Malaysia Travel Guide

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The constitutional monarchy of Malaysia lies in the heart of Southeast Asia and consists of two distinct areas separated by the South China Sea. To the west is Peninsular Malaysia which occupies most of the Malayan Peninsular with borders to the north with Thailand and south with the island of Singapore. This part of Malaysia (also known as West Malaysia) is home to the Capital Kuala Lumpur and is typically more developed and populous. 


Where is Malaysia? Malaysia Dutyfree Limits
Malaysia Visa Requirements Malaysia-Travel-Health
What is Malaysia Local Currency? What is Malaysia Weather?
What Languages Are Spoken In Malaysia?
Malaysia Travel Tips
Malaysia Local Timezones

Where is Malaysia?

The small British overseas territory, Malaysia, lies in the Eastern Caribbean just slightly north of Saint Martin.

Eastern Malaysia is situated on the other side of the South China Sea and occupies the northern third of the island of Borneo, which it shares with Indonesia to the south, and Brunei on the North West coast. Although Malaysia is geographically diverse, both east and west Malaysia generally have flat coastal plains which rise to typically heavy wooded highlands and mountains, the highest of which is Mount Kinabalu  which rises to over 13,00 feet, on the island of Borneo.

With its tropical climate, profusion of idyllic tropical islands, pristine jungle and rain forests, some of the best scuba diving in the world and modern cities like Kuala Lumpur offering excitement, fine dining and a paradise for shoppers, Malaysia offers visitors an almost endless choice of activities and experiences. The towering mountains and steamy jungles of Borneo offer experiences that are truly rare in our modern world. Orang-Utans, Proboscis monkeys and thousands of bird and plant species abound here and can be explored by boat, by foot or even by elephant. The islands around both peninsular Malaysia and Borneo are spectacular and the marine life and diving are considered among the finest in the world. You will find many places in Malaysia to base yourself and enjoy the natural wonders of the country, from the resorts of Penang to the exclusive opulence of Pangkor Laut’s overwater bungalows right through to a treehouse in the jungle – there is something for any taste or budget.

Kuala Lumpur is a breathtaking city, architectural brilliance rises over history rich districts and spiritual temples that are a hark back to ancient times. Shopping here is a way of life and there is everything from street markets and hand crafted goods from hill tribes to gleaming shopping malls replete with the most chic brands from the world over. There are food stalls stalls with aromatic wonders to delight the palette and some of the worlds best silver service restaurants – often sharing the same street.

But it is the diversity of cultures living in harmony that is one of the key attractions of this fascinating and beautiful county. Malay, Indian, Chinese as well as western influences all contributing to a country with endless diversity and experiences. It’s a place that respects the past and embraces the new, and welcomes visitors with open arms.

Malaysia Visa Requirements

All foreign nationals entering Malaysia must hold a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months upon arrival and MUST ENTER Malaysia through Airports only. Visitors from many countries may enter Malaysia without a visa, for periods of between one and three months, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Canada and the U.S., whilst visitors from other countries will need to be granted a visa.

These visas are categorised as either a “visa without reference” (VWTR) which is issued by the Malaysian mission in a visitors home country, or a “visa with reference” (VWR) approved by the Immigration Department. In some cases, an extension of up to four months may be applied for.

When leaving Malaysia, visitors are charged an Airport Embarkation Tax of between MYR 20 and MYR 45, depending on the airport of departure and the destination. Domestic flights attract an embarkation tax of MYR 6 .

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for any traveller arriving from a yellow fever infected country including – Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Djibouti, Equador, Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela, Zaire and Zambia.

As entry requirements may change from time to time it is strongly advised that you check with the department of foreign affairs or your local consulate or embassy for the current requirements.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Malaysia Travel Health

Malaysia is a tropical country with many tropical diseases. Malaria, although not generally a problem in West (or Peninsular) Malaysia, is considered a real risk in inland and rural areas of Eastern Malaysia (Borneo), especially in the wet season.

Additionally dengue fever, another mosquito-born disease common in southeast Asia, can be encountered nationwide, including the cities. Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya fever, and filariasis are also common. A good insect repellant along with long sleeves and pants during the high activity times of dawn and dusk can go a long way to preventing getting bitten in the first place. Also be aware that the mosquito responsible for dengue fever feeds during daylight hours.

