Malaysia Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Malaysia is a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia, known for its tropical weather, stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in exploring bustling cities, hiking through rainforests, or relaxing on pristine beaches, Malaysia has something for everyone. 

What’s the Best Time to Visit? 📅

The best time to visit Malaysia is during the dry season, which typically runs from May to September. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, with lower humidity levels and cooler temperatures, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

However, it is important to note that Malaysia is a tropical country and can experience rainfall year-round, particularly in the coastal areas. The wet season, which runs from October to March, brings heavier rainfall and higher humidity levels, which can make outdoor activities more challenging.

Another factor to consider when planning a visit to Malaysia is the peak tourist season, which runs from December to February, coinciding with the Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays. During this time, accommodation and flight prices may be higher, and popular tourist attractions can be crowded.

Overall, the best time to visit Malaysia is during the dry season from May to September, when the weather is more comfortable for outdoor activities and sightseeing. However, visitors should be prepared for some rain, particularly in the coastal areas, and plan their trip accordingly to avoid peak tourist season.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around? 🚌

Malaysia has a range of transportation options for tourists to get around the country:

  1. Bus: Buses are a popular mode of transportation in Malaysia, with a vast network of routes connecting major cities and towns. Many of the buses are air-conditioned and comfortable, and tickets can be purchased at bus terminals or online.
  2. Train: Malaysia has a modern and efficient train system, with two major train operators – KTM and Electric Train Service (ETS). Trains are a great option for traveling between major cities, such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
  3. Taxi/Grab: Taxis are widely available in Malaysia, and Grab is a popular ride-hailing service that operates throughout the country. Fares are metered, and it is advisable to negotiate the fare in advance for longer trips.
  4. Car rental: Car rental is a popular option for tourists who want to explore Malaysia at their own pace. There are many international car rental companies operating in Malaysia, and driving is on the left-hand side of the road.
  5. Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT): Kuala Lumpur has an extensive network of LRT and MRT lines, making it easy to travel around the city quickly and efficiently.
  6. Bicycle: Many cities in Malaysia, such as George Town and Melaka, have bike rental services, making it easy to explore the city at a leisurely pace.

Overall, Malaysia has a range of transportation options to suit all budgets and travel preferences, and tourists should choose the mode of transportation that best suits their needs and itinerary.

What’s the Official Language?

Malaysia has a diverse population, and as a result, the country has several languages and dialects spoken throughout. Here are some common phrases in the official language of Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia, that tourists may find useful:

  1. Hello – Salam/Assalamualaikum (Muslim greeting)
  2. Goodbye – Selamat tinggal
  3. Thank you – Terima kasih
  4. You’re welcome – Sama-sama
  5. Please – Sila
  6. Excuse me – Maafkan saya
  7. How are you? – Apa khabar?
  8. I don’t understand – Saya tak faham
  9. Can you speak English? – Bolehkah kamu bertutur dalam bahasa Inggeris?
  10. How much does it cost? – Berapa harganya?

It is important to note that while Bahasa Malaysia is the official language of Malaysia, English is widely spoken, particularly in urban areas and tourist hotspots. Many signs and menus are also displayed in both languages, making it easy for tourists to navigate and communicate.

Where to Stay? 🏨

Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and travel styles. Here are some of the best accommodation options for tourists:

  1. Hotels: Malaysia has a vast selection of hotels, from budget-friendly options to luxurious five-star hotels. Most of the major international hotel chains have a presence in Malaysia, particularly in Kuala Lumpur and other major cities.
  2. Resorts: Malaysia is known for its stunning beaches and tropical islands, and there are many resorts that offer guests a luxurious and relaxing holiday experience. Popular destinations for resorts include Langkawi, Penang, and the east coast islands.
  3. Guesthouses and homestays: For budget-conscious travelers, guesthouses and homestays are a great option. They offer a more local and authentic experience, and are usually run by friendly and hospitable hosts.
  4. Airbnb: Airbnb is becoming an increasingly popular option in Malaysia, particularly for those looking for a more local experience. There are many unique and stylish properties available for rent throughout the country.
  5. Hostels: Hostels are a popular option for backpackers and solo travelers, particularly in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and George Town. They offer affordable accommodation and a great way to meet other travelers.

Overall, Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, and tourists should choose the type of accommodation that best suits their needs and itinerary.

