MALAYSIA PAGE - TRAVEL INFORMATION
General information for the traveler new to Malaysia
with important restrictions
Malaysian Ringgit (RM), also known as the Malaysian Dollar M$.
RM1 = 100 sen
The Malaysian Ringgit is officially pegged to the U.S. Dollar at US$1=RM3.80.
Notes issued - RM500, RM100, RM50, RM10, RM5, RM2, RM1
Coins issued - RM1, 50 sen, 20 sen, 10 sen, 5 sen, 1sen
Foreign currency and traveler's checks can be converted into Ringgit at banks or authorized moneychangers throughout the country.
Resident travellers are allowed to carry into and out of the country any amount not exceeding RM1,000 per person and also export foreign currency not exceeding the equivalent of RM10,000 per person.
Those who are carrying in excess of these - when entering or leaving the country - are required to obtain permission from the Controller of Foreign Exchange and declare in the Traveler's Declaration Form the exact amount of Ringgit carried. Approval is usually given within one day of application.
Non-residents are allowed to bring in any amount of foreign currency (including traveler's checks). However, declaration in the Disembarkation Card issued by the Immigration Department is required when an amount in excess of US$2,500 is brought into the country.
Non-residents must also obtain permission and declare Ringgit exceeding RM1,000 when leaving or entering the country. Ringgit is currently a closed currency and can only be bought/sold in Malaysia.
Crazy hot! No joke, seriously. Hot and humid year round.
VISAS @ www.kln.gov.my
Visitors must have a passport valid for 6 months more than the maximum time allowed for their stay in Malaysia. Residents of most countries are granted visa free access for periods ranging from 7 days to 3 months.
A passport is necessary for travel between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, as well as between Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysians from the Peninsula need either a passport or their identity card to enter Sabah and Sarawak.
Immigration Office (Visa Enquiries) - +603-8887-4000
Visitors may take the following into Malaysia duty free:
- Alcoholic beverages - not exceeding 1 liter
- Tobacco - not exceeding 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 225g of tobacco
Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are very severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.
Malaysian time: GMT + 8 hours (no daylight-saving)
Bahasa Melayu (also known as Malay) is the official language of Malaysia. English is widely spoken and understood and most signs appear in both languages. If in doubt, just stop and ask. Mandarin, Cantonese and Tamil are also spoken.
The custom of tipping is not practised in Malaysia. To tip or not depends entirely on you. If you decide to tip, it would be greatly appreciated.
Most hotels and large restaurants have already included a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax to the bill (indicated by the ++ sign on menus and rate cards) so tipping is unnecessary.
Taxis in major cities are usually fitted with meters. The rates are currently at RM2 for the first two kilometers and 10 sen for every subsequent 200 meters. However, there's a surcharge of 50% levied between midnight and 6am.
Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 3.00 pm
Saturday 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Note: Banks in Sabah open at 8.00 am and take a lunch break from 12.00 pm - 2.00 pm
The international dialing code for Malaysia is 60
When calling overseas from Malaysia dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number.
Kuala Lumpur, Selangor
Penang, Langkawi, Kedah, Perlis
Pulau Pangkor, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Maxwell Hill
Melaka, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
Tioman Islands, Perhentian Islands,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
220-240V AC 50 cycles per second.
3 pin square plugs.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS
Police / Ambulance - 999
Fire / Rescue - 994
Tourist Police - +603-2149-6590 (Hotline) / +603-2149-6593 (Enquiries)
Tap water is safe to drink in main cities and major hotels. Bottled water is widely available.
Standards of health and hygiene are generally good in Malaysia. Visitors arriving from yellow fever endemic zones must present a yellow fever health certificate. The risk of catching malaria in Malaysia is slim; however it is wise to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with your doctor when planning your trip.
Departure Tax = RM40
- Kuala Lumpur - opened in 1998 in Sepang (some 60km from the city)
- Johor Bahru
- Kota Kinabalu
Departure Tax = RM5. There are numerous domestic airports in Malaysia; these include those mentioned above plus the following:
- Kuala Terengganu
- Pulau Tioman
- Pulau Perhentian
- Pulau Pangkor
- Taman Negara
The easy answer is - "DON'T". You have been warned. Malaysians are very friendly, no doubt. But put anyone of them behind a wheel and they turn into monsters. The general rule of thumb is the sweeter and more innocent the driver looks, the more likely he/she is gonna swear at you with the foulest language you've ever heard in your life. Lane lines are meaningless; 3-lane roads can become a 6-lane "get-the-****-out-of-my-lane", steel-to-steel nightmare. Turn signals are moot and traffic laws are only there to be broken. Traffic jams are a daily city-wide coronary and in the likely but extremely unfortunate event you are caught in one, you'll know exactly why you should not be driving in the first place. However, once you get out into the countryside (especially the North-South Expressway), driving etiquette improves exponentially and you should have no problems navigating the excellent highway system. Lane discipline is adhered to on the nation's expressways.
Malaysia is a right-hand drive country i.e. they drive on the left side of the road. Isn't that confusing? The driver sits on the right which means the left hand is on the gear stick. So shouldn't that be a left-hand drive? Or maybe they meant right-hand drive as in right-hand on the gear stick. Whatever. It's way too confusing for me to think about. Other right-hand drive countries:
ASIA-PACIFIC - Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cook Islands, Cocos Island, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Norfolk Islands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Island, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga
EUROPE - Channel Island, Cyprus, Ireland, Isle of Man, Malta, United Kingdom
AMERICAS - Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, BVI, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, USVI
AFRICA - Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Malaysia is a mix of many religions but predominantly Muslim, so dress fairly modestly. Beachwear should be restricted to the beach and topless sunbathing is never acceptable. Away from the beach, clothes should not be too short and the shoulders should be covered. When visiting government offices be sure to dress smartly, as casual dress will be taken as an affront.
There is a large ethnic Chinese population in Malaysia; as with most Asian countries, situations should be avoided which would cause a loss of "face". Try to steer clear of confrontation as it is not appreciated and will only worsen rather than resolve any situation.
Most countries have representative offices and consulates in Kuala Lumpur and a limited number are also available in Penang.