MALAYSIA TRAVEL ORIENTATION
GEOGRAPHY/LOCATION
Located in the heart of South East Asia,
Malaysia is divided into Peninsular
Malaysia (West Malaysia) and East
Malaysia. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, lies
midway along the West Coast of
Peninsular Malaysia.
Population : 22.2million
(2000)
Currency : Ringgit (RM)
1 Ringgit =100 sen
Official Languages :
Malay
Kuala Lumpur is situated midway along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia,
at the confluence of the Klang and Gombek rivers. It is approximately 35 km
from the coast and sits at the centre of the Peninsula's extensive and modern
transportation network. Kuala Lumpur is easily the largest city in the nation,
possessing a population of over one and a half million people drawn from all
of Malaysia's many ethnic group
Money: The Malaysian Ringit (RM) is divided
into 100 sen (also referred to as the Malaysian
Dollar). Malaysian banks charge in the region of
US$2-3 for foreign exchange transactions.
Moneychangers are generally quicker to deal
with and do not charge commission; their rates
however are variable. Travellers cheques can
be exchanged at banks and some hotels. All
major credit cards are accepted at upmarket
hotels, shops and restaurants. ATMs are widely
available.
Currency Exchange Rates
MYR 1.00
=
USD 0.26
Tipping
Tipping is not normally
done in Kuala Lumpur.
The more up market
hotels and restaurants
have a 10% service
charge, while at the
cheaper places tipping
is not expected. Taxi
drivers will naturally not
refuse a tip should you
decide to give one but
it's not expected as a
matter of course.
Prior to your departure, you should register
with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate
through the State Department’s travel
registration website .
Registration at the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate (in the country you are visiting)
makes your presence and whereabouts
known, in case it is necessary for a consular
officer to contact you in an emergency. During
a disaster overseas, American consular
officers can assist in evacuation were that to
become necessary. But they cannot assist you
if they do not know where you are.
U.S. EMBASSY
376 Jalan Tun
Razak 50400, Kuala
Lumpur
Phone:(60-3) 2168-5000
Fax: (60-3) 2142-2207
In accordance with the Privacy Act,
information on your welfare and whereabouts
may not be released without your express
authorization. Remember to leave a detailed
itinerary and the numbers or copies of your
passport or other citizenship documents with
a friend or relative in the United States.
This will be taken care of by HMA before your travel begins
Current local time in Birmingham
Thursday, 03 Nov 2005 3:47
Current local time in Kuala Lumpur
Friday, 04 Nov 2005 05:46
Time
Malaysia is 14 hours ahead of
United States Central Time
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50470
Tel: +60-3-2264 2264 Fax: +60-3-2264 2266
Fitness Center
A fully-equipped exercise gym
on two floors includes
experienced trainers to
design individual
programs and assist with
workouts.
Countries affected by the Poultry Outbreak are:
FLU
Cambodia
Russia
China
Kazakhstan
Indonesia
United Kingdom
Thailand
Canada
Vietnam
Countries with confirmed H5N1 Strain
Countries without out the H5N1 Strain
TRAVEL ADVISORY






Be sure you are up to date with all your vaccinations and before travel get any additional
vaccination medications you may need.
Include a travel health kit and alcohol-based hand gel for hand hygiene as things to travel
with.
Avoid all contact with poultry, including touching well appearing, sick, or dead chickens
and ducks.
Avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets to avoid any contamination.
All foods from poultry including eggs and poultry blood should be thoroughly cooked.
If you become sick with symptoms such as a fever, difficulty breathing or cough or any
sickness that requires prompt medical attention inform your health care provider of any
possible exposure to the Evian influenza.
CDC HAS NOT RECOMMENDED THAT
THE GENERAL PUBLIC AVOID TRAVEL
TO ANY OF THE COUNTRIES
AFFECTED BY AVIAN INFLUENZA
(H5N1)
GENERAL INFORMATION - CULTURE
Some Countries consider business
suits and briefcases as a sign of wealth.