What to Eat? 🍽️

Malaysia is a food lover’s paradise, with a diverse and delicious cuisine influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures. Here are some must-try dishes when in Malaysia:

  1. Nasi Lemak: Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak is a fragrant coconut rice dish served with anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, and a spicy sambal sauce. It’s typically eaten for breakfast but can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
  2. Char Kway Teow: A popular Chinese-Malaysian dish, Char Kway Teow is a stir-fried noodle dish made with flat rice noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, and various meats or seafood.
  3. Laksa: A spicy noodle soup made with rice noodles in a spicy coconut milk broth, Laksa is a popular dish in Malaysia, particularly in the northern states.
  4. Satay: Skewered and grilled meat (usually chicken or beef) served with a peanut sauce, Satay is a popular street food snack in Malaysia.
  5. Roti Canai: A flaky, crispy flatbread usually served with a curry sauce for dipping, Roti Canai is a popular breakfast and snack food in Malaysia.
  6. Hokkien Mee: A Chinese-Malaysian dish made with thick egg noodles, prawns, pork, and vegetables, Hokkien Mee is a popular comfort food in Malaysia.
  7. Cendol: A sweet dessert made with shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and green jelly noodles, Cendol is a refreshing treat on a hot day.

These are just a few of the many delicious dishes that Malaysia has to offer. Be sure to also try other local favorites like Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mee Goreng (fried noodles), and Teh Tarik (pulled tea).

What to See? 🔍

Malaysia is a beautiful and diverse country, with a rich culture and history. Here are some of the must-see tourist places in Malaysia:

  1. Petronas Twin Towers: The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur are an iconic landmark of Malaysia, and offer stunning views of the city. Visitors can take a guided tour or go up to the observation deck for a panoramic view.
  2. Batu Caves: Batu Caves, located just outside of Kuala Lumpur, is a series of caves and temples that are a popular tourist attraction. The main cave is home to a Hindu temple and is accessed by climbing 272 steps.
  3. Langkawi Island: Langkawi Island is a popular destination for beach lovers, with its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can enjoy water sports, hiking, and exploring the island’s natural beauty.
  4. Malacca: Malacca is a historic city with a rich cultural heritage, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore its narrow streets and colonial architecture, visit its many museums, and try the local cuisine.
  5. Cameron Highlands: The Cameron Highlands is a popular destination for nature lovers, with its cool climate, rolling hills, and tea plantations. Visitors can enjoy hiking, visiting strawberry farms, and exploring the local villages.
  6. Taman Negara National Park: Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can go jungle trekking, rafting, and canopy walks.
  7. Georgetown, Penang: Georgetown is a historic city with a unique blend of cultures, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore its historic buildings and temples, try the local street food, and shop for handicrafts.

Overall, Malaysia offers a wide range of attractions and experiences for tourists to enjoy, from natural beauty to historic landmarks and cultural heritage.

What to Do? 📸

Malaysia is a beautiful and diverse country with plenty of activities to enjoy during a holiday. Here are some things to do when in Malaysia for a holiday:

  1. Explore the cities: Malaysia has several vibrant cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Malacca. Explore the streets, try the local cuisine, and take in the sights and sounds of these bustling cities.
  2. Visit historical sites: Malaysia has a rich history, and there are several historical sites to visit. Some of the most popular include the Batu Caves, St. Paul’s Church in Malacca, and the Kellie’s Castle.
  3. Go to the beach: Malaysia has several stunning beaches, including Langkawi, Perhentian Islands, and Tioman Island. Spend a day lounging on the sand, snorkeling in the clear waters, or trying some water sports.
  4. Enjoy nature: Malaysia has plenty of natural beauty to enjoy, such as the Taman Negara National Park, the Cameron Highlands, and the Borneo Rainforest. Take a hike, go on a wildlife safari, or explore the local flora and fauna.
  5. Try the food: Malaysia is famous for its delicious food, which is a blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisine. Don’t miss trying some of the local dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Char Kway Teow, and Roti Canai.
  6. Visit theme parks: Malaysia has several popular theme parks, including Legoland, Sunway Lagoon, and Genting Highlands. These parks offer plenty of rides, attractions, and entertainment for the whole family.
  7. Attend cultural festivals: Malaysia has a diverse population, and there are several cultural festivals throughout the year, such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and Deepavali. Attend one of these festivals to experience the local culture and traditions.
  8. Shop: Malaysia is known for its shopping, with several large malls and markets such as the Petaling Street Market and the Central Market. Shop for souvenirs, clothes, and electronics at these popular shopping destinations.

Culture and Safety 🦺

Malaysia is a multicultural country, with a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic groups. The official language is Malay, but English is widely spoken, especially in cities and tourist areas. Islam is the dominant religion, but there is also a significant Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian population.

When visiting Malaysia, it’s important to respect the local culture and customs. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and remove your shoes before entering mosques and temples. It’s also important to be respectful of local customs, such as not pointing with your feet or touching someone’s head.

Malaysia is generally a safe country for tourists, but it’s important to take common sense precautions. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Be cautious when traveling at night, especially in urban areas.

Malaysia has a good healthcare system, but it’s still important to take precautions to protect your health. Drink bottled water, avoid street food that may not be properly cooked or refrigerated, and use insect repellent to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever.

Conclusion

Malaysia is a beautiful and diverse country with something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring its vibrant cities, relaxing on its stunning beaches, or immersing yourself in its rich culture and history, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Just be sure to plan ahead, respect local customs, and take precautions to stay safe and healthy during your visit.