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Malaysia - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Visa: Entry formalities in Malaysia
Diplomatic representations: Embassies Abroad

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Besides buses, long distance taxis, which take a maximum of four passengers, are more expensive but more practical.
Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

The most used means of transport is the bus, and the network is very dense. You can also use the two railway lines which cross the country, or the airplane, which is more expensive.
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Malaysia Airlines Major yes Yes
Air Asia Major yes Yes
FireFlyz Low cost yes Yes
Berjaya Air Major yes No

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road network is rather limited but air transport is very developed and the river network is often used, although it is slow. The condition of the highways crossing the country from North to South is satisfactory. The regular road network has variable conditions but it is acceptable on the whole. No specific problems in terms of fuel supply. There is a very high rate of road accidents. In the event of an accident, it is necessary to call the police who will draw up a report. A third-party insurance is compulsory.
Road maps: Malaysia Maps
Find an itinerary: Maps Live


Different forms of tourism

Historical: Melaka and Georgetown are historic cities of the Strait of Malacca.
Cultural: Traditional dances: the menora danced by men hidden behind monster masks and its feminine equivalent the mak yong; the joget, danced by couples, the silat, a martial art whose refinement and elegance liken it to a dance. Music: mostly based on the gendang (drum) but also including percussion instruments, flutes, trumpets, gongs and gamelan. The wayang kulit (shadow theater) narrating the Ramayana, the great Hindu epic.

Batik, kain songket, a hand-woven material embroidered with threads of gold and silver, wickerwork, crafting silver, copper and tin, are all part of a flourishing craft industry.

Nature: Malaysia has many national parks: Taman Negara, Endau-Rompin, Kinabalu, Gunung Mulu, Niah, Bako; high altitude resorts: Fraser's Hill wild mountain resort, where you can find jungle paths, waterfalls, tree nurseries and mushroom farms; Cameron Highlands where there are fruit and vegetable farms and tea plantations; and Genting Highlands and its artificial lake.
Religious: At Cameron Highlands the Buddhist Temple Chin Swee, in Kuala Lumpur the Mesjid Negara, one of the biggest mosques in South East Asia, the Hindu temple Sri Mahamariamman, the Brickfields district with its hundred-year-old Buddhist, Chinese and Hindu temples.
Thermal: Malaysia is a favorite destination for health tourism, and has many spas using traditional Javanese, Chinese and Indian practices. A list is available on the Website Tourism in Malaysia.
Beach: Penang, in the north of the island, about 14 km from Georgetown, Langkawi island, relatively isolated and preserved, good for getting away from it all, Pangkor island, well known for its anchovies and its squid.
Winter sports: None
Outdoor activities: Golf, football, sailing, windsurfing, diving, and in Eastern Malaysia trekking in the jungle, climbing and rafting.
Shopping: Do not miss the Carnival sales in Kuala Lumpur, the Central Market (crafts, cheap souvenirs), Starhill Mall (luxury department store), Petaling Street (where Chinese, Nepalese and Burmese vendors sell jewelry, medicinal plants, food, bags and clothes), Little India (saris, gold, medicinal herbs), the shopping centers Suria Shopping Complex, Sungei Wang Plaza, Starhill (luxury), Factory Outlet Store (FOS) and GME Factory Outlet, night markets (pasar malam).
Tourism organizations: Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year old coming from affected areas. Countries and areas included in endemic areas are considered as affected areas. The risk of malaria only exists in some places limited to the hinterland. Urban and coastal areas have no malaria, except in Sabah where there is year round risk, mainly of the malignant P. falciparum form. There are reports of some strains of P. falciparum resistant to chloroquine; a few cases of resistance of the parasite to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine have been reported. Preventive treatment recommended in areas of risk: C+P; in Sabah, MEF. MALAWI.
Protect yourself against traveler's diarrhea. The most risky foods are those dishes which are prepared and eaten cold later; seafood, meats, fish which are under- or poorly cooked, and raw vegetables as well as fruit you have not peeled yourself. Drinking water must be boiled, filtered or drunk from sealed bottles. Decontaminating tablets (Hydroclonazone, Micropur) are partially effective. Avoid walking barefoot on sand or wet/muddy soil. Vaccination against rabies is justified for long, touring trips or for expatriation, especially for children. In any case, contact with wandering animals must be avoided. The Jevax vaccination (against Japanese encephalitis) is justified for long, touring trips in rural areas or for expatriation especially for professionals in rural areas.
Cases of the "Nipah" virus and Japanese encephalitis were reported in 1999. Dengue fever persists all over the country. Intermittently "Haze" is found (polluting smoke).
The quality of water is generally very acceptable, at least in the capital; elsewhere, it is best to be careful and use disinfecting tablets (like Micropur) or germ filtering procedures (like Katadyn), which are very reliable and practical nowadays.
For further information on sanitary conditions: WHO website

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Kuala Lumpur (GMT+8)
Summer time period: None
Climate: Malaysia is a hot, humid tropical country with temperatures from 21°C to 35°C. The rainy season is from April to August and October to December, and the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula has the monsoon between November and March.


Food specialties: Among Malay specialties, satay (barbecued meat which has been marinated in a hot spicy sauce), nasi goreng, ayam goreng, rendang, nasi lemak, Chinese soups: noodle soups with meat, wan tan mee, kway teow, popiah; and Indian dishes: murtabak, roti canai, tandoori.... For further details, see the Rough guide.
Drinks: Fruit juice, tea (usually sweetened with condensed milk), coffee, bali water (a sweet drink made from barley), sodas.
Dietary taboos: Culinary restrictions depend on religions.


Getting some knowledge: An introduction to Malay is available here.
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