To avoid this misconception travelers
should dress down, and keep a low
profile.
To avoid being a target of crime, try
not to wear conspicuous clothing and
expensive jewelry and do not carry
excessive amounts of money or
unnecessary credit cards.
In order to avoid violating local laws,
deal only with authorized agents when
you exchange money or purchase art or
antiques.
Respect the customs of any country,
and under no circumstances try to
change them.
Know, observe, and adapt to their
customs.
It's hot and humid throughout
Malaysia all year round, with
overnight lows rarely sinking
below 20°C (70°F) and
maximums rising above 30°C
(86°F) on most days, so
whenever you go, take it easy.
Rainfall is variable and falls all
year round. It is rare for rain to
fall all day: it usually confines
itself to short-lived torrential
downpours in the afternoons.
The driest months tend to be
June and July.
Toxic Haze
Uncontrolled burning of forests for land
clearance on neighbouring Sumatra has
produced a blanket of toxins over
Malaysia. Pollution levels are expected to
remain hazardous until October. While
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is still
operating normally, the port, an airport and
several schools have closed. Travellers to
Kuala Lumpur are advised to wear a
pollution mask when outside.
Other Health Risks
Injuries
injury among
travelers. Protect yourself from motor
vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving;
wear your safety belt and place children in
age-appropriate restraints in the back seat;
follow the local customs and laws
regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle
speed; obey the rules of the road; and use
helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor
bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus
or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local
driver.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of
What You Need To Bring With You
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to wear whenever possible while outside, to
prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria, Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and
onchocerciasis).
Insect repellent containing DEET
Bed nets treated with permethrin. For use and purchasing information, see Insecticide
Treated Bednets on the CDC malaria site. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide,
deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes.
Flying-insect spray to help clear rooms of mosquitoes. The product should contain a
pyrethroid insecticide; these insecticides quickly kill flying insects, including mosquitoes.
Iodine tablets and portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.
See Preventing Cryptosporidiosis: A Guide to Water Filters and Bottled Water for more
detailed information.
Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays. See
Skin Cancer Questions and Answers for more information.
Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as
a copy of the prescription(s) or letter from your health-care provider on office stationery
explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you.
Always carry medications in their original containers, in your carry-on luggage.
Be sure to bring along over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication (e.g., bismuth
subsalicylate, loperamide) and an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor to self-treat
moderate to severe diarrhea. See suggested over-the-counter medications and first aid
items for a travel kit.
When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid
children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears. Wash your hands often with soap
and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove
potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
In developing countries, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or
bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make
water safer to drink.
Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your
health care provider for a prescription.)
To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even
on beaches.
Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Protect yourself from mosquito insect bites:
Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats when outdoors.
Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
Use insect repellents that contain DEET (N, N-diethylmethyltoluamide). For more information
about insect repellents and correct use, see What You Need to Know about Mosquito
Repellent on the CDC West Nile Virus site.
If no screening or air conditioning is available: use a pyrethroid-containing spray in living and
sleeping areas during evening and night-time hours; sleep under bed nets, preferably
insecticide-treated ones.
If you are visiting friends and relatives in your home country, see additional special
information about malaria prevention in Recent Immigrants to the U.S. from Malarious
Countries Returning 'Home' to Visit Friends and Relatives on the CDC Malaria
Do not
Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to
reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
Do not drink beverages with ice.
Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such
as schistosomiasis. (For more information, please see Swimming and Recreational
Water Precautions.)
Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and
serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies
vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural
areas. For more information, please see Animal-Associated Hazards.
Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections
such as HIV and hepatitis B.
After You Return Home
If you have visited a malaria-risk area, continue taking your
antimalarial drug for 4 weeks (chloroquine, doxycycline, or
mefloquine) or seven days (atovaquone/proguanil) after leaving
the risk area
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If
you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling
in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year),
you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the
physician your travel history.
