Malaysia Travel Tips
Malaysia is an enticing country that attracts everyone with its appeal. If you have already been fascinated by its charisma and planning to come here, then you must keep certain things in mind before packing your bags. No, don’t panic. It’s just about handling the stuff in a convenient way. While traveling to foreign places, one must be a little cautious about the surroundings, if not problems might crop up just next door. Thus, before traveling to Malaysia, always check out the travel tips to be at ease.
To avoid “cultural offenses,” here are some tips:
- Remove shoes when entering homes and places of worship.
- Dress neatly in a suitable attire which covers arms and legs when visiting places of worship.
- Handle food with your right hand.
- Do not point your foot at someone.
- When giving or receiving money gifts to/from a Malaysian, do so with your right hand.
- Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
- Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
- Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to gentlemen by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, “I greet you from my heart”. The visitor should reciprocate the “salam”.
Travelers coming to Malaysia – be warned that the sentence for drug trafficking is the death penalty. You can also be arrested for carrying some small quantities of ganja or drugs.
On Petty Crimes:
- Crime rates are generally low, especially for serious crimes. Beware of Snatch Thieves!! Be careful of snatch thieves and pickpockets when you walk anywhere – This daylight robbery is common now even in crowded places such as markets and business/banking areas. Snatch thieves usually move on motorbikes and may drag you along with them (with your bag) or hurt you. Avoid carrying a sling bag that hangs on one shoulder.
- Be careful of your belonging when someone approaches you to talk to you. Do not follow anyone who says you have a price to claim.
- Look around and take care of your money when you change currency at busy shopping malls or when withdrawing money.
- Do not walk along lonely streets or along poorly lit roads at night. Tourists and visitors should stick to areas where you see many locals walking about.
- Those who drive, especially ladies, should avoid driving late at night especially along lonely roads. Stick to the main roads. Park your car along crowded roads or in well lit parking places.
On Travel Documents:
It’s always recommended to deposit your travel documents and valuables in a hotel safe or keep them under observation.
On Public Display of Affection (PDA):
Don’t involve in any of such activities on roads, stations or any other public places in Malaysia.
On Drinking Water:
Tap water is usually fine to drink. In case you don’t prefer tap water, then bottled water is available at general stores across the country.
Always take only that much luggage which you can handle. Take only required things and don’t assemble many things. Prefer taking durable suitcases or bags because you never know how the airlines’ would deal with baggage. Always keep handy bag containing medicines, required things and travel documents.
For driving in Malaysia, you need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). However, prefer using taxis because traffic is not very smooth here. Don’t mix drinking and driving as it a punishable offense and breathalyzer tests are common by the police.
In Malaysia, gambling is illegal and there are only few spots where it is permissible. Don’t get into illegal gambling joints because tourists are frequently cheated.
Tipping is not common in Malaysia, especially in the more rural areas. In most hotels and large restaurants,a 10% service charge is added to the bill along with 6% government tax.
For tours and sightseeing we recommend some tip for the driver and guide, depending on the quality of the service. Porters and bellboys are usually tipped depending on the weight and size of the bags.
On Clothing and Dress Codes:
Clothing made of cotton and other natural fibers are more suitable because Malaysia’s climate is generally hot and humid. As for the dress codes, Malaysians usually wear clothing styles which similar with Americans and Europeans, although modesty is observed.
On Police Assistance
If you face any problems during your visit, contact the nearest Police Station or lodge a report at any one of the numerous ‘Pondok Polis’ (Mini Police Stations) in the city. You may also enlist the help of the Kuala Lumpur Tourist Police, a unit specifically assigned to assist foreign visitors, at Tel: 03-241 5522/5243.
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