What are the best apps to have when traveling in Malaysia?
We’ve traveled to Malaysia 5+ times and rely on these travel apps to help us explore the country with ease.
From ride-hailing to finding discounted tickets to local attractions, these apps are convenient and easy to use. The apps are available on iOS and Android phones and are free to download.
So, continue reading and check out our list of 11 recommended travel apps for Malaysia.
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Best Malaysia Travel Apps for Transportation
The Grab app will be one of the most important travel apps that you need in Malaysia. As the top ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, it’s the easiest way to travel within the city by car or motorbike.
The app is easy to use and has the same dashboard as other ride-hailing apps such as Uber. You input your starting and ending location and the size of the vehicle.
Then you can see the price for the ride. Payment is done through the app via credit card. International credit cards are accepted. Or, you can pay the driver in cash with exact change.
TIP: If you’re hungry, you can also use the Grab app to have food delivered to your accommodations!
Life Of Doing Tip: Buy a SIM Card or eSIM card
We recommend that you buy a SIM Card at the airport or set up an eSIM card before your visit. You can get data as soon as you leave the airport and can call a Grab car from the Arrival section.
International Data Plan (Optional)
If you’re from the U.S. and need an international phone plan, consider signing up for Google Fi. You get data and texts in 200+ countries, make calls at cheap prices, or make calls for free over WiFi.
The plan does not have roaming charges, so it’s a way to save money on buying SIM cards.
We’ve had this phone plan since 2016 and have used it on our international travels. It works well in Malaysia.
If you’re visiting multiple cities in Malaysia and are traveling longer distances, you can use the efficient train system.
Buy train tickets in advance through the KTMB Mobile app or directly through the official website here. You can buy tickets for KTM trains, ETS trains, Intercity, or North Komuter.
With this app (or website access), you can choose your one-way or round-trip trip, the date, the number of people, and your choice of seat and train. You can choose whether you want to have forward or backward-facing seats.
Once you pay for the ticket with a credit card, you’ll get your ticket with the QR code in the app. This is important to keep so you can scan the QR code at the ticket gate. If you book through the website, you’ll get an email of the ticket with the QR code.
But the app is a faster way to buy tickets if you don’t have access to a computer or decide on a last-minute travel destination.
Top Malaysia Travel Apps for Accommodations
If you have a larger group or want to experience a different type of accommodation instead of a typical hotel, consider staying at an Airbnb.
You can choose amenities, the type of place you want to stay (whether you want a whole apartment or house), the number of rooms and bathrooms, price, location, and much more. You can see the accommodation availability based on your travel dates.
Once you find the perfect place, you can reserve it and pay directly through the Airbnb app (or website) via credit card.
As a heads up, the price listed on the listing does not include tax. It’ll be added to the total cost when you proceed with the payment.
TIP: Check the cancelation policy and whether the room is refundable/nonrefundable. Some accommodations only have 48 hours from booking to cancel while others have a longer period.
The host communicates directly through the Airbnb app for any information regarding checking in, accommodation rules, and any issues.
Do not use any messenger platform outside of Airbnb as it’s not trackable and Airbnb will not be able to help if major issues occur.
We love Airbnb and have stayed in them in the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan. In Malaysia, we’ve stayed at an Airbnb on our recent trip to Ipoh. We booked an apartment and had the entire place to ourselves for $40 USD per night.
Booking.com is our preferred app for finding accommodations around the world.
The app is easy to use as you can filter accommodation options by price per night, number of stars, reviews, refundable/nonrefundable pricing, and more.
We like how Booking.com gives transparency on the final price and any additional costs before proceeding to the payment.
Reading the reviews from other guests gives a better insight into the overall experience and whether the photos shown on the platform are true.
TIP: We also like to crossreference the ratings on Google Maps Business listing to see if there are any red flags not mentioned on the Booking platform.
If you use Booking.com frequently, you will be a “Genius Member.” It’s a loyalty program and you can get discounts for being a member. We like to find places with a Genius discount (sometimes a 10% discount) since it saves us money!
