Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia

50 Things To Know About Malaysia (+ Facts)

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Prior knowledge about the country helps you understand its culture and traditions, allowing you to better connect with it while traveling. Proper research also makes you travel smarter and eliminates mistakes on your trip. 

This blog lists 50 things and interesting facts about Malaysia to help you plan your next trip!

All About Malaysia

1. Malaysia consists of 13 states and 3 federal territories. The 3 federal territories are

  • Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
  • Federal Territory of Labuan
  • Federal Territory of Putrajaya

2. The country is split into two regions – Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares its borders with Thailand and Singapore, while Borneo’s East Malaysia shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

Wall art at Ipoh
Street art is famous in Malaysia. They’re everywhere.

3. Malaya, now peninsular Malaysia, gained independence from the British in 1957. In 1963 Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore formed Malaysia. Singapore became a separate country in 1965.

4. The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur or KL. It is the largest city in the country.

5. The national flag of Malaysia, also known as the Stripes of Glory (Malay: Jalur Gemilang), contains 14 alternating red and white stripes representing the states and federal territories. A blue canton bearing a crescent represents Islam, and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan (Federal Star) represents unity among the territories.

6. Malaysia is the only country in Southeast Asia to follow the federal constitutional elective monarchy. The system of government is closely modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system. The head of the state is an elected monarch or king, chosen from among the state sultans. The head of the state is elected once every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.

7. Malaysia imposes a Tourism tax on foreigners’ accommodation starting from RM 10. Because of this, check-in prices are much lower than online prices. (We used booking.com throughout the trip and faced no issues.)

8. The country experiences only two seasons—the dry season and the wet season. Since Malaysia is located just above the equator, the weather is tropical (hot and humid) most of the year. However, monsoons bring rain in the southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February). Even when it rains, it doesn’t rain all day. You will be able to find time to explore the country.

9. Pack for both weather conditions – the summer and the monsoons. We visited the country in February. It drizzled on some days but was just humid for the most part.

10. Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. So, if you’re exploring beyond the tourist places and cities, it is important to dress conservatively. While visiting temples, make sure to cover your shoulders and knees. Swimming in a bikini is allowed on many beaches, but if you are unsure whether it is allowed, use what the others are wearing as a guideline.

11. Malaysia is one of the world’s 17 mega-diverse countries. For a long time, there has been a large settlement of Indian Tamil, and Chinese people in Malaysia. In fact, in some cities like Penang, the population of immigrants is more than the Malays.

KTM Komuter trains in Kuala Lumpur

12. We love the country’s transportation network. It is well-connected and very convenient for travelers. Google Maps is very helpful in finding the best routes and modes of transport. The detailed transportation guide explains the different public transport in Malaysia and how to use them.

13. You can use apps like KTMB, Easybook, Red Bus, Grab, and Maxim to book transportation. Grab and Maxim are the most popular transportation apps. Refer to the transportation guide for more information.

14. If you’re driving, the Waze app comes in handy. Locals say it is better than Google Maps for navigation.

15. Malay is the official language. However, English is widely spoken throughout the country. We only had to Google Translate a few times throughout our stay in Malaysia.

16. Langkawi is a duty-free island located in the northern part of the country. It is promoted as one of the most beautiful islands in the world and lives up to the hype. Do not miss this jewel during your visit to the country.

17. Many private parking facilities are available in the country. They are payable hourly, daily, or monthly as per requirement.

18. Klook offers various discounts for attractions. Buying tickets via Klook is much cheaper than buying them over the counter.

Hotlink - the best sim card to buy in Malaysia

19. Buying a local SIM card in Malaysia is fairly simple. Read the SIM card guide to learn all about the best network, which SIM card to buy, where and how to buy it, and more.

20. eVisa can be obtained easily by applying online for tourism purposes. The process is fairly simple and takes only two working days.

21. Malaysia’s currency is the Malaysian Ringgit, or RM (Currency Code MYR). It is divided into 100 Sen (formerly cents).

22. Tipping is not mandatory or strictly followed in the country. It is left to your discretion. If you like the services offered, we encourage you to tip. 

