Last updated on October 3rd, 2023 at 10:12 pm
This post will be all about Malaysia travel tips and all the cool facts about Malaysia and things to know before visiting Malaysia. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Malaysia and what awaits you from amazing beaches, cities, great transportation to delicious food to try in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a Muslim country and you will find a mixed culture Chinese, Hindu and Malay. We loved so much Malaysian food and if you are vegetarian we put the best vegetarian dishes in Malaysia for you. Malaysia is so diverse country to visit apart from the food has beautiful beaches and cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Melaka.
Malaysia Travel Tips And Things To Know Visiting Malaysia For First Timers
1. IS IT SAFE MALAYSIA?
Is it safe travel to Malaysia? Yeah you should know that Malaysia is one of the safest countries in the world. If you travel Malaysia, safety won’t be a problem. You can feel safe everywhere, literally. Make sure that you keep your valuables with you in crowded places and that should be more than enough.
2. EASY VISA IN MALAYSIA
Things to know before visiting Malaysia has an easy visa since most of the countries have visa free for 90 days to visit beautiful country of Malaysia. For countries that can enter the country without visa you just need to be a passport holder of your country with at least 6 months before expiry. Check here to know if your country belongs to that country that should apply a visa to enter Malaysia.
3. CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE RATE IN MALAYSIA
Cash is the king in Malaysia at local places but in many places you can also pay with a credit card. The currency of Malaysia is called Malaysian Ringgit and this is the money you will use while you travel around the country. And the exchange rate is $1= 4.25 RM. Also if you are bringing debit cards, you will find many ATMs all over Malaysia.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT MALAYSIA
Malaysia has 2 different seasons, these are the wet and dry season. The months of November to March is the wet season in Malaysia and the dry season would be in the months of April to October. And I would suggest that the best time to visit Malaysia is the months of April to October with dry season.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Malaysia we recommend always bringing travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
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FACTS ABOUT MALAYSIA
6. MALAYSIA IS SO CHEAP
If you have been traveling around Southeast Asia Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are so cheap and Malaysia has similar affordable prices. Especially for accommodation where is easy to find a room for less than $20 USD, alcohol is so expensive and prices for food and transportation are so affordable. Keep reading below!
7. ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN MALAYSIA
You can look for accommodation for as low as $10 USD for a room or even less if you decide to sleep in a dorm. If you want to try mid-range accommodation you can find one ranging from $20-40 USD. You can also try Guest Houses or what we call nowadays as AirBnb if you are going for a more authentic feel in your stay at the country.
8. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN MALAYSIA
You can have a budget travel for food in Malaysia $2-3 USD per meal. Your food budget will depend up to how much you want to spend but can go as cheap as $10 USD per day. I would recommend my favorite breakfast in Malaysia called Nasi Lemak that you can get for only $1 USD.
You can find Nasi goreng and Mee goreng for less than $2 USD fried rice and fried noodles. Rotis cost for $1 USD and fruits are so tasty like jack fruit, rambutan and durian the smelly fruit. Satay which is a barbecue and it´s served with rice or sauce is one of our favorite and it costs $2-3 USD.
9. TOUR/ENTRANCE FEES IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia has many entrance fees free of charge like Batu Caves. If you are into Architecture you should visit Kuala Lumpur and see the famous Petronas Tower. Other places will have a small entrance fee like Taman Negara and maybe temple, churches or mosques. You can book tours online starting from $15-20 USD per day in Malaysia.
10. WI-FI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN MALAYSIA
Internet in Malaysia works really fast and you will not have any problem since the speed is amazing if you are working online. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurants that are offering free WiFi.
You can find the cheapest Malaysia eSim with Airalo Malaysia eSim prepaid for $4.5 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%). For $9 USD with 3 GB data, for $13 USD with 5 GB data and for $25 USD with 10 GB data valid for 30 days.
Nomad Malaysia eSim for $5 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $13 USD with 3 GB data and for $15 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. Holafly Malaysia eSim for less than $60 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER you will have unlimited internet for 30 days in Malaysia.
