Kuala Lumpur Stories and Tips

Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur-what to do? We were warned (rightly) beforehand that some would try to charge outrageous fares or not use their meters. Yes, we got ripped off a time or two, but we found some helpful ways for getting better fares:

1. Walk away from whatever tourist place you are at. Whether it's a hotel, bus station, or scenic spot, there's a good chance that you can get a better fare simply by walking away from the area and hailing a cab off the street.

2. Make sure they use their meter. We got into a cab once, thinking that the meter was on, only to find out that he wasn't using the meter and was going to charge us RB15 for what should have been a RB5 ride. Which brings me to the next point . . .

3. If they're not going to use the meter, make sure to negotiate the fare in advance. Negotiated fares are usually more than the metered fare would be, but for longer trips or trips out of the city, that's often the only way you can take a taxi. You can bargain here-just don't appear too desperate or else they won't budge.

4. Take public transport. Yeah, it's not as convenient, but you can often get to a spot much closer to the place you're going and then take a taxi, saving you half the cost or more. We did this on our trip to the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia and the Batu Caves. And Kuala Lumpur has a good public transport system (as long as you don't get lost on the way to the station as we sometimes did).

5. Speak Chinese. My friend and I were both living in Taiwan at the time we visited Malaysia, so we both spoke some Mandarin. We had much better relationships with the Chinese taxi drivers who discovered that we could speak Mandarin!! (Okay, so this probably isn't a practical tip for most people.)

Overall, take it easy. You may have some bad experiences, but overall, we had a wonderful time in Kuala Lumpur in spite of some transportation glitches.

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