Travel to Malaysia

Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia
Malaysia

Malaysia offers extreme contracts, from towering skyscapers to national parks. For pure adventure, head to Borneo to climb S.E. Asia’s highest peak, Mt Kinabalu, or visit the heart-melting Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where orphaned and injured orangutans are rehabilitated to return to forest life.

Kuala Lumpur – Affectionately known as KL, Malaysia’s sultry capital is a mishmash of historic monuments, towering skyscrapers, traditional street markets and ultra modern shopping malls.  A booming digital economy is driving development, and inspiring contemporary artists to produce international quality work based on a centuries old melting pot culture.  In KL, eating is the number one pastime, and the streets are fragrant with pungent spices, enticing visitors and locals alike to take a break and have a bite. 

Penang – is an island off the north west side of the peninsula, famous for its pristine beaches, fishing villages and British colonial architecture. George Town, the capital of Penang is a city of Eurasian contrasts. Trishaws and Chinese shop houses sit comfortably beside cathedrals and fish and chip bars.

Sabah, Borneo – occupies only a small part of Borneo, yet it is so rich in natural beauty, and offers so many diverse activities, that it is a complete destination.  Sabah is a treasure trove of coral fringed desert islands, 13,000’ Mt Kinabalu, and lush jungles where tarsiers, gibbons, pythons, clouded leopards and crocodiles make their home.  Sabah’s compact size makes it easy to get from highlight to highlight, and its British heritage means that English is widely spoken. 

Sarawak, Borneo – allows visitors to spot orangutans, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and the world’s largest flower all on a day trip from Kuching, Borneo’s biggest and most liveable city.  Those who seek adventure can take a longhouse to longhouse hike in the Kelabit Highlands.  To get there, a journey in a ‘flying coffin’ riverboat is required.

Malaysia is two countries in one.  On one side of the South China Sea are the futuristic city of Kuala Lumpur and the colonial seaside grandeur of Penang Island.  On the Borneo side, you’ll find some of the most unspoiled and vividly beautiful places on earth with rainforests, highlands, waterfalls and exotic plants and wildlife.

People

Malaysia is diverse; Malay Muslims, Chinese Taoists and Buddhists, Indian Hindus, a large number of indigenous people, plus an assortment of Peranakans, Eurasians, and other races and religions all call themselves Malaysian.

Language

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language.  English is generally understood throughout the country.

History

There is evidence in early historical manuscripts that locations in Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium. The Indians named Borneo the land of gold, while the Javanese named it Diamond Island.

By the 14th century, Borneo was under the control of the land we now know as Indonesia, ruled by the Sultanates of Brunei and Sulu. Muslims came to Borneo and converted indigenous people to Islam. 

In 1842, the Sultanate of Brunei gave much of Sarawak to an Englishman named James Brooke in gratitude for his having quashed a local rebellion. Brooke and his descendants ruled Sarawak for 100 years.

In the early 19th century, British and Dutch governments signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to exchange trading ports under their controls which resulted in indirectly establishing British- and Dutch-controlled areas in Borneo.

During World War II, Japanese forces gained control and occupied Borneo. They decimated many local populations and killed Malay intellectuals, executing all the Malay Sultans of Kalimantan in the Pontianak incidents.

Dutch Borneo became part of the republic of Indonesia in 1950. The union of Sabah and Sarawak with Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 was resented by Indonesians. Indonesian guerrilla raids against both areas, begun in 1964, continued sporadically until Augst 1966. The sultanate of Brunei became fully independent in 1984. The resettlement of non-Dyak Indonesians in Kalimantan has led to recurrent violence against the settlers by Dyaks.

Currency

The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. The currency code for Ringgits is MYR, and the currency symbol is RM.

Best Time to Travel

Malaysia’s climate is tropical, with high humidity year round.  The temperature is usually 86 degrees F. The rainy season, which affects mainly the east coast of the peninsula, the north-eastern parts of Sabah and the western part of Sarawak, lasts from November to February.

Health Requirements

There are no require shots or medications for travellers arriving from the US into Malaysia.  Various biting bugs, leeches, parasites and venomous snakes are found in Malaysia’s rugged jungles so use insect repellent, don’t walk barefoot and take sensible precautions to avoid bites and stings if you embark on a jungle adventure. Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is appropriate and appreciated.  A Tipping Guide will be provided with your final Trip Packet.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets.  ATMs are plentiful.

Electrical Appliances

Malaysia operates on 230 volts, 50 hertz and requires plug type G
For information on plugs and voltage, please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/    Adaptors are easily and cheaply purchased locally.

Water

Water in Malaysia is considered potable but even locals boil it before drinking. Safer to use bottled water.


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This Destination

Malaysia

Related Destinations

Bali & Indonesia
Bhutan
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong & Macau
India
Japan
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Nepal
Northern India
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Southern India
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam

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