Asia Ride-hailing

Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia

Ride-hailing services like Uber are super useful for travelers. (It’s ride-hailing, not ridesharing!) These apps allow you to bypass language barriers, avoid dealing with local currency, and ensure you won’t get scammed on the price. They also add a level of security to traditional taxi services. I’ve written about Grab services in Vietnam. And now I’ve had a chance to try out Grab in Singapore and Malaysia. Grab is basically the Uber of Southeast Asia.

In 2018 Uber sold it’s ride-hailing services in Southeast Asia to Grab. But for users of Uber this will feel basically the same. If anything, reaching real live support people is easier with Grab. Though the app is buggier.

Grab is all over the place in Singapore. Landing late at night, after the subway stopped running, I called a Grab. And I was picked up in a very nice Mercedes. The driver told me that in Singapore you will often get fancy cars with Grab. He said drivers are working second jobs with Grab to pay off these cars. Getting across the city generally costs around $5 USD. You can actually get across the country, nearly to the border with Malaysia, for about $20 USD.

Crossing the border into Malaysia the currency shifts. Those $5 rides in Singapore cost about $1.50 in Malaysia. And Grab is widely available in Malaysian cities as well.

If you’re looking to use these ride-hailing services in Southeast Asia, be sure you read my tips for setting up the app before you go.

The Grab app has a lot more than just ride-hailing. Like Uber, Grab offers food delivery. The App also includes a Grab Pay cashless option. I saw signs in stores indicating they accept Grab Pay. I didn’t try to use it because of my issues connecting credit cards. But this could also be a great option for travelers.

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