Before you go: Malaysia

Hello Pals,

Before you go to any country you should learn some basics but also double check those important things such as Visa and Vaccines.

🛂  VISA 
Depending on where you’re from, you may need a visa. Check here.
Majority of countries do not need a tourist visa.
Click here to make sure you’ve got the necessary jabs!
National Language is Malay. Try and learn common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you here.
Malaysian ringgit. Code: MYR.
Check your exchange here.

Here’s a list of things you should know before you travel to Malaysia.

In this article you’ll find:
Important: – | – Cultural – | – Dress Code  – | – Driving – | – English – | – Insurance   – | – Transport – | – Water – |
Money: + Exchange + Tipping + ATMS



  • Try not to touch the top of peoples heads (especially children) as it is considered the home of the soul.
  • Use your right hand to eat, pass things and touch people.
  • It is advisable for ladies when entering places of worship to wear long sleeves and loose pants or long skirts.
  • A handshake should only be initiated by ladies to men.
  • Gifts are generally not opened when received.
  • Don’t point at things with your right finger, try to use your thumb with fingers folded underneath.
  • Be aware, for those who identify as LGBTQ – it’s still illegal in Malaysia and you should refrain from any displays of affection within a public space.

Dress Code?

  • Majority of tourist destinations you will be able to wear shorts + singlets without any issues.
  • Places of worship, especially mosques you will be required to cover your shoulders and legs.
  • Stay away from prints with Pigs. They’re considered holy.


  • You’ll be driving on the left-hand side and people will pass you on the right.
  • You need to wear a helmet while riding a scooter. You may be pulled over by police but also, you cannot control other drivers and even if you’re incredibly careful you could fall off your scooter. Helmets = Safe Head.
  • Have an International License.
    Australia, it depends on which state you’re from. Click your state provider for more info:  VIC: RACV NSW: NRMA QLD: RACQ  SA: RAA NT: AANT WA: RAC TAS: RACT


  • At all major tourist destinations, you’ll have no issues speaking English.
  • Malaysians can speak English but will often refrain from doing so unless needed. For example, when speaking amongst themselves they may find themselves breaking into a combination of Malaysian and English, also known as Manglish.


You should always have travel insurance when going overseas. For short trips, I tend to use Tick Insurance (affiliate)– it’s 4/5 stars with FeeFo and although I’ve never had to claim – it’s super within budget.


  • Taxis are the most commonly used for getting from point A-B for longer distances. You should always ask for the meter before getting in a taxi. Ask your hotel/hostel what the rough price should be.
    SPAD (the government body that regulates taxis) hotline on 1 800 88 7723.
  • Trikshaws are a great way to get from A>B within certain districts. Especially if you don’t want to drive yourself. They’ll often be able to take you on tours around the city.
  • Scooters are also a great way to get around – be aware however that some insurance companies do not cover you if you don’t have a scooter license at home.
  • Grab – similar to Uber, it’s a rideshare application. Download at home to ensure you’ll have access to it whilst in South East Asia.
  • Buses; comfortable and often pretty reliable you can either pay directly at the counter (not from someone who walks up to you) or book online for some companies. Make sure you ask if it’s a ‘direct’ as in ‘you don’t have to change the bus.’
    Want to check out an extensive guide on catching a bus? Click here.


Although it is of WHO limit – you cannot control external factors. It’s suggested to drink boiled or filtered water. Buy the largest bottle at a supermarket and refill your drink bottle daily.

Working ATMS.

  • Cash is extremely prevalent in smaller, family-run shops.
  • Islands and Rural areas it can be hard to find a working ATM for all cards.
  • Majority of tourist areas will accept a card at stores but to be smart, keep cash on you at all times. Remember: Cash is Key.


*Remember to contact your bank and let them know you’re going overseas!*


• Change your money at dedicated money changers
• check their calculations
• count the rupiah yourself before handing over your money.
• keep the rupiah in your hand, do not put it back down on the counter.
• trust your gut – if you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, walk out.
• keep using the same money changer, once you have found an honest and reliable one.

• use a money changer that is located down a laneway or alley.
•  accept any small notes
•  allow anyone to touch the rupiah once counted.
•  allow anyone else present to distract you during the transaction.
•   use a money changer with an advertised rate which is better than any other in that area.
•  use a money changer if the sign does not say “authorised”
•use a money changer with a desk at the back of another business.
  • You’ll get a better exchange in Malaysia.
  • The airport will give you slightly less than in the cities, so if possible – wait until you’re out to exchange.
  • You should always have some cash securely saved somewhere in case of any issues.
  • Australia: I personally use my ING Visa while overseas and withdraw from that as it gives me rebates on all international atm fees (including the ones charged.)


  • Malaysia has a non-tipping culture. If there is a tipping jar then you’re more than welcome to leave – if it’s minimal change you can probably say ‘i don’t need the change’ or if it was fantastic service, you can do so but you’re not expected to.
  • Some tourist restaurants may have a pre-added 5-10% service charge.

Working ATMS.

  • Cash is extremely prevalent in smaller, family-run shops.
  • Islands and Rural areas it can be hard to find a working ATM for all cards.
  • Majority of tourist areas will accept a card at stores, keep smart and remember that cash is key.


– Coffee Cafes & Fast Food Restaurants
– Hostels, Hotels & Airbnb.
three, square like pin plugs.
Voltage: 220-240Volts.
Plug G – used in the UK.
Beef rendang: Dry, spicy, beef curry made with coconut
Durian: A tropical fruit with a spiky shell and unique (strong) smell!
Nasi Lemak: Vegetables cooked within coconut milk served with eggs & peanuts.
Chai tao kway: radish cake.
Teh Tarik: hot milk tea beverage
Bandung: condensed milk flavoured with rose cordial syrup
-Milo Dinosaur:
iced Milo with a lump of undissolved milo on top.
– Jaz (Alc.) a pilsner-type rice beer, the first and only brand brewed in Malaysia.


  • Ringgit refers to the old Spanish dollars that circulated during the Portuguese colonial era and means ‘Jagged’ in Malay.
  • Malaysia’s network of highways adds up to at least 40,934m | 65877 km which is longer than the circumference of the earth at 24901 m| 40075 km.
  • Malaysia has the biggest roundabout in the world at 2.2 m| 3.5km
  • Malaysia has nine royal families!
  • The national flower of Malaysia is the Hibiscus.



I’m off to Malaysia this week so any edits will come later. Have you been? Have I missed anything?

As Always,
Stay Cool.
– Sarah.

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