To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia – a bubbling, bustling melting-pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. Our multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise and home to hundreds of colorful festivals. It’s no wonder that we love celebrating and socializing. As a people, Malaysians are very relaxed, warm and friendly.
Geographically, Malaysia is almost as diverse as its culture. 11 states and 2 federal territories (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) form Peninsular Malaysia which is separated by the South China Sea from East Malaysia which includes the 2 states (Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo) and a third federal territory, the island of Labuan.
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One of Malaysia’s key attractions is its extreme contrasts which further add to this theme of ‘diversity’. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts while five-star hotels sit just metres away from ancient reefs.
Rugged mountains reach dramatically for the sky while their rainforest-clad slopes sweep down to floodplains teeming with forest life. Cool highland hideaways roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
For the perfect holiday full of surprises, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.
People & Language
Malays comprise 57% of the population, while the Chinese, Indian and Bumiputeras and other races make up the rest of the country’s population.
While Malay is the national language the many ethnic groups also converse in their various languages and dialects, but English is also widely spoken.
Islam is the official religion of the country, but other religions such as Buddhism and Christianity are widely and freely practiced.
The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM or MYR.
The exchange rate is valued at USD1 = RM4.27. Notes are available in RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100 denominations, while coins are issued in 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen (cents) denominations.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money changers.
The country experiences tropical weather year-round. Temperatures range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF).
Higher elevations are much colder with temperatures between 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F).
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S Standard Time.
Voltage is 220 – 240 Volt AC at 50 cycles per second. Malaysia uses standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.
Visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Immigration and customs checkpoints are situated at all air, sea, road and rail entry points.
Every visitor to Malaysia has to fill in a Disembarkation Card (IMM. 26). The card has to be handed over to the Immigration Officer on arrival together with the national passport or other internationally recognized travel document endorsed for travel into Malaysia. A passport/travel document is also necessary for travel between Sabah and Sarawak.
Visitor passes issued for entry into Peninsular Malaysia are not valid for entry into Sarawak.
Fresh visit passes must be obtained on arrival at the point of entry in Sarawak. However, subject to conditions stipulated, visit passes issued by the Immigration Authorities in Sabah and Sarawak are valid for any part of Malaysia.
Commonwealth Citizens (except Bangladesh/India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), British Protected Persons or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Citizens of Switzerland, Netherlands, San Marino and Liechtenstein.
Free Visa For Social & Business Visit Not Exceeding Three Months
Citizens of Albania, Austria, Algeria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Republic of Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Italy, United States of America, Bahrin, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, North Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia,Qatar United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Tunisia.
Do’s and Don’ts
Malaysia is generally a laid back and relaxed place. However, we do have our own customs and visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:
Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to gentlemen by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, “I greet you from my heart”. The visitor should reciprocate the salam.
- It is polite to call before visiting a home.
- Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
- Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
- The right hand is always used when eating with one’s hand or giving and receiving objects.
- The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.
- Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples.
- Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors.
- Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask permission beforehand.
- Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colorful festivals. It’s no wonder that we love celebrating and socializing. As a people, Malaysians are very laid back, warm and friendly.
Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, 11 states in the peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo. Cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the official language, but English is widely spoken. Ethnic groups also have their own languages and dialects.
Malaysia offers a diverse range of travel experiences that cater to various interests. Here are some notable travel experiences that Malaysia is best known for:
- Cultural Heritage: Malaysia is a melting pot of diverse cultures, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous ethnic groups. Exploring cities like Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown (Penang), and Malacca allows you to witness the rich cultural heritage through historical sites, temples, mosques, vibrant markets, and traditional cuisine.
- Tropical Rainforests and Wildlife: Malaysia is blessed with lush tropical rainforests, which are home to a remarkable array of plant and animal species. Taman Negara National Park, Borneo's rainforests (including Sabah and Sarawak), and the Kinabatangan River are popular destinations for jungle trekking, wildlife spotting (including orangutans and proboscis monkeys), birdwatching, and experiencing unique ecosystems.
- Beautiful Islands and Beaches: Malaysia boasts stunning islands and beaches surrounded by turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs. Langkawi, Perhentian Islands, Redang Island, Tioman Island, and Pangkor Island are just a few examples of where you can enjoy crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, snorkeling, diving, and water sports.
- Street Food and Culinary Delights: Malaysian cuisine is renowned for its delicious flavors and diverse influences. From bustling street food stalls to upscale restaurants, you can savor a variety of dishes such as nasi lemak, roti canai, laksa, satay, and more. Places like Penang and Kuala Lumpur are famous for their culinary offerings.
- Adventure and Outdoor Activities: Malaysia offers ample opportunities for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts. Trek through the Cameron Highlands, go white-water rafting in Gopeng, try jungle canopy walks, go caving in Mulu National Park, or climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
- Cultural Festivals: Malaysia celebrates a myriad of vibrant cultural festivals throughout the year. Experience the colorful Thaipusam festival, the Chinese New Year festivities, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and other cultural celebrations that showcase traditional rituals, music, dance, and delicious festive delicacies.
- Urban Exploration: Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, offers a bustling urban experience with modern skyscrapers, shopping malls, and vibrant nightlife. Visit the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, explore the Batu Caves, and immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this dynamic city.
Important Things to Know:
Passport Requirement: Yes
Visa Requirement: No. Travel up to 90 days without visa.
This Destination is Best For: See Above.
Is This a Family-Friendly Destination: Yes
Best Time To Travel to This Destination: December to April, but Year-round Destination.
Recommended Vaccinations: Cholera, Hepatitis A&B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaysia, Measles, Malaria, Rabies, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Chickenpox (Varicella), Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Flu (influenza), Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), Polio and Shingles