Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 11:09 am

Malaysia is a very underrated country and a cocktail of different cultures, ethnicities, and traditions. Malaysia is a must-tour destination spot on the bucket list of many travelers and nature lovers. Are you ready for an adventure in the vibrant, diverse, and enchanting country? This Malaysia travel guide is your key to unlocking the secrets of this Southeast Asian gem. From top things to do, the best places to visit In Malaysia, indulging in mouthwatering Malaysian food, to soaking up the sun on the most beautiful beaches, we’ve got it all covered. So, let’s embark on an exciting journey through Malaysia!

Malaysia Visa Requirements: Do You Need a Visa?

Malaysia does not require a visa for purposes of tourism or short transit trips . More than 65 countries are visa exempt for 90 days. Citizens of 95 countries have permission for visa-free stay for 30 days in Malaysia. Expats who don’t fall in the above 160 nationalities need to get visas for their entry and stay in Malaysia. You can connect with the native Malaysian embassy for the visa process and requirements. People from nearby countries like India, China, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan can apply for the E-visa through an online website application. Check out this page for the latest updates on countries that are eligible for visa-free entry to Malaysia.

Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC): New Requirement

Travelers from ten countries, including Australia, Korea, United States, UK, Brunei, New Zealand, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Japan entering Malaysia now must complete and submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) three days before arrival, excluding permanent residents and long-term pass holders. For first-time visitors, enrollment and passport verification at a manual counter are mandatory. Subsequent visits necessitate the completion of MDAC three days before arrival for each visit. Successfully enrolled visitors are eligible to use Malaysia Autogate for both arrival and departure procedures.

Travel Insurance: Your Passport for Stress Free Travel

When setting off on international adventures, the importance of acquiring traveler’s insurance cannot be overstated. We wholeheartedly endorse choosing a SafetyWing policy. The fact is, unforeseen circumstances can strike at any moment, leading to the necessity of medical care, managing lost baggage, or coping with missed connections. For a thorough examination of Travelers Insurance, delve into our detailed guide on this topic. Always bear in mind that readiness is the cornerstone of a tranquil and delightful travel journey.

SafetyWing Travel Insurance

Internet and SIM Cards:

The easiest way to get mobile data in Malaysia is to purchase a prepaid SIM card. You can find these at the airport, convenience stores, or official carrier shops. Major carriers like Maxis, Celcom, and Digi offer a range of data packages. Our Malaysia Travel Guide recommends you to purchase an unlimited Internet E-SIM ahead of time so you have data as soon as you land.

Malaysia Electrical Outlets: Do You Need A Travel Adapter?

If you’re traveling from the United States to Malaysia, you will need a travel adapter if you plan on visiting. Malaysia operates on a 220V supply voltage and uses Type C and Type G outlet sockets, then the United States (which uses Type A and Type B plugs). A travel adapter will allow you to plug your American devices into Malaysian outlets and use and charge your electronics while in Malaysia. Be sure to check the voltage as well, as the U.S. uses 120V, while Malaysia typically uses 230V. Most modern electronic devices can handle a range of voltages, but it’s always a good idea to check your device’s specifications.

Malaysian Ringgit Currency And Exchange Rate

In Malaysia, the Official Currency is the Ringgit (RM).

Malaysian Ringgit Currency best money conversion data courtesy

Cost of Living in Malaysia: Is Malaysia Expensive?

Malaysia is generally considered an affordable travel destination, especially when compared to many Western countries. However, the cost of your trip can vary depending on factors like your travel style, the region you visit and your preferences.

Average Meal in Restaurant 12 RM$8.29
Beer in Restaurant or Bar15 RM$3.80
Bottle of Water2 RM$0.83
Apartment Rural 1200 RM$255
Apartment City Center1600 RM$340
Average Monthly Net Salary3750 RM$709
Malaysia Cost of Goods

Best Times to Visit Malaysia

Malaysia Travel Guide

The best time to visit Malaysia depends on the region you plan to explore.

