Malaysia travel tips



Malaysia is becoming an increasingly popular destination in Southeast Asia. Especially the exciting cultural mix of Indians, Malays and Chinese is for many a welcome change to the otherwise Buddhist countries Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar.

The country has something for every taste. Be it the varied nature of mountains, deserted beaches and rainforest. Or the UNESCO World Heritage listed cities such as Melaka or George Town. The capital Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian part of the island Borneo belong to the most fascinating places of the country.

Add to that the very versatile kitchen, which has not only surprised us once.

On this page you will find 17 important travel tips for Malaysia and at the end all blog posts we have written so far about the country.

Table of Contents:

Getting there:

Since Kuala Lumpur is now one of the major linchpin points in Southeast Asia, you can fly from many major airports from Germany to Malaysia. Depending on the booking period and travel time, you will find return flights with a stopover for less than € 500.

Five airports in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Kuching and Kotah Kinabalu) are served by international airlines. All other airports are great for domestic flights.

We always search and compare our flights through the Skyscanner portal *.

entry & Visa:

Entering Malaysia is straightforward, quick and easy. Austrians, Germans and Swiss receive a residence permit of 90 days free of charge stamped on entry. A visa is not needed.

As usual, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months. Depending on the border crossing, a fingerprint is taken from both index fingers when entering the country via a scanner.

Further information on entry and visa can be found here: Federal Foreign Office

climate & best travel time

In principle, Malaysia is easy to travel all year round. Nevertheless you should pay attention to some things. The weather is not only strongly dependent on the general travel time, but also on the regions. On Borneo and the west and east coast there are completely different monsoon times.

The climate itself is very tropical and above all one thing: hot. Only in the mountains, such as The Cameron Highlands, it gets a bit cooler in the morning or in the evening.

The east coast, ie the popular island destinations Tioman, Redang, the Perhentian Islands and Borneo, should preferably be visited in summer. At the time it is usually drier and the weather plays best with. From November to March, even most of the East Coast accommodation and restaurants are closed.

On the west coast (for example Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh) it is the other way round. The best weather and best travel time is during the winter months (december, january, february).

Note: In general, it rains in Malaysia more than, for example, in Thailand.

For the main and low season, we have written down a few pros and cons together.

Peak season:

The high season in Malaysia has already been explained above with a few good examples. If you are aware of this you will always have good weather. In addition, it gets hot and the high humidity bring you a little sweat.

Advantages of the High Season:

  • The weather is more constant and the rain probability much lower
  • All restaurants, bars and hotels are open
  • Malaysian life takes place much more on the street

Disadvantages of the high season:

  • The prices are higher. Whether for food or hotel.
  • Certain regions are almost too busy (eg Langkawi or Penang)

Low season:

In the low season, the weather is not constant and there are often rains. Unfortunately, it is not really predictable how bad the rain will be. You can be lucky and get the best weather despite bad weather or bad luck and it rains for several days.

The temperatures continue to rise in the rainy season and the heat is always oppressive. On certain days, this can be quite exhausting for the body. Traveling through a specific part of Malaysia during the rainy season is almost pure gambling.

Advantages of the low season:

  • There is much less going on in the tourist areas
  • Most of it is a lot cheaper (especially accommodations)

Disadvantages of the low season:

  • The weather is not predictable and you can be unlucky enough
  • Many restaurants or even accommodations do not open
  • In some corners it is almost too quiet


The currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) and is abbreviated RM in many shops and restaurants. For one euro you get depending on the current exchange rate between 4 and 5 ringgit.

Keep in mind that the currency is always subject to strong fluctuations. Within a few days, the price can change very much to your advantage or disadvantage.


Malaysia is a cheap travel destination and does not have to hide behind Thailand or Indonesia. Nevertheless, it can not quite keep up. While transport and food costs balance, accommodation is more expensive.

Especially on the islands or in other tourist areas, we often found the price-performance ratio of accommodation very difficult. In the capital Kuala Lumpur you can dust off good bargains.

