So, you’ve decided to direct your attention towards magical Malaysia for your next holiday destination? Great choice! Malaysia offers so much to the first time tourist, from the Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur and on to foodie Penang, but for you to actually make the most of your stay, i’s essential to do research before you go and read up on the top Malaysia travel tips outlines here!
Too many people, myself included, take the travel basics for granted and often find themselves in difficult travel situations with no visa, or a hefty hospital bill! Before choosing between Penang or Langkawi, here’s how to get prepared before your Malaysia trip, ideal for first time travellers…
6 Need To Know Malaysia Travel Tips
Apply For A Visa Early
You might already be aware of this, but in order to actually enter this entire region, you will need to hold a visa. Obtaining the necessary entry paperwork doesn’t need to involve a lot of effort or complications, but to make sure you are able to depart when you want to, handle your Malaysia visa application early.
Nowadays, you have the possibility to handle all this online, making your pre-departure to-do list that much easier. Simply contact the specialists (who can help you avoid having your application rejected) and you will quickly be sent all the documents you need to get into Malaysian without any problems. And believe me, you do not want border problems!!
Visa requirements for Malaysia are very similar to Singapore, which means many nationalities (most European countries, North Americans, South Africans, Australians etc) do not require a visa. You are permitted to stay within Malaysia for 90 days (although this differs depending on nationality.) For a full checklist of things to do, this downloadable packing list should help.
Health and Immunizations
Depending on the area from which you’re travelling, you might be obligated to have certificates that prove you have been vaccinated against certain diseases. This mainly applies to certain African countries, but rules change all the time. Even if the certificates aren’t required, for your own health it’s advisable to get whatever immunizations your doctor recommends.
The Tropical Medical Bureau, Ireland’s leading travel health clinic, says that tourists travelling to Malaysia should have cover against Tetanus and Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. For those planning in trekking or staying in Malaysia for longer periods of time, you will need to consider cover against a number of other diseases such as Rabies and Hepatitis B.
Be Careful With Food
Malaysian food is some of the best in Asia, of not the world. It’s the perfect mix between Southeast Asia and India, and the street food is some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.
One thing you might need to prepare for, however, is food poisoning. Or simple becoming ill due to food you’re not used to! It can be very spicy and they eat parts of the pig or chicken that we wouldn’t dream of in the western world.
Pack some tablets and hope for the best, but don’t let this stop you from trying the street food – it’s some of the best in the world!
Safety and currency
Malaysia is known for being a very safe place to visit, and there are rarely any concerns voiced by travellers in the region. I’ve been to Malaysia two or three times and never had any safety or money issues.
However, you should always be mindful of your safety and where you stay, be it a hostel, hotel or even an Airbnb. Be sure to share the address with a friend or loved one and plan your journey before your arriving, especially if arriving at night. Kuala Lumpur is known to be very safe and boy oh boy are their some epic rooftop bars in check out at nighttime. They’re not big drinkers, meaning there’s not a lot of trouble to be found late at night.
As you won’t be able to make payments in your own currency, be sure to convert some money before departing – the conversion rates there are probably much more expensive in Malaysia than in your home-country. I always bring at least US$100 in cash, and then use my ATM card for as many transactions as possible. Bring a credit card too and keep it somewhere away from the rest of your money – a “just in case” card!
Last but not least, make sure you’re properly informed on what you can and cannot bring with you into Malaysia. As with every country, you will not be allowed perfumes, cosmetics or soaps that pass the value of RM200, nor souvenirs that value more than RM200.
You are also allowed to bring no more than 225 grams of tobacco, but as it’s relatively cheap in Malaysia you shouldn’t need to! There are several other things that might raise concerns, so research requirements regarding customs to make sure you won’t have to leave contents of your baggage at the airport.
While Malaysia will offer some of the most memorable travel moments and experiences, none of that will be possible unless you’re properly prepared!
Beware of Taxis!
Taxi drivers in Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur, are known to charge the most outrageous prices. They often refuse to use the meter or if they do have one, it’s broken and the fare seems to increase at an unprecedented rate!! You’re better off using UBER or GRAB, which is the Asian equivalent and is widely used all over Southeast Asia.
I hope those brief Malaysia travel tips will allow you to start off your Malaysian experience on the right foot, and enjoy your first visit there. Have I missed anything important? Please leave a comment!