  1. Peninsular Malaysia: The west coast, including Kuala Lumpur and Penang, is best visited from December to February when the weather is dry. The east coast is best from May to September.
  2. Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak): The best time is during the dry season, from March to October.
  3. Avoiding Monsoon Season: Be cautious of the monsoon season, which varies by region. In the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the monsoon occurs from May to September, while the east coast experiences it from November to March.
  4. Festivals: Consider visiting during festivals like Hari Raya (end of Ramadan), Chinese New Year, or Diwali for a cultural experience.
  5. Wildlife: If you’re interested in wildlife, the best time to visit Borneo for orangutan sightings is during the dry season from May to September.
  6. Diving: For scuba diving in areas like Sipadan, consider the dry season from April to December.

Keep in mind that Malaysia has a tropical climate, so it can be quite hot and humid year-round. It’s important to check specific locations and their weather patterns when planning your visit.

How To Get Around In Malaysia

Powered by 12Go system

Getting around Malaysia is relatively easy due to its well-developed transportation infrastructure. Here are some common ways to get around in Malaysia:

  1. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Ensure the meter is used, or negotiate a fare before your ride. Use the Grab App.
  2. Trains: Malaysia has an extensive train network. The KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) operates trains connecting major cities on the peninsular side, while in Kuala Lumpur, the LRT and MRT systems provide convenient urban transportation.
  3. Buses: Buses are a common and cost-effective way to travel within cities and between different regions. Long-distance buses connect major cities.
  4. Rapid Transit: In Kuala Lumpur, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems offer efficient transportation within the city.
  5. Ferries: To reach islands like Penang and Langkawi, you can use ferry services.

Always check for the most up-to-date information on transportation options, fares, and schedules when planning your trip to Malaysia. Transportation options may have evolved since my last update in September 2021.

Malaysia Customs and Cultures

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. Therefore, it is advisable to cover up when visiting sacred sites. The tropical climate generally encourages residents to wear casual clothing, such as shorts, sandals, and t-shirts. When visiting public offices and religious tourist sites, it’s important to follow dress codes. Beachwear, like speedos or bikinis, is acceptable for resorts, hotels, and tourist islands on the east coast, such as Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang. However, on other beaches, it is recommended to wear knee-length swimming trunks and one-piece bathing suits to show respect for local customs.

People here don’t like high tones and rude behavior. Keep your voice normal while talking and avoid unnecessary shouting. Use your right hand to eat and drink. Malaysian customs and culture are dominated by the Muslim majority, and people have a superstitious nature. You must respect the thoughts and religious attachment. Keep things in limit due to the strict local customs.

Languages Spoken in Malaysia

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language, one of the easiest Asian languages to understand. It is bound to tones and has the Roman alphabets. English is a widely understood and a common language particularly for communicating with foreigners. So you can easily talk with locals without any translator or guide. 

Top Things To Do In Malaysia

Top things to do in Malaysia
  1. Visit the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur: One of the top things to do in Malaysia, exploring the iconic twin towers and enjoying city views from the observation deck is a must.
  2. Experience George Town, Penang: A best place to visit in Malaysia, George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned not only for its cultural richness but also its mouthwatering Malaysian food.
  3. Explore the Cameron Highlands: Among the top things to do in Malaysia, escaping to the Cameron Highlands for its cool climate and lush landscapes is a refreshing experience.
  4. Encounter Wildlife in Borneo: This adventure ranks high on the list of best places to visit in Malaysia. Exploring Borneo is a chance to witness incredible wildlife.
  5. Savor Malaysian Street Food: When indulging in local street food delicacies like nasi lemak, char kway teow, and satay, you’re truly experiencing one of the top things to do in Malaysia.
  6. Relax on Langkawi’s Beaches: As one of the best beaches to visit in Malaysia, Langkawi is not only a place to unwind but also to relish some exquisite Malaysian food.
  7. Discover Malacca’s History: Malacca, with its colonial architecture and cultural heritage, is indeed one of the best places to visit in Malaysia.
  8. Trek in Rainforests: Trekking in Malaysia’s lush rainforests, like Taman Negara, is an adventure that showcases the natural beauty of the country.
  9. Attend Cultural Festivals: Experiencing cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Malaysia.
  10. Shop in Kuala Lumpur’s Markets: Among the top things to do in Malaysia, shopping in Kuala Lumpur’s bustling markets is an exciting experience, offering not only various goods but also delicious Malaysian street food.

