Malaysia Travel Guide

Malaysia travel guide

Malaysia is a multicultural country that has a large diversity of landscapes, wildlife, architecture, food, religion, and more. Transformed by its colonial history, it has maintained its roots and used the additions to add to an already fascinating nation. It is the melting pot of Asia and incredibly fascinating.

Chances are that you already have or will get your first taste of the country during a layover in Kuala Lumpur. And the city is one of the best layover locations in the world. While there, you should marvel at the architectural mix of colonial and modern buildings, eat amazing Malaysian food and explore the different areas of the city. Stroll through Chinatown and see the city from above from one of the many rooftop bars.

Away from the bustling city, you will discover stunning beaches and lush jungles that are perfect for trekking. Explore the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands and relax on one of the many islands like Langkawi and Penang Island on the west coast. Or visit the eastern islands like Redang Island and the Perhentian Islands with their crystal clear water and impressive reef.

And do not forget to take your time to marvel at the incredibly diverse wildlife. After all, Malaysia is home to rare animals like tigers and tapirs. And of course orangutans in Malaysian Borneo.

Highlight

Places to see in Malaysia

  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Penang
  • Malacca
  • Batu Caves
  • Langkawi
  • Malaysian Borneo
  • Cameron Highlands
  • Taman Negara National Park

Things to know before you visit Malaysia

Language

The official language is Malay (Bahasa Malaysian).

Most Malaysians are fluent in Malaysian English. It is closely related to British English, but has been influenced by several other Asian languages.

Albeit Malaysia gained its independence in 1957, English is still the dominant language of the trade and industry sector including the tourism industry. Therefore it is highly unlikely that you will have any language related issues while exploring the country.

Currency

The currency is the Malaysian Ringgit.

As of June 2021, 10 RM equal 2.02 EUR, 2.41 USD, 3.20 AUD or 1.73 GBP.

Credit Cards & ATMs

All common credit cards (MasterCard, Visa and Amex) are widely accepted in the cities. However, having some cash on hand for small purchases is advised. If you visit rural areas, you have no choice but to withdraw money.

ATMs are widespread throughout the cities, so it is easy to find one near you. Be sure to withdraw money in the city before you head to rural areas where you are less likely to find a nearby ATM. Safe the international service number of your bank in case they block your card even if you have notified them in advance.

Plugs

The plugs are type G, the voltage is 240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

If you are from countries with a different standard voltage, you need a travel adapter with converter capabilities.

Visa

Many countries have a visa-free regulation that allows you to stay between 14 and 90 days without having to acquire a visa in advance. Citizens of 63 nationalities including Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the USA qualify for a 90 days visit pass. Another 98 jurisdictions can get a ‘visit pass’ for 30 days. Iran, Libya, and Macau get 14 days. You can check the entry requirements of Malaysia on the official website.

Safety

Malaysia is a rather safe country and a great destination for solo female travelers. Severe crimes against tourists are rare and in most areas are you only have to take the usual travel precautions. However, theft is rather common, so keep an eye on your bag and valuables or leave them in the hotel safe. Wear your bag on the side opposite to the traffic and consider locking it with a small travel padlock.

Credit card fraud is also common, so check for any suspicious attachments at ATMs. And never let your credit card leave your sight when you pay for things.

Like many other Asian countries, Malaysia has incredibly busy streets. Keep looking left and right when you cross the street and so as the locals do. It might seem chaotic, but there is a certain logic to it. If you intend to take a taxi, you should sit in the backseat. There have been some issues with (fake) taxis in popular areas, so also check the registration of the taxi and driver. Alternatively, you can order a ride via the ‘Grab’ app.

Be cautious if you want to explore the Sabah on the northern portion of Borneo. The region has experienced troublesome time in the past decade and the government has established the Eastern Sabah Security Zone. There have been several kidnappings and other extreme crimes against foreigners in the area. Therefore, local support and extended security measures are more than advised if you decide to enter this zone.

When to visit Malaysia

Due to its location close to the equator, the weather in Malaysia tends to be rather stable. Most of the country experiences a stable monthly average temperature around 30°C (86°F). Only the Cameron Highlands tend to be significantly colder. All in all, Malaysia is a great destination year-round.

While the tropical climate is amazing, the country is affected by the monsoon. Hereby, the east is more affected than the west. The northeast of the country has its monsoon season from November to March, while the monsoon season of the southwest is from May to September.

Places tend to be more crowded between Christmas and the Chinese New Year and in summer from June to August, so you should expect higher prices during these months.

The best time to visit Malaysia, if you want mostly dry days and a clear sky, is from December to March on the western side of the country and from May to September on the eastern side.

As everywhere in the country, heavy rain can always occur in Kuala Lumpur. After all, the city is affected by the northwest monsoon, but June to August are the driest months of the year. April, October, and November are the wettest months.

In the Cameron Highlands, the temperature during the day tends to be around 22°C (71.6°F) and 15°C (59°F) at night. Similar to central Sri Lanka, the mornings in the Highlands tend to have blue skies, while the afternoons bring about rain. Meanwhile the nights are cool.

Malaysia Travel Guides