When it comes to exploring the scenic beauty and diverse landscapes of Malaysia, there’s no better way to do it than with a recreational vehicle (RV). RVs offer a unique and comfortable way to travel, combining the freedom of the open road with the convenience of a mobile home. However, not all RVs are created equal, and understanding the distinctions between the three primary types of RVs available in Malaysia – caravans, campervans, and motorhomes – can help you choose the perfect RV for your needs.
If you’ve always wondered how to purchase or rent a caravan, campervan, or motorhome in Malaysia, or if you need some ideas for your next getaway, we’ll explain everything you need to know in this article.
Types of RVs in Malaysia
There are three main types of RVs in Malaysia – the caravan, campervan, and motorhome. People unfamiliar with RVs may use the terms interchangeably but there are actually distinct differences between them. Each vehicle has different features as well as pros and cons. Here’s more information about each type of RV.
A caravan, also called a caravan trailer in Malaysia is a trailer that has to be towed by another vehicle, typically a pickup truck. Compared to a campervan and motorhome, a caravan doesn’t have an engine and instead, only acts as the living quarters when you’re touring or camping. Caravans can come in all sizes from smaller units 3 m in length to bigger ones at more than 5 m.
Depending on its size, a caravan usually provides more space than a campervan or motorhome with a berth of four to seven, with berth being the number of people that can sleep comfortably in the caravan. The price of a caravan in Malaysia averages around RM80,000 to over RM100,000 depending on its size and features
Since a caravan is a separate unit, it can fit more amenities including multiple beds, a kitchen, bathroom, fridge, microwave oven, and other items. One downside to using a caravan is that you’ll be driving a much larger vehicle which makes it trickier to maneuver. That said, you can detach it from your main vehicle whenever you need to, making it more versatile.
A campervan is a vehicle with a driver’s cab, engine, and living quarters at the rear. Compared to a caravan, a campervan can be driven and doesn’t have to be towed. Campervans are typically converted from conventionally sized vans which means they’re more compact in size.
Common vehicles you can convert to a campervan in Malaysia include the Toyota Hiace and Nissan Vanette. For more vertical interior space, you can get a campervan converted from Maxus vans, Inokom vans, or Ford Transit vans. Depending on its age and condition, the price of a campervan in Malaysia can range from as low as RM50,000 for a used one to way over RM100,000 for a new campervan.
While its size makes it easy to maneuver in most places, it also limits the campervan’s interior space. Campervans can usually fit two to four people and may have a smaller kitchen space. Depending on the size and layout, some campervans can’t fit a proper shower area and instead only have a small toilet area to fit a portable toilet.
Image credit: www.rvmaxus.com.my
A motorhome is similar to a campervan in that it’s a vehicle with living quarters that can be driven on its own. However, motorhomes are larger than campervans as they are built on a truck, bus, or large van chassis that’s wider and longer.
Popular platforms used for motorhomes in Malaysia include the Toyota Hilux and Maxus V80. If you’re looking for a factory-built motorhome, you can consider the RV Maxus or the CAM Caravan motorhome. A brand new CAM Caravan motorhome price in Malaysia is over RM200,000 but you can probably get a used motorhome such as a Mitsubishi Delica JB500 for a lot less than that, depending on its condition and included features.
Motorhomes can comfortably fit four to five people, and may even fit a decent shower unit inside, unlike a campervan. If you plan on traveling with more people and require more space in your RV, a motorhome can serve you better.
Common RV Amenities
So, what can you get in a caravan, campervan, or motorhome in Malaysia? Turns out, a lot. Here are the common amenities available in most RVs.
No campervan or motorhome is complete without a bed. Bed options include convertible sofa beds, full-size twin or single beds, bunk beds, and overcab beds. An overcab bed is a space to fit a double bed built above the driver’s cab. This feature provides extra sleeping space and can double up as a storage space while you’re traveling.
Caravan Chairs & Tables
The chairs in an RV are usually benches that you can convert to a bed, while most tables can be folded away. This design allows you to get more functionality out of your RV while saving space.
Caravan Fan or Aircon
A roof fan or aircon unit is essential in any caravan or motorhome, and that’s especially true in a tropical country like Malaysia. These cooling devices are compact and designed specifically to fit in the roof of an RV.
Having kitchen space is essential when you’re touring Malaysia in your caravan. While larger motorhomes and caravans may have a decently sized kitchen with a stove, sink, and fridge built in, smaller campervans may have a mini fridge and slide-out kitchen at the back of the vehicle, or no kitchen at all. That said, it’s not uncommon for users to pack a foldable table and portable stove for cooking.
Caravan Storage Compartments
With its limited space, an RV often incorporates smart storage designs and hidden compartments. Besides interior storage for your clothes, electronics, and daily necessities, you could also have external storage for things you’d use outdoors such as foldable tables, awning parts, and other equipment.
Caravan Toilet & Shower
Many large RVs have enough space for an interior shower space with a toilet. However, smaller campervans may only have a small cubicle for a portable toilet, with an external shower. Depending on the space you have, your RV will have a water tank for your daily use.
Caravan Power Generator
Being off the grid most of the time, an RV may have a power generator be it in the form of a solar cell on the roof, a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) portable power station, or a fuel-powered genset.
Caravan External Awning
Many RVs have an extendable awning or canopy attached to the side that you can extend to provide a shaded outdoor seating area. This is especially helpful when you’re relaxing, having a meal, or cooking outdoors.
Caravan, Campervan & Motorhome Rental Price in Malaysia
With the caravan scene steadily growing in Malaysia, you can now obtain one quite easily. You can rent a caravan, campervan, or motorhome from one of the many RV rental companies such as Karysma Motorhome, Camperv, and VR Motorhome & Caravan.