Agoda is another platform to find accommodations, especially in Asia.
Agoda has similar features to Booking.com where you can search accommodations by location, cost, and other amenities.
As a heads up, the price listed on the app is not the final price. Taxes and additional fees are included once you go through the payment process.
Also, don’t be alarmed by Agoda’s pop-ups to reserve accommodations NOW. Do not rush. Take the time to read reviews and find the perfect overnight stay.
Note: If you access Agoda on the computer, you will see different prices on various platforms. So you’ll want to check all the browsers to find the best price.
Recommended Malaysia Travel Apps for Attractions & Tours
Why is Google Maps included in the attraction section?
Besides using the map functionality, Google Maps is an excellent way to search for restaurants and attractions by area and to help with travel planning.
The best prompt is the “restaurants near me” or whatever you choose.
We love doing a deep dive and clicking on places on Google Maps. Then we look at individual business listings for opening hours, website/other information, and read reviews from other people.
Reading reviews is the most interesting part as Google does not filter or read reviews before posting (unlike TripAdvisor). Therefore, you’ll get mostly genuine reviews.
But you’ll need to read everything with a grain of salt and look out for fake accounts who only post less than 10 reviews in total and give 5 stars for everything.
Klook is one of our favorite platforms to use for our Asia travels.
It’s a well-known app to find discounted tickets for attractions, airport transfers, tours, transportation passes, SIM cards, and much more in Asia. There is a new feature where you can book hotels through the app.
We like to browse through the app (or website) to see what is available in the city and then create an itinerary from the activities listed.
Once you make a purchase, you’ll receive an e-copy of your transaction in the app and via email.
To redeem the Klook voucher, you’ll need to show a copy of the QR code from your Klook app to exchange for a physical ticket or use as an e-ticket.
It’s a seamless process, so we’ve never had any issues with buying things through Klook.
Get Your Guide
Get Your Guide is another fantastic app to find tickets to attractions, airport transportation, tours, and other things to make your trip go so smoothly. We also like to use this app to plan our itineraries.
While the features are the same as in Klook, the offerings vary between Get Your Guide and Klook.
So, you’ll want to compare between the two platforms. We notice that Get Your Guide tends to be slightly higher in price for a comparable tour/offering on Klook.
TripAdvisor is another source to read reviews of tourist attractions and tour companies, and even ask questions to other TripAdvisor users on the forums. You can also book excursions, flights, and hotels, but we haven’t tried those options yet.
The attractions on TripAdvisor focus more on touristy places. So, if you’re in an obscure or off-the-beaten path place, there may not be any reviews.
We like to use TripAdvisor to compare hotel reviews with Google Maps Business Listing, Booking, and Agoda reviews. We cross-reference the reviews for authenticity and see any red flags for recent stays.
Must Have Malaysia Travel Apps for Communication
We love using Google Translate for everything and is a must-have app for daily life.
Malaysia has signage in English and most people speak English. But in case there are Malay or Chinese words, Google Translate can help translate to your native language.
The best function is using the “live translation.” You take a photo or hold the camera to the text and then the app translates the text immediately. Sometimes it will take a few tries to get the camera to read the text correctly.
WhatsApp is an important travel app for messaging, chatting, and video calls. We use it every day chatting with family and friends or communicating with businesses.
If you buy a Klook or Get Your Guide voucher for transportation and input your phone number (if it’s the same as in your WhatsApp account), you may be contacted by the organizing company over WhatsApp. The conversation is to confirm the pick-up/drop-off location and meeting time.
Sometimes the hotels will contact you over WhatsApp for general information.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post on which apps to use on your next Malaysian trip.
While this is a snapshot of what we use, there are many more apps available based on your travel style.
We’ll update this post when we try new ones that we recommend.
Do you recommend any other apps to use in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments below.
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Featured photo & pin #1 photo credit: IgorVetushko via Depositphotos.com