(Text for this page were abstracted from http://www.tourism.gov.my)
Located in the tropics, Malaysia straddles the South China Sea - Peninsular Malaysia is at the tip of mainland Southeast Asia, while the states of Sabah and Sarawak are on the island of Borneo. The nation’s natural diversity offers visitors a range of attractions including beautiful beaches, idyllic islands, cool hill stations, historic towns, a dynamic capital and the world’s oldest rainforests with an astounding diversity of flora and fauna.
Malaysia is truly multiculture and one of its greatest resources is its rich cultural diversity. Malays number around half of the total population of over 21 million, while the other half comprises Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans and other ethnic groups.
Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the national and official language of the country. English is widely used all over the country. Other languages are Mandarin and Tamil.
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam. However, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Christianity are widely practiced by the various races.
CLIMATE AND CLOTHING
Malaysia has an equatorial climate with uniform temperatures throughout the year. Temperatures range from 32ºC during the day to 22ºC during the night. It is slightly cooler in the hill country. Rainfall is common throughout the year, averaging 200 - 250 cm a year. Light comfortable clothing is the norm with lightweight woolens required for visits to highland areas.
CURRENCY AND BANKING
The Malaysian Ringgit (RM) is issued in notes from RM 100 to RM 1, and coins from RM 1 to one sen (cents). Major credit cards are accepted in cities and large towns. Permitted currency limits are as follows:
A resident and non-resident is permitted to carry into and out of Malaysia, ringgit notes not exceeding RM 1000 per person.
There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency notes and travellers’ cheques that can be brought into the country.
A resident is permitted to carry out of Malaysia foreign currency notes including travellers’ cheques not exceeding RM 10,000 equivalent per person.
A non-resident is permitted to carry out of Malaysia foreign currency notes including travellers’ cheques not exceeding the amount brought in.
Banking hours (except for the states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu) are from 1000 to 1600, Monday to Friday, and 0930 to 1130 on Saturday except for the first and third Saturday of each month when banks are closed.
All commercial banks are authorized foreign exchange dealers, and licensed money changers are found in urban centres, key entry/exit points and shopping complexes. Foreign currency and travellers’ cheques can also be exchanged at major hotels.
Most international airlines fly in and out of Kuala Lumpur, with some also calling at Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Malaysia Airlines operates numerous domestic services providing easy connections to destinations throughout to country. The centre of Kuala Lumpur is about 60 minutes by express bus or taxi from KLIA. Peninsular Malaysia can be entered by road or rail from Singapore and Thailand. Driving is on the left. Most major car rental companies operate counters at KLIA, other airports and urban centres. Internal transport is efficient and cheap and includes air-conditioned express buses and long-distance taxi services.
Malaysia has efficient telephone, facsimile, telegraph, telex, email and airmail communications, both internally and internationally.
Standard Malaysian Time is eight hours ahead of GMT.
Electricity supply in Malaysia is 240-volt, 50 hz.
A valid passport (and visa if applicable) with a minimum of 6 months validity is required for all persons entering Malaysia. A valid passport is also necessary for travel between Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as between Sabah and Sarawak.
No visa is required for nationals of Commonwealth countries (except Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, San Marino and Liechtenstein.
No visa is required for stay not exceeding three months for nationals of: Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Czech Rep., Denmark, Eqypt, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, North Yemen, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovak, Korea Rep., Sweden, Tunisia, Tu rkey, U.A.E., U.S.A. No visa is required for stay of not more than one month for nationals of all ASEAN countries. For stay exceeding one month, visas will be required, except for nationals of Brunei and Singapore.
No visa is required for stay not exceeding one month for nationals of:
Argentina, Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Corsica, Costa Rica, Croatia, Djibouti, Dominica Rep., Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Gabon, Greece, Greenland, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Laos, Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Zaire.
No visa is required for stay not exceeding 14 days for nationals of: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, S. Yemen, Syria.
No visa is required for stay not exceeding 7 days for nationals of: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirghisztan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Romania, Russian Fed., Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Note: Nationals of Bangladesh, Bhutan, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, India, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Certificate of Identity (CI) holders must obtain a visa before entering Malaysia.
Useful Links: Immigration Department of Malaysia