If hiking in the rainforests and jungle, leeches can also be an inconvenience. If visiting Malaysia (especially East Malaysia), many doctors will recommend immunisation against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, up-to-date tetanus protection, and a prophylactic course of Malaria tablets. Water quality can vary from place top place but is generally quite low, especially in more remote areas, so bottled or at least boiled water is recommended. The hygiene of food preparation and storage of street sellers is also quite variable, so common sense is recommended.

The availability and quality of medical facilities Malaysia can vary, depending where in the country you happen to be. Although there are public hospitals in Malaysia, in practice travellers’ options are often limited to private healthcare and hospitals, so it is highly recommended that good quality travel insurance is taken out before entering the country.

Although generally a peaceful people with a respect for tourists, Malaysia has suffered political unrest in recent years resulting in rallies and demonstrations, which are illegal and can often sometimes turn to violence. Being caught in the middle of these disturbances may easily lead to inadvertent arrest, injury or even worse, so the best advice is to stay well away from any signs of rallies or protests.

Malaysia, has very severe and strict laws and penalties for drug use and drug trafficking (even tiny amounts for recreational use), with visitors and tourists being shown no leniency. Punishment by western standards is harsh, often resulting in life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

There had been an worldwide increase in terrorism in recent years, with south east Asia not escaping this worrisome trend. Kidnapping for ransom has occurred in recent years, particularly in the areas near the Islands and dive sites of Eastern Sabah. If you do decide to travel to this region, you should exercise extreme caution. For up to date information and travel alerts, visitors should contact their country’s travel advisory agency.

Crimes such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, are common in some areas, especially in crowded places, so a liberal application of common sense is recommended. Credit card fraud is also common and it is advisable to only use them in the more reputable stores, but never let your card out of your sight.

Traffic can be a hazard to the unwary pedestrian as local motorcyclists and drivers do not tend to stop… even at pedestrian crossings, so even if you have the right of way, stay alert. Because of the heat and humidity, visitors should apply sunscreen and be sure to drink adequate amounts of water to keep hydrated.

If you find yourself in any kind of emergency, dial 999. If you are calling from a mobile phone, either dial 999 or 112

What is Malaysia Local Currency?

The Malaysian unit of currency is the Ringgit Malaysia (RM), which is divided into 100 sen. Banknotes come in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100. Coins are issued in 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and RM1 denominations. 

What is Malaysia’s Weather?

The climate in Malaysia is tropical, with both peninsula Malaysia and Eastern Malaysia being affected separately by two distinct monsoonal influences.From October to February, The Northwest Monsoon constitutes the main rainy season and delivers heavy rain to the Sarawak region on the island of Borneo, and the eastern regions of peninsula Malaysia such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and East Johur.

The Southwest Monsoon runs from late May to September and generally brings comparatively drier conditions to most of Malaysia, except for the state of Sabah, which often receives heavy rainfall. Temperatures tend to remain fairly constant throughout the year averaging between 21 – 32 Celsius, with temperatures in the hill resorts being a little cooler (but still humid) averaging 21 Celsius and getting down to 10 Celsius or below at night.

What Languages Are Spoken In Malaysia?

Malaysians of all ethnic groups are generally very friendly and keen to help visitors during their stay. Although the official language in Malaysia is Malay, in practice many Malaysians are able to speak English, especially in urban or tourist areas.

When calling Malaysia from another country , the country code is +60. When placing an international call from Malaysia, the international access code is 00, except when dialing a Singapore number, in which case there is no need to dial either the access code (00) or the country code. 

Malaysia Travel Tips

Special consideration should be made if travelling to areas of known unrest or high crime, especially in certain areas of Borneo, so it’s always prudent to check current travel warnings when planning an itinerary. Comprehensive travel insurance should be considered mandatory in most cases, and water and ice from roadside stalls or hawkers should be avoided.

Malaysia Local Timezones

Malaysia has one time zone and is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+8) and does not implement daylight saving.

Malaysia Dutyfree Limits

For inbound visitors, the duty free allowance is: Wine, spirits, or other liquor up to 1 litre.

Tobacco up to 225 grams (or 200 cigarettes).

New clothes – up to 3 pieces.

1 pair of new footwear.

Portable electrical or battery operated appliances for personal care and hygiene not exceeding 1 unit each.

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