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Climate of Malaysia

Whatever is the season, the beauty and charm of Malaysia never ceases. But yes, like other tourism destinations, it has its own travel peak season or in other words, best time to visit Malaysia. Seeing that the nation's climate is primarily tropical, it remains hot and humid throughout the year. So, regarding the weather, months from May to September are considered as the ideal time to visit Malaysia.

Since it rains heavily during October-November and April-May on the West coast and from November to January on the East coast and in Sabah and Sarawak, this time is avoided by beach lovers. However, rainy season is the best time to spot turtles which come out to lay their eggs. People, who really want to enjoy the beaches, must avoid monsoon season (November to January). Apart from the highlands, the temperature hovers around 30°C in the lowlands with high levels of humidity.

It is also not recommended to visit in Monsoons since water sports too, don't work in this season. Concerning the festivities and mega sale carnival, Malaysia observes travel peak season during November-January. Since this ideal time covers the winter holidays and major festivals like Christmas, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa. It is possible to find shops closed during major holidays, but shopping malls and amusement parks would never let the excitement down.

The climate is equatorial in type, lightly tempered by the sea breeze. The temperature is high throughout the year with an almost permanently high humidity. The sea water temperature is generally higher than 25°C.

The winter monsoon period is dominant between November and February with heavy rain, especially in the areas to the east. The summer monsoon period is from August to November and brings rain to the west accompanied by strong winds.

Take these differences into account when planning your visit by avoiding the east of the country between the months of October to February. With regards to the rest of the country, any time is a good time to visit apart from the month of Ramadan when everything goes slower than usual.

 

Currency

The Malaysian currency is the ringgit, informally known as the dollar (the "$" symbol can be seen on older notes) and abbreviated RM or MYR, is divided into 100 sen. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen as well as bills of RM1, 2 (rare), 5, 10, 50 and 100. 5 sen coins are mainly given as change in large establishments and supermarkets, peddlers and street vendors might be reluctant to accept them. Note that the Singapore and Brunei dollars are also known as ringgit in Malay, so when near border areas you might want to check to be sure which currency they are quoting the price in.


1 Malaysian ringgit = 17.4609 Indian rupees
(as on 18 October 2012)

 

Clothing

Malaysia has become modern in most aspects, but regarding clothing, Malaysians observe certain code of conduct. This multiethnic country has sizeable population of Muslims, who don't accept provocative clothes. So, if you're pondering over what to wear and how to dress in Malaysia, here comes your answer. In simple terms, try to dress pretty modestly in the country and especially, at religious places and smaller towns.

Though Malaysians don't expect from foreigners to follow the same clothing conduct which they observe, it is always better to dress decently to keep away from confrontation. Beachwear is acceptable on beaches, but you mustn't roam away from the beach in such costume. Topless sunbathing is absolutely a big 'No'. When meandering through city streets, try not wearing too short clothes and prefer keeping your shoulders covered.

Women should not prefer wearing short skirts, sleeveless and tiny tops or very skimpy clothes, but try something modest like t-shirts, knee length skirts, singlets with thick straps. When visiting mosques, it's advisable for women to cover their heads and wear decent clothes. Considering the climatic conditions of Malaysia, wear comfortable clothes like t-shirts, pants, jeans, three-fourths, tunics, long skirts, tank tops, khaki shorts etc.

Bring a pair of slip on footwear because while visiting religious places and homes, you have to take out your footwear. Casual and cool clothing is totally acceptable in the country, but not revealing at any cost. While visiting any government offices, make sure to dress formally since casual dress is considered as impertinent. Nobody would knock you down for this, but it's good to be respectful to others' culture. In short and snappy terms, casual and decent clothing is suggested for Malaysia round the year.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Do I need a visa to enter Malaysia ?
No visa is needed for nationals of Commonwealth countries except Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nigeria.
Nationals fro the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, San Marino and Liechtenstein do not require visas.
No visa is required for social/business visit not exceeding three months for nationals of Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Chili, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kirgystan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Norway, Oman, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uruguay and Yemen.