To give you an overview, we have written down some important cost factors:

  • Bed in dormitory: from 44 ringgit (about 9.00 €) p.P.
  • Simple double room with fan: from 70 ringgit (about 14,50 €)
  • Simple double room with air conditioning: from 100 ringgit (about 20,50 €)
  • Middle class double room: from 150 ringgit (30,00 €)
  • Luxury Double Room: from 290 Ringgit (about 60,00 €)
  • Roll rental per day: from 35 Ringit (about 7 €)
  • Streetfood: from 5 Ringit (about 1.00 €)
  • Food in simple restaurants: from 8 ringgit (1.60 €)
  • Food in higher restaurants: from 20 ringgit (4,00 €)
  • Bus ride from Melaka to Penang: from 52 Ringgit (10,70 €) p.P.

Note: Since Malaysia is a Muslim country, the prices of alcoholic beverages are very expensive.


The official language is Bahasa Malaysia and bears much resemblance to the Indonesian language. To be exact 80%. It is also one of the simplest languages ​​in the world and you can quickly get some terms and simpler sentences.

Due to the historical past (British colonial period) and the many different nations English is spoken as a second national language. Especially in the big and better known corners everybody will understand you and be able to help you. Perfect English is not uncommon here.


Malaysia has a large selection of accommodation. Whether hotels, hostels, homestays, apartments or bungalows.

You get the right accommodation for every budget. A bed in a dorm often starts at around $ 8, and a basic low-budget double starts at $ 10 a night. However, breakfast is not included everywhere.

We almost always book our accommodations through *.


Malaysia has an advanced and well-developed infrastructure, especially on the mainland. We found it very easy to get from A to B. We now introduce you to the 7 most important domestic transport options.


There are more than 100 airports in Malaysia. Flying within the country is very cheap by many budget airlines such as Firefly, Air Asia, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air or MASwings.

For example, a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching is already possible from 20 €. However, prices are very seasonal. Nonetheless, domestic flights are a great way for travelers with limited time in the country to get from one place to another quickly, yet cheaply..

With the Skyscanner flight search engine * we are always searching for our flights and the best deals. Can we only recommend.

Especially on the mainland, you will be surprised by the very well-developed bus network. The numerous coaches do not only head to known corners, but also many small destinations within the country. Bus driving in Malaysia is not only convenient, but also fast and really cheap.

Example: From Melaka to Kuala Lumpur we paid about 11 RM (about 2.25 €) and had huge seats and a brand new bus.

We book the bus tickets either via the portal * or locally at the big bus stations. Especially in the high season, you should book tickets to certain locations in advance online.

Insider tip: When booking we always secured the seats in the front row. There you have the most leg room and a good view of the surroundings. However, most of the buses have no toilets installed, but drivers always take a break.

Traveling by train is not only convenient and easy, but also safe. You come by modern trains, as well as well-developed routes. fast to the finish. A good example is the drive from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth. On this route, the express train needs just 4 hours and is really cheap.

The trains not only operate within the country, but also drive to other popular neighboring countries such as Thailand or Singapore. For these goals mostly night trains are used, which are divided into two classes. Sleeping cars with multiple beds strung together or wagons with private compartments.

Important NOTE: Especially the locals in Malaysia use next to buses, very often trains. The tickets for longer distances are therefore mostly booked in advance. At least 30 days before departure you can book the tickets online or buy directly in front of the suburb. First variant is much safer. If you want to secure the tickets in advance, we recommend you the page *.

As everywhere, there are many taxis in Malaysia. However, the drivers always try their luck and want to negotiate before they turn on the taxi meter. Especially in remote areas it is almost impossible to find a “reputable” taxi driver. In Kuala Lumpur things are different. Here drive many taxis with activated taxi meter. If not, just stay hard and go to the next one.

Uber and Grab:

If you do not feel like annoying negotiations, then we recommend the two apps Grab and Uber. You can easily order a driver who has to drive the route at a price set by the app. This price is very cheap and is usually even below the official taxi prices.

Note: In big cities like Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, George Town or Ipoh, it’s easier to find a driver through the apps than in rural areas like the Cameron Highlands.