11. ADAPTER IN MALAYSIA
In our Malaysia travel tips you should know they use the United kingdom adapter. A few places make it possible to fit your American and European adapter in the plug because they provide adapters. If you are coming from American and European countries, we recommend you to bring an adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
12. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN MALAYSIA
Local transportation works great in Malaysia and for affordable prices. Buses cost around $1 USD inside the city and for long-distance buses 3-4 expect to pay around $10 USD. Be careful is so cold in the buses and trains in Malaysia. You can order Grab in Malaysia working the same like Uber and also taxis for short rides around the city for around $3-5 USD.
13. MALAYSIA BORDER CROSSING
Easy border crossing from Malaysia to Singapore opened and with most of the countries free visa between both of these countries. The bus will stop at the border of Malaysia to Singapore for you to get your exit passport stamp. The bus will wait for you at the exit so it can take you until the Singaporean border where again you will need to get your passport stamped for entry.
14. HITCHHIKING IN MALAYSIA
Hitchhiking in Malaysia works great. We hitchhiked the road from Kuala Lumpur to Penang a couple of times. Hitchhiking by the toll road is easy. While you are hitchhiking in Malaysia, communication is easy with people. Almost all of them speak English. So, even if they don’t understand what hitchhiking is, they will finally drive you to your destination.
When you ask for a ride while backpacking Malaysia, don’t use your thumb (like don’t use a thumbs up). Try to move your arms up and down to make the cars stop. They will understand this gesture better than the regular thumbs up. If you find it difficult to get a ride, you can make a sign with your final destination written on it.
15. MALAYSIA IS MUSLIM COUNTRY
Malaysia is a Muslim country with around 60-65% of the population. You can find hundred of mosques in Malaysia. Try to go inside one and meet local people. Putrajaya is a nice place to check out where you can find beautiful mosques. All over the country, you will find mosques.
There are places like Melaka where you will find churches since they are Portuguese colony. Also Chinese temples are easy to find when traveling in Malaysia. Around 20 % of the population are Buddhist in Malaysia.
16. DRESS PROPERLY IN MALAYSIA
Dress properly in Malaysia covering your shoulders and if you can wear pants covering your knees too. Malaysian people are very religious and it’s not the same like neighbor countries like Thailand and the Philippines where they don’t care as much as they do in Malaysia.
17. COACH FOR LADIES ONLY
In Kuala Lumpur you can find coaches only for ladies. It was strange to see it in a developed country such as Malaysia. I didn’t expect it. Make sure you don’t get confused but no worries they will point you politely your right one!
18. MALAYSIAN PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH
Malaysian people speak English that’s right but don’t expect all of them. A few people will be able to communicate in English. But in most of the touristic areas English is well spoken in Malaysia.
19. LEARNING MALAY
You can learn Malay while traveling around Malaysia. Malay language is easy to read and learn, I mean the essentials. If you learn a few words in Malay or read the menu in local restaurants will be a big help for you in off the beaten path places. If you continue traveling to Indonesia next Malay language is used and you can keep improving.
20. VISIT PASAR MALAM (NIGHT MARKET)
Visiting Pasar Malan (night market in Malaysian language). You will find the best local food and affordable prices. You can enjoy eating the street food in the night market. There are many different dishes to try, fruits and even clothes to buy for affordable prices.
21. EAT USING BANANA LEAVES
Have you ever tried eating in a banana leaf? It’s usually served for breakfast and lunch, like Indian style. You will find it for affordable prices, as low as $2-3 USD. It’s served with curry and vegetables. Eating street food wrapped in a banana leaf is very normal in Malaysia and you will feel like a local.
22. MALAYSIA IS SO DIVERSE
Malaysia is so diverse you will find amazing places in the nature like Taman Negara, Borneo apart from beautiful islands like Perhentian and Tioman. If you prefer cities you will love Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Melaka. Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in the world.
23. FRIENDLY PEOPLE IN MALAYSIA
I enjoy meeting locals since they are friendly people in Malaysia. It’s a good thing that they can speak English. I met a few of them while hitchhiking and also when doing couchsurfing which works great in Malaysia.
