Tips to Negotiating with Taxi Drivers in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Taxi

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I quickly realized to move about the city I had to negotiate with the taxi drivers. For those of you who are seasoned travelers you already know that dealing with cab drivers can be a headache. When cab drivers don’t use the meter or don’t have a print out of their prices, it makes it a hassle to get from point A to Point B. Take the time to observe the cab drivers approach to locals and tourists, you can get a feel for how much you should pay to the taxi drivers and how to negotiate. Below are a few ways that I negotiated with the taxi drivers. These tactics will work in most situations.

  • The best way to negotiate is to have a firm price and stick to it
  • Be willing to walk away if negotiations are not going right
  • Negotiate between two cab drivers. Make them driver their price down
  • What ever amount they tell you, claim you do not have enough cash in your wallet
  • Claim to know the area and it doesn’t cost that much to get there
  • Say the last cab driver charged you a few dollars less
  • Ask if they want to make money today? If so, tell them to give you a better price
  • Walk a few blocks and look for a different taxi
  • If you find a taxi driver that you are comfortable with, take their phone number and only use them to show you around
  • Jump in with a group of people going to the same place

It’s been my experience that when it comes to spending money everyone knows your language. When you ask for directions from the cab drivers, they don’t speak your language, but when you are getting ready to negotiate a fare or pay for a ride; suddenly the driver speaks your language perfectly. This isn’t specific to just Kuala Lumpur. Most of the places I visited in Southeast Asia involved negotiating with the cab driver on price. This probably happens to men only but, the drivers try to make side deals by trying to sell you illegal women and other illegal activities if you know what I mean. If you are into that sort of stuff, be careful. If you’re like me, just be polite and say no thank you.


A Weekend in Kuala Lumpur

While working in Singapore, I met a lot of people from Malaysia, including my co-workers. One thing you have to know about living in Southeast Asia is that on weekends a lot of people travel to nearby countries. They either take a ferry, taxi, plane, or drive themselves to the destination. There are all sorts of great deals and promotions on websites and through budget airlines.

Kuala Lumpur Bus Station

We spent about two-days and two-nights in Kuala Lumpur. The weekend that we decided to go was the same weekend as the Formula one race in Malaysia. There were tourists, drivers, and showcases all weekend.

Day 1 Friday

We left Singapore Friday evening and arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 11pm. Our hotel was located on the main strip and in walking distance from our bus station. One thing we noticed right away was the traffic. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic from 11pm all the way up to about 2am. We couldn’t figure out why this was happening. After checking into our hotel, we decided to walk around the area for hawker centers. For those of you that don’t know, a Hawker center is a food court. We were able to find a great area with lots of curbside restaurants.

Day 2 Saturday

We wanted to maximize our time in Kuala Lumpur by getting up early enough to explore what the city had to offer. Our first stop was the mall. This place was massive and had some unique stores. Because it was Formula One weekend, they had some of the official cars in the mall for people to take photos with and get inside the vehicle. In the center of the mall was a fashion show with different designers showing off the latest trend. The whole experience was welcoming because as tourists you have the opportunity to interact with some of the hosts and events taking place in the mall.

Kuala Lumpur Grand Prix

After enjoying the festivities at the mall we decided to take a cab to Chinatown for some bargain shopping. In Chinatown, you can find anything you need. These items include sunglasses, scarves, speakers, movies, and anything else you can think of. Unless you are a local, you will need to negotiate with the vendors to get the best deal. For more information on negotiating, please read my article key to negotiating.

Kuala Lumpur Chinatown


Visiting the Twin Towers

Some of the main attractions in the area besides the race were the twin towers and the aquarium. In order to go inside the Twin Towers, you need to buy your tickets ahead of time. If not, it will be difficult for you to enter during the weekend. Your best option is to buy the tickets during the week from the ticket booth inside the towers. If you don’t mind just staring at the towers, you can find really good views by walking around or from the mall located next to the tower. At night, the tower is lit up and looks beautiful.


The Aquarium

Kuala Lumpur has a great aquarium in the heart of the city. If you bring your college or university Identification card, you will receive a student discount. Each country has its own unique animals or imported ones displayed in the aquarium. The wildlife inside the aquarium for the most part was different then some of the one’s that I’ve seen in other aquariums. The place is family friendly and you can take a lot of really great pictures. The best part about the aquarium was the underwater walkway. You can see the fish in a glass floating above you.

Kuala Lumpur Aquarium

Night Life

Around 7pm the scenery changes, the traffic is terrible, bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout most of the night. The night workers are out and about asking anyone and everyone if they would like a dirty massage if you know what I mean. You just have to ignore them and continue on your way. The restaurants and bars will be packed with people looking to relax. Since this was the weekend of the F1 Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur, most of the places were packed. Futbol or soccer to Americans is on every channel. The nightlife in Kuala Lumpur is great. You can find nightclubs or discos, bars with dance floor, lounges to talk, hookah, and anything else you can think of. The night is yours so have fun.

Day 3 Sunday

Sunday we woke up, packed our stuff, got ready, and went to lunch. Most of the places are closed unless it’s one of the major shopping centers. You can find great local restaurants to eat some authentic Malay food. After a few hours of enjoying the city and walking around, we went to our bus station for our journey back to Singapore. Overall, we had a great time in Kuala Lumpur. It offers many of the great attributes of any city. If you plan on passing through Malaysia, I suggest you stay for a few days in Kuala Lumpur.