Malaysia Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Malaysia-
Malaysia is a beautiful country in South East Asia, consisting of thirteen states and three federal territories. The country has lot to offer to tourists and travelers. A combination of fantastic nature, exceptional beaches, clear crystal seas, natural wonders, amazing food, etc., has made Malaysia one of the major tourist destinations in South East Asia.
Why Visiting Malaysia?
Why visiting Malaysia? Why not?! Malaysia is one of the most visited destinations in Asia, and there are so many reasons for it. Cultural diversity, fantastic natural wonders, amazing beaches, authentic foods, etc., are among the main reasons for visiting beautiful Malaysia. Let’s take a closer look at the major reasons for visiting Malaysia.
A variety of Asian ethnicities are living in Malaysia, with different cultures, traditions, and religions. Malays cover half of the population, Chinese cover one-quarter, and there is a major Indian community as well. As for religion, the major religions in this country are Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism. For Buddhism, there are many temples in Malaysia, such as The Batu Caves.
Are you into modern architecture? Kuala Lumpur is the best place for you to appreciate the modern architecture in Malaysia, particularly the skyscrapers that have made some of the most iconic skylines in Asia. The most famous skyscrapers in Malaysia are the Petronas Twin Towers in the district of the Golden Triangle.
When it comes to nature, Malaysia has a lot to offer. Some of the oldest tropical jungles in the world are located in this country. Besides rainforests, there are countless islands and beaches in this Asian country, among which are Sipadan Island, Coral Beach, Mataking Island, Long Beach, Juara Beach, Manukan Island, Kapas Island, Rawa Island, etc. Also, you can experience different kinds of watersport activities, especially scuba diving, especially in Sipidan, Redang, and Tioman.
As for cuisine, you can find very diverse cuisines in Malaysia since there are different ethnicities and cultures in this country. Therefore, you need to taste local foods from different cultures in this south-eastern Asian country.
Malaysia Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Malaysia
Temperature: 5°C – 25°C (40°F – 77°F)
Time: May to September in the southwest & November to March in the north-east
Monsoon season in Malaysia is quite severe, and you should expect heavy rains. Outdoor activities might be impossible in some areas like Taman Negara and the many national parks in Borneo. The time of the monsoon season varies depending on the region. However, October, November, and December are the peak months for the monsoon.
Summer (June – August)
Temperature: 18°C – 38°C (64°F – 100°F)
Time: January and February on the west coast, April in Sabah, & June and July on the east coast
The dry season in Malaysia is the best time for visiting the country. There are pop-up showers in this season as well. However, you can enjoy outdoor activities and beaches. 80% of humidity requires you to drink a lot of water during your trip.
Things to Do in Malaysia
For a culturally rich experience, selecting Malaysia is a wise decision since you can enjoy having Indians, Chinese, and a mix of Muslims. Having several groups of people leaves a rich history and architectural highlights, along with amazing temples. The modernity of this Asian country is also discovered in its way, and as you walk in the modern areas, you can try their tasty cuisine.
Explore Kuala Lumpur and Make Sure to Visit China Town
Start your traveling experience in Malaysia by exploring Kuala Lumpur and its China Town. The city is rather easy on its Islamic rules but be sure to respect their dress codes as you move around, especially at the religious sites. While China town is an excellent part of the city, visiting the central areas like the City Center Park are also highlights of the Exploring of Kuala Lumpur. On a general note, Kuala Lumpur, like many capitals, is a place to discover, with numerous places to go and things to do. Keep China Town a priority. Walk around in Kuala Lumpur to explore and find the Indian or Chinese parts of the city.
Get the View of Kuala Lumpur at the Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur were dubbed the tallest twin towers in the world after their completion in 1998. This naming has made the Petronas Twin Towers one of the most famous highlights of Malaysia. This symbolic value of the structures makes the trip to these buildings a top thing to do. They may no longer be the tallest towers on the planet, but the name and symbol remain. Besides, they are considered as one of the most important areas of the country. If you want to catch the view over Kuala Lumpur, make sure to book a ticket to the Petronas Twin Towers. Going to the Sky Bridge between the towers has a daily limit for visitors who come to catch the view.
