Malaysia is a country of extraordinary beauty located in Southeast Asia. Its emerald coasts, snow-white beaches, endless ocean and slender palm trees invariably attract travelers from all over the world. Cloudy skyscrapers are located next to the colonial buildings and picturesque sea coasts are successfully combined with a developed tourist infrastructure.
Check our first timer’s guide on planning a trip to Malaysia in 2024, where we’ve tried to highlight the most important things to know before going to this country.
Geographical Position and Its Peculiarities
Malaysia consists of two parts. These are peninsular territories, as well as the eastern part, consisting of the northern regions of the island of Kalimantan (Borneo). These lands are separated by the waters of the South China Sea.
Capital and Country’s Population
The capital of the country is Kuala Lumpur, where advanced technologies and oriental traditions are intertwined. The largest airport is also located here.
Indigenous Malays are known throughout the world for their politeness and friendliness. But local in the country – no more than 50% of the population.
What Languages are Spoken?
It is believed that Malaysia is the quintessence of Asian life and culture. In addition to the indigenous people, many nationalities live there; among them Chinese, Indians. All of them bring their own traditions to the culture of the region.
For this reason, travelers often worry about the language spoken in Malaysia. One of the main advantages of the country is that almost everyone here speaks English. Indeed, until the middle of the last century, Malaysia was a colony of England. The official language of the country is Malay, but English is, in fact, the second language used by almost all residents.
Best Time to Visit Malaysia
The country has tropical climate. The weather in Malaysia is hot and humid almost all year round. If you would like to enjoy your trip the most, make sure to plan it in the period from February and September.
Malaysia is a country with a high level of tolerance for all religions and freedom of worship. Most of the people is Malaysia are Muslims, Islam is practiced by 62% of the population. Other common religions are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Confucianism and others.
Major Resorts and Cities
The largest settlements are Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu, Georgetown. There are also many beach resorts here. They are located both on the Malay Peninsula and on many islands – Borneo, Penang and others.
One of the interesting facts about Malaysia is that although it is actually a Muslim country, a wide variety of religious holidays are celebrated there. They include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu holidays. Ramadan is also celebrated here, and both New Years – European and Chinese; and the Buddhist celebration of Vesak.
The traditional Chinese festivals of Flatbread and Lanterns are not deprived of attention either. All holidays are accompanied by performances, dances, competitions, bright fireworks and other fun.
Money to Take
Malaysia’s official currency is ringitt (1 ringitt consists of 100 sen). In luxury hotels and shops you can pay with credit card, but in most cases cash is used.
Currently, depending on your place of residence, tourists can enter Malaysia using eVisa.
Malaysian food presents the blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Thai and other cuisines. Main component of almost all dishes is rice. There are also variety of seafood meals you can try; noodles, fish, vegetables and fruits are also popular in it.
Malaysian cuisine is very often compared with the one of Singapore or the Philippines.
The average check in a cafe is about 70-90 ringgit.
Shopping and Things to Buy
Shops in Malaysia open mostly at 9.30 am and close at 7:00 pm. Grocery stores are open until 10:00 pm. Before making a purchase visit several stores and compare the prices. You can bargain in the markets or in small shops for better prices.
If you’re thinking about what to bring back home from sunny Malaysia as a souvenir to relatives and friends, there are all kinds of handicrafts, silver crafts, wooden figurines, clothes and fabrics.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Car traffic in the country is left-handed.
- Tap water is believed to be safe to drink. But still it is recommended to use bottled or boiled water.
- You can’t eat food with your left hand. Under no circumstances should you use it to pass something to a local resident – the left limb is regarded as “dirty”.
- Don’t refuse the drink offered, it can be considered as a sign of disrespect.
Is Malaysia Safe for Tourists
Travelers can feel safe in Malaysia. On the streets of its cities, you can safely walk at almost any time of the day. As for the crimes, they are mostly pickpocketing, that happen in crowded markets.
However, women should not dress too immodestly or provocatively. Especially, if you’re going to visit some remote areas.