Fast Facts
  • Several nationals can stay in Malaysia for up to 90 days without a visa, including most EU member countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • ASEAN nationals except Myanmar can stay for up to 30 days without a visa.

Travellers that require a visa can submit an application for an e-visa online or contact the nearest Malaysian consulate. For up-to-date details and requirements, visit the website of Malaysia’s Immigration Department.

Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC)

All travellers are required to submit a Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) within three days prior to arriving in Malaysia. The form can be completed via the MDAC online portal. A printed copy of the completed form must be presented at the immigration counter upon arrival.

Documents required on arrival
  • Passport valid for at least six months with two or more blank pages;
  • Printed copy of Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC).

All the above information may change without prior notice. It remains the traveller’s responsibility to check visa requirements before travelling.

Time zone

Official language: Bahasa Malaysia

Different dialects of Chinese, including Cantonese, Hokkien and Mandarin are also widely spoken and Tamil is spoken by the Indian sector of the population. English widely spoken and understood throughout the country.

What to pack
  • Light cotton clothing is recommended for Malaysia’s tropical climate;
  • Smart evening wear may be required for dining at hotels and high-end restaurants (please check the dress code for specific venues with your Asian Trails guide);
  • Clothing that covers the arms and legs are recommended to protect against mosquitos;
  • A lightweight raincoat may be useful if travelling during rainy season;
  • Warm clothing is recommended if visiting mountainous areas such as the Cameron Highlands as temperatures can drop considerably, especially in the evenings;
  • Thermal clothing is recommended if visiting Mount Kinabalu;
  • Please note the following items of clothing are prohibited when visiting religious sites: shorts, short skirts or similar types of clothing;
  • An umbrella can offer shade from the strong sun and/or rain;
  • Reusable water bottle;
  • Sun hat and sunscreen;
  • Insect repellent;
  • Universal plug adaptor.
The standard voltage in Malaysia is 240V (50Hz).

Phone & internet
A local sim card is easily available at the airport or from a local service provider. An extensive 3G/4G/5G network is in place and covers most urban areas.
  • Support local businesses and shop at fair-trade stores or social enterprises (ask Asian Trails for recommendations);
  • Choose to dine at locally-owned restaurants serving local cuisine;
  • Switch off the air-conditioning and lights when you leave your hotel room;
  • Donate to local charities and NGOs if you would like to support local people and nature (ask Asian Trails for recommendations);
  • Ask permission before taking photographs of people or places of worship;
  • It is customary to remove shoes when entering a religious place or private home;
  • A traditional form of greeting is a light handshake with both hands (known as salam), although Muslim women may greet men with a nod and smile.
  • Avoid using single-use plastic bags or cups to minimise the problem of plastic waste;
  • Don’t buy from children selling souvenirs on the streets, and don’t give them money or sweets, as this encourages them to stay out of school;
  • Don’t take home religious objects such as Buddha images or other sacred items;
  • Don’t buy wildlife products or items made from animal skins;
  • Avoid overt public displays of affection;
  • Don’t point the soles of your feet at others and avoid touching people on the head as this is considered bad manners;
  • Avoid wearing sleeveless shirts and short skirts or clothing that is too revealing as Malaysia is a conservative country; make sure shoulders and knees are covered, especially when visiting religious sites;
  • Avoid using your index finger to point at things or indicate the direction; use your thumb instead.

Official currency of Malaysia: Malaysian ringgit (MYR)

The currency is sometimes abbreviated to RM. Foreign currency is rarely used for everyday transactions. Currency can be changed at banks, exchange bureaus and some hotels.

ATMs that accept foreign cards are widely available, although harder to find in more remote areas such as islands and beach destinations.

Banking hours

Usual banking hours are:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 4 pm;
  • Some exchange bureaus offer extended hours on evenings and weekends.
Credit cards
Credit cards are widely accepted nationwide.
While not compulsory, gratuities are always appreciated in Malaysia. Tipping is not part of the local culture, but many in the travel and service industry are accustomed to receiving a small amount for good service. Please consider the following as a guide to common practice, although tipping and the amount to tip is always at the discretion of the individual.

Guides and drivers Tipping is entirely up to the individual and depends on the level of satisfaction with the service.
Hotel porters It is typical to tip hotel porters for carrying bags to the room.
Restaurants Some restaurants add a service charge of 10% to the bill. In cases where service charge is not included, a tip of up to 10% is appreciated.
Taxi drivers Tipping taxi drivers is not expected, but it is customary to round up the fare.
Domestic flights

Several local and regional airlines offer convenient and fast connections between Malaysia’s major cities.


Peninsular Malaysia has an excellent bus system. Public buses do local runs and a number of privately operated bus companies handle the longer trips. Local and regional buses often operate from one station and long-distance buses from another. The Go KL City Bus in Kuala Lumpur offers free-of-charge rides through the city along famous landmarks, sights, and key transportation hubs.