Explore Malaysia’s Beauty: Best Places to Visit in Malaysia

Best places to visit in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country teeming with natural wonders and vibrant cultural diversity, making it an alluring destination for travelers. If you’re seeking the best places to visit in Malaysia that showcase the country’s beauty, you’re in for a treat. In this blog, we’ll guide you through some of the most captivating destinations where you can immerse yourself in Malaysia’s rich tapestry of landscapes and cultures.

1. Langkawi – A Tropical Paradise

Langkawi, an archipelago off Malaysia’s northwest coast, is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for a dose of natural splendor. With its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and crystal-clear waters, Langkawi provides an idyllic setting for relaxation and exploration. Be sure to visit the Langkawi Geopark, where you can witness unique geological formations and diverse wildlife. The word “best places to visit in Malaysia” truly comes alive in Langkawi’s stunning landscapes.

2. Kuala Lumpur – The Bustling Capital

Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital of Malaysia, is a city of contrasts where modernity meets tradition. Among the towering skyscrapers and futuristic architecture, you’ll find cultural gems like the Batu Caves, a series of Hindu temples set within limestone caves. The iconic Petronas Twin Towers dominate the skyline and are a must-visit for panoramic views of the city. Kuala Lumpur is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for a vibrant urban experience.

3. Penang – Cultural Melting Pot

If you’re eager to delve into Malaysia’s rich cultural diversity, Penang is the best place to start. This island state, with its UNESCO-listed George Town, is a living museum of history, architecture, and culinary delights. You can explore temples, mosques, colonial buildings, and vibrant street art, all while savoring some of the best street food in the world. Penang is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for culture and cuisine.

4. Malacca – A Historical Gem

Malacca, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, is a historical gem that’s one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for a glimpse into the country’s colonial past. The city’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved architecture, including Dutch and Portuguese colonial buildings, Chinese temples, and vibrant street art. Stroll along Jonker Street to explore the vibrant night markets and sample delicious local dishes. Malacca is a captivating destination for history buffs and those looking to immerse themselves in Malaysia’s cultural heritage.

5. Borneo – Wildlife and Adventure

Malaysian Borneo is synonymous with wildlife and adventure, and it unquestionably ranks among the best places to visit in Malaysia. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah is a sanctuary for these intelligent creatures. For an adrenaline rush, consider exploring the caves in Mulu National Park or climbing Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s tallest peak. These experiences epitomize the best places to visit in Malaysia for those seeking adventure and wildlife encounters.

6. Cameron Highlands – Cool Escape

Escape the tropical heat in the cool embrace of the Cameron Highlands. Nestled in the mountains, this region is famous for its lush tea plantations, vibrant flower gardens, and cool climate. It’s one of the best places to visit in Malaysia if you yearn for a serene, highland escape.

7. Genting Highlands – The Hill Station Escape

Genting Highlands, often referred to as the “City of Entertainment,” is a hill station that offers a unique escape from the lowland heat. Known for its cool climate and a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, Genting Highlands is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for families and thrill-seekers. Here, you can explore theme parks, try your luck at the casino, and enjoy scenic cable car rides with breathtaking views. It’s the perfect destination for a fun-filled, high-altitude retreat.

8. Taman Negara – The Oldest Rainforest

For an authentic jungle adventure, head to Taman Negara, one of the world’s oldest rainforests. This national park, encompassing verdant canopies, winding rivers, and rare wildlife, is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for nature enthusiasts. Trekking, canopy walks, and river cruises allow you to immerse yourself in the heart of this natural wonderland.

