your journey keeps everyone entertained. From Karaoke sessions with your friends to planning the adventures ahead - there are plenty of games to play on your journey. Here are our top 3 favourite games to keep you entertained on your journey-
- Stories from vehicle registration plates: You can make up your own stories based on the numbers of the license plate of cars that you see on your journey. For example- SFH 7897 B could be "Sheu Fah has seven thousand ninety-seven books."
What you missed: We all know there is going to be at least 1 person who will fall asleep on the journey. The game is that everyone else awake cooks up a fictional story, and the first person to give away that the story is made up ends up losing.
Greetings on the way: An interactive and fun game, one person starts by waving at each person or car you pass. 1 point is received for every wave that's received back. If you don't get a return wave, it's the next person's chance. After everyone is done with one turn, the person with the most number of return waves wins this game.
Staying Safe And Secure
Whether you are in Malaysia or, for that matter, anywhere else taking a road trip, here are a few safety tips for you to keep in mind:
Lock your car every time you are away.
Don't ever keep any valuables in the car, including electronics, cards, cash, jewellery, travel documents like passports, etc.
Park your car in secured parking whenever possible for overnight parking.
Do not leave your belongings without supervision in public places.
Opt for well lit and often travelled roads, especially during the night, as most places will be unfamiliar to you.
In case of emergency, dial "999", which is the number of the Malaysian Emergency Response Service.
Choose Flexibility And Freedom With Drive lah
No matter what your car rental needs are in Singapore, Drive lah has a solution for you. Our 24-hour car rental option is perfect for a day trip to Johar Bahru, and our weekly or monthly car rental options give you the freedom and flexibility to choose the car you prefer for a rental period of your choice. All our cars are comprehensively insured, and our rates are 30-40% more affordable than other car rental options in Singapore. We also offer 24/7 roadside assistance with 100+ car repair centres across Singapore and Malaysia. Book a car today with the preferred car sharing and best car rental platform in Singapore, Drive lah: https://www.drivelah.sg/