No visa is required for U.S.A. citizens visiting Malaysia for social, business or academic purposes (except for local employment).
No visa is required for social/business visit of not exceeding one month for nationals of all ASEAN countries, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, British National Overseas (BNO) and North Korea.  For a stay exceeding one month a visa will be required for nationals of Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.
No visa is required for a stay not exceeding 14 days for nationals of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Macau (Travel Permit) and Portugal Alien Passport.
Nationals of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Republic, Congo Democratic Republic, Cote D’lvoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Western Sahara, Nigeria, Taiwan, Myanmar, Nepal Bhutan, People’s Republic of China, Certificate of Identity (CI) holders, Laisser Passer holders and Titre De Voyage holders must obtain a visa before entering Malaysia.

Nationals of Israel and Yugoslavia are required to apply for Special Approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs before entering Malaysia.
Other countries that are not listed in any of the other categories do not require visa for social/business visit for a stay not exceeding one month.
Regulations are subject to change.

2) What are the people in Malaysia?
The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are the Malay, Chinese and Indian.
In Sabah and Sarawak, there are a myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own unique culture and heritage.

MALAY

Today, the Malays, Malaysia's largest ethnic group, make up more than 50% of the population. In Malaysia, the term Malay refers to a person who practices Islam and Malay traditions, speaks the Malay language and whose ancestors are Malays. Their conversion to Islam from Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism began in the 1400s, largely influenced by the decision of the royal court of Melaka. The Malays are known for their gentle mannerisms and rich arts heritage.

CHINESE

The second largest ethnic group, the Malaysian Chinese form about 25% of the population. Mostly descendants of Chinese immigrants during the 19th century, the Chinese are known for their diligence and keen business sense. The three sub-groups who speak a different dialect of the Chinese language are the Hokkien who live predominantly on the northern island of Penang; the Cantonese who live predominantly in the capital city Kuala Lumpur; and the Mandarin-speaking group who live predominantly in the southern state of Johor.

INDIAN

The smallest of three main ethnic groups, the Malaysian Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants who came to the country during the British colonial rule. Lured by the prospect of breaking out of the Indian caste system, they came to Malaysia to build a better life. Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine and exquisite sarees.
INDIGENOUS ETHNIC GROUPS

Orang Asli

Orang Asli is a general term used for any indigenous groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia. They are divided into three main tribal groups: Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay. The Negrito usually live in the north, the Senoi in the middle and the Proto-Malay in the south. Each group or sub-group has its own language and culture. Some are fishermen, some farmers and some are semi-nomadic.
SABAH - The largest indigenous ethnic groups of Sabah's population are the Kadazan Dusun, the Bajau and the Murut.

Kadazan Dusun

The largest ethnic group of Sabah, the Kadazan Dusuns form about 30% of the state's population. Actually consisting of two tribes; the Kadazan and the Dusun, they were grouped together as they both share the same language and culture. However, the Kadazan are mainly inhabitants of flat valley deltas, which are conducive to paddy field farming, while the Dusun traditionally lived in the hilly and mountainous regions of interior Sabah.

Bajau

The second largest ethnic group in Sabah, the Bajaus make up about 15% of the state's population. Historically a nomadic sea-faring people that worshipped the Omboh Dilaut or God of the Sea, they are sometimes referred to as the Sea Gypsies. Those who chose to leave their sea-faring ways became farmers and cattle-breeders. These land Bajaus are nicknamed 'Cowboys of the East' in tribute to their impressive equestrian skills, which are publicly displayed in the annual Tamu Besar festival at Kota Belud.

Murut

The third largest ethnic group in Sabah the Muruts make up about 3% of the state's population. Traditionally inhabiting the northern inland regions of Borneo, they were the last of Sabah's ethnic groups to renounce headhunting. Now, they are mostly shifting cultivators of hill paddy and tapioca, supplementing their diet with blowpipe hunting and fishing. Like most indigenous tribes in Sabah, their traditional clothing is decorated with distinctive beadwork.

3) What are the spoken languages in Malaysia?
The official local language is Bahasa Malaysia, but then English is widely spoken as are a number of Chinese dialects. Various other languages are spoken and East Malaysia features several other indigenous languages.

