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Tips for traveling to Malaysia; Visa, vaccinations, climate, transportation, security...

Are you thinking of traveling to Malaysia? If it is your first trip to the country, you may have doubts about whether you need a visa, travel insurance, security in the country... In this post I will tell you everything you need to know to prepare your trip to Malaysia; Visas to enter Malaysia, vaccinations and preventions, travel insurance, citizen security, transport, currency, currency exchange, perfect credit cards for traveling, haggling, traveling with babies and children, and weather. When is the best time to travel?


Visa to travel to Malaysia

In order to enter Malaysia, your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months, from the day you enter Malaysia.

Citizens of most countries obtain a 30-day or 60-day visa upon arrival, depending on the intended stay. As a general rule, those who arrive by plane automatically obtain a 60-day visa and a 30-day road visa, unless a 60-day visa is specifically requested. These visas can be extended longer once you are in the country. In the main cities there are immigration offices and from there you can manage. The visa is managed on arrival, already on the plane they will provide you with a sheet that you will have to fill out, so that they stamp the visa on arrival at the airport in immigration.

Both Sabah and Sarawak have more control over their state borders. Foreigners must go through passport control to get stamped:

Arriving in Sabah or Sarawak from Peninsular Malaysia or Pulau Labuan Federal District

Leaving Sabah or Sarawak for Peninsular Malaysia or Pulau Labuan

When traveling between Sabah and Sarawak

So, if you are going to travel to the island of Borneo on your trip to Malaysia, always have your passport and entry visa document at hand.

As the visa does not apply to all countries in the same way, it is best that before starting a trip you contact the Malaysian embassy located in your country. There they will inform you of the procedures.

In the event that you have traveled to a country with a yellow fever alert in the last 12 months, at the entrance to Malaysia they will ask you for the documentation that you have been vaccinated. Without it, they wouldn't let you into the country.

Vaccines and preventions to travel to Malaysia

Mandatory vaccinations: Yellow Fever (if you come from an endemic country or have traveled in the last 12 months to a country with a yellow fever alert).

Recommended vaccines: Tetanus-diphtheria/Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis, Triple Virus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Cholera, Rabies and Flu.

Typhus: For Typhus you can take the necessary measures by drinking bottled drinks, trying not to consume ice in drinks, and eating in places with good sanitary conditions. As it is impossible to know if the food they serve you is good, so you can get vaccinated. There is also the possibility that you take some pills that prevent typhus in a large percentage, they are called VIVOTIF, and they are the ones I always use when traveling.


Malaria in malaysia

There is risk for travelