(All information are referenced from http://www.malaysia.travel/en/intl/about-malaysia unless otherwise indicated)

 

People and Language

Malays comprise 57% of the population, while the Chinese, Indian and Bumiputeras and other races make up the rest of the country's population.

While Malay is the national language the many ethnic groups also converse in their various languages and dialects, but English is also widely spoken.

Islam is the official religion of the country, but other religions such as Buddhism and Christianity are widely and freely practised.

Currency

The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM or MYR. The exchange rate is valued at USD1 = RM4.27. Notes are available in RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100 denominations, while coins are issued in 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen (cents) denominations. 

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money changers. View the latest exchange rates here www.xe.com

Climate

Malaysia is a tropical holiday destination, where temperatures fluctuate between 25 and 35 degrees during the year. It is usually very hot and humid, especially in the major cities. It is less hot on the many islands surrounding Malaysia, mainly due to the cool breezes. It is also less hot in the 'highlands' of Malaysia; here you can enjoy cooler temperatures that never exceed 25 degrees. (Information courtesy of http://www.wonderfulmalaysia.com/malaysia-climate-and-monsoon.htm)

Practical Information

Time
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S Standard Time.

Electricity
Electricity in Malaysia is 240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Malaysia with a device that does not accept 240 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Malaysia uses standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.

Weight & Measurement

Malaysia follows the metric system for weight and measurement.

Passport/Travel Documents

Visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Immigration and customs checkpoints are situated at all air, sea, road and rail entry points.


Every visitor to Malaysia has to fill in a Disembarkation Card (IMM. 26). The card has to be handed over to the Immigration Officer on arrival together with the national passport or other internationally recognized travel document endorsed for travel into Malaysia. A passport/travel document is also necessary for travel between Sabah and Sarawak.

Visitor passes issued for entry into Peninsular Malaysia are not valid for entry into Sarawak.

Fresh visit passes must be obtained on arrival at the point of entry in Sarawak. However, subject to conditions stipulated, visit passes issued by the Immigration Authorities in Sabah and Sarawak are valid for any part of Malaysia.

Free Visa

Commonwealth Citizens (except Bangladesh/India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), British Protected Persons or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Citizens of Switzerland, Netherlands, San Marino and Liechtenstein.

Free Visa For Social & Business Visit Not Exceeding Three Months

Citizens of Albania, Austria, Algeria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Republic of Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Italy, United States of America, Bahrin, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, North Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia,Qatar United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Tunisia

One Month Nationals Of Asean Countries

14 DAYS Citizens of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, South Yemen
1 WEEK Citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Russia

Visit the Malaysian Immigration Department (http://www.imi.gov.my/index.php/en/)  or Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.kln.gov.my/web/guest/home) for more info.

Procedure for Claiming a Tax Refund by a Tourist at an Approved Outlet

Travellers are eligible for a tax refund after shopping in Malaysia when you spend over the minimum purchase amount of RM300. The following details will be required to claim a tax refund.

  1. Tourist's name.
  2. Tourist's passport number.
  3. Tourist's country of residence.
  4. Date of arrival in Malaysia.
  5. Intended date of departure from Malaysia.
  6. Date of purchase of the eligible goods.
  7. Tax invoice or receipt number for the eligible goods.

Transport in Malaysia

(Information referenced from https://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/transport/getting-around/local-transport)

GETTING AROUND BY AIR

Malaysia Airlines

The two main domestic operators are Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

The Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly has flights from KL (SkyPark Subang Terminal) to Ipoh, Johor Bahru (JB), Kerteh, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Langkawi and Penang. It also runs connections between Penang and Langkawi, Kuantan and Kota Bharu, Ipoh and JB, and JB and Kota Bharu.

Malindo Air also has a wide range of connections between many Malaysian cities and towns.

In Malaysian Borneo, Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASwings offers local flights within and between Sarawak and Sabah; its main hub is Miri. These services, especially those handled by 19-seat Twin Otters, are very much reliant on the vagaries of the weather. In the wet season (October to March in Sarawak and on Sabah’s northeast coast; May to November on Sabah’s west coast), places like Bario in Sarawak can be isolated for days at a time, so don’t venture into this area if you have a tight schedule. These flights are completely booked during school holidays. At other times it’s easier to get a seat at a few days’ notice, but always book as far in advance as possible.

