Every visitor entering Malaysia must possess a valid national passport or internationally recognised travel document valid for travelling to Malaysia; or obtain a document in lieu of passport, which can be applied at any Malaysian Representative Office abroad.
In addition, holders of travel documents, such as Certificate of Identity, laissez-passer, titre de voyage, and Permanent Residence Certificate must ensure that their passage to the country of origin is assured.
The passports and travel documents must be valid for more than six months beyond the intended visiting period.
Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. Foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia must apply and obtain it in advance at any Malaysian Representative Office abroad before entering the country. However, a visa that has been granted is not an absolute guarantee that the holder will be allowed to enter Malaysia. The final decision lies with the Immigration Officer at the entry point.
A visitor is also required to prove his/her financial ability to stay in Malaysia and possess a confirmed return travel ticket or a travel ticket to a third country.
Nevertheless, the Immigration Department of Malaysia has also stated that any person classified under Section 8 of Immigration Act 1959/63 will not be allowed to enter Malaysia even though he/she is in possession of a valid passport or travel document, visa, travel ticket and sufficient funds.
Upon arrival at any gazetted entry points, a visitor is required to complete the Arrival/Departure Card (Imm.26), which can be obtained at gazetted entry points, Malaysian Representative offices abroad or travel agencies. The duly completed Arrival/Departure Card needs to be presented together with his/her passport to the Immigration Officer on duty. Before leaving the immigration counter, the visitor must ensure that his/her passport or travel document is endorsed with the appropriate pass.
For further details, please visit the official portal of the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
Malaysia has excellent healthcare facilities and services. Public hospitals and private clinics are available in every state and small towns. Specialist centres are found in major cities. Government/public hospitals and many private hospitals are open 24 hours.
As the country has tropical climate with warm weather all year round, visitors are advised to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, as well as wear clothing suitable for warm humid climate.
In general, the level of food hygiene throughout Malaysia is high. Bottled water and soft drinks are also sold widely.
The currency unit of the Malaysian currency is the Malaysian Ringgit, with the code MYR. It is also referred to as Ringgit Malaysia, with the currency symbol RM. Bank notes come in the denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50 and RM100. Coins come in the denominations of 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen.
Hotels and shopping complexes, as well as most restaurants and shops accept international credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged at banks. Visitors bringing in large amounts of foreign currencies require declarations.
Malaysian time is eight hours ahead of GMT (GMT+08:00) and 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.
Voltage is 220 – 240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.
Traveller SIM card for tourists
The main telecom operators in Malaysia are Maxis, Celcom, Digi, U Mobile and Tune Talk. Tourists can easily get a prepaid SIM card at most airports in Malaysia, bus stations, shopping malls or shops in the city centre. Tourists who will be staying for a short period in Malaysia, can get the Traveller SIM card packages. These packages typically come with a preloaded credit, certain number of minutes for calls and data that can be used for the entire validity of the SIM card. Additional data can be purchased by adding credit to their account. Please present your Passport/ID when purchasing the SIM cards as sellers are required by law to register the user.
Do’s and Don’ts When visiting Malaysia, visitors should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs include: Generally, handshakes are acceptable for both men and women. However, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introduction to gentlemen with just a nod and a smile. A handshake should only be initiated by the lady. Shoes must always be removed before entering a Malaysian house. The right hand is always used when eating with one’s hand, when giving and receiving something, as well as during handshake.
The right forefinger should not be used to point at anything. Instead, point with your right thumb by making a soft fist with your right hand and place your thumb above the fisted hand. Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship, such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors and men in shorts. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first. Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country’s Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
Advice for tourists
Deal with a travel agent licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia. Know and understand terms and conditions of the tour packages that they bought. Use tour operators and transportation services licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia.
Use a valid licensed tour guide approved by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia. Use only a valid licensed transportation services approved by the government agencies. Do not deal with any illegal agent or individual.
Tourists who dealt with unlicensed travel agents or tour operators run the risk of: NOT getting good services as stated in the package. NOT being covered by insurance. NOT being covered by the Tourism Industry Act. NOT being paid any compensations or reimbursements.