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Travelling: Driving Up North to Malaysia and Thailand: Safety Tips PDF Print E-mail
Driving Up North: Safety Tips

Is it Safe? Something that my Singaporean colleagues and others who have been in Singapore for a while often ask me. Is the trip safe? Their concerns come out of horror stories and folk lore of the 8 hour drive on the old highway up to Kuala Lumpur, dodging timber jiggers and the tyre traps laid out by unscrupulous kampong mechanics.

Further north approaching Thailand there were concerns about terrorists and communist insurgents and Muslim fundamentalists.

I still get warnings not to drive at night in the Malaysian countryside.
Whilst one should always use common sense and not tempt fate, what might have been the case 10 years ago is no more. The NS Expressway is one of the safest roads in Asia and has its own Tow service (see Emergencies). Southern Thailand is peaceful and now a growing tourist spot. The Thais ever anxious to allay fears, set up some years ago a special tourist police force with emphasis on popular tourist destinations. The trip into Thailand is a popular one for Malays with the town of Hat Yai, (one hour from the border) the most common destination.

Travel tips about safety need be no more cautious than the advice recommended for driving in Europe or the United States. Here are some common sense pointers:

  • Plan your route before you leave.
  • Always lock your car when you are away from it even if it is only for a quick minute.
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car.
  • Park the car in hotel/secure parking overnight – keep it off the street.
  • If you have an alarm use it.
  • Take your mobile phone with you – it’s always handy to have.
  • Check your car over in the morning before you leave.
  • Make sure you always have plenty of petrol in the tank.

Next: Toll Booths and Petrol Stations

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