Malaysia Travel Guides

Business Hours

Banks: 10:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday; 09:30 to 11:30, Saturday
Post Offices: 08:00 to 17:00, Monday to Saturday
Government Offices: 08:00 to 17:30, Monday to Friday
Shops: 10:00 to 22:00, Monday to Saturday

Cautions

Most visits to Malaysia are problem-free, but visitors should be aware of the growing problem of petty crime. Bag snatchers and pickpockets are common in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. Gangs sometimes operate on motorbikes, snatching bags from people's shoulders as they are walking. Make sure you leave your valuables in a hotel safe and keep cameras and other expensive items out of sight.

Take care if you travel overnight on buses or trains, as thieves are known to operate of these forms of transport. Keep you valuables secure and close by when you are sleeping. As with many other Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia has harsh penalties for drug taking and smuggling. Possession of even very small quantities of illegal drugs can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.

Malaysia has periodic problems with air quality, with the air sometimes reaching hazardous levels because of smoke haze. Kuala Lumpur suffers from bad traffic congestion and the pollution can be a nuisance for people with some medical conditions. Electricity: 220 to 240 volts at 50 cycles per second.

Health

Although no vaccines are required for travel to Malaysia, visitors are advised to update vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, cholera, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis before travel. Malaria risk exists only in certain regions and most urban and coastal areas are malaria-free.

Dengue fever is a problem and the effects can be fatal if left untreated. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, but unlike malaria the mosquitoes which transmit the virus are most active during the day in urban areas. There are no prophylactic treatments for dengue, so the best protection is to wear plenty of insect repellent and cover up.

Only bottled water should be used for drinking and is available in most shops. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled before drinking. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. If you buy fresh fruit, wash it well with bottled water and carefully peel the skin off before eating it. Food prepared in hawker centres or on the street is generally safe, but you should avoid eating at these places if you are prone to upset stomachs.

Medical care in major cities in Malaysia is generally good, but it is often not up to Western standards in the rest of the country. Emergency services: 999

Language

Malay is the national and official language of Malaysia, but English is widely spoken. Other languages such as Chinese (Cantonese and Hokkien), Iban and Tamil are spoken by minority groups.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Malaysia ringgit, commonly abbreviated as RM. The currency is denominated into 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 2 and 1 RM banknotes. Coins include 1 RM and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cent(s). The ringgit is now pegged to the US dollar following the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Currency Exchange

Malaysia currently requires all travellers to declare the amount of local or foreign currency (travellers’ cheques and cash) they bring into or take out of the country. The Travellers Declaration Form (TDF) is used for this purpose and is available at all entry and exit points.

Money can be exchanged at commercial banks, currency exchange services of these banks and at authorised moneychangers. Hotels can also double as authorised exchange outlets, but their rates are usually poor compared to the bank rates. Credit cards are widely accepted at upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants. ATM machines can be found throughout the country and provide a convenient and cost-effective way to obtain local currency.

Customs

Visitors entering the country can bring in a maximum of two litres of alcoholic beverages; 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco; and a small quantity of perfume for personal use. Photographic equipment and laptops must be declared. Banned items include narcotics, firearms and ammunition, and pornography.

Etiquette

Malaysia is a multicultural society so you are likely to encounter different traditions depending on who you meet. Many Malaysians greet each other with a handshake and sometimes place their right hand over their heart after greeting each other. Try to follow the lead of the person you are greeting.Visit this website for further information about Malaysia People

Physical signs of affection in public are frowned upon. Showing emotions or anger should also be avoided; try to remain clam and polite at all times.

Shoes are usually left at the front door of houses and certain other buildings. If you are not sure whether to take your shoes off, then look to see what other people are doing, or if there are other shoes already outside. If you are invited into a Malaysian home, it is usual to bring a small gift of fruits, drinks or a souvenir from back home. Conservative dress is required to enter a mosque. There are also some areas that should not be entered by non-Muslims.

Dining Etiquette
Malaysians often eat out at restaurants, and if you join them it is perfectly acceptable to eat with your fingers. Take a quick glance around you to see what your Malaysian friends are doing and remember to use only your right hand for eating. Dining etiquette is generally relaxed, but you should wait to be shown to your seat. Food is often taken from a shared dish that is placed in the middle of the table, with each diner helping themselves.

If you are invited to dinner at a friend's house, it is customary to take a small gift. You should offer the gift to your host with your right hand. Don't take wine or champagne as a gift as this is culturally incorrect in Muslim countries.

Visa and Passports

A valid passport is required for a visit to Malaysia. All visitors must have proof of adequate funds and an onward or return sea or air ticket. No visa is required for nationals of Commonwealth countries except for Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. Nationals of ASEAN countries do not require a visa for a social or business visit not exceeding one month. Citizens of the United States do not need a visa for tourism and business visits, and upon entry are granted a stay of up to 3 months.

Tourist Information Offices

Malaysia Tourist Information Complex (MATIC) is located at 109 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Visitors can phone the office at: +60 3 242 3929.