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@example.com. 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).