Kuala Lumpur was founded by miners who discovered
tin at the junction of the Kelang and Gombak Rivers and
named the spot " muddy river mouth"- Kuala
Lumpur. Later, as tin became more important, the
British made KL their Malayan headquarters and it
became the capital of Malaysia after independence.
Today, despite its bustling, cosmopolitan style, Kuala
Lumpur is at heart an earthy place, where people sit
around the Kedai Kopi (coffeehouse) and talk about
food, religion and business.
CRIME ^
The overall crime rate in Malaysia is low and violent crime involving tourists is relatively
uncommon. Petty theft, particularly purse snatchings and pick pocketing, is the most
common criminal activity directed against foreigners. Thieves on motorcycles commit
“snatch thefts” in crowded shopping areas. In most incidents, two men on a motorcycle
speed up from behind a victim and the passenger on the back snatches a purse,
handbag or cellular telephone. These thefts occur at all hours and often in front of large
groups of witnesses. Women walking by themselves or with small children are the most
common targets. People have been injured or killed by being pulled to the ground by
their purse straps as the thieves speed off. Automobile burglaries also occur. Credit card
fraud is a growing problem in Malaysia. Travelers should avoid using credit cards, if
possible; credit card numbers should be closely safeguarded at all times.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Americans planning to travel to Malaysia are encouraged to register with
the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and to consult the Department of
State's Consular Information Sheet for Malaysia and the Department of
State's most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, both
available at travel.state.gov. Americans planning to travel to the coastal
areas of eastern Sabah should also contact the U.S. Embassy before
departure by telephone at (6-03) 2168-5000, or by e-mail at
[email protected]
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, an American citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations,
which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be
more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even
unknowingly, may be fined, expelled, arrested or imprisoned. The Malaysian criminal code
includes a provision for a sentence of caning for certain white-collar crimes, including criminal
misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and cheating. Unauthorized collection and/or removal
of local flora and fauna may be prosecuted as a crime and can result in heavy fines, expulsion,
and/or imprisonment.
Malaysia strictly enforces its drug laws. Malaysian legislation provides for a mandatory death
penalty for convicted drug traffickers. Individuals arrested in possession of 15 grams (1/2
ounce) of heroin or 200 grams (seven ounces) of marijuana are presumed by law to be
trafficking in drugs.
Although access to prisoners is permitted, the U.S. Embassy may not learn of the arrest of U.S.
citizens in smaller, more remote areas until several days after the incident. Prison conditions
are harsh. American citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them
at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are
readily available.
Under the April 2003 PROTECT Act, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for U.S.
citizens or permanent resident aliens to exploit children sexually via pornography, the Internet
or other means or to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18 in a
foreign country, regardless of whether there was intent.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS
Visitors are reminded that traffic in Malaysia moves on the left side of the road, and th
most vehicles use right-hand drive. Seat belts are mandatory. Cell phones cannot be
used while driving. Laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced with stiff
penalties. Pedestrians are reminded to look carefully in all directions when crossing
roads and driving. Motorcyclists attempt to circumvent traffic blockage by weaving
through vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic is heavy during the morning and afternoon ru
hours and slows down considerably when it rains. Bottlenecks are common sights in
major cities. Development of the infrastructure has not kept pace with the proliferation
motorized vehicles. Multi-lane highways often merge into narrow two-lane roads in th
center of town and cause added congestion. Many streets are narrow and winding. Ta
are metered, but some drivers charge a rate much higher than the metered rate durin
peak hours, when it is raining, or when the passenger's destination is to or through a
heavily congested area.
A well maintained, heavily used, divided multi-lane highway runs the length of peninsu
Malaysia from Singapore to the Thai border. Malaysia's West Coast also has welldeveloped paved roads between major cities. These two-lane highways are usually
congested. Serious accidents can occur from collisions and from drivers who lose
control of their vehicles when driving too fast in hilly regions.
This is an equatorial country. And the
weather being warm and humid all year
round means that u pack as little as
possible. Stay light, stay cool. Coz
temperatures range from 32ºC during the
day to 22ºC at night. Rain is regular and
predictable averaging at 200-250 cm a
year so do carry umbrellas, raincoats and
slippers. However it does get cooler in
highland areas, but that’ll demand only
medium weight woolens.