Catch the view of the modern Petronas Twin Towers and see the interior designs as they have several elements of Islamic architecture. Even without the Sky Bridge, visiting the Petronas Twin Towers is still a great idea, just to behold the towers’ beauty.
Discover All the Best Things of Penang Hill
Right after Cameron Hills, a great place to go for a good time is Penang island, especially Penang hill. In Penang and Penang Hill, there are several items as things to do in Malaysia. The more historic and fun activity is exploring the area known as George Town, that is a UNESCO Heritage Site originally named after the British King George. The cultural activity is the sampling of Malaysian Cuisine. The best of all is going to Penang Hill, where you get the best view of the area. There are other things to do on the hill, making the experience very much enjoyable and memorable.
Conquer Mount Kinabalu, The Highest Mountain in Malaysia
Going to Mount Kinabalu is one of the things any traveler should do during their trip to Malaysia. The most obvious reason is for an exciting hiking trip to the top of Mount Kinabalu. To this end, you will legally have to have a guide or be on a guided tour to Mount Kinabalu. There is another reason for hiking to the top of Mount Kinabalu. This secondary purpose is to meet the rich biodiversity of the country. Flora and fauna of the surrounding areas of Mount Kinabalu are other elements that attract many travelers to this place.
Consider the safety measures of this experience, and prepare yourself for fighting altitude sickness. Mount Kinabalu is not something you want to miss, even when it gets a bit challenging.
Visit Orangutans in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Ever since 1964, people flock the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to see these lovely creatures. This visit is not a popular one without reason. It is a place of preservation and enjoyment. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre does not have an age restriction, making it a suitable place for anyone who visits Malaysia. This part of the Malaysian wildlife is especially worth watching in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where they live, train, and reproduce their population. It is best to look up the hours and guided tours of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to catch the feeding times and other fun parts of this visit.
See the Beauties of Langkawi Island
Langkawi is a beautiful island with a great beach and one of the places in Malaysia with numerous things to do. Staying on the beach can be one thing you can do in Langkawi, but heading towards the land can offer even better activities. Visiting the natural parts of Langkawi island is a great idea for spending quality time. Seeing nature here in Langkawi is also possible without actually setting foot in the woods, but by taking a cable car to Mount Machingchang. If that does not satisfy you, there is also the Sky Bridge of Langkawi, with a great view over the entire island.
Visit Melaka and See its British Colonial Texture
Melaka or Malacca is a cute and little UNESCO Heritage Site that used to be a trading hub in Malaysia. What brings so many tourists to Melaka is the appearance and architecture of the buildings and the small size, making it a quick and short tour. Visiting Melaka is like a short stroll into history, where you will learn about the British colonial era of Malaysia. You can make a short visit to Melaka city, but its beauty will get you to stick around for several days. Plan for several days to enjoy Melaka to the fullest extent!
Try Watersports at Perhentian Islands
The Perhentian islands of Malaysia, or generally known as the east coast, are a great place to enjoy watersports. Experts or novices, everyone in the waters around Perhentian islands can find a good spot for scuba diving or exploring on a boat. There are also the beaches in the surrounding areas of the Perhentian Islands, which are also very good, with clear blue waters. But if you want to head east and towards the Perhentian islands, prepare for its exciting watersports and diving experience.
The underwater world of the Perhentian islands area is the most popular thing to do, but there are also speed boats and other things. There are three big islands to explore and enjoy. Between these islands, numerous boats and people are relaxing or visiting the marine life of Malaysia.