In Malaysia it is possible to discover certain corners or regions by scooter. Since we found it rather impractical and unsafe compared to Thailand, we used this opportunity only once.

On the one hand, the theft rate is very high (especially in the Cameron Highlands), on the other hand, the rental rates are pretty tough. In George Town, we paid 35 Ringit (about 7 €) for one day and got half a scrap heap for it.

If you want to rent a scooter, there are a few things to note.

  • Inform yourself in advance on the internet which scooter provider has good reviews and is really serious. You should also check a suitable price-performance ratio beforehand.
  • Take a good look at the scooter, check the brakes and take pictures of it.
  • Be sure to get a reputable contract from the scooter rental company.

The rental company will usually require a copy of your passports, international driver‘s license and a small deposit to play it safe.

vaccinations & diseases

First and foremost, you should seek the advice of a tropical medicine doctor for the topic of vaccinations. This will give you accurate information on which vaccines are most important for a trip to Malaysia. However, we can say in advance that the primary vaccinations such as measles, tetanus or chickenpox are a “must” for any travel destination.

Further vaccinations like hepatitis A & B, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, and typhoid should also be considered. In the end, it’s your free choice. Just wait for the conversation with your doctor and then you will know more.


For the most part, Malaysia is a very safe country in Southeast Asia. At no time did we feel uncomfortable, insecure or anxious. The locals are very friendly and helpful.

Nevertheless, it can also occasionally come to Malaysia (bag) thefts. Especially in tourist areas like Melaka, George Town or Kuala Lumpur. In addition, you should not wear valuables such as expensive watches, gold chains or other jewelry on the body.

Since Islam is the state religion, women should also pay attention to their clothes and refrain from tight and cut out clothes.

Note: At present, it can only be dangerous in the region of Sabah (east). Here, the Foreign Office warns against kidnappings by terrorist groups.

eat & Drink

Describing the country’s cuisine in a few words is not so easy. Due to the many different ethnic groups, the food is extremely varied and varied. In general, street food in Malaysia is one of the best in the world. Especially the city of George Town on the island of Penang is a true street food Eldorado. But also Kuala Lumpur has some corners with food stalls to offer.

The Malay cuisine itself is very fleshy, greasy and only partially suitable for vegetarians or vegans. She did not knock us off the peg. We also felt the same way with the Chinese courts.

The better we found the Indian cuisine. Since 20% of the inhabitants of Malaysia are Indians, they are usually not typical tourist restaurants but small food shops. If you see people eating with their hands, you know that you are right. In addition, every Indian restaurant has a great vegetarian and vegan selection.

Typical dishes from the Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisines are: Nasi Campur, Laksa Curry, Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, Hokkien Mee, Curry Mee, Thali, Kotthu Parotta with Raitha, Roti Canai, Naan Bread, Curries, Biryani or Tandoori.

Drink: The variety does not stop at the drinks. In addition to soft drinks such as coke, Fanta or water, there are just as beer and other alcoholic beverages. Above all, alcohol is significantly more expensive than in many other countries of Southeast Asia.

Typical local drinks are fresh iced tea made from black tea and lemon, as well as the incredibly delicious masala tea from India. You should definitely try both.

Note: The soft drinks in Malaysia are even sweeter than in Germany. So if you do not want a sugar shock, better leave it on the shelf.

Important festivals

We have already mentioned it several times: Although some cultures and peoples mix in Malaysia, the state religion is Islam. Accordingly, many festivals also depend on this belief.

Nevertheless, the big celebrations of the numerous Chinese and Indians are extensively celebrated. That’s exactly what Malaysia is all about for us: this powerful diversity, tolerance and openness.

Ramadan: Ramadan is the great Muslim month of fasting and, of course, very important in Malaysia. For a whole month, all Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, or even cigarettes during the day. Alcohol is forbidden anyway. Only before sunrise and after sunset, people are allowed to break the fast and to take food and drinks.

In tourist areas and restaurants with international cuisine you will experience no restrictions. In rural areas it looks different. Closed restaurants and empty streets are quite normal during the month of fasting. Avoid these corners best.

