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Continent: Asia

Ideal Duration: 7 - 10 days

Best Time: December - March Read More

Currency: Malaysian Ringgits (RM)

Budget: Moderately cheap

"Truly Asia"

Malaysia Tourism

Malaysia is an intriguing blend of history, art, nature and food in the southeast Asian continent. Separated by the South China Sea, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia are home to an array of landscapes ranging from beaches and rainforests to UNESCO-certified heritage sites and a magnificent skyline starring the famous, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Due to the immensity of beaches and vivid marine life, Malaysia also offers excellent scuba diving spots.

Home to various religious and ethnic minorities, this Islamic nation stands as the 44th most populous country in the world. The amalgamation of diverse inhabitants has led Malaysia to lead a varied lifestyle as well; from food and festivities to art and culture. This tropical country also has equally distributed lavish greenery and dense forests across Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Both of which shelters some of the rarest animals, intense canopies and a vivid collection of colourful flora.

The country has a range of excellent nature attractions such as the exquisite Batu Caves, the 130 million years old Taman Negara rainforest, the Sarawak Chamber, Mulu Caves, Perhentian Islands, Mount Kinabalu and Cameron Highlands. On the urban front, Malaysia offers experiences such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Georgetown Inner City and Bukit Bintang; exclusively for a shopping spree. Besides, the country also hosts a range of temples, national parks and an array of adventure activities.

Lined with vibrant markets and fascinating museums, the land of the renowned Jimmy Choo also has a sophisticated shopping scene from street shopping to extravagant malls such as Berjaya Times Square and Langkawi Parade. Food in Malaysia is an inspiration of neighbouring culinary, with recipes imported and modified from Thailand, China, India and Java. Penang being the Street Food Capital of Asia, Malaysia tops the lists of food-fanatics with its floating street food market and the popular Food Hunt Festival. Malaysia is undoubtedly a wholesome experience in itself.

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Best time to visit Malaysia

December - March is the best time to visit Malaysia

The best time to visit Malaysia is between March to early October. When one can avoid the worst of the rains, and there is comparatively less humidity during this period. The weather in Malaysia is said to be hot and humid throughout the year with short spells of rain. The temperature in Malaysia usually varies from 21-degree centigrade to 32 degrees Celsius at the sea level. At the higher peak levels, you can expect lower temperatures and much colder weather. When you are planning to visit Malaysia, the first thing that you need to decide is which part of Malaysia you’re planning on visiting, i.e. the west coast or the east coast. The best travelling months will depend on the choice of your region and also the kind of activities that you are planning on enjoying. Malaysia barely has any seasonal changes because of the constant temperature but the coldest months are said to be from November to January.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

The Asian cuisine, the mesmerizing islands and the natural beauty of this place.

What's Not So Great?

You would come across litterings and dirty corners or patches even in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the cities in Malaysia are also somewhat littered in parts.

For Whom?

People who want to dig into Asian cuisine. Beach lovers. Adventure seekers. Family vacationers.

Read More on Malaysia

Currency of Malaysia

The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia which is officially denoted as MYR and RM for prices. 1 MYR consists of 100 Sen. The banknote denominations of the MYR are RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100 and the coins are 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen. 

Various well-known international credit and debit cards such as Visa, Maestro, MasterCard and Cirrus are accepted in Malaysia except for lesser-known stores within the country.
Top hotels, eateries and shopping hubs accept credit cards and some of them even accept foreign currency such as USD, Euro and Yen.

ATM Facilities: 
Malaysia has ATMs throughout the country in banks, airports and transport areas, however, most ATMs close after midnight. 

Traveller Cheques:
Visitors can carry traveller cheques, and they can easily be cashed at money exchange centres and banks. However, it can become quite tedious as it cannot be used to immediate payment and involve fee charges for every cheque.

Exchanging Money in Malaysia

  • Travellers can exchange currency at money changers, banks, select hotels and malls.
  • Money changers are an excellent option for exchanging a large amount of currency.
  • All transactions beyond RM3000 require a valid ID proof. 
  • It is advisable to exchange MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) to either USD or EUR before departing from Malaysia as MYR is non-internationalised and it cannot be exchanged anywhere outside the country.

