Travel tips for Malaysia

Once you have overcome your jet-lag fatigue, step into the real heart of Malaysia--the citizens of the country. You would be pleasantly surprised at the warmth of Malaysians. For deeply entrenched within each of the different races is the engaging charm and traditional hospitality for which Malaysia is renowned.

Malaysians enjoy meeting people from other lands. So, do go right ahead and strike up a conversation. After all, the whole point of travelling is to know other cultures.

When greeting a Muslim, offer your right hand then bring it towards you, fingertips lightly touching your heart. This is the traditional Salam or 'greeting of acceptance'. Hindus greet with a Namaste (in Hindi) or Vanakam (Tamil). Both palms are brought together as in prayer at mid-chest level. With a Chinese, you may shake hands. If you are really unsure about all the different forms of greetings, just smile and nod your head slightly when introduced.




  Entry Formalities

Passport/Travel Documents

Visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of valid passport/travel documents with a minimum validity of six months beyond the period of intended stay. In the case of a national passport not recognised by the Malaysian Government, the holder must be in possession of a document in lieu of passport obtainable at the nearest Malaysian Mission abroad. The national passport must also ensure his re-entry into the country of his citizenship.

  • 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.  
  • Visa Requirements:

    • 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 do not need a visa to enter Malaysia.
    • 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 not require a visa for a Social and Business visit not exceeding three months.
    • Nationals of ASEAN Countries do not require a visa for a Social and Business visit not exceeding one month.
    • Citizens of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, South Yemen do not require visa for a Social and Business visit not exceeding 14 days.
    • Citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Russia do not require a visa for a Social and Business visit not exceeding one week.
    • Nationals of the Republic of China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Nepal, Myanmar, Taiwan, Vietnam and all Certificate of Identity (CI) holders must obtain a visa before entering Malaysia.
    • Citizens of nations other than those stated above (except Serbia Montenegro and Israel) are allowed to enter Malaysia for a Social and Business visit not exceeding one month without having a Visa.
    • A visitor intending to visit any part of Malaysia is required to be in possession of only one visa to travel direct from one part of the nation to another.

    Visas are issued by Malaysian Diplomatic Missions abroad or British Consulates which act for Malaysia in countries where no diplomatic representation of Malaysia is established. All visitors to Malaysia should inquire at the nearest Malaysian Diplomatic
    Mission for the latest entry procedures and requirements

    Tourist Police
    Lost your way? Need help? Look for a tourist police officer. Tourist police officers are recognized by their checkered hat bands, dark blue shirts and trousers, and the letter "I" (for information) on a red and blue badge on their breast pocket.

    Public Holidays
    With its multi-ethnic population, it is not surprising that almost every month sees a different festival. Some of these are declared as Public Holidays. As festivals vary from year to year, it is best to check the dates with the nearest Tourism Malaysia Office before you plan your trip.

    School Holidays
    There are five term breaks in the year for schools throughout Malaysia. The term breaks vary slightly from state to state. However, they fall roughly during the later part of the months of January (1 week), March (2 week), May (3 weeks), August (1 week), October (4 weeks).

    It is generally safe to drink water straight from the tap. Bottled mineral water, however, is easily available in shops and supermarkets.

    Electrical Supply
    Electric supply is on a 240-volt 50-cycle system.

    English Language newspapers are available i.e. The New Straits Times, The Star, Business Times, Malay Mail, Daily Express, Sabah Daily News and Sarawak Tribune. International newspapers can be obtained at most bookshops and newsstands. Several dailies in other languages include Utusan Melayu, Berita Harian, Nanyang Siang Pan, Sin Chew Wit Poh and Tamil Nesan. There are also weeklies, such as the Leader and Straits Shipper.

    Radio services are in Bahasa Melayu, English, Chinese, and Tamil.

    There are 4 television stations with TV 1 and TV 2 being government networks while the other two are privately run.

    Health Services
    In the event you need medical care, there are private clinics in most towns. It is a good idea to take out a medical insurance before you travel as Malaysia does not have reciprocal health service agreements with other nations. For over-the-counter prescriptions, there are pharmacies and 'Chinese medical halls'.

    Health Regulations
    No vaccination is required for cholera and smallpox.

    With a temperature that fluctuates little throughout the year, travel in Malaysia is a pleasure. Average temperature is between 21 C and 32 C. Humidity is high. Rain tends to occur between November to February on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, on western Sarawak, and north-eastern Sabah. On the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia the rainy season is April to May and October to November. Click here for the current four-day weather forecast in Kuala Lumpur.

    As Malaysia's climate is sunny almost year round, light clothing is ideal. It is advisable for ladies, when entering mosques and temples, to wear long sleeves and loose pants or long skirts.

    Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 16 hours ahead of United States Pacific Standard Time.

    To avoid "cultural offenses," here are some tips:

    • Remove shoes when entering homes and places of worship.
    • Dress neatly in a suitable attire which covers arms and legs when visiting places of worship.
    • Handle food with your right hand.
    • Do not point your foot at someone.
    • When giving or receiving money gifts to/from a Malaysian, do so with your right hand.

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