After meeting LK Tan on the Camino de Santiago, my interest was piqued about his country. As one of my bucket list goals is to travel more to Asia, I wanted to showcase my adventurous friend’s expertise in his home country.
Enjoy LK’s post on Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Malaysia!
Thanks to developments in technology and increased communication across the world, increasing numbers of us are being exposed to some of the beautiful countries, cities, and landscapes that the world has to offer. It’s not all too surprising that hundreds of thousands of us are drawing up travel bucket lists and adding destinations we want to visit from far and wide across the globe! The particularly good news? Travel seems to be more accessible than ever, with budget airlines offering relatively low-cost flights and accommodation becoming a little more varied than standard hotels that can often cost a small fortune. One country that is experiencing increasing popularity on a yearly basis is Malaysia. So, if you’re considering adding this Southeast Asian country to your travel itinerary, here’s everything that you need to know about visiting!
Where Is Malaysia?
Malaysia is a country that lies in Southeast Asia, occupying various parts of the Malay Peninsula and also comprising of the island of Borneo. This country combines various cultural influences, ranging from Malay to Chinese, Indian, and European influences. So, if you’re looking for a country that can surround you with new cultures, languages, and cuisine, this could well be the place for you!
What Is the Weather Like?
While the weather will vary a little between one part of Malaysia and another, you will generally experience a tropical monsoon climate during your stay. This means that it is generally hot and humid throughout the year, with a little rain thrown in. Downpours tend to be sudden and short-lived, so if you wake up and find that it is pouring down, don’t worry. The rain will generally clear up pretty quickly.
The official language of Malaysia is Malay. This is the language that is taught in schools in the country, and if you listen to any radio or watch any television while you are away, chances are that this will all be broadcast in Malay too. Here are a few phrases that you might want to try using while you are away.
- Good Morning – selamat pagi
- Good Afternoon – selamat petang
- Good Night – selamat malam
- Sorry – ma’af
- I Don’t Understand – saya tidak faham
- Please – tolong
- Thank You – terima kasih
When you are planning on heading overseas, it’s always a good idea to check what vaccines are recommended when visiting the area well in advance of your departure. While you may have had the necessary vaccines to remain happy and healthy within the borders of your home nation, different areas have different health threats and it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting yourself against potential problems. Now, there are no essential vaccines that you need to take when visiting most parts of Malaysia if you currently live in Western Europe. However, it is generally recommended that you top up childhood vaccines if you haven’t already. Here’s a complete list of potential vaccines you might want to consider.
For All Travellers
- Hepatitis A
For Individuals Who Will Be Trekking
- Hepatitis B
For Individuals Visiting Rural Areas
- Meningococcal Meningitis
- Japanese B Encephalitis
Malaysia tends to categorise as low risk when it comes to contracting malaria. However, if you are visiting rural areas, or are close to bordering countries that may have a high risk of malaria, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor or pharmacist, who may recommend anti-malarial medication and bug sprays.
What you should pack for your trip to Malaysia depends largely on the area that you will be visiting and what you intend to do. Individuals visiting Kuala Lumpur for a city break, for example, will have to pack a completely different case to someone who is intending to hike through deep forest areas in Peninsula Malaysia. Regardless of where you are visiting, comfortable footwear is recommended, as this will ensure that you don’t have to head back to your accommodation early due to aching, sore, or blistered feet.
Preparing Your Accommodation Well in Advance
As with any travel destination, it is much better to plan your accommodation well in advance of flying to Malaysia and entering the country’s borders. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, there are various areas of Malaysia that are extremely popular and will receive a constant high influx of tourists. Take Kuala Lumpur as an example. This city, which is the capital of Malaysia, draws in around 12.1 million international visitors on an annual basis, all of whom will need somewhere to stay. If you turn up without a booking, you may find that you either have nowhere at all to shelter at night, or that you might have to fork out extortionate fees for last minute bookings in prestige establishments. On the other hand, there are parts of Malaysia that are less tourism based, where you may find difficulty in securing last minute accommodation purely because there aren’t so many options at hand. If you are planning on staying in Mont Kiara, you will want to book in advance with arte mont kiara, so that you definitely have somewhere to rest at night throughout your stay.
Be Savvy With Taxis
When you are at home, you will know exactly how much taxis should cost and where you should order them from due to experience over the years. However, when you are overseas, you are in unfamiliar territory and should prepare in advance to avoid getting ripped off or having an unpleasant trip. Taxis in large Malaysian cities are ranked some of the worst in the world. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid using taxis in Malaysia. It just means that you should be prepared and savvy. Gain local insight into how much a fare should be before setting foot in any cab. If you are a little more organised, use taxi booking apps such as Easy Taxi or My Teksi.
Malaysia truly is a beautiful country and definitely worth adding to your travel bucket list, especially if you are already heading to Southeast Asia. Hopefully, some of the above advice has helped to give you a little insight into what you need to do in advance of your trip to ensure that you have a safe, happy, healthy, and enjoyable time while you are away!
**Post contributed by fellow adventure LK Tan, who is originally from Malaysia, but has traveled the globe. His latest challenge was the Camino de Santigao in Spain.**