4) What are the religions in Malaysia?
Religion Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and etc.
note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia.

5) How is Malaysia's weather?
Climate: Tropical
Temperature: Ranges 20°C - 33°C
Geography:
Malaysia is situated in central South-East Asia, bordering Thailand in the north, with Singapore to the south and Indonesia to the south and west. It is composed of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the north coast of the island of Borneo, 650 to 950km (404 to 600 miles) across the South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia is an area of forested mountain ranges running north-south, on either side of which are low-lying coastal plains. The coastline extends some 1,900km (1,200 miles). The west coast consists of mangrove swamps and mudflats which separate into bays and inlets. In the west, the plains have been cleared and cultivated, while the unsheltered east coast consists of tranquil beaches backed by dense jungle. The major islands are Langkawi (a group of 99 islands), Penang and Pangkor off the west coast; and Tioman, Redang, Kapas, Perhentian and Rawa off the east coast. In Malaysian Borneo, Sarawak has alluvial and, in places, swampy coastal plains with rivers penetrating the jungle-covered hills and mountains of the interior. Sabah has a narrow coastal plain which gives way to mountains and jungle. Mount Kinabalu, at 4,094m (13,432ft), is the highest peak in Malaysia.
Required Clothing: T-shirt, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and shorts or Jeans. If possible bring along umbrella or raincoat in case.

6) How is Malaysia's Transport System?
Malaysia is served by an excellent transport system. Once you are in the country there is always transport available to you to even remote areas. Traveling by road in peninsula Malaysia is popular as it has well- developed network of roads.
Once you are in the country there is always transport available to you to even remote areas. There are various options available as to how you might wish to get to a destination. Generally it depends convenience and affordability and what’ s the best way to see the sights as you travel.
In Sabah and Sarawak, traveling by four-wheel drive is recommended on unpaved roads, and many remote areas can only be reached by air or river-boats. Traveling by rail is also highly recommended as you get to see the countryside.
Naturally the main transportation hub is from it's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

BY AIR

Most visitors arrive by air at one of the six international airports in Malaysia. The main gateway is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang in the state of Selangor. The rest of the country, including Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan in East Malaysia, is well serviced by 14 domestic airports and airstrips.

Located about 50km from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur (KL), the fully computerised, state-of the-art KLIA is among the most modern airports in the world. KLIA is a four-runway airport facility capable of handling an initial 25 million passengers per annum with facilities for expansion to 45 million passengers per annum.

Incorporated into the airport's design is an automated shuttle system which links the satellite building, where passengers disembark, to the airport terminal building, where immigration and customs clearances take place. With a connection time of a mere two minutes, this fully automated baggage and passenger clearance system is especially efficient.

Within the airport terminal building, there are rest, recreation, dining, and duty-free shopping facilities. The fitness centre at the Hotel Airside Transit even comes with a well-equipped gym, steam room and sauna. Just a mere 5-minute walk from the airport is the luxurious 5-star Pan Pacific Hotel.

From KLIA, KL is a short 28-minute journey away on the comfortable KLIA Ekspres, a high-speed rail service. By road, visitors may travel via the ELITE highway or the North-South Expressway. The North-South Expressway also links the main towns on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Car rental, bus, coach, taxi, limousine and rail services into Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring towns are widely available at the airport.

BY SEA

Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia are easily accessible via sea ports. Located just outside the capital city of Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the west coast of the Peninsular, Port Klang is Malaysia’s largest modern sea port. With excellent harbourage, it is also a major shipping and cargo terminal. Other major sea ports are located on the islands of Penang and Langkawi, in the north of the Peninsular; at Johor to the south; at Kuantan on the East Coast; and at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Westport on Pulau Indah

Already serviced by North Port and South Port, Port Klang is now serviced by the new international harbour city - Westport located on the island of Pulau Indah. A free trade zone, Pulau Indah is currently being developed as an industrial, commercial, residential, recreational and tourism hub with a marina and resorts.

