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  • 7/24/2019 Malaysia Destination Guide






  • 7/24/2019 Malaysia Destination Guide


    HISTORYMalaysia has a rich historical

    background. Because of its

    strategic position between the

    Indian Ocean and the South

    China Sea, Malaysia has long

    been the meeting place for

    traders and travelers from West

    and East. Hence its history is oneof continual interaction with

    foreign powers and influences

    Hindu-Buddhist influence was

    strong in the centuries before the

    coming of Islam. By1400, when

    the Malacca Sultanate was at the

    height of its power, Islam had

    become a major influence. By

    1511, however, Malacca hadfallen to the Portuguese.

    Meanwhile the Dutch had been

    establishing their influence in

    Java. By 1641, the Dutch had also

    taken over Malacca but they in

    turn lost it to the British who had

    been slowly consolidating their

    hold on the Malay states

    following Francis Lights arrival

    in Penang in 1786. In 1815

    Malacca was in British hands and

    in 1819, Stamford Raffles

    founded Singapore. Thereafter,

    through treaties, relentless

    political pressure and diplomacy,

    the British slowly extended their

    control over all the states of the

    Malay Peninsula.

    Sarawak, once part of the Sultan

    of Bruneis Empire, was ruled by

    the British adventurer James

    Brooke and his descendants since

    1841. In 1888, Sarawak and

    North Borneo (Sabah) became

    British protectorates. By the

    1920s, all the states that

    eventually comprised Malaysia

    were under British control. The

    first stirrings of Malaysian

    nationalism were felt in the 193

    following the end of World War

    II, the momentum of nationalism

    picked up again, culminating in

    independence for the Federation

    of Malaya in 1957. In 1963,

    Malaysia was formed, bringing

    together the stats of Malaya,Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.

    Singapore, however, left the

    federation in 1965.

    Today, Malaysia is a strong

    member of the six-member

    Association of South-East Asia

    Nations (ASEAN). The

    association, comprising Brunei

    Darussalam, Indonesia, MalaysThailand, the Philippines and

    Singapore, was formed to

    promote regional growth and

    cooperation among member


    Malaysia is a melting pot of

    various races. Its population of

    million people, for all of its

    complex ethnic set-up, has been

    remarkably peaceful. Mutual

    respect for each others culture,

    traditions, religious beliefs and

    way of life has created a peacefu

    social environment, stable

    political climate and a strong

    economy for the nation.

    The government, headed by the

    Prime Minister and members of

    his cabinet, is an alliance of

    parties representing differentracial groups. The Supreme Hea

    of State is the Yang Di Pertuan

    Agog (King). He is a

    constitutional monarch elected

    for a term of 5 years by his fello

    rulers from the other states.

    POPULATIONMalaysia has a population of

    approximately 28.3 millionpeople, with the vast majority

    of them living in peninsular

    Malaysia. The rest live on the

    Malaysian portion of the island

    of Borneo.

    TIMELocal time is GMT +8 hours.

    VISASU.S. citizens do not need a visa for

    tourist or business travel to

    Malaysia for a stay up to 3 months

    but a valid U.S. Passport is


    INSURANCEMedical insurance is

    recommended. Travelers older

    than one year coming frominfected areas require a yellow

    fever vaccination certificate.

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    LANGUAGEBahasa Malaysia is the official language. Chinese dialects and

    Tamil are still widely used in their respective communities.

    English is widely spoken in the larger cities and in hotels, shops

    and most restaurants.


    Hello Halo or HeyHow are you? Apa kabar?

    Thank you Terima kasih

    Youre welcome Terma kasih kembali

    Goodbye Selamat tinggal

    Please Silakan

    Im sorry Maaf

    What is your name? Namamu saipa?

    My name is _________ Nama saya __________

    Yes Ya

    No Tidak

    Where is the toilet? Dimana toilet sialan?

    How do I get to __? Bafaimana saya bias ke ___?

    Water Air

    How much is? Berapa harganya?

    CURRENCYThe Malaysian Ringit (MYR), also referred to as the Malaysian

    Dollar, is divided into 100 sen. Malaysian banks charge in the

    region of US$2-3 for foreign exchange transactions.

    Moneychangers are generally quicker to deal with and do notcharge commission; their rates however are variable. Pounds or

    dollars are the easiest to exchange. Travelers cheques can be

    exchanged at banks and some hotels. All major credit cards are

    accepted at up market hotels, shops and restaurants. ATMs are

    widely available.

    CLIMATEMalaysia has a tropical, humid climate with temperatures

    averaging 86F (30C), though it is cooler in the highland areas.The major change in seasons is marked by the arrival of the

    monsoons that bring heavy downpours on the east coast of

    Peninsula Malaysia, the northeastern part of Sabah and the

    western end of Sarawak (from November to February). Boat trips

    to the islands do not run during the height of the monsoon season.

    The best time to visit Malaysia is between April and October.