24. SEPAK TAKRAW NATIONAL SPORT
The national sport in Malaysia is Sepak Takraw similar to volleyball. But they can’t use their hand to touch the ball. They are only allowed to pass the ball with their knees, feet, head and their body, everything except their hands. Things to know before visiting Malaysia you will see people playing Sepak Takraw in the streets. Try to join them to learn!
25. FACTS ABOUT MALAYSIA FOOD
Malaysian gastronomy is really tasty. You will find the mix of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese influence which is very evident with the food taste. Food prices are affordable and there are a lot of local night markets for you to visit.
26. NASI LEMAK
Nasi Lemak is the most popular breakfast in Malaysia. Nasi Lemak is made of rice cooked with coconut milk and it’s served with anchovies, sambal, egg and peanuts. Prices are less than $1 USD. You can find it wrapped in a banana leaf whenever vendors sell them.
27. ROTI CANAI
Roti Canai is flat bread served with different sauces. The best ones that I tried was in Little India in Kuala Lumpur. Roti Canai is great snack in Malaysia if you are going in a low budget less than $1 USD and so delicious.
Satay is barbecue meat or chicken served with sauce. My favorite sauce is with peanuts. Prices are starting from $2 USD. You can find this dish in Malaysia and Indonesia usually at dinner time in the night markets.
29. MEE GORENG
Mee Goreng is a spicy fried noodles dish with vegetables and chicken. As a Chinese influence, you can find this food in Malaysia very often. Mee Goreng is one of my favorite food in Malaysia and prices are around $2-3 USD in local restaurants.
Bakso is made of meatballs from beef and it’s usually served in a bowl of beef broth with noodles. egg, tofu and vegetables. So delicious and prices are around $2 USD. You can find Bakso in Malaysia also in Indonesia.
31. NASI GORENG
Nasi Goreng is Malaysia’s version of fried rice. There are many ways you can have Nasi Goreng. There can be versions with meat like chicken, pork, and beef, of course vegetables which cannot be removed from the ingredients. Nasi Goreng with vegetables is my favorite one. Prices are around $2-3 USD.
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup which has thick wheat noodles, chicken, prawn or fish, served with spicy curry coconut milk or sour asam. Laksa is popular in the street markets and local restaurants in Malaysia. Prices are around $2-3 USD.
33. KAYA (COCONUT JAM)
Kaya is served with bread and it’s a popular spread that tastes very sweet and has a unique coconut flavor. If you have a sweet tooth is perfect for breakfast or as snack in Malaysia. Prices are around $1-2 USD.
You must try Durian in Malaysia. Durian is the most popular fruit which is smelly and tasty. Be careful when you eat with your hands. Your fingers will smell Durian-ish for a while. Some people don’t like the taste, but I loved it! You can find durian in most of the countries in Southeast Asia. Prices are around $3-4 USD per kilo.
Cendol is made of coconut milk, jelly noodles made from rice flour, ice, creamed corn, grass jelly and palm sugar. Prices are from $1-2 USD. Cendol is one of the most popular desserts to try in Malaysia.
36. FESTIVALS IN MALAYSIA
Deepavali or Diwali festival is significant for Hindus. There are open houses where you can meet local people and try food. Deepavali Festival is celebrated in November.
Hari Raya is the culmination of Ramadan, after a whole month of fasting. Muslims open their houses for families and friends and they enjoy chatting and eating with them. Hari Raya has no fixed date in the calendar every year is changing.
Chinese New Year is celebrated by the Chinese people. They decorate their houses with traditional decorations for a couple of weeks. They meet their family and friends cooking food, having tea and spending time together. Chinese New Year is celebrated at the end of January or beginning of February.
More Malaysia Travel Tips And Things To Know Visiting Malaysia For First Timers
37. BATU CAVES
Batu Caves is located 13 kilometers North in Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves is a Hindu temple which became popular a couple of years ago when they painted their stairs with so many colors. The Batu Caves is a Hindu temple outside the city of Kuala Lumpur.
There is a long flight of stairs that you need to take to reach the temple. You can go there to get some quiet and observe the architecture and the local people visiting. It is only during festivals when the area becomes noisy and populated.
Read here our full travel guide to get to Batu Caves!
