Malaysia Travel Tips

At A Glance

Located just south of Thailand on the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia is a tropical paradise in the heart of southeast Asia. It’s perhaps best known for its beaches, rainforests, and its wealth of natural beauty and impressive scenery. The capital, Kuala Lumpur houses the tallest twin towers in the world, while its islands are home to some of the most beautiful dive areas you can see. Whether you’re up for trekking and diving, or just want to relax on the beach and dine in the city, Malaysia is certainly worth a visit.

Malaysia Quick Information

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit

Electricity Socket: 240V AC electricity. Power outlets are three-prong sockets (type G). Be sure to pack a universal travel adaptor so you can still use all your electronic gadgets.

Visa: Traveling to Malaysia is easy; for citizens of most countries you won’t need to apply for a visa beforehand. There are a handful of countries in Asia that require a visa for Malaysia, but most will not. For most of Europe and North America, you’ll receive a 90-day visa stamp upon arrival; certain other countries are only valid for 30-days. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry.

Safety: Most parts of Malaysia are incredibly safe to travel in. The exception is Eastern Sabah, on the island of Borneo as there has been an increase in kidnappings on the coast in this region. Steering clear of that area, you should be able to have a safe and enjoyable stay in Malaysia. In big cities like Kuala Lumpur, pickpocketing and petty theft can be a problem, so keep your belongings close.

Obviously, don’t travel without travel insurance! We would suggest checking out World Nomads, for travel insurance as they have the best coverage for active travelers.

Language: The official language of Malaysia is Malay, which is spoken in the vast majority of the country. English is widely spoken as well, though, so it’s easy enough to get by without knowing how to speak Malay.

Festivals and Celebrations: Malaysia and Singapore share a lot of the same festivals and traditions, but Malaysia definitely has its own flair. From brightly colored street festivals to sobering religious days, the country has a lot to celebrate with its own unique cultural heritage.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri: This traditional Muslim holiday is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (in June). After a month of fasting, Malaysia’s Muslim population are ready to celebrate! The festival is marked by feasting, journeying from big cities back to small towns, and welcoming guests and friends into homes. You’ll find lots of traditional Malay dishes and decadent desserts around this time.

Chinese New Year: There’s a big Chinese population in Malaysia, and they’re definitely not going to forget their heritage on this exciting holiday. Happening in January or February, this event turns the city red, and you’ll see everything from parades and festivals to street vendors, and performances in all the major cities.

Vesak Day: An important holiday for the Buddhist community in Malaysia, Vesak Day occurs in May and celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. While this is definitely a more solemn holiday than the New Year, temples and shrines will still be brightly adorned, and other events like vegetarian food fairs and talks will be happening, too.

Deepavali: Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights, celebrates the triumph of light over dark and good over evil in the Hindu tradition. During this celebration (usually in October or November), the Indian community in Malaysia makes the cities come alive with bright lights, vibrant colors, and high-energy festivities.

Thaipusam: This Hindu festival in January is not for the faint of heart. As a tribute to Lord Subramanium, a procession of followers can be seen carrying spiked alters that actually pierce their bodies. Witnessing this is definitely a memorable experience, but might also make you feel a little squeamish!

Transportation: The transport from one place to the next is fairly easy in Cambodia and is quite efficient. We recommend downloading the Skyscanner App and using the 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time.

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