Visit the Hindu Temple in Batu Caves
Outside Kuala Lumpur and not very far from the city, the Batu Caves are located. The Batu Caves are considered a cave temple of the Hindu religion. At the entrance, there is the statue of Lord Murugan, guarding the cave and everything inside. Having a Hindu God of War as a protector of Batu Caves is only fitting as the caves and temples are important religious areas. To make the experience of visiting Batu Caves a memorable one, time your trip well and plan to go during the Thaipusam festival.
Local Transportation in Malaysia
Buses are the best choices for the spots that the metro does not cover. You need to pay when you enter the bus, which will be a few cents. Make sure to have small change for the bus
Using the metro is very popular in major cities of Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur. At each Light Train Transit (LTR) station, you can find big maps, helping you to find your way. There are different kinds of tickets for the LTR. LTR in KL has three different lines, including RapidKL, KTM Komuter, and KL Monorail.
The easiest local means of transportation in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia are taxis. You might have some struggles regarding using the meter in taxis. Make sure to ask drivers to turn on the meter.
Intercity Transportation in Malaysia
Air traveling in Malaysia is easy and comfortable. If you prefer to reach your destination fast, air traveling is the best but more expensive choice for you. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the 12th-busiest airport in the world, with over 43.5 million international passenger traffic.
Malaysia has over 1100 miles of railways, and the mainline is from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and northward to Thailand. Generally, the service is modern and convenient. There are two types of trains in Malaysia: the express train, which is conditioned and offers two or three classes of seating. The second one is the local train, which is economy class and has frequent stops.
There are many coach service operators in Malaysia. From buses that are slow and without air-conditioners like Transnasional, Cityliner, and Plusliner buses to more modern ones like Aeroline, First Coach, Nice Executive Coach, and Super Nice. The modern type even has meal service, and they worth their small upcharge.
Ferry in Malaysia offers some domestic and international destinations, such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines.
Long-distance taxis have fixed routes, and they operate with 4 passengers. Therefore, you need to stay until the taxi is filled before departing. The costs of taxis are about double compared to the buses.
Flight Deals to Malaysia
Malaysia Travel Costs
|Accommodation (daily on average)|
$14 – $27
$130 – $259
|Food (daily on average)|
|Transportation (daily on average)|
|Intercity Transportation (daily on average)|
|Entertainment (daily on average)|
|Alcohol (daily on average)|
|Daily Costs On Average|
Best Hotels in Malaysia
Find the best hotels in Malaysia using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Malaysia Travel Tips
The official language in Malaysia is Malay, spoken by the majority of people. However, speaking English is common in Malaysia, and you can easily go to this country without any need to know the language.
Malaysia is exceptionally safe except for the Eastern Sabah on the Borneo island since there some reports indicating the increasing number of kidnappings in this area. However, in big cities, like Kuala Lumpur, you should keep looking at your belongings as pickpocketing and robbery can be a problem.
Taking drugs in Malaysia is extremely forbidden, and the punishment will be severe, and the jail will be waiting for you!
In fact, it’s better to be more conservative in rural areas of Malaysia. However, there are no limitations for beaches and major cities.
Internet and Wi-Fi are widely available in Malaysia. Hostels, hotels, cafes, shopping malls, and airports all offer free Wi-Fi for you.
Tap water in Malaysia is not safe to drink, and you should have bottled water during your trip, except for places that offer filtered water like most hotels.
Plugs in Malaysia are of type G (three-prong sockets). Make sure to bring a universal adaptor to use all your electronic gadgets.
Tipping is not necessary in Malaysia, and many cafes, restaurants, etc., charge 10% of service charge and 6% for good and service tax. In taxis and hotels, you need to just pay the exact amount.
|Police & Ambulance||999|
|Red Cresent Society||03-4257-8726|
|Accidents / Natural Disasters||991|
|Tourist Police (Hotline (HQ)||03-21496590|
|Tourist Police (Enquiries)||03-2149-6593|
|Tourist Police (Customs)||03-8787-2312|
Currency & Money Tips
The official currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit (RM), divided into 100 sen with denominations of one, five, 10, 20, 50, and 100, with coin denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen. Make sure to always have small banknotes since some people cannot change large banknotes into small ones.