    CREDIT CARDSCredit cards are widely accecpted.

    TIPPINGService charges of 10% are added to

    in most leading hotels and restauran

    Where it is not included, a tip of 10-

    of the bill would be appropriate.

    Airport porter/hotel bellboy:

    $1.00 - $ 2.00 US per bag.

    Your tour guide:

    $10.00 - $ 12.00 US per person per d


    $ 6.00 - $ 7.00 US per person per day

  • 7/24/2019 Malaysia Destination Guide


    HEALTHSome tropical illnesses are prevalent in Malaysia

    and travelers should seek medical advice regarding

    any recommended vaccinations before traveling.

    Hepatitis A and B are common, as is dengue fever,

    which has no vaccination or immunization. There

    has been an increase in cases of dengue fever since

    January 2005. Malaria risks are isolated to the

    inland regions; the exception is Sabah, where there

    is an all-year risk.

    Dysentery and travelers' diarrhea afflict travelers in

    Malaysia so it is advisable to drink only bottled or

    boiled water and avoid uncooked meat, fish andvegetables, unpeeled fruit, ice and salads. A further

    health hazard in Malaysia is smoke haze and air

    pollution, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, which has

    the worst air quality in Asia with very high Benzene

    pollution levels. This could aggravate cardiac or

    respiratory problems. There have been outbreaks of

    bird flu, but no human infections have been

    reported, and in September 2007 Malaysia's

    Agriculture Minister declared the country free of

    the deadly form of avian influenza. Travelersshould still avoid contact with domestic, caged or

    wild birds and ensure that poultry and egg dishes

    are well cooked as a precaution. The hospitals in

    Kuala Lumpur and other cities are of a high


    ETIQUETTEMalaysians tend to be fairly conservative in their

    approach to social interactions. It is not uncommon

    to see younger people bowing their heads as a sign

    of respect when passing by an older person.

    Challenging a figure of authority in public would be

    regarded as completely improper etiquette.

    Generally, any open display of anger or outrage,

    however deserved in your eyes would be met with


    When entering a Malaysian house, you should be

    expected that you are to remove your shoes, and you

    should greet your host with a handshake, followed

    by placing your right hand over your heart. Malaysia

    is largely Muslim and therefore Islamic customs

    should be respected, especially during the month ofRamadan when eating, drinking and smoking in

    public should be avoided, as it is forbidden by

    Islamic law. Dress, particularly for women, should

    be conservative, and arms and legs should be

    covered when visiting places of worship. It is

    customary to remove shoes before entering homes

    and places of worship. When eating or exchanging

    money, the right hand is used and do not point your

    foot at someone, it is considered very rude.

    PHOTOGRAPHSIt is polite to ask permission before taking

    photographs, Some people may take offense.

    DRUGSIn Malaysia, the answer is simple dont. Drug

    trafficking caries a mandatory death penalty.

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    PEOPLESelamat Datang is the traditional Malaysian

    greeting that welcomes visitors to this vibrant and

    exotic country. Ethnically diverse cultures share the

    same lush landscape and create a fusion of cultural

    styles, cooking and religions that is distinctly

    Malaysian. Festivals throughout the year mark the

    Malay, Chinese and Indian holidays, as well as

    those of the indigenous Orang Asli and the tribes of

    Sabah and Sarawak.

    Malaysia's multi-racial society contains many

    ethnic groups. Malays comprise a majority of just

    over 50%. By constitutional definition, all Malays

    are Muslim. About a quarter of the population is

    ethnic Chinese, a group which historically played

    an important role in trade and business. Malaysians

    of Indian descent comprise about 7% of the

    population and include Hindus, Muslims,Buddhists, and Christians. Non-Malay indigenous

    groups combine to make up approximately 11% of

    the population.

    THE LANDMalaysia is a tropical wonderland situated in the

    heart of Southeast Asia. Lying just north of the

    equator, it is made up of two regions, Peninsular

    Malaysia (which lays between Thailand and

    Singapore) and East Malaysia (Malaysian portion ofBorneo) It is the Peninsula that seems to attract the

    most visitors, probably because of the diversity it

    offers in the way of people, activities and climates.

    The highland regions offer cool relief from the

    clinging humidity of the mainland, while Langkawi

    is the popular choice for sand and surf enthusiasts.

    The east coast, particularly the northern Kelantan

    province, offers the chance for an interesting

    cultural exploration of traditional Malay life. The

    city of Kota Bharu and its surrounds is possibly the

    most fascinating part of the peninsula, and the least

    visited, with a remote beauty and rich culture. The

    west coast is favored for historical interest, and is

    where Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur is to be

    found, the icon of Asian prosperity and the meeting

    point for expats and city slickers who enjoy the

    energy of urban life.

    RELIGIONThe official religion is Islam but freedom of worship

    is guaranteed. Other accepted religions practiced

    include Budhism, Taoism, Hinduism and


    ARTIn Malaysia, Art is serious business, encouraged and

    supported by the government as a way to develop

    national identity and to help build their tourismsector.