23. Vaccination is not mandatory to enter Malaysia. We were not checked upon arrival, but it is advisable to get the basic vaccinations before traveling to any Southeast Asian country.

24. An international driving license is mandatory for driving in Malaysia. If you’re staying long in the country, you can convert your home country’s driving license to a Malaysian Driving License. This is cheaper than applying for a new license. So make sure to bring your original driving license.

25. Malaysia’s food culture is so diverse because of the immigrants living there. Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines are widely found. You can also get Italian, Japanese, and Indonesian food. Nasi Lemak, a Malay rice dish, is a must-try.

26. Grab and Foodpanda are two online food delivery services extensively used in the country.

Batu caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

27. To explore Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia, you need to spend at least three to four weeks backpacking. It took us three weeks to travel from South to North in Peninsular Malaysia.

28. 999 is the number used for Malaysian emergency Response Services, which include fire and safety, healthcare, police, maritime, and civil defense.

29. Free Wi-Fi is offered in most restaurants and all the accommodations across the country. However, it is not available in public places or attractions.

30. There are four UNESCO World Heritage sites in Malaysia. They are,

  • Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley (2012)
  • Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca (2008)
  • Gunung Mulu National Park (2000)
  • Kinabalu Park (2000)

31. The working days of the week are from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are holidays.

32. Public toilets are not well maintained unless paid for. We found that the restrooms in train and bus stations were not clean. Refrain from using public toilets as much as possible.

33. Affordable self-service laundromats are available across the country. Some accommodations also offer laundry services to their guests but they are more expensive when compared to self-service.

34. Tap water is not drinkable in Malaysia. It is best to drink RO-filtered water or buy packaged drinking water.

35. The telephone number of the purchased SIM cards in Malaysia starts with +60, followed by 10 digits.

36. The plug adapter of Type G is widely used in Malaysia for charging your device.

37. The country follows a time zone of GMT+8.

38. LGBTQ+ is strictly prohibited and illegal in Malaysia. Public display of affection is also illegal in the country, so it is important to behave appropriately.

39. 60% of Malaysia’s population follows Islam, followed by Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and other minority religions.

40. Being an Islamic country, Eid is the largest festival celebrated. Other festivals include Thai Pusam, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Wesak (Buddha Poornima), Gawai Dayak harvest, and Sabah festivals.

41. Between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important thoroughfares in global commerce, carrying 40% of the world’s trade.

42. Malaysia has different entry fees for attractions for MyKad holders (Malaysian citizens) and foreigners. Only cash is accepted for most entry fee payments.

Bukit Melaka or Melaka Hill
Bukit Melaka

43. The country is safe for solo female travelers to explore. Atchaya traveled solo to Malaysia for three weeks. She did not feel unsafe at any place during her travels, nor did she hear of such incidents from fellow travelers. The country is very tourist-friendly.

44. Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in the country, standing tall at 4095 m. It is located in Borneo’s East Malaysia.

45. Both Visa and MasterCard are accepted for POS and cash withdrawals. Banks in Malaysia do not charge any withdrawal fee for ATM transactions. However, be aware of the DCC  (Dynamic Currency Conversion) charges. The public bank ATMs do not have DCC charges and are the best places in Malaysia to withdraw cash. All the banks have a withdrawal limit of RM 3000 per transaction.

46. Since fuel is affordable in Malaysia, there is a more prevalent usage of cars than two-wheelers.

47. It is ideal to familiarize yourself with basic road rules while riding. The driver and the pillion rider must wear helmets, and car seatbelts are mandatory. The Malays drive on the left side of the road.

48. Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil after Indonesia. It is also the sixth-largest producer and exporter of natural rubber and rubber products.

49. The cost of traveling in Malaysia is affordable. Public transportation, accommodation options, attraction fees, and food are comparatively affordable. We averaged about MYR 60 – MYR 100 per day.

50. Sarawak, a Malaysian state in Borneo, is home to the Mulu Caves. The largest cave system in the world is in the Gunung Mulu National Park.

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