The daily rental for an RV varies according to its type, size, and rental duration. The average rental rate for a 4-berth campervan with a kitchen and toilet in Malaysia is around RM1,000 per day but you can get one for less than that, depending on the included features.
How to Buy Your Own RV in Malaysia
To get your own RV in Malaysia, you can either buy a ready-made one, import a new or used RV, buy a used van or truck and convert it into a campervan or motorhome, or get a local RV builder or workshop to handle the whole building process for you.
Image credit: camperv.my
Importing an RV into Malaysia
Firstly, unless you’re experienced in importing RVs into Malaysia, it’s probably best to let a reputable RV builder source one for you and import it into the country. Importing an RV from overseas requires you to buy your chosen caravan, campervan, or motorhome (usually used) from an overseas dealer and handle the freighting process. Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to do:
- Buy the RV from the dealer or via online auction.
- Arrange for shipping to Malaysia. This includes transporting the RV from the yard to the ship, to its arrival at our local port.
- Get a government-recognized agent to handle the import and sales duty, and obtain customs clearance for your RV.
- Obtain a Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) from the Road Transport Department (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan or JPJ).
- Obtain a Special Inspection or B2 Inspection Report from PUSPAKOM. This inspection is meant for imported vehicles that are to be registered in Malaysia.
- Register your road tax and insurance.
- Finally, modify or upgrade your RV according to your needs.
Converting a Used Vehicle into an RV
Converting a used van or truck into a campervan or motorhome is a fairly straightforward process. You can either buy a used van or truck yourself and get an RV builder to customize it for you, or have the builder handle everything for you.
When converting a vehicle to an RV, you’ll be able to discuss with your builder your exact needs including the layout, accessories, fixtures, and even the aesthetics of the RV to make it truly yours. A reputable builder will also be able to get all the necessary approvals and handle the grant or vehicle ownership certificate (VOC) conversion. The average cost of converting a used van into a campervan or motorhome is around RM100,000, which is a good deal if you manage to find an affordable used vehicle to convert.
License Requirement for Caravans, Campervans & Motorhomes in Malaysia
To drive an RV in Malaysia, you only need a regular D license, just like driving a regular car. Since this license allows you to drive a car with an unloaded weight not exceeding 3,500 kg, you can drive most campervans and motorhomes with no issue.
Insurance & Road Tax Requirements
The insurance and road tax requirements for RVs in Malaysia are fairly straightforward and can be divided into two categories with caravans being in their own category and campervans and motorhomes being in another category.
For Caravan & Caravan Trailer
The insurance for caravans and caravan trailers is tied to the lead vehicle that’s towing it. That means if you’re using a Toyota Hilux to tow your caravan around, the caravan will be covered under the truck’s insurance. In terms of the road tax, it only costs RM50 a year for a caravan regardless of its size.
For Campervan & Motorhome
The insurance for campervans and motorhomes in Malaysia is calculated based on the insured value, just like other vehicles. To calculate their road tax, you should first know that campervans and motorhomes are classified as private registered non-saloon cars. Therefore, they follow the same insurance and road tax structure as regular SUVs and pickup trucks.
As a guide, here’s the annual road tax rate for company and private registered non-saloon cars in Peninsular Malaysia.
|Engine Capacity (Cubic Centimeters/cc)||Base Rate||Progressive Rate (per cc)|
|1000 and below||RM20.00||–|
|1001 to 1200||RM85.00||–|
|1201 to 1400||RM100.00||–|
|1401 to 1600||RM120.00||–|
|1601 to 1800||RM300.00||RM0.30 per cc above 1600|
|1801 to 2000||RM360.00||RM0.40 per cc above 1800|
|2001 to 2500||RM440.00||RM0.80 per cc above 2000|
|2501 to 3000||RM840.00||RM1.60 per cc above 2500|
|3001 and above||RM1640.00||RM1.60 per cc above 3000|
Malaysia RV Holiday Ideas
Image credit: bharian.com.my
If you’re interested in going on an RV holiday trip but are not sure where to go, you can start off by going on a simple weekend trip to an RV-friendly camping ground. Just park your caravan, campervan, or motorhome at a suitable camping spot be it on the beach or forest campsite, and enjoy the usual camping activities.
You could swim in the nearby sea or river, go hiking, cook up some barbecue, or just sit back and relax in the great outdoors. The advantage of camping in an RV is, you don’t need to pitch an actual tent, so you’ll end up saving some time.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could go on a longer tour across Malaysia and visit several locations while spending the nights in your RV. When looking up campsites to visit, make sure they can accommodate RVs as you might not be able to drive your vehicle right up to some campsites especially if you drive a large caravan or motorhome.
Here are some campsites in Malaysia with caravan parks you can check out for your next RV tour.
- GG Retreat at Bukit Tasik Serendah, Selangor
- SUFES Campsite, Tapah, Perak
- Logok Campsite and Farm, Johor
- Uda Sedim Camp and Recreational Site, Kedah
- OrangOrang Art Camp, Sungai Besar, Selangor
- AJARR Campsite, Kedah
- Kem Sri Pilah, Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan
- Radak Adventure, Gopeng, Perak
Go On Your Very Own Malaysia RV Adventure
We hope this article will help you better understand how to choose the right RV and plan your next RV adventure. Whether you choose a caravan, campervan, or motorhome as your vehicle of choice, we’re sure you’ll be able to enjoy countless unforgettable adventures across Malaysia.
If you’re looking for a reliable pickup truck to tow your caravan, check out CARSOME. All our vehicles have been inspected at 175 points to rule out major accident, flood, and fire damage. CARSOME Certified vehicles are also professionally refurbished ensuring their safety, comfort, and aesthetics.