ATMs are widely used in Malaysia, but you need to have the PIN code of the card. However, some banks, such as Maybank (Malaysia’s biggest bank), HSBC, and Standard Chartered, accept your credit card for over-the-counter cash.
Major credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in Malaysia, especially in major cities. However, having some cash is always recommended, especially in rural areas.
For exchanging cash or traveler cheque, you will be charged by the bank, which is around RM10 per transaction, with a possible small fee per cheque. Moneychangers have no charge, but their rates vary depending on many factors. You can have a better rate in money exchangers than banks.
Food & Drink (Malay Food)
Just like their rich culture, Malaysians have a great and tasty cuisine with numerous recipes. This huge amount of amazing foods comes from all over Asia but mostly from India, China, and the Arab World. Inspired by others, they are all originals of Malaysia as the ingredients are all local, and the recipes have changed over time. One thing that you have to keep in mind in this country is, by tradition it is common to eat with your right hand, just like in India. Besides using your hands, there are chopsticks for Chinese dishes and spoons for soups.
Nasi Lemak may not be officially the national dish of Malaysia, but its ingredients are all the staple parts of their cuisine. Nasi Lemak means “fatty rice,” but the name actually refers to cooking the rice with coconut milk. The side dishes for Nasi Lemak is vegetables and eggs, meat and peanut which are seen in almost all of the Malaysian cuisine. Nasi Lemak has numerous varieties with different ingredients besides the rice, but the usual version includes cucumbers, peanuts, and a special and spicy sauce.
Nasi Lemak is a great meal and can be served at any time of the day. With some modifications, it can be eaten as a light breakfast, a rich lunch, or a healthy dinner.
Roti Canai is a trendy street snack made with Roti flatbread and Canai that looks like a spicy lentil sauce or curry. The dhal lentil of Roti Canai is rich in iron, and mixed with the bread, it can become a very delightful breakfast. As a street snack, Roti Canai can be a suitable choice as it is not very spicy (unlike most foods that are inspired by Indian cuisine) with a pleasant texture. The bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Roti or the bread can also be used instead of a spoon to scoop the sauce.
The easiest way to describe Satay would be to introduce it as grilled meat on skewers. To make Satay, any kind of meat can be used, and it should be cooked over an open fire of charcoals. The taste comes from the special dipping sauce made with peanuts, which is served with rice. The taste and texture of these lovely Satay sticks are like any other crispy grilled meat, but the sauce will take the experience to a whole new level. Satay is easily found all over Malaysia as all the ingredients are stapled parts of their cuisine.
The spicy and acidic taste of Assam laksa is a unique one that must be tried in Panang. As a part of Malaysian cuisine, Assam laksa is usually seen as a noodle-based broth with fish and a large variety of vegetables. The spiciness and acidity mostly depend on the vegetables and the fish, which is a specialty of Panang. The thick and creamy texture of this dish comes from coconut milk along with tamarind, cucumber, chili, ginger, and other optional ingredients. The first time you have Assam laksa is the best experience as the taste will be like nothing you have ever had.
If you like the idea of buffets and choosing your food toppings, Nasi Kandar is one of the best options you have. Nasi Kandar is basically a plate of rice with your choice of meat topping. These toppings include curries, fish, shrimps, eggs, and okra. Interestingly, there are special Nasi Kandar eateries with their buffets and great rice everywhere you go. These eateries are almost always open, and chances are, the person who will give you the Nasi Kandar is either a Muslim or an Indian. If you feel incredibly picky about the rice and other things in a Nasi Kandar, there are places that even have various kinds of rice which also come with a sauce.
