A reliable taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur


There’s nothing that beats local knowledge when you’re traveling. Whether it’s what hotel to stay at or where the best restaurant strip is, Lonely Planet can never be all things to all people and it can’t change itself to suit your needs or personality. But when you meet people, they can work out much more quickly what sort of person you are and what you’re interested in. When a person looks you over and figures out your lifestyle by your clothes, your speech, what sort of phone you carry and so on, they are able to quickly decide what information they think is most relevant to you.

Who knows a city best ? Who talks to the most people in a single day from all walks of life and gleans the most valuable information from them to pass onto others ? It would have to be a taxi driver surely.

I met a great taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur this week. I just needed a quick trip to the Sentral police station to report a fraudster who tried to rip me off, so I picked the first taxi off a cab rank in Jalan Sultan in Chinatown and jumped in. On the way he asked me what I was doing in Chinatown and what I liked about the place. I told him I was there for the delicious food and the cheap market shopping. He “tsked” at me and said “You know there are much cheaper restaurants and much better markets ?”

“I know”, I said. “But I love the bustling activity of Chinatown. I have friends there and I always meet new ones. I’m here for the people as much as the products”. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to do while I was in KL that he could help me out with… where to meet girls, where to drink, where to eat, where to shop. I said I was fine as I needed to leave the next day for Australia. He asked if I needed a ride to the airport. I said I had very little money left and I was considering getting a taxi to Sentral and then a shuttle bus to LCCT, but it really seemed like a lot of trouble and sometimes that effort can really make a journey more hectic. He offered to pick me up at my door at a time of my choosing and take me straight to the airport terminal. His price was 20% less than what the hotel was offering for booking a taxi. I agreed this was well worth the money so I took his card and arranged a time.

I took his advice on the markets and on the way home I chose to walk through the Muslim markets and have a browse and I was certainly glad I did, picking up some beautiful dresses for my wife and some cheap but attractive Korean jewellery pins for her clothes.

I messaged Subra, the taxi driver the next morning and told him that Air Asia had informed me that the Formula 1 was starting that day and that I should consider the extra traffic, so I told him to come an hour earlier. He messaged back “No problem boss, thx !” Because I was due to leave in the evening and my hotel was on Jalan Petaling, which is a market street during the afternoon and evening with no traffic allowed I had to meet him on Jalan Sultan again, outside the 7/11.

That was the day the rain started for the year, just as I was about to leave the hotel. I only had one small bag on wheels so I negotiated my way under the stall awnings towards Sultan, hoping that I could find Subra without too much trouble. True to his word, he was standing outside the 7/11 in the pouring rain with an umbrella above his head. He spotted me before I spotted him and yelled out “Mr David ! Mr David ! Here !” and I ran across the street as he was opening the boot and he threw my bag in for me and I was inside with barely a drop of water on me.

On the way to the airport we talked about so many things I can’t even remember. Politics, travel, people, language, shopping, government and so many issues. Subra had previously worked for Malaysian Airlines and of course this was only a couple of days after the prime minister of Malaysia had announced the sad news that MH370 and its passengers had been lost forever so of course we talked about that, but only a little. His insights into Malaysian politics were fascinating and it was the first time I’d had a chance to have a really objective discussion about the current political situation with someone local so I really appreciated it.

He dropped me off at the airport right outside the entrance to the terminal I needed to be at and shook my hand and made me promise that next time I was in KL again I would look him up. I asked if he wanted a mention on my blog and he eagerly said he would love that and even texted me a few days later when I was in Australia (I still had my Malay SIM card in luckily), so here goes…

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and you need a reliable, knowledgeable and honest taxi driver, please give Subra a call. He’ll give you a good price and good advice, especially if you mention that you read about him online, so make sure to mention where you read his name. You can book him for a single trip, by the hour or for the whole day. He does sight seeing, hotel transfers, trips to Genting Highlands, Fraser Hill, Port Dickinson and Melaka among other places. If you’re calling him from overseas to arrange his services, make sure to drop the leading zero after adding the country code for Malaysia. I’m sure his price for an airport pickup is much more reasonable than what you’d get from a random taxi driver on the rank !

Subra – (+60) 013-3509475.

Good luck my friend, see you next time I’m in KL !

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