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TRAVEL GUIDE TO MALAYSIA

 

We’ve gathered the following information for  you in preparation for your trips which we thought were appropriate.  If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-785-1233.


Airport Taxes

Starting from Jan 2011, the departure tax for international passengers is included in the ticket price.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee.

Climate and Clothing

Temperature fluctuates little throughout the year in Malaysia. Average temperature is between 21 to 32 degree Celsius (70 – 90 F). 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 seasons is April to May and October to November.

It is ideal to have light clothing to wear year round. In the evenings, a light wrap may be advised. It is also advisable for ladies to wear long sleeves and loose pants or long skirts when entering mosques and temples.

Communications

There are public telephone boxes in most towns in Malaysia; local calls cost 10 sen for an unlimited amount of time. Phone cards are recommended for long-distance calls. Cards of M$5, M$10, M$20 and M$50 are sold at Shell and Petronas stations, newsagents and most 7-Elevens. Note that the Uniphone only takes M$20 or M$50 cards. Check for an international logo on the phone booth before dialing overseas. To call abroad from Malaysia, dial 00 + IDD country code (see “Basics”) + area code minus first 0 + subscriber number.  Each Malaysian town has a General Post Office. Overseas mail takes four to seven days to reach its destination, postal fee is reasonably priced, but packages are likely to take much longer..
Internet cafes are abundant throughout Malaysia. Many hotels also provide internet access. Prices are very competitive, ranging between M$3 and M$10 per hour with decent connection speed.

Currency

The Malaysian unit of currency is the Ringgit (M$), which is divided into 100 sen. Currency comes in notes of M$1, M$5, M$10, M$20, M$50, M$100, M$500 and M$1,000. Coins are issued in 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and M$1 denominations. 1US$ is about M$ 4. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks, hotels and money changers.

ATMs are available throughout Malaysia, especially in big cities and tourist areas. Both Visa and MasterCard have extensive lists of ATMs around Malaysia that accept their cards. It is advisable to carry local currencies when visiting rural areas or some of the coastal islands.

Customs Regulations

The country’s regulation requires all travelers to declare the amount of local and foreign currencies in their possession on arrival into and departure from Malaysia. Travelers Declaration Form (TDF) for this purpose can be obtained from any Malaysian Embassies/High Commission, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Office and all entry/exit points in Malaysia. Non-residents entering Malaysia are permitted to import up to a maximum amount of M$ 1,000 only and any amount of foreign currencies. Conversely, they are permitted to export up to a maximum amount of M$ 1,000 only and foreign currencies not more then what was originally brought into the country.

 Electricity

Voltage is 220-240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take 220 Volt current. Throughout Malaysia 220 volt is used, although 4 & 5-star hotels are wired for use of 110-volt electrical appliances. Most hotels have a hair-dryer in each room.

Food and Water

We recommend refraining from drinking tap water. Bottled water is readily available through Malaysia and can be purchased inexpensively.

Health Matters

No vaccinations are required to enter Malaysia, but travelers visiting deep jungle areas in peninsular Malaysia or the island of Borneo should consult with their physicians regarding malaria medication.

The levels of hygiene and medical care in Malaysia are higher than in much of the rest of Southeast Asia; staff almost everywhere speak good English and use up-to-date techniques. There’s always a pharmacy in main towns. Private clinics are found even in the smallest towns; a visit costs around M$30, excluding medication. The emergency department of each town’s General Hospital will see foreigners for the token fee of M$1, though costs rise rapidly if continued treatment or overnight stays are necessary.

Holidays

Weekly holidays vary from region to region. In Selangor, Melaka, Penang, Perak, Pahang and Negri Sembilan, there is a half-day holiday on Saturday and a full-day holiday on Sunday. In the states of Johor, Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu and Kelantan a traditional half-day holiday is observed on Thursday and full-day holiday on Friday; Saturday and Sunday are treated as weekdays.

Major Holidays:

  • New Year’s Day – Jan 1st*
  • Hari Raya Aidil Fitri- January*
  • Chinese New Year- January/ February*
  • Labour Day- May 1st
  • Vesak Day- late May*
  • The King’s Birthday- early June
  • National Day* – Aug 31st
  • Deepavali- October/ November**
  • Christmas Day- Dec 25th*

*   National Holiday

** Except Sarawak and Labuan

Passports and Visas

Visitors must be in possession of a current passport or other internationally recognized travel document with minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period in Malaysia. No visas are required for most countries for stays not exceeding three months; These countries include but are not limited to: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Tunesia, U.S.A. , France and Germany (except for local employment). For further information, please check with the Tourism Malaysia Office.

Time Difference

Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time (GMT) and 13 hours ahead of United States Eastern Standard Time.

Tipping

Tipping is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent. Most hotels and large restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax to the bill (indicated by a ++ sign on menus and rate cards).

On tour of $10-$12 tipping per person per day is customary.

Transportation

Airport transfers and sightseeing in our programs are provided via private cars. While on your own,  you are free to explore on your own through a variety of transportation. Public transport in Malaysia is extremely reliable. If you wish to explore on your own, various means of public transportation are available.

Taxis: Most taxis are fitted with meters. Taxi rates are currently M$ 2 for the first 2km and 10 sen for every 200 meters thereon. A surcharge of 50% is levied between midnight and 6.00am.

Trains: Malayan Railways (KTM) offers an inexpensive yet comfortable service on the peninsula. Foreign tourists may purchase at main railway stations a KTM Rail pass, which grants unlimited travel for ten days (M$85) or thirty days (M$175). For information about service from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom (East Malaysia, Sabah), contact Sabah State Railways at (088) 54611.

Buses: Bus services are both extensive and inexpensive, but mostly not air-conditioned. Local buses are often slow, noisy and full.

What to Pack?

Bring light clothing that is easy to wash and iron. Sandals and light shoes are adequate. A sweater is handy for cool season nights and drastically air-conditioned buildings.

Other essential items include: Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Your Medicines. Departure documents. Voltage converters. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.