Hari Raya Puasa: The festival Hari Raya Puasa heralds the end of Lent and is an incredibly important day for the people of Malaysia. As soon as the new moon begins, the celebrations begin throughout the country and the houses are decorated. In addition, the families meet together to celebrate the great fast break with huge food signs on this day.

Birthday of Muhammad (Milad un Nabi): On this day, Muslims gather in all the mosques in the country to honor their Prophet Muhammad together. As with the Hari Raya Puasa festival, the houses are cleaned on the birthday of Muhammad and the whole family meets for a huge banquet.

Thaipusam festival: The Thaipusam Festival is the most important Indian festival in Malaysia and is celebrated by the Tamil people. The festival takes place on three days in January / February always during the full moon and is celebrated in honor of the god Murugan. On these days, countless faithful pilgrimage to the temples and have stuck it skewers, hooks or other sharp objects in the body. The biggest festival is celebrated in Kuala Lumpur on the Batu Caves.

Chinese new year: Since the Chinese are the second largest population group in the country after the Malays, the Chinese New Year is celebrated properly. It starts in January and runs every 15 days. Temples, houses and sometimes also shopping centers are decorated from top to bottom with red ribbons and lanterns. In addition, many traditional activities such as Lion dance, plays and countless ceremonies.

Our highlights in Malaysia

Ipoh: Definitely one of the coolest cities in Malaysia. The city is still really unknown and one of the biggest insider tips in the country. Beautiful old town, lots of street art, cheap food, gigantic cave temples and much more. For us, Ipoh is the second George Town. Only much more relaxed.

Kuala Lumpur: One of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia. Due to the many different peoples KL is really varied and anything but boring. Culture and tradition mix with modernity and the future. There are also plenty of attractions and, above all, the Indian food in Kuala Lumpur is phenomenal.

Batu Caves: The Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur are one of our Malaysia highlights. We were able to experience the fascinating Thaipusam festival on the ground and were kidnapped into another world. A visit to the cave is definitely a MUST. Especially on Sunday, many locals and believers come to the Batu Caves to pray in the temples.

George Town: The city of George Town is located on the island of Penang and is one of the most visited places in Malaysia. Despite numerous tourists, we found the city really cool. It is a UNESO World Heritage Site and, in addition to the famous street art and other attractions, has the best streetfod in the country.

Romantic places & Activities in Malaysia

HeliPad Bar in Kuala Lumpur: At the Helipad Bar in Kuala Lumpur you can enjoy a delicious cocktail during a romantic sunset. The special feature of the bar: Underground it is a helicopter landing pad, from 18 o’clock the landing field is converted to the Skybar.

Masjid Wilayah in Kuala Lumpur: The mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques we have seen so far. Throughout the church you can find many magical tiles, ornaments and patterns, some of which are from India and resemble the Taj Mahal. During the tour you feel like in an oriental fairytale.

Melaka River: The river runs along the old town of Melaka and is perfect for a walk. It gets really romantic in the evening when the Melaka River is illuminated by countless lamps in a variety of colors. Sit in one of the few restaurants right on the river and enjoy the great atmosphere.

Packing list for Malaysia:

Less is more. Especially clothes. Some units have a washing machine and many have laundry facilities. In an emergency, you can also buy clothes very cheaply at markets or in shopping centers.

Important Note: To enter temples and mosques, you should bring long clothes with you. In some large and well-known mosques you get a cowl at the entrance and the women additionally a headscarf. However, small mosques in touristically remote locations do not offer this service.

Tip: In Malaysia, you definitely need a suitable socket adapter.

Recommended guides:

Malaysia is a very large and varied country. See or get to know the whole country in a few weeks? No chance! So that you get a good overview of the most important highlights, places and sights, we have selected a few good guides for you:

Conduct rules for couples:

In Malaysia, you should be very reserved in most areas with affection or caresses in public. Due to the Muslim character of the country, such a thing is not welcome.

But there are also corners such as George Town or Langkawi, which are fully designed for tourism. There is no problem holding hands there. In a mosque, on the other hand, body contact should be completely avoided.

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Christina Cherry
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