This is a culture driven country and so
apart from the weather, attitudes also
determine what you’ll pack and wear. It’s
partial but it’s the law of the land that
women when entering mosques and
temples cover up a bit more… wear long
sleeves, loose pants or long skirts. Not that
you won’t be allowed in without them but
just that, heads may turn.Anyways it’s wise
to blend in.
Culture and Body Language
Malaysia is a predominantly Islamic state and so calls for adhering some issues that
otherwise would seem trivial in any other country. Women especially will feel restricted as
this culture makes such demands. But just for once cease to be judgemental and do take
this issue with all seriousness. Dressing up is very very important and will be one factor that
could make your trip a smooth pleasant one. Look at it this way, a little effort to comply will
earn you a lot of appreciation from the locals and will be seen as a pleasant and friendly
gesture.
Cover up as you dress. Wear long sleeves, trousers or long skirts will do fine. All this
especially applies to places of worship. A great way to be flexible is to carry a sarong with
you so you can just wrap up whenever required. There have been reports of foreign women
getting unwanted attention from local men… this is mostly so because of the inaccurate
images they get from the media.
Topless bathing is just not done. It’ll be asking for trouble. Even bare torsos for men isn’t
seen with a friendly eye. Take cues form the locals.
Islam doesn’t take to alcohol favorably. So do not consume it in public. You’ll be hurting
sentiments.
It may seem strange to you using your left hand to give or receive something is considered
unclean. Mainly because the left hand is considered to be used for washing after going to the
toilet. Also you must eat with your right hand.
As with everywhere else, take off your shoes while entering places of worship or even
someone’s house.
Electricity
Appliances here run on an electric supply of 240-volt 50-cycle system. If your
systems are not compatible then you’ll need to buy suitable adapters.
Phone
Local calls can be made from public phones of course. They
come with both coin and card operated functions. You can
make international calls from phone booths with card
phone facilities or at any telecom offices. Most hotels are
equipped with IDD services with minimal service charge.
Shopping
Here is a cheap convenient place to shop around. Among other
products electronic goods are reasonably cheap. Big brands are
everywhere but very few would be original stuff. Clothing and
shoes, accessories, you’ll get everything here.
It’s a good idea to pick up local made stuff here. Exotic local
handicrafts like Batik, gold and silver woven songket cloth,
silverware, pewter ware and exquisitely straw woven items are
among the many invaluable mementos.
Safety
Malaysia is largely a safe place but it pays to be alert. In case of any unforeseen
circumstance, you can turn to Malaysian Tourist Police Unit for help. They are often
present at tourist spots for tourists in trouble. A tourist policeman can be spotted
by his checkered hat band, dark blue shirt and trousers, and the letter "I" (for
‘Information’) on a red and blue badge on his pocket.
Barring tourist spots, be aware of local thugs who can con you into emptying your
pockets. There are scammers who often lure a traveler into their homes on the
pretense of meeting a family member who has ties with the home-country of the
hapless traveler. The traveler may be asked to join in a simple card game. They let
him win a few rounds and soon enough beat him at the game and cashing on the
travelers cheques. This is a convenient way to pay off the huge debts that they
have incurred over years.
Language
Malay (Behasa Malayu)
Welcome - Selamat Datang
Goodbye - Selamat Tinggal
Farewell - Selamat Jalan
I’m fine -
Khabar Kasih
Thankyou - a friendly welcome (same as hello or hi)
You’re welcome -
sama sama
Pardon me/ excuse me -
maaf
Good Morning -
Selamat Pagi
Good Afternoon -
Selamat Tenga Hari
Good Evening -
Selamat Petang
Good night -
Selamat Malam
Please show me -
Tolong Tunjukkan Saya
What is its price? -
Berapakah Harganya
Questions
What? –
Apa?
Where -
Mana?
How much/many? -
Berapa?