Nightlife in Malaysia

Nightlife in Malaysia is as vibrant as it gets. However, the club-hub in all of Malaysia happens to be its capital city, Kuala Lumpur, where the city comes alive post 10 in the night.

With an endless array of clubs and pubs to bars fitting every budget-limit and ambience, Malaysia also offers special Wednesday or Thursday Ladies Nights in specific pubbing hotspots such as Kuala Lumpur and Bangsar.

Besides partying, Malaysia also has a variety of night markets to spend a memorable nightlife in the country. Markets like Connaught Night Market, Bangsar Night Market and Kasturi Walk are some of the local favourites.

Shopping in Malaysia

Each region in Malaysia has its own persona when it comes to shopping. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur carries out the most extravagant of all, especially with the city's largest Berjaya Times Square which houses over a thousand stores spread across ten floors.

The country also has an array of night markets such as Connaught Night Market, Pasar Malam, Bangsar Baru Night Market, Batu Ferringhi and Sri Petaling Night Market. Bargaining is quite prevalent in the night markets in Malaysia, besides casual haggling that takes place even in street shopping.

Some of the best shopping hubs in Malaysia are Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, Sungei Wang Plaza - which is known for its salons and funky shopper items, Teow Soon Huat Duty-Free store in Langkawi, Penang's Gurney Paragon Mall and Suria Sabah in Kota Kinabalu. Batik, sarong, songket and tropical fruit chocolates are some of the best souvenirs to purchase in Malaysia.

Festivals of Malaysia

The diverse nation of Malaysia hosts various religions and cultural festivities across the East and Peninsular Malaysia. 

Religious and Cultural Celebrations
There are separate cultural and religious celebration. Some of the religious festivals include Diwali, Eid, Christmas and Chinese New Year. In contrast, cultural festivities hold a spectrum of events such as the Kaamatan Harvest Festival, Wesak Day, Gawai Harvest Festival and Mooncake Festival. The amalgam of numerous ethnicities has resulted in the endless flavours of the Malaysian melting pot. 

The most unique of all Malaysian celebrations is the Dragon Boat Festival. Besides cultural and religion-based events, Malaysia also observes the Independence day and the birthday of the Sultan.

History of Malaysia

The Malaysian history as a community is said to go way back, 40,000 years into the past with a former aboriginal inhabitation. Today's Sabah is said to have been populated since 7000 BCE. The present federal country with 13 states and three federal territories was previously a stronghold for different colonial powers such as the Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese the British. 

The first settlements in this land were that of the Indian and Chinese traders who set a strain of trade in Malaysia. This early influence reflects in the Malaysian heritage even till today. Upon Islam radically spreading as the state's religion, the Malacca Sultanate was thus founded in the 1500s. The international affairs of nine such Sultanates came under the jurisdiction of the British between the latter 1800s and 1930.

Modern Malaysia
The Federation of 11 states in Malaya including Pahang, Selangor and Perak took place in 1948 after the Prime Minister established the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaysia triumphed Independence on August 31st, 1957 and henceforth, became a part of the Commonwealth. 

Hygiene in Malaysia

Though the sanitary conditions in Malaysia are not as flawless as Singapore, the country is still entirely above average when compared to surrounding regions. A good supply of medical needs, consumable tap water and clean street food is the standard hygiene benchmark in the country. However, Kuala Lumpur is relatively unclean. 

The disease rate in Malaysia, although quite minimal, it is quite evident. Infections such as malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, food and water-borne diseases, Japanese encephalitis and Rabies are prevalent. It is advisable to take necessary vaccines for diseases like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Yellow Fever and Typhoid before planning a trip to Malaysia. 

  • Ensure to pack ORS and Imodium, just in the case of an emergency
  • Do not use mall washrooms unless there is no other option
  • Although government hospitals are less expensive and qualitatively good, they can be crowded most of the time. Whereas private hospitals are plainly expensive.
  • Cover yourself fully while heading out on a trek, hike or any other outdoor activity to protect yourself from parasites and other deadly insects.

Customs of Malaysia

When in Malaysia, it is vital to be accustomed to their ways of greeting. People of the same sex greet each other with a right-hand shake, whereas, people of the opposite sex greet each other with an acknowledging nod. Malaysians don't have a phrase for "Hello", instead they use "Apa Khabar" which mean "How are you". 