    Traditional Malaysian art is centered around the

    crafts of carvings, weaving, and silver smiting.

    Traditional art ranges from hand woven baskets

    from rural areas to the silverwork of the Malay

    courts. Earthenware has been developed in many

    areas such as Perak, which is famous for gourd

    shaped clay jars that hold water.

    MUSICMalaysian music has many influences including

    Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Dayak, Kadazandusun,

    Eurasians and other groups, all of which are

    practiced throughout the various sub-cultures of

    Malaysia, but modern Malaysian music is mainly a

    type of jazz/fusion music, Pop, and even some hip


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    FOODThe main staple food of Malaysia is rice steamed, boiled or fried. Coconut milk, and chili peppers (both

    mild and hot) are also traditional and very popular. Rice may be served at all meals including breakfast,

    with a generous helping of Nasi Goreng (fried rice) one of the most popular dishes. Another universally

    popular dish is Satay, skewered meat cooked over a barbecue.

    Multiracial Malaysia offers a mouth-watering range of food, like spicy Malay dishes, a seemingly endless

    variety of Chinese food, exotic cuisine from North and South India, as well as Nyonya and Portuguese

    food. European cuisine is easily available. Tropical fruits such as durian, ciku, mangosteen, rambutan,

    guavas, watermelons, papayas and bananas are available. All of these typical Malaysian dishes are

    extremely pleasing to the American palate.

    WATER SAFETYDrink only bottled water or boiled water. ovens called tandoors. This roti is very tasty and is often served

    with Indian curries.

  • 7/24/2019 Malaysia Destination Guide


    WHAT TO PACKDue to restricted weight limits on all the Domestic flights (20kg or

    44 pounds) it is recommended that you travel light.To sum it up -

    Casual & relaxed but modest.

    Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan city where there is no particular

    dress code and where you will find all fashions.

    In keeping with many Muslim countries you will find that people

    in the Capital city and other major towns are used to foreigners

    are therefore likely to be more tolerant and more liberal.

    However once outside; the population are more traditional and

    rigid so please be sure to cover you shoulders, stomach, hips and

    bare legs.

    It is also hot and humid so we suggest that lightweight clothes in

    natural fibres; linen, silk and cotton will be more comfortable.Rain is frequent, so lightweight clothes will also dry more quickly.

    T-shirts and shorts are perfectly acceptable, but avoid skimpy or

    revealing clothes or you will get unwanted attention.

    Hotels, restaurants and shopping malls are usually air

    conditioned and at times this can be pretty fierce so be sure to

    tuck a shawl or pashmina into your day bag.

    Langkawi is casual all the way and flip flops and sarongs are the

    norm. However there are some smart restaurants worth dressingup for.

    The rain fall is greater from March to April and October -

    December so be sure to pack a light weight raincoat.

    If you plan on visiting religious sites please be sure to cover up

    absolutely no skimpy or revealing clothes, and cover your legs

    and shoulders.

    If you are visiting on business, then trouser suits are acceptable

    for women.

  • 7/24/2019 Malaysia Destination Guide


    SHOPPINGMalaysia offers visitors a myriad of opportunities to shop, from

    the latest electronics to designer brands, with Kuala Lumpur

    being the best place to find modern shopping centers and goods

    from around the world. For hand-crafted wooden baskets and

    other local crafts the best place to go is towns and villages along

    the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Pewterware, songket, (a

    popular hand-made woven fabric), batik cloth, jewelry, sliverware,brassware, and pottery are other typical Malaysian items available

    in local shops.

    Words of Wisdom-Buyer Beware

    Bring your purchases home with you. Unless you are prepared to

    wait up to a year to receive your merchandise, do not have it

    shipped -- not even by air freight.

    Do not purchase expensive goods of supposed high quality unless

    you are absolutely sure of what you are buying.

    Unless you are an expert in gems, antiques, artifacts, etc., you

    should not assume that it is of the highest quality or value.

    Always take the time to read the charge slips for credit card

    purchases before you sign them. This may seem obvious; but in

    the excitement of making a foreign purchase, travelers sometimes

    overlook this and are unpleasantly surprised when they return

    home and are billed by the credit card company. Taking a few

    moments to review the charge slip before signing it (andcomputing the exchange rate to be sure you are charged the right

    amount) can save you headaches later.

    CUSTOMSTravelers to Malaysia do not have to pay customs duty on 200

    cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225g tobacco; 1 liter wine, spirits or malt

    liquor; 100 matches; cosmetic products to the value of RM200; up

    to three new items of clothing and one pair of footwear; one

    portable electrical or battery-operated appliance for personal

    hygiene; food preparations to the value of RM75; souvenirs andgifts to the value of RM200 (with the exception of goods from

    Langkawi and Labuan, to the value of RM500). Prohibited items

    include goods from South Africa and Israel, counterfeit money,

    and illegal drugs.