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Malaysia - Taxis

Malaysia, particularly in the major cities, is swamped with taxis. Cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang are awash with taxis and pedicabs (trishaws) and these can be picked up ad hoc or you can order a taxi cab in advance. There is also a range of chauffeur services to choose from.

How to Find and Book a Taxi

As in most countries, the taxi industry receives regular reviews from the public regarding being “ripped-off”. However, all it takes to avoid being overcharged is a little common sense and knowledge. If you’re going to hail a taxi in the street, make sure the driver has a meter in his cab and ask him to turn the meter on. Malaysian people are highly polite and will do so.

Reviews can often be bad as not many people report good experiences, they simply remember the bad. The best rule of thumb is not to travel in a cab where a price hasn’t been agreed beforehand or there is no meter so you can keep an eye on the price. It’s also worth pointing out that in Malaysia, it is illegal for a taxi driver to not have a meter running.

It is perfectly easy to hail a taxi directly from the street providing you execute the above safety warnings and check there is a meter in use. You simply pop your hand in the air. Avoid taxis parked outside hotels as there can be a little price-hiking involved. Always take a card of the taxi you’re travelling in and where possible, take the license plate number. This is a useful tip if you leave something behind.

In Kuala Lumpur and other major cities, there are a number of respected taxi-firms who offer an excellent service and charge reasonable prices. The following firms have a long-standing history of providing a taxi service to expats in Kuala Lumpur:

Tel: 1300-800-222

This car firm provides a range for all budgets and has a long established history.
Tel: 03 2614 4161
Tel: +603-6259 2020 – Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +607-241 3111 – Johor

This is just a selection of taxi firms that operate within Kuala Lumpur and have well-established histories within the city.


The price of a taxi in the city is cheap, certainly compared to the eye-wateringly high UK prices. If you’re looking to take a taxi to the airport then the price does go up somewhat. Given the public transport is so accessible and affordable for travelling to and from the airport, then a taxi after midnight and before the hours of six am is advisable. You will pay a little more, but it is still cheap in comparison to western countries.

Drivers and Honesty

It is a vexing topic but one which must be advised on. For the most part, drivers are honest and those who work with long established companies are honest. Malaysia is not a dishonest country and they pride themselves on welcoming expats. Despite reviews, don’t be fooled that most taxi drivers are dishonest. It really is quite the opposite. They are drivers making a living and likely providing for a family. If you are to use taxis on a regular basis, then build a relationship with a company and find a driver you like and trust. They will be thrilled and you will receive an excellent service.


If you’re going to use a regular company, then it is important you check that company’s policy on carrying pets. Some companies will only take a pet which is in a transportable cage. Some companies specifically embargo pets for the sake of their cars. A taxi driver in the street who is self-employed (but licensed of course) might be willing to take a pet. There are no set rules and it is down to the individual taxi company’s policy.

It is safe to use taxis in Malaysia. Many expats prefer to use taxis to get around the city and thoroughly enjoy the cheap prices compared to back home. Generally, using a “blue” taxi from the street is said to be a reliable source of taxi service and as with any foreign country, be on your guard until you get used to the system and nature of taxi cabs. Use a well-established firm who are licensed and know what they’re doing. You should be able to tell who provides a good service. Ask your expat neighbours, too.

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