If you want to gift your new Malaysian friend, refrain from gifting or serving any forms of alcohol, pork or beef. Altogether avoid white paper to wrap your gifts as white is considered to be a symbol of death. The best tokens of appreciation or gratitude are chocolates, pastries and home-made food. It is a Malay custom not to open the gift in front of the giver, so don't be disappointed. 

If you happen to visit a Malay family, wait until the eldest sits around the dining as seating is hierarchical in Malaysia. Do not enter a house with your shoes on. Always eat and pass food with your right hand; the left hand is considered to be unclean. Do not leave any food on your plate; it is a sign of disrespect. Toothpicks are a common sight on a Malaysian dining table.

  • Avoid all forms of PDA in Malaysia
  • Do not wear shoes indoors
  • Malaysia expects and appreciates conservative dressing. So avoid revealing and inappropriate clothes.
  • Silence, in Malaysia, is acceptable, as it is quite expected in return for a question. 
  • If you are in Malaysia for an official purpose, it is always a good option to exchange business/visiting cards after your first encounter.
  • Give and receive gifts with both hands
  • Women are greeted first.
  • Malaysians do not possess a surname; instead, they add "bin" or "binti" meaning "son of" or "daughter of" respectively, along with the father's name to their own names.
  • Use the correct pronouns while addressing someone (Mr, Mrs, Ms)

Tips for visiting Malaysia

  1. Never point out your forefinger, use your thumb instead.
  2. Be careful while using credit cards, as there can be a possibility of frauds.
  3. Carry an umbrella while heading out, as there are untimely showers.
  4. Malaysia has quite a lot of road traffic. So be prepared while travelling within the country.
  5. Bargaining is a common practice. Be smart while purchasing as vendors tend to hike up the prices for tourists. 
  6. Cover yourself completely while going outdoors such as on hikes and treks as you may contract mosquito-borne illnesses or fever from other insects such as leaches.
  7. Although nightlife in Kuala Lumpur is a pretty extravagant scene, it carries a poorer reputation due to the multiple show cancellations based on religious and cultural issues. 
  8. Ensure to carry cash for taxis, street shopping and street eateries. 
  9. Although the tap water here is drinkable, bottled water is always a better option concerning hygiene and taste. 
  10. Do not touch the head of elders. It is considered to be rude.

Culture of Malaysia

Malaysia has a colourful cultural personality. Given the inflow of numerous ethnic and religious minorities and colonial history, the Malaysian culture is largely divided as Malay Indian, Malay Indigenous and Malay Chinese along with Arab and British inspired cultures as well.

From performing arts to puppet shows and indigenous musical instruments and multi-lingual television, the Malaysian culture has an in-depth and extensive tradition of art and music. The regional literature has had an Indian front, with Indian epics and stories being the nucleus.

Malaysia endorses cultural symbols from time to time. Some of the nature-driven symbols include the sea turtle, hibiscus and orangutan. A fun fact behind the officiality of the symbols is the underlying informal symbol of the Rojak (a Malay salad).

Food of Malaysia

Based on the three most prominent cultural identities of Malaysia, the Malaysian cuisine likewise, has an Indian, Malay and a Chinese flavour, with a tint of Arabic influence as well. Regions such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca have an extensive line of Chinese eateries and home-made food.

The Malaysian gastronomical experience has elements from all three main culinary cultures, like the Indian banana leaf in Malay Indian dining which is heavily influenced by the Tamil cuisine, due to the Sri Lankan settlement in Malaysia. Rice is a major staple diet in Malaysia among diversity.

Some of the region's cuisine is similar to Indonesian recipes and ingredients, besides the Javanese texture of taste and presentation. Apart from an array of KFC outlets, Malaysia also hosts a range of street stalls, cafes and lavish restaurants. The famous Nasi Lemak is said to be unofficially known as the dish of the country.

Regions in Malaysia

The Malaysian sub-continent comprises of two major divisions on either side of the South China Sea; Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. 

Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia consists of the following regions - Kuala Lumpur, West Coast - the stretch from Langkawi to Northen Malacca including Georgetown), East Coast (the section consisting of Perhentian Islands, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu etc.) and Johor.

East Malaysia
East Malaysia encompasses Sabah, Sarawak, Bandar Seri Begawan. Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. This side of Malaysia overflows with greenery, forests and wildlife. 


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