38. TWIN TOWERS (PETRONAS TOWERS)
Twin Towers or Petronas Towers are one of the tallest buildings in the world. Twin Towers is very busy and full of tourists we recommend you to go late in the afternoon. You can get pictures at day time and also at night, with the lights.
There is a show at Petronas Towers around 7:30 pm in the fountain with music and lights. We personally like the night scene with Twin Towers because of the show and the beautiful lights surrounding the area.
39. THEAN HOU TEMPLE
Thean Hou Temple is a beautiful Chinese temple outside Kuala Lumpur. It can be busy during the weekends because of the weddings. It’s super clean and colorful. If you visit first thing in the morning in a week day you will not find so many people. It’s a new temple and it has only 30 years. There is no entrance fee so you cant miss it in Kuala Lumpur.
40. CAMERON HIGHLANDS
Cameron Highlands is a place to relax in Tanah Rata full of backpacker places for accommodation. In the morning you can go hiking and visit tea plantations. You will get great views on the top of the mountain if you go for a hike in Cameron Highlands. The weather is a little bit cold at night. Make sure that you are bringing a jumper when visiting Cameron Highlands.
41. GEORGE TOWN
Penang or Georgetown was an old British colony. Penang is a paradise for Malaysian cuisine. You will enjoy the food in the local markets. You can go for a day trip to Batu Ferringhi by bus (30 minutes ride) and enjoying the beach. Penang is popular for the street art apart from the food.
42. TAMAN NEGARA
Taman Negara National Park where you can walk in the forest next to the river and kayaking. Make sure that you are bringing your mosquito spray when you are visiting Taman Negara. Make sure that you are also bringing cash. When I was visiting Taman Negara there was no ATM at that time.
Melaka is one of our favorite places to visit in Malaysia. Melaka is an old and colonial town under Portuguese influence. You will find churches in different style than the usual that you would see in Malaysia. Melaka is totally different vibe than the other places in Malaysia.
Ipoh is the third largest city in Malaysia. You will enjoy visiting markets around Ipoh. Definitely Ipoh as off beaten path in Malaysia is great place to meet local people. Ipoh is perfect for a weekend to try local food and local coffee. Read here for more things to do in Ipoh.
Langkawi is the perfect place for relaxing to enjoy the beach during the day and the quiet at night. The best plan in Langkawi is riding a bicycle or a motorcycle to explore the island nature and the night markets.
46. PERHENTIAN ISLANDS
Perhentian Islands is the paradise in Malaysia. In Perhentian Islands you can stay for relaxing, sunbathing, diving and snorkeling in the beaches and islands. Perhentian Islands is very quiet. Don’t expect to be full of parties at night, like with what you usually find in Thailand. The atmosphere is totally different at the islands in Malaysia.
47. TIOMAN ISLAND
Tioman Island is located off the East Coast of Malaysia. Tioaman Island is nature well-reserved and surrounded by beaches, so it’s known for its diving sites which have different types of colorful corals. Tioman Island has a lot of wildlife surrounding the area. There are many colorful butterflies, lizards, monkeys and sea turtles in Tioman Island.
Kuching is located South of Malaysian Borneo in Sarawak. Kuching is a nice place to walk around the river and obviously try local food. Kuching is quiet at night but busy during the day. I liked the vibe in Kuching since it’s not a very tourist area yet!
49. KOTA KINABALU
Kota Kinabalu is located North of Malaysian Borneo where you can enjoy their beaches. You can go for snorkeling, diving and swimming. Kota Kinabalu is a modern city the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state. You can enjoy malls and street markets where you can try the best food for affordable prices.
50. MOUNT KINABALU
Mount Kinabalu is 4,095 meter-high mountain located in Kinabalu National Park. Mount Kinabalu is known for its beautiful landscapes, botanical and biological species biodiversity. You can trek to reach Low’s Peak, the highest point of the mountain.
Most climbers take two days to trek up and down Mount Kinabalu with an overnight stay at one of the huts in Panalaban. Kinabalu National Park entrance fee to Kinabalu National Park if you’re a foreigner is RM15 and an additional RM120 if you want to climb Mt. Kinabalu.
Hope you liked our Malaysia travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Malaysia and facts about Malaysia in the comments below.
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