What’s your name? -
Siapa Namamu
Who’s that? -
money
What time is it?
Siapa itu?
Where are you going?
Nak ke mana?
How are you?
Apa Khabar?
Where are you from?
Anda Dari Mana?
Where is this place?
Dimanakah tempat ini?
Food
Bread–
roti
Water -
air
Milk -
sasu
Sugar -
gula
Salt -
garam
Butter
mentega
Number
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Soup
sup
Coffee
kopi
Tea
teh
Chicken
ayam
Beef -
lembu
Fish -
ekan
Vegetables Ice -
ais
Hot -
panas
Cold -
sejuk
sayur
satu
dua
tiga
impat
lima
enam
tujuh
lapan
sembilan
sepuluh
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Currency exchange is readily
available; international bank-to-bank transfers may take several
days and require adequate identification. Credit cards are
accepted throughout the country, but travelers should be aware
that criminal syndicates have frequently compromised credit card
numbers, even at well-established businesses. ATMs can be a
safer means of obtaining Malaysian Ringgit. Western Union
money transfers are available through Bumiputra Commerce
Bank.
Malaysia’s customs authorities enforce strict regulations
concerning temporary importation into or export from Malaysia of
items such as firearms, narcotics, medication, business
equipment, currency and books or other printed material, video,
and audio recordings which might be considered obscene or in
any way harmful to public interest and cultural property. It is
advisable to contact the Malaysian Embassy in Washington, D.C.,
or one of Malaysia’s consulates in the United States for specific
information regarding customs’ requirements.
Etiquette
To avoid "cultural offenses," here are some tips:
Remove shoes when entering homes and places of worship.
Dress neatly in a suitable attire which covers arms and legs when visiting
places of worship.
Handle food with your right hand.
Do not point your foot at someone.
When giving or receiving money gifts to/from a Malaysian, do so with your
right hand.
.
Drinking tap water in Malaysia is not recommended.
Drink (and wash fruit with) the inexpensive bottled
water.
Tourist Police
Lost your way? Need help? Look for a tourist police
officer. Tourist police officers are recognized by their
checkered hat bands, dark blue shirts and trousers,
and the letter "I" (for information) on a red and blue
badge on their breast pocket.
Do’s
Do smile when you greet people. It is normal to see
people in the tourist industry to greet visitors by placing
their right hand over the left breast. It means “I greet
you from my heart”.
Do dress neatly when entering places of worship. It is
advisable for ladies, when entering places of worship to
wear long sleeves and loose pants or long skirts.
Do remove your shoes when entering homes and places
of worship.
Do point with the thumb of your right hand, fingers
folded and not with the forefinger.
Do wait until you're in Malaysia to convert most of your
currency. A special permit is needed to bring large
amounts of ringgit (Malaysia's currency) into or out of
the country. There are no restrictions for foreign money.
Do help preserve reefs and beaches by leaving coral and
shells where you find them.
Do pay careful attention to your attire if you're female:
Wearing hot pants and vests on the islands where
Malaysians are used to foreigners is fine, but it may
invite harassment elsewhere. At mainland beaches,
bring a wrap-around as well as a swimsuit so you won't
feel conspicuous; Malay women usually go swimming
fully dressed and some keep their scarves on. While you
wouldn't be expected to do the same, it's best not to
draw attention.
Don’ts
Don't touch the head of an adult.
Don't kiss anyone in public - not romantically anyway. It
has become fashionable in Kuala Lumpur (but not in
other parts of the country) to kiss friends hello and
goodbye as is done in Europe.
Don't point the bottom of your feet at anyone.
Don't offer to shake hands unless you know that your
acquaintances are fairly Westernized. Even then, let
them offer to shake first. Never shake hands with
women unless they offer to do so first.
Don't bring up the topic of ethnic relations in Malaysia
or the political system: They are both sensitive subjects.
Don't even think about buying or transporting illegal
drugs - there's a mandatory death penalty for trafficking
(possession of 200 grams of marijuana is considered to
be trafficking).
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