Best Beaches To Visit In Malaysia 

Best beaches to visit In Malaysia

Malaysia boasts a diverse range of stunning beaches, from the white sands of Langkawi to the crystal-clear waters of the Perhentian Islands, making it a tropical paradise for beach lovers. These are a few of the best beaches to visit In Malaysia for a tranquil escape, numerous water sports, or relaxation opportunities.

  1. Langkawi Beaches: Langkawi, an archipelago, is famous for its pristine beaches like Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, and Datai Bay.
  2. Penang Beaches: Batu Ferringhi Beach in Penang is a popular choice with a range of water sports and beachfront resorts.
  3. Perhentian Islands: These islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, offer crystal-clear waters and excellent diving opportunities.
  4. Redang Island: Known for its powdery white sand, Redang Island is perfect for snorkeling and relaxing.
  5. Tioman Island: This tropical paradise boasts stunning beaches like Juara Beach and ABC Beach.
  6. Pangkor Island: Teluk Nipah and Coral Beach on Pangkor Island are great for a relaxing getaway.
  7. Borneo Beaches: On the Borneo side, you can explore the beaches in Sabah and Sarawak, such as Tanjung Aru Beach and Damai Beach.

For more information, read my full post on the Best Beaches To Visit In Malaysia.

What to Eat in Malaysia

Malaysian Food

Malaysia is renowned for its diverse and delicious cuisine, influenced by Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran culinary traditions. Here are some must-try Malaysian Food when visiting:

  1. Nasi Lemak: Malaysia’s national dish, featuring rice cooked in coconut milk, served with sambal (spicy chili paste), anchovies, peanuts, and a hard-boiled or fried egg.
  2. Roti Canai: A type of flatbread, often served with dhal (lentil curry) or other types of curry.
  3. Char Kway Teow: Stir-fried flat rice noodles with shrimp, bloody cockles, Chinese lap Cheong (sausage), eggs, and bean sprouts.
  4. Hainanese Chicken Rice: Poached chicken and seasoned rice, usually served with chili sauce and ginger paste.
  5. Laksa: A spicy noodle soup that comes in various regional varieties, with coconut milk, prawns, chicken, or tofu.
  6. Rendang: A rich and tender coconut beef stew spiced with ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass.
  7. Satay: Skewered and grilled meat (usually chicken or beef) served with a peanut sauce and a portion of rice cake.
  8. Teh Tarik: A frothy and creamy pulled tea, a favorite local beverage.
  9. Hokkien Mee: Stir-fried prawn and pork noodles in a fragrant, prawn-based broth.
  10. Cendol: A sweet dessert of shaved ice topped with green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and red beans.
  11. Murtabak: A stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread filled with a mixture of eggs, minced meat (usually chicken, beef, or mutton), and onions.
  12. Asam Laksa: A sour, fish-based soup with tamarind, often served with mackerel and finely sliced vegetables.
  13. Rojak: A spicy fruit and vegetable salad, with a thick, sweet, and spicy peanut sauce dressing.
  14. Bak Kut Teh: A herbal soup with pork ribs, often served with rice or youtiao (fried dough sticks).
  15. Durian: Known as the “King of Fruits,” it’s a divisive fruit with a strong odor but a rich, custard-like taste.

These are just a few highlights of the incredible variety of Malaysian Food dishes you can enjoy. Be sure to explore local street food stalls, hawker centers, and restaurants to savor the full spectrum of Malaysian food flavors. Check out my full post on the Top Malaysian Dishes To Eat.