Discounts & Special Flights

All the airlines offer discounted tickets online, depending on how far in advance you book. A variety of other discounts (typically between 25% and 50%) are available for flights around Malaysia on Malaysia Airlines, including for families and groups of three or more.

TAXI

Taxis are found in all large cities, and most have meters

Long-Distance Taxi

As Malaysia has become a wealthier country, with more people owning their own cars, the long-distance taxi is becoming less of a feature of the transport landscape. However, in major towns and cities there will be a taxi stand for long-distance travel.

Taxis are available on a share basis for up to four people. As soon as a full complement of passengers turns up, off you go; alternatively, you can charter the whole taxi which is four times the single-fare rate. Early morning is generally the best time to find people to share a taxi, but enquire at the taxi stand the day before as to the best time to turn up.

Single fares are generally about twice the comparable bus fares. If you want to charter a taxi to an obscure destination, or by the hour, you’ll probably have to do some negotiating. On the peninsula you’re likely to pay around 50 sen per kilometre.

Besides taxi, other option is to used taxi app Grab which many people use it nowadays.

TRAIN

Malaysia’s national railway company is Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). It runs a modern, comfortable and economical railway service, although there are basically only two lines.

One line runs up the west coast from Johor Bahru, through KL on into Thailand; there's a short spur off this line for Butterworth – the jumping off point for the island of Penang. Line two branches off the first line at Gemas and runs through Kuala Lipis up to the northeastern corner of the country near Kota Bharu in Kelantan. Often referred to as the 'jungle train', this line is properly known as the 'east line'.

On the west-coast line, a speedy electric train service now runs between Gemas and Padang Besar on the Thai border. Full electrification on this side of the peninsula is expected to be completed by 2020.

In Sabah the North Borneo Railway (www.suteraharbour.com/north-borneo-railway), a narrow-gauge line running through the Sungai Padas gorge from Tenom to Beaufort, offers tourist trips lasting four hours on Wednesday and Saturday.

Services & Classes

There are two main types of rail services: express (ETS) and local trains. Express trains are air-conditioned and have 'premier’ (1st class), 'superior’ (2nd class) and sometimes 'economy’ (3rd class) seats and, depending on the service, sleeping cabins. Local trains are usually economy class only, but some have superior seats.

Express trains stop only at main stations, while local services, which operate mostly on the east-coast line, stop everywhere, including the middle of the jungle, to let passengers and their goods on and off. Consequently local services take more than twice as long as the express trains and run to erratic schedules, but if you’re in no hurry they provide a colourful experience and are good for short journeys.

Most cities in Malaysia have some combination of a monorail, light rail, or KTM Komuter trains. They’re fast, comfortable, and reasonably priced. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail has 11 elevated stations and stops at a number of tourist destinations. Kuala Lumpur also has an extensive and low-cost light rail system. From Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Rail Malaysia runs several trains daily. The famous Jungle Train between Wakaf Baharu and Kuala Lipis starts at 4 AM and leaves several times a day.

BUS

Bus travel in Malaysia is economical and generally comfortable. Seats can be paid for and reserved either directly with operators or via online sites such www.easybook.com.

Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (www.ktb.com.my) is Malaysia’s largest bus operator running services under the Transnasional, Nice, Plusliner and Cityliner brands. There are so many buses on major runs that you can often turn up and get a seat on the next bus.

In larger towns there may be a number of bus stations; local/regional buses often operate from one station and long-distance buses from another; in other cases, KL for example, bus stations are differentiated by the destinations they serve.

Bus travel off the beaten track is relatively straightforward. Small towns and kampung (villages) all over the country are serviced by public buses. Unfortunately, they are often poorly signed and sometimes the only way to find your bus is to ask a local. These buses are invariably dirt cheap and provide a great sample of rural life. In most towns there are no ticket offices, so buy your ticket from the conductor after you board.