Malaysia Travel Guide

Promoting itself as 'Malaysia truly Asia', this unique country is where you can shop, admire high technology and explore modern buildings one day and unwind on the beach or trek in dense jungles the next.

What’s Cool

Dazzling hi-tech Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Towers (formerly the world's tallest), gorgeous Langkawi, golden beaches and historical interest in Penang, colonial Portuguese buildings in Malacca, Trekking among Sabah's and Sarawak's fascinating plants and creatures, Genting's casino, nightclubs in KL, authentic Asian cuisine and observing interesting festivals.

What’s Not

Mad traffic in Kuala Lumpur, air pollution, reckless drivers and motorcyclists, the heat, pickpockets, food that causes diarrhea, malaria in East Malaysia, bird flu, spiking in the clubs, illegal (unregistered) taxis.

When to Go

Best: April-October
High season: June to August, December and January
Low season: February and March, September and October

Visas

US/Can: on-arrival (3 months)
EU: on-arrival (3 months)
Aus/NZ: on-arrival (3 months)

Essential Info

Time: GMT+8
Electricity: 220V to 240V 50Hz
3-Pin square (UK) Plug
Money: Malaysian Ringgit
1US$ = 3.59 RM
Phone: ICC (+60) Outgoing: 00

The mainland peninsula lets you enjoy a big city lifestyle while East Malaysia offers untouched nature and Survivor style adventures. Also a hub of gastronomic Asian cuisines and diverse cultures, Malaysia blends perfectly Malay, Indian, Thai and Chinese characteristics with a touch of western influence.

The trendy capital, Kuala Lumpur, is dominated by the Petronas Towers, a glistening reminder of the nation's modern developments. Glitzy shopping abounds here but things are more laid-back in other popular tourist centers like Malacca and Penang, where colonial architecture abound.

The lesser visited Sabah and Sarawak offer unique explorations in national parks and rainforest with the chance to take in rare wildlife and the traditional ways of the ethnic groups that inhabit these parts of Borneo. You could of course head to the resort island of Langkawi on Malaysia's west coast for Andaman bliss instead.

Travel to Malaysia - Getting There

Malaysian Airlines connects Malaysia with many major countries in the world. You can fly to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Penang Airport on the mainland peninsula or to Kota Kinabalu Airport or Kuching Airport in East Malaysia. From the airports, pre-paid taxis are widely available. The world's major ferry lines have a number of cruises to Malaysia while trains connect Thailand and Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Those wishing to drive can enter Malaysia Peninsula via Thailand and Singapore. Getting around in the country is an easy task. You can fly, hop on a local bus, take a train or drive. The country has an excellent highway network and all roads are in perfect condition. Just watch out for reckless motorcyclists and remember to drive on the left.

Malaysia Things to Do

Kuala Lumpur
This bustling capital city features countless modern skyscrapers including Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world's tallest buildings. Also an Asian hub of shopping and entertainment.
Penang
Known as 'Pearl of the Orient', this charming island of Malaysia is famous for its natural scenic beauty, golden beaches and the laid-back capital of Georgetown, with its British Colonial character.
Langkawi
An ideal tropical island escape with fine beaches, azure waters, upmarket resorts, incredible karst seascapes and a good tourist infrastructure that isn't overcrowded.
Malacca
With its architectural buildings influenced by the Portuguese and many tourist attractions such as zoos, farms, Mini ASEAN and Mini Malaysia.
Genting Highlands
In the populated Selangor state has become one of the top shopping destinations for Asian tourists, offering great bargains on brand-name goods. This hill-top resort town is also known for outdoor sports, golf course and casino.
Cherating
Is an ideal holiday getaway venue for jet-setters, located about 45kms from Kuantan. The beaches are some of the finest on the east coast, popular among windsurfers.
Terengganu
In the east coast is peaceful with a variety of quiet streets, small villages and unspoilt beaches. Home to the lilting Gamelan and the impressive traditional 'Ulek Mayang' dance.
Sabah and Sarawak
Located in East Malaysia on the tip of Borneo, these two states are home to orung-utans, the world's largest flower Rafflesia, flying squirrels and snakes, insect-eating plants and a variety of rich fauna and flora.
Scuba Diving
Malaysia offers some excellent spots for enthusiastic scuba divers including Layang Layang, northwest of Kota Kinabulu and Miri, north of Kuching.
Hiking and Trekking
Forests in Malaysia offer challenging trails for those into hiking. On Malaysia Peninsula, head to Taman Negara National Park, with canopy walkways while Sarawak, Borneo and Gunung Mulu National Park are famous are famous among hikers in East Malaysia.
Water Sports
Resort towns like Cherating provide an array of adrenaline-pumping water activities for active tourists. Find a variety of sports such as jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, and parachuting.
Casino
Gamble away at the country's only casino at Genting Highlands, Pahang. Try your luck on roulette, baccarat, French bull, blackjack and some interesting Chinese games.
Shopping
One of Asian's top destinations for shopaholics, Malaysia boasts hundreds of shopping malls and shopping streets. KL features luxurious, high-end clothing boutiques while markets are bustling with local goods.
Dining
A mecca for food lovers, Malaysia is a great place to chow down on authentic Asian cuisines including Malay, Chinese, Indian or Thai. Tropical fruits include the king of all fruits, durian, mango, jackfruit, papaya and pineapple.
Nightlife
Unlike many of its neighboring countries, nightclubs in Malaysia stay open until 5:00 or 6:00am. You can choose to hit the club after dinner or sit in one of many al fresco caf├ęs. KL is sophisticated by Asian standards but the Muslim values of the majority make it rather subdued as a party country.

Malaysia is a big melting pot where locals come from different religions, backgrounds and cultures, thus the country sees a variety of festivals.

February
Is one of the most festive months as Chinese New Year is celebrated. Expect a lot of red colors, fireworks and lion dances and observe the tradition of Ang-pow (red envelop containing money) giving.
May
A fun Harvest Festival is to express gratitude to rice gods. Agricultural programs include shows, traditional games and buffalo races.
August
Be amazed at a variety of parades, shows and a wide selection of authentic Malay, Indian, Chinese food on the National Day. Spectacular series of fireworks paint the skies at night.
September
A beautiful and also mouthwatering period, Mooncake-Lantern Festival is celebrated with mooncakes and lanterns hanging on the houses.
November
The Festival of Lights, or Deepavali, celebrated by all Hindus in Malaysia, boasts an array of dazzling beautiful lights from oil lamps.
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