Healthcare Services

Healthcare services for expatriates vary depending on the country of residence, but Malaysia is known for providing good healthcare services to expats. Here’s what expats can expect in terms of healthcare services in Malaysia:

  1. Public Healthcare: Expatriates in Malaysia can access the public healthcare system, which is subsidized by the government. While it is generally affordable, it may not provide the same level of comfort and expediency as the private healthcare system. Expats will need to register with the government to access public healthcare services.
  2. Private Healthcare: Many expatriates, particularly those from Western countries, prefer private healthcare in Malaysia. Private hospitals and clinics offer modern facilities, English-speaking staff, and shorter waiting times. You can purchase private health insurance to cover the costs of private medical care.
  3. Health Insurance: Expats are encouraged to have health insurance in Malaysia. International health insurance plans can cover the costs of private medical care, and many employers provide health insurance as part of expatriate compensation packages.
  4. Choice of Hospitals: Malaysia has several internationally accredited private hospitals that cater to expats. Hospitals like Gleneagles, Pantai, and Prince Court Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur are popular choices for expatriates.
  5. Quality of Care: The quality of healthcare in private facilities is generally high, with well-trained medical professionals and advanced medical technology. Many doctors and specialists in Malaysia have received international training and certifications.
  6. Language: English is widely spoken in Malaysia, especially in the private healthcare sector. Expats usually don’t face language barriers when seeking medical care.
  7. Specialized Care: Malaysia offers specialized medical services, including cardiology, oncology, fertility treatment, and more. Expatriates can access a wide range of medical specialties.
  8. Emergency Services: Malaysia has efficient emergency medical services, and ambulances are readily available. Private hospitals also have well-equipped emergency departments.
  9. Medical Tourism: Malaysia’s medical tourism industry benefits expatriates by providing access to a wide range of medical procedures at competitive prices.
  10. Pharmacies: Pharmacies are abundant in Malaysia, and many medications are readily available. Most prescription and over-the-counter medicines are affordable.

Malaysia Travel Guide Conclusion 

Embrace the allure of Japan, where tradition and modernity entwine seamlessly. This captivating tapestry of experiences, from breathtaking natural landscapes to cultural treasures and technological marvels, entices global travelers. Follow essential Japan travel tips, indulge in must-do experiences, and uncover the top things to do in this remarkable land. Let the best places to visit in Japan paint unforgettable memories as you journey through its depths. Plan your adventure, welcome the unknown, and allow Japan’s enchanting magic to unfold before you.

Do I need a visa to visit Malaysia?

Most tourists from many countries can enter Malaysia visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. However, visa requirements can vary, so it’s best to check with the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your home country before traveling.

What’s the best time to visit Malaysia?

The best time to visit Malaysia is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to March on the west coast and May to September on the east coast. This is the perfect time to experience Malaysian culture, savor the local cuisine, and explore the stunning beaches and attractions in the country.

What are the must-visit destinations in Malaysia?

Some popular places to visit in Malaysia include Kuala Lumpur (home to the Petronas Towers and amazing Malaysian food), Penang (known for historic George Town and its culinary delights), Langkawi (a paradise for beach lovers), Malacca (rich in cultural heritage), and the Cameron Highlands (famous for tea plantations and a cool climate).

Is Malaysia a safe destination for travelers?

Malaysia is generally a safe destination for tourists. Exercise common safety precautions such as being aware of your surroundings and avoiding risky areas, just as you would in any other country. While staying safe, you can still enjoy the best beaches Malaysia has to offer, and indulge in the local cuisine, known for its diverse and delicious flavors.

What is the local currency, and can I use credit cards?

The local currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller businesses or rural areas where card acceptance may be limited. This way, you can comfortably explore the top things to do, and enjoy the best places to visit in Malaysia without worrying about payment methods.

What are the local customs and etiquette I should be aware of?

Malaysians are generally friendly and polite. It’s respectful to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and use your right hand when giving or receiving something. Additionally, public displays of affection should be kept to a minimum. This cultural awareness will enhance your experience as you savor authentic Malaysian food and explore the country’s best beaches and attractions.


Join Me As I Document My Travel Adventures Through Asia.

Write A Comment