The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 when they were surpassed by Taipei 101.
Photo by Esmonde Yong

MALAYSIA

Asia

Malaysia Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Kuala Lumpur

Location:

Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

Currency:

ringgits (MYR)

Area:

329,847 sq km

Population:

33,519,406 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - Malaysia has 134 living languages - 112 indigenous languages and 22 non-indigenous languages; in East Malaysia, there are several indigenous languages; the most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan

Religion:

Muslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+8

Tel Code:

+60

Weather

Malaysia has a tropical rainforest climate, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The country experiences two main seasons: the Northeast Monsoon, from October to February, and the Southwest Monsoon, from May to September.

Northeast Monsoon (Dry season)

The Northeast Monsoon, from October to February, is considered the best time to visit Malaysia. The weather is dry, mild, and comfortable, making it perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The skies are clear, and the visibility is good, which makes it a great time to visit the country's many attractions such as the beaches of Langkawi, the highlands of Cameron and Genting, and the tropical rainforests of Sarawak.

Southwest Monsoon (Rainy season)

The Southwest Monsoon, from May to September, is characterized by heavy rainfall, high humidity, and thunderstorms. This is not the best time to visit Malaysia for those who want to enjoy outdoor activities or sightseeing, but it's a good time for those who want to experience the country's lush, green landscapes and enjoy indoor activities like visiting museums, shopping or trying the local food.

In general, the best time to visit Malaysia is from October to February, when the weather is dry, mild, and comfortable, making it perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing. However, it's always worth checking the weather forecast for the specific regions you plan to visit, as the weather can vary depending on the location.

Transportation

Malaysia has a well-developed transportation infrastructure, offering several options for getting around, including:

Bus

Buses are one of the most common and affordable ways to get around Malaysia. They connect most major towns and cities and are a good option for long-distance travel. However, the buses can be old, overcrowded, and in poor condition, and the roads can be in bad shape, so the journey can be bumpy and uncomfortable.

Train

Trains are another popular option for getting around Malaysia. They connect most major towns and cities, and offer a more comfortable way to travel than buses. The trains can be slow, but they provide a great way to see the country's beautiful scenery.

Plane

There are several domestic airlines that connect major cities and tourist destinations. This is one of the most convenient options for long-distance travel, but it's also the most expensive.

Taxi

Taxis are widely available in Malaysia and are a convenient option for getting around the city. They are relatively inexpensive, but it's always a good idea to agree on the fare before the trip starts to avoid any confusion.

Grab

Grab is a popular ride-hailing service in Malaysia, similar to Uber, it is widely available in most cities and towns and can be a convenient and affordable way to get around.

Motorbike or Scooter

Renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular option for travelers who want to explore Malaysia at their own pace, but it can be dangerous due to poor road conditions and lack of safety regulations.

It's important to note that transportation options may vary depending on the specific location you are visiting in Malaysia, and it's always a good idea to check the availability of transportation options before you travel.

Accommodation

Malaysia offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers, including:

Hotels

Malaysia has a wide range of hotels, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Prices vary depending on the level of comfort and service you require. In the main tourist areas, such as Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, and Penang, you'll find a good selection of mid-range and luxury hotels.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a popular and affordable accommodation option in Malaysia. They are generally small, family-run establishments that offer basic rooms and facilities. Guesthouses can be found in most towns and cities, and they are a great way to experience the local way of life.

Hostels

Hostels are a budget-friendly accommodation option, and are more common in the main tourist areas and cities. They usually offer dormitory-style accommodation and shared facilities, and they can be a great way to meet other travelers.

Homestays

Homestays are a great way to experience the local culture and way of life in Malaysia. They are often located in remote or rural areas and offer a chance to stay with a local family and learn about their daily life.

Resorts

Malaysia has a growing number of luxury resorts, many of which are located in remote and scenic locations such as the beaches of Langkawi and Tioman Island. These resorts offer a high level of comfort and service, and they are perfect for those looking for a more upscale experience.

Camping

Camping is not a common option for travelers in Malaysia, and there are few facilities available for camping. It's not a recommended option.

It's important to note that accommodation options may vary depending on the specific location you are visiting in Malaysia, and it's always a good idea to check the availability of accommodation options before you travel.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Malaysia Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for its natural beauty, diverse culture, and delicious cuisine. With its mix of modern cities, traditional villages, and tropical rainforests, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this fascinating country. From visiting iconic landmarks to experiencing local traditions, here are some of the top things to experience in Malaysia:

      1. Visit Petronas Twin Towers

      The Petronas Twin Towers are the iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Visitors can take the elevator to the 86th floor of the towers and enjoy the breathtaking view of the city.

      2. Explore the Batu Caves

      The Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves located just outside of Kuala Lumpur. The main cave, Temple Cave, is the site of the famous Hindu festival of Thaipusam, and is home to several Hindu shrines and statues.

      3. Visit the Perhentian Islands

      The Perhentian Islands are a group of islands located off the east coast of Malaysia, it is known for its crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities.

      4. Visit the Bako National Park

      Bako National Park is located in Sarawak, it is known for its diverse ecosystem, including mangrove forests, wetlands, and tropical rainforests. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park and spot a wide variety of plant and animal species.

      5. Visit the Kinabalu Park

      Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Sabah, it is known for its beautiful tropical rainforest and the majestic Mount Kinabalu. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park and hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.

      6. Visit the Heritage Village of Malacca

      The Heritage Village of Malacca is a restored historical village located in the city of Malacca, it is known for its traditional architecture, colorful streets, and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can take a guided tour of the village and learn about the history of Malacca.

      7. Visit the Cameron Highlands

      The Cameron Highlands are a group of hills located in Pahang, it is known for its cool climate, tea plantations, and beautiful natural scenery. Visitors can take a guided tour of the tea plantations and sample different types of tea.

      8. Visit the Taman Negara National Park

      Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and is located in Pahang, it is known for its diverse ecosystem, including mangrove forests, wetlands, and tropical rainforests. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park and spot a wide variety of plant and animal species.

      9. Visit the Pangkor Island

      Pangkor Island is a beautiful island located in Perak, it is known for its crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. Visitors can take a guided tour of the island and learn about the history and culture of the island.

      10. Visit the Langkawi Island

      Langkawi Island is an archipelago of 99 islands located in Kedah, it is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. Visitors can take a guided tour of the island and learn about the history and culture of the island.

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