One of the very delicious dishes that have roots in Chinese cuisine is the Malaysian Hokkien Mee. It is no national dish of the country but having some of it is a must. Hokkien Mee is basically a noodle broth or soup with several versions. To make Hokkien Mee, the noodles are fried in a soy-based sauce and then topped with fish, squid, or prawns. When the noodles are ready, and the type of fish is decided, it is time to select the preferable vegetables to add to the flavor. The heavier and thicker the dish, the more suitable it becomes for an energetic and rich supper.
Some people eat Hokkien Mee before having a long night out, or as a great lunch. But it is possible to make a lighter Hokkien Mee as a tasty and rich breakfast as well.
Ikan Bakar, or burned fish of Malaysia, is a dish of spicy and crispy grilled seafood. The secret for making Ikan Bakar is the marination of the meat before grilling. To marinate the fish for Ikan Bakar, the locals use Sambal as the main ingredient. If you want to eat like the locals, you should try the spicy version of Ikan Bakar, also marinated with chili paste and turmeric. The next and final step is to place the fish on a banana leaf and place it over a charcoal fire. Ikan Bakar can be made with any kind of fish and then served with anything as a side dish or sauce.
Ikan Bakar is crispy but at the same time a little moist. It will not melt in your mouth, but the flavor and texture are so good despite the simplicity that anyone in Malaysia has to have it at least once.
Perhaps the most extreme flavors can be found in Murtabak, which is an Indian dish in Malaysia. To make Murtabak, the dough is filled with any kind of minced meat and large amounts of spice. The amount of meat and spice in the dough is just too much. Hence, the flavor of both can be clearly tasted as your chew. To make the Murtabak milder, several kinds of vegetables are also added, but the extreme version is always better. These optional vegetables mostly include egg, garlic, curry, cucumber, tomato sauce, or onions.
It is then pan-fried until the dough gets crispy for making the Murtabak into the delicious and hot food that is loved by all. Some people compare it with a pizza, but traditionally it is known as a kind of bread. If you cannot tolerate the flavors, you can also try the vegetable version of Murtabak, which is more tolerable.
Vegetarians will have a good time in Malaysia by eating the Malaysian-Indian dish of Banana leaf. Although it has a version that is served with meat, Banana leaf is usually a rice dish that is served with vegetables. In this dish, the rice and other ingredients are served in a Banana leaf as a plate. Since it can get so simple, in Malaysia is served with vegetable curries and pickled vegetables.
Ais Kacang or Ice Kacang is a traditional dessert of Malaysia that has shaved ice as a base. Ais Kacang is very sweet and colorful in its contemporary forms as the shaved ice is covered in various syrups and fruits. Some versions of Ais Kacang have jelly below the ice, while others have the traditional beans and corn to cancel out the sweetness. To compete with each other, every bar or restaurant uses their creativity to make their own version of Ais Kacang, which means you can have it along with all your meals in Malaysia.
Cendol is a cold and part-solid-part-liquid dessert, with a lot of similarity to Ais Kacang. The most prominent ingredients of Cendol are coconut milk and sugar syrup, or palm sugar as an alternative. Other things in Cendol can include green rice, jelly, and even beans. It is common to make them with noodles which have a great flavor in this dessert. Sweet and soft, you can also find this dessert as a street snack due to its availability and popularity all over Malaysia.
Inspired by Malaysians, Indians, Chinese, and even the Muslims, the Mee Goreng is a rather cheap and tasty kind of street food. It has Chinese noodles, Indian spices, Malaysian sweetness, and the Muslim influence with chicken or beef. There are also things like soy sauce, vegetables, eggs, and chili in Mee Goreng, but as a whole, the result will not cost much. The taste aside is a new and unique experience to taste a Mee Goreng with several influences.
Goreng Pisang or banana fritters are not uncommon in today’s world, but the Malaysian version is a must-try due to the sweetness of their bananas. Goreng Pisang is not complicated even if you make modifications since it is just fried bananas. The only difference from one place to another is just the sweetness or the rawness of the bananas.
