Malaysia

Money

The currency: The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit noted RM.
1 Malaysian ringgit is around 0.245 U.S dollars and 0.218 Euros.
1 ringgit = 100 sen
There are 1 ,5,10,20,50,100 bank-notes and 5, 10, 20, 50 coins.


Money exchange: 
You are not required to bring Malaysian Ringgit from your home country, as it’s better to exchange money in Malaysia. Except perhaps for small amount for the day of arrival to save some time. The exchange booths charge no fees and they are available everywhere. You can encounter money changers that offer better rates, but be careful from scam. It’s recommended to exchange money at the safest place.

Also, avoid exchanging money at hotels, they offer poor exchange rates.

ATMs and credit cards: ATMs are widely available in Malaysia but it can be difficult to find one in small towns.

It’s an easy and safe way to get cash but check with your bank for the fees.

The majority of international credit cards are accepted in Malaysia: Visa, MasterCard, Alliance platinum … but small restaurants or shops may not accepted payment with any card. Also do not expose your card and be careful from credit card scam and theft as it’s common in Malaysia.


Money saving tips:

  • There are taxis with no meter, so you have to negotiate the price with the driver first.
  • Try the local street food and local coffee shops. They offer delicious and very cheap food and beverages.
  • The shops generally offer fixed price, but it’s always better to bargain with them especially in souks and traditional markets.
  • Many restaurants charge tourists more than locals. Ask for the price before ordering.
  • Don’t buy brand items from street vendors or souk. It’s common to sell fake name-brand items like jewels, sunglasses, bags and perfume.

Quick tips: 

When to go: 
Malaysia has a warm tropical climate. If you’re looking for warmth, you are in the right place. The temperature is about 30°C and does not vary much all year long.

The best part of the year to guarantee a good vacation is from March to October when the humidity and rainfall are lower.

If you want to attend several festivals and cultural events, you should plan your visit between January and February. The biggest festivals are the Chinese new year and the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam.

Also, the sabah fest in May and George Town between July and August, worth the visit.  

The transport:
Various ways of travel between the different regions of Malaysia are available and affordable.

The cost of hiring a car is low. Equipped with a GPS, you can play the adventure and discover the country by your own.
Public transportations like metros, trains, buses are modern, comfortable, widely spread, well connected and fast.

Note that the Malaysian trains and buses are equipped with air-conditioner. They are even so cold, so pack a jacket or long sleeves t-shirt with you.
Malaysian airlines have flights to the major cities to facilitate your trips and with reasonable coasts.

Language:
The main language in Malaysia is the Malay. However you shouldn’t worry about the language because English is compulsory in all schools and widely spread in the entire country. So you won’t find any problem in communication. Still you can learn some greetings in Malay to make friendships with locals.

Packing:
The high humidity of the country will make you sweat so don’t forget to bring breathable clothes.
You can expect some rain falls any time so you better be equipped with an umbrella and rain gear.
You should pack conservative clothes (scarfs for women) if you want to visit the mosques.

Tipping:
Normally tipping isn’t necessary in Malaysia. It all depends on your generosity. Most restaurants and hotels impose a service charge of 10% that cover the tipping.

Regulations:

  • Driving in Malaysia with an international driver license is only permitted for 3 months after that you need to apply for a Malaysian licence.
  • You should always carry your ID with you.
  • Any possession of drugs may lead to imprisonment.
  • Do not show disrespect to any religious activity to avoid problems with locals.

Visitor informations :

Time: UTC +8 

Opening hours:

The banks open from 9:15 am to 4 :00 pm on weekdays and from 11 :00 am to 2 :00 pm on Saturdays .

Pharmacies are open until late night and some are open 24h to treat emergencies.

Most shops are open from 8am to 9 pm and some until later hours. Shops close on Sundays.

Electricity:
The voltage used in Malaysia is 230/240 volts , 50 Hz
Electrical sockets in Malaysia are the “Type G ” British BS-1363 type.

Internet:
Internet is available in coffee shops , restaurants and shops (PappaRich ,Old Town White Coffee..)
You can also use smartphones applications to help you find hotspots.

The majority of hotels and hostels offer free Wifi for their guests but paid wifi for visitors. Their rates are higher than the internet shops, that charge 3 RM/hour.

Some public spaces especially in Kuala Lumpur, offer free access to internet for limited time.

Telephone:

Roaming service is generally too costly. You can buy prepaid cards. Celcom and other operators offer a traveler SIM with a package of special functionalities for only RM40.

If you want to buy a smartphone,  ask if it works only for Southeast asian SIM cards.