Peninsular Malaysia has a modern, comfortable and economical railway line that runs from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and then continues to Butterworth and the border of Thailand.


Metered taxes are easy to find in the major cities and rides can also be booked via the Grab mobile app or a local equivalent.


This traditional mode of transport can still be found in designated heritage areas of Malaysia, such as Penang and Malacca, and offer a unique way to explore and experience the destination.


Malaysia is a multicultural society with Islam as the dominant religion, with 61 per cent of the population adherents of this faith. The constitution guarantees religious freedom for many other faiths and relations between different religious groups are harmonious and tolerant. Christmas, Chinese New Year and Deepavali have all been declared national holidays alongside Islamic holidays. The large Chinese population practices a mixture of beliefs, with influences from traditional religions followed in China such as Buddhism and Daoism. Hinduism is followed by many of Malaysia’s Indians. Influences from its colonial past will also see many Christians still practicing their religion across the country.

Malaysia’s culinary tradition reflects the waves of immigration, settlement and assimilation that brought uniquely delicious flavours from its multicultural Malay, Indian, Chinese and Eurasian population. Primarily consisting of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, Malaysian cuisine also has its hybrids derived from cross cultural influences such as Mamak (Indian-Muslim) and Nyonya (the Malay-Chinese mix). A Malay meal always revolves around rice, accompanied by curries, fried chicken or fish, vegetable dishes, and small portions of condiments, called sambal.

Common local dishes:

  • Satay – Delicious barbecued skewers of marinated chicken, beef, or mutton dipped in a peanut sauce;
  • Ikan bakar – Fish covered in chilli sauce and grilled in foil over an open flame;
  • Nasi lemak – Made with rice cooked in coconut milk and served with fried chicken, prawn crackers, dried anchovies, egg and a dark, sweet chilli sauce.
Malaysia is a shopper’s paradise; the capital Kuala Lumpur already has well over 20 large malls with most of them concentrated within the “Golden Triangle”, near Bukit Bintang. Shopping malls are usually open throughout the week from 10 am until 10 pm.

Traditional markets, also called wet markets, are a great source for fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, spices and other basic local ingredients. It is best to visit these markets in the early morning to get the freshest produce.

Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang and Genting Highlands are the best places for a modern shopping experience while cultural handicrafts can be found in Malacca and the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Langkawi Island, Tioman Island and Labuan Island are duty-free zones that are popular for their alcohol and chocolates.

What to buy:

  • Malay batik and traditional garments;
  • Hand-crafted wooden baskets;
  • Pewter ware and brassware;
  • Pottery and painted tiles;
  • Malay kites (wan bulan).
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you have recently travelled to a country where the disease is present.

There are currently no other vaccine requirements, although it is advisable to be up-to-date with standard inoculations, such as:

  • Typhoid;
  • Cholera;
  • Hepatitis A and B;
  • Polio, diphtheria and tetanus;
  • Malaria and dengue (especially if travelling to remote areas).

Consult your doctor for the most appropriate medical advice. If you require a particular medication, ensure that you pack an adequate supply, as it may not be available locally.

Various biting bugs, leeches, parasites and venomous snakes are found in Malaysia’s rugged jungles so use insect repellent, don’t walk barefoot and take sensible precautions to avoid bites and stings if you embark on a jungle adventure.

Drinking water

Tap water in the capital of Kuala Lumpur is potable, but most locals prefer bottled or filtered water. Bottled mineral water is easy to find at convenience stores around the country. Ice cubes are typically safe if served at a hotel or restaurant, but best avoided at street stalls and in remote parts of the country.

Malaysia is a safe country to visit. However, it is advisable to take some precautions to safeguard your belongings:

  • Never leave items unattended;
  • Maintain a firm grip on bags and wallets, especially in crowded places and on busy streets;
  • Leave expensive jewellery at home and store valuables in the hotel safety deposit box or in-room safe;
  • Avoid engaging with touts who approach you in the street.
Travellers are advised to obtain appropriate insurance to cover any accidents or medical emergencies while travelling. In some cases, treatment will not be administered without proof of travel insurance. Ensure that your plan covers motor vehicle accidents if you plan to hire a car or motorbike. Emergency evacuation cover is highly recommended as you may have to fly out of the country for treatment.
Emergency numbers
Call 999 for all emergencies.


This information was valid at the time of publication and it is subject to change at any time. We cannot be held responsible for any external links. You acknowledge, by your use of this site, that you use it at your own risk and that Asian Trails shall not be liable for any damages of any kind related to your use of this site, or the information contained within. We reserve the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update information at any time without prior notice.

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