Eat the exotic blue rice dish of Nasi Kerabu before leaving Malaysia, which is another simple yet unique dish of the country. The locals crush a regional flower and mix the powder in flour, and with it, they make the blue rice known as Nasi Kerabu. Traditionally, it is topped with bean sprouts and chicken or salads to add flavor, and then it is eaten with hands. Finding this dish is not difficult nowadays. But it is easier to have Nasi Kerabu in the northern areas of Malaysia where it originated.
If you are a fan of Gordon Ramsay, you have already heard about Rendang or beef Rendang as a part of Malaysian cuisine. Rendang is a tender meat dish that is slow-cooked into a mouthwatering and delicious dish with a tasty sauce. The sauce is the result of slow cooking the meat with coconut milk and chilies mixed into the dish. It is a popular dish among the locals that is rich and flavorful.
Mobile & Internet
There are four major SIM card providers in Malaysia, including Maxis, Cellcom, Digi, and U Mobile. Also, there are other 3 other companies with limited services. Among these four companies, Maxis offers the best coverage, and other best coverages are Celcom, Digi, and U Mobile, respectively. There are also some resell companies, and the biggest one is Tune Talk, providing Celcom network. The company is affiliated with AirAsia, and if you have traveled with this airline, you can have onboard service. Generally, Maxim and Celcom offer the best services and are recommended for most travelers. However, Tune Talk can be the best if you are traveling with AirAsia.
Where to buy it?
Prepaid SIM card brand of Maxis as Hotline, while for Celcom is Xpax. You can easily find the stores in the cities of Malaysia. However, you can quickly buy it in the booths available in major cities of Malaysia. Interestingly, you don’t need to only go to official stores because most sellers can enable the SIM card.
The prices of the Hotlink SIM cards depend on many factors. However, for instance, you can pay 10MYR ($2.50) and give 5MYR valid for 5 days. Also, there is a package of 5MYR, valid for a week, giving you 1.5 GB of data. It also offers unlimited use of most social media. If you are staying for a longer time, try the 35MYR 6GB plan, valid for 30 days with free use of social media.
Holidays & Festivals
|Name||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day||12-Feb||1-Feb|
|Second day of Chinese Lunar New Year||13-Feb||2-Feb|
|Hari Raya Puasa||13-May||3-May|
|Hari Raya Puasa Day 2||14-May||4-May|
|The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Birthday||7-Jun||6-Jun|
|Hari Raya Haji||20-Jul||10-Jul|
|Malaysia’s National Day||31-Aug||31-Aug|
|The Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday||19-Oct||8-Oct|
Shopping in Malaysia
Batik is one of the most popular souvenirs from Malaysia since it’s the ancient crafting of this country. Different designs and vivid colors have made it one of the best things you can buy in Malaysia. It costs from RM 20 to RM 100 depending on the type of product.
Pewter Products is among the leading products in Malaysia since it’s one of the leading industries in this country. Pewter products are made of 85-90% tin, 5-10% antimony, 2-5% copper, bismuth, and sometimes silver. It costs between RM 100 – RM 500.
Dodol is the very unique and sticky-soft toffee offering you the truly Malay flavor. It can be bought in pre-packed boxes if you want to purchase it as a souvenir. You should consider RM 15 – RM 30 (for boxes).
Songket is known as the traditional textile in Malaysia with roots in Kelantan State. In fact, it’s a kind of brocade coming with a rich look since there are interwoven gold and silver silk threads upon other colors. It costs RM 40 for the short length to RM 100 for the long ones.
Spices and Sauces
Spices and Sauces are famous products in Malaysia. Pepper, turmeric, paprika, and saffron, etc., are sold in pocket-friendly bags. Also, you need to buy powder mix or a bottle of Satay sauce. Besides, consider Nutmeg oil as a flavoring and medicinal substance.
One of the world’s major tea producers is Malaysia, producing different kinds of tea with various flavors such as caramel, peach, mango, mandarim, ginger, and lime. You can also visit tea farms and buy tea from the source! Consider RM 5 for 200 grams of loose tea.