Stretching over 11km, with a natural depth of 14-18 metres, Westport is designed to be a high-tech regional port. It has a container terminal, large warehouse area and commercial centre. Star Cruise Terminal - the largest cruise ship terminal in the Asia-Pacific region - is also situated here. Star Cruise is a major international leisure cruise line that calls at Penang, Port Klang, Melaka and Langkawi.

FerryLink operates a vehicular ferry service from Changi Point in Singapore to Tanjung Belungkor on the southern coastline of the Peninsular. Tanjung Belungkor is the gateway to the popular beach resort of Desaru. There are four daily trips on weekdays and eight daily trips on weekends. For reservations, please call 02-545 3600 (Changi Point) or 07-252 7408 (Bandar Penawar, Johor).

BY ROAD AND RAIL

Located 48km north of Alor Star in the northern state of Kedah, Bukit Kayu Hitam is the main entry point into Malaysia for visitors from Thailand. The North-South Expressway links Bukit Kayu Hitam to Kuala Lumpur – 490km away. Near the Malaysian immigration and customs post are restaurants, shops, car parks and a duty-free shopping complex.

Situated on the main rail route with a daily train service from Bangkok, Padang Besar - in Malaysia's northernmost state of Perlis - is another entry point. Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) or Malayan Railway provides an international express from Butterworth to Haadyai in Thailand, and regular services from Padang Besar to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur.

The exclusive Eastern and Oriental Express also romances the route from Bangkok to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. Covering the entire length of the Peninsular - over 2,000 km, this two-day journey has frequent stops at scenic locations.

For visitors entering from the Singapore, Johor Bahru is the main southern entry point. The North-South Expressway links Johor Bahru with Kuala Lumpur - 220km to the north. A rail and road causeway connects Johor Bahru to Singapore. Immigration and customs checkpoints are based at the entrance to the Causeway. A second bridge links Tanjung Kupang - 30km south-west of Johor Bahru - to Tuas in Singapore.

7) Is Malaysia safe to travel? Are Malaysians friendly?
Yes, Malaysia is safe to travel even for a single woman traveller and Malaysians are friendly.
Somehow, for safety precautions, travellers still need to watch out pickpockets and bag-snatchers. Wear your purse/bag strap over your chest (not just dangling from your shoulder) and hold your bag close.
Travellers who encounter unforeseen problems and difficulties can seek the Malaysian Tourist Police Unit or any other Police Station for assistance.

8) Is the water safe to drink in Malaysia?
Malaysians either boil or filter their water before drinking it. For travellers, it is advisable not to drink the tap water. Buy mineral water from grocery shop, sundry shop or supermarket, usually RM1.20 for 500ml and RM2.50 for 1.5ml

9) Will my electrical appliances work in Malaysia?
Malaysia's electric supply is on a 240-volt 50-cycle system, with sockets following the British 3-pin design.

10) What is Malaysia's time zone?
Malaysia is eight hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Meridian Time), 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time and 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time is not applicable to the country.

11) Can I rent and drive a car in Malaysia?
Yes, you can rent a car.
An international driving license or a valid driving license issued by your country is required in order to drive in Malaysia.

12) What are the common can DO and DON'T in Malaysia?
Malaysia is generally a laid back and relaxed place. However, we do have our own customs and visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:

  • Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to gentlemen by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, "I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate the salam.
  • It is polite to call before visiting a home.
  • Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
  • Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
  • The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or giving and receiving objects.
  • The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.
  • Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask permission beforehand.
  • Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

13. Do I need any Vaccinations?
Travelers have very little to worry about in a country where health standards are ranked amongst the highest in Asia. Vaccinations are not required to enter Malaysia unless you are coming from a "yellow" infected area.

14. What is the electricity supply rating of Malaysia?
Malaysia’s electrical supply is 220 - 240 volts A C at 50 cycles per second, though our sockets and plug points may seem strange to you.

15. Is it safe to drink Tap Water ?
In major cities, towns and resorts, tap water is generally safe to drink.

16. Will there be any customs charges upon arrival?
Items such as video equipment, cameras, radio cassette players, watches, pens, lighters, perfumes and cosmetics are duty free in Malaysia. Visitors bringing in dutiable goods may have to pay a deposit for temporary importation, refundable upon departure.

 

 

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