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Malaysia Travel Guide

Malaysia FAQ

What do I need before travelling?

We suggest that all our customers review foreign office advice for Malaysia before travelling. Click here for the latest information from the foreign office.

What are the visa requirements?

UK visitors to Malaysia will not require a visa to enter the country if staying for up to three months, however all tourists and visitors must have a passport that is valid for six months after their planned exit from the country. 

What is the currency in Malaysia?

Malaysia's currency is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR) also referred to as the Malaysian Dollar. One ringgit is made up of 100 sen. All major credit cards are widely accepted at upmarket hotels, larger shops and restaurants, though small businesses may not accept them. ATMs are widely available. You will be expected to use ringgit for all cash purchases.

What is the language in Malaysia?

The native language of Malaysia, Malay, is very similar to neighbouring Indonesian. English is widely spoken throughout the country and tourists should have no troubles with communication, especially in the cities and tourist areas.

Are there any customs or public holidays I should be aware of?

Malaysia is largely Muslim and therefore Islamic customs should be respected, especially during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking in public should be avoided, as it is forbidden by Islamic law. Dress, particularly for women, should be conservative; arms and legs should be covered when visiting places of worship and visitors should not sunbathe topless. It is customary to remove shoes before entering homes and places of worship. Homosexuality is illegal

What is the cuisine like?

Malaysian cuisine is a culinary fusion of Chinese, Indian, Arabian and Thai flavours. Characterised by curries and stews served with rice it is flavor-some but generally not as spicy as other South East Asian cuisines. Specialties include Satay (marinated strips of chicken or beef, chargrilled and dipped in a spicy peanut sauce), Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Nasi Lemak (rice steamed with coconut milk and served with fried anchovies, peanuts and a chilli paste).

What can I expect to pay for eating out locally and in resorts?

There are plenty of dining options throughout Malaysia, depending on your budget, taste and mood!

Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of hawker stalls where you can try local snacks for around £1; local restaurants serving Malay menus where a meal will cost in the region of £5 per person and gourmet restaurants where a three course dinner can cost as much as £50 per person.

Malaysia's beach resorts also offer a choice of dining experiences, although the gourmet restaurants tend to be within a hotel. Prices tend to be slightly lower than in Kuala Lumpur. Within the hotels a Caesar Salad or Club Sandwich at lunchtime will cost in the region of £7; a two-course dinner about £25 per person (depending on the property).  

If Asian food is not to your taste then western options are also plentiful. Recognisable fast food chains such as Pizza Hut and McDonalds have outlets in the main tourist areas in which you can expect to pay the same price as you would in the UK.

Generally, alcohol prices in Malaysia are considered to be fairly costly, and this may be due to it being an Islamic country. Expect to pay around £2 - £5 for a beer; £3 - £7 for a glass of wine.   

(Prices are simply a guideline and subject to change.)

Is Malaysia safe?

In general Malaysia is a very safe country to visit. As a global rule, never leave your belongings unattended and always maintain eye contact or a firm grip on cameras and shoulder bags, as bag snatching and pick-pocketing is a problem in the main cities and tourist areas. Credit-card fraud is a growing problem, so only use your cards at established businesses and guard your credit-card numbers.

There have been two kidnapping incidents in Malaysian Borneo, on smaller remote islands off Sabah's east coast. The government have tightened security measures and presence at all island resorts. As a measure of precaution The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to a handful of islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau. Visits to the main tourist spots though remain unaffected.
  
Malaysia has Tourist Police who have been specifically trained to help tourists. They can be recognised by their dark blue uniforms and the letter "I" (information) on a red and blue badge on their shirt pocket.

Will I need to bring an adaptor?

UK style 3-pin plugs are used in Malaysia, however it is still advisable to bring a universal plug adaptor. 

How do I contact the Tourist Board?

Tourism Malaysia have a dedicated team based in London. Visit them at their office at 57 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DU; call them on 020 7930 7932 or email them info@tourism-malaysia.co.uk

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