Malaysia Survival Guide 2019

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Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that consists of two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia occupies parts of the Malay Peninsula and shares a border with Thailand. East Malaysia occupies part of the island of Borneo, sharing borders with Indonesia and Brunei.

Malaysia is a multi-cultural nation with a population of 32+ million people comprised of a mix of Malays, Chinese, Indians and a minority of other groups. It is known for its tropical rainforests, beautiful beaches, delicious and diverse cuisine, and rich cultural heritage.

When to Go

The weather in Malaysia is hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F) average throughout the year. The rainy/monsoon season usually runs from May to October on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and November to March on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and northwestern Malaysian Borneo.

The best time to visit Malaysia depends on the region visiting. November to March is the best time to visit the west coast; and the east cost between April and October. The country sees a fair amount of rain year round so sudden heavy rains can be expected even during the drier months.

Entry Requirements

The Immigration Department of Malaysia imposes the following conditions when visiting Malaysia. Please use the following information for reference only and check with the in-country or nearest Malaysian Embassy for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Passport or Travel Document – All visitors entering Malaysia will need a passport or travel document that is valid for at least six (6) months from the date of arrival
  • Visa Requirements – Most nationalities are exempt from a tourist visa.
  • Travel Return Ticket & Funds – Visitors are required to show a valid travel return ticket or a travel ticket to another country; and sufficient funds to cover travel costs for the duration of the stay
  • Vaccinations – Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for visitors one (1) year of age and older arriving from – or who transit for more than twelve (12) hours within – a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission. Countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission include:
    • Africa – Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda
    • Americas – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

Safety and Security

Malaysia is relatively safe to travel as crime rates are low, however purse snatching and pick-pocketing are common against tourists, specially in Kuala Lumpur. Just like when travelling to any country, be vigilant, try to stick to groups of people, specially at night.

Extra precaution The east coast of Malaysian Borneo is known for kidnappings Check official travel advisories before traveling for piece of mind.

Emergency Number: Dial 999 from a landline and 112 from mobile phones

Getting Around

By Air:

By Road:

It is recommended for travelers to use the ride-sharing apps such as Grab since they are cheaper than the regular taxi most of the time. Their vehicles are in far more better conditions and English is spoken by most drivers (if not all). clean and more comfortable than normal taxis, and their drivers friendly and professional.

By Sea:

Health

Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if coming from a infected country 6 days prior. Travel insurance is recommended before travelling to Malaysia for piece of mind. Money or kjf offer good packages.

Language

Malay (or Malaysian) is the official language of Malaysia. The language should not be a barrier for English-speaking visitors as English is widely understood and spoken in the country, specially in the capital Kuala Lumpur and tourist areas.

Money

Malaysian Ringgit (MR), pronounced ‘ring-git’ , is the currency of Malaysia. Banks, ATMs, and currency exchange stores are widely available in the country, except in the more isolated areas. Major debit and credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted in urban and tourist areas.

ATMs in Malaysia have transaction and daily limits, usually in the region of RM1500 per transaction and RM3000 per day. Foreign cards are charged withdrawal fees of around US$ per transaction. The ATM Locator Malaysia application, available for iOS and Android devices, can help find ATMs in the country.

Electricity

The standard electricity supply in Malaysia is 240 volts (50 hertz frequency), and the power plugs and sockets are of type G (British origin). Electronic equipment or appliances can be used in Malaysia if the standard voltage in the country of origin is 220 – 240 volts, such as Europe, Australia, most parts of Asia and Africa. Any electronic equipment or appliances using 110 – 120 volts will require a Step-down converter.

Religion

Islam is the official and predominant religion in Malaysia, practiced by over 60 percent of the population; followed by Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and a few others. Mosques can be seen in all parts of the country and prayers can be heard five times a day.

Freedom of religion is officially guaranteed by the constitution of Malaysia, however, it also defines all Malays as Muslim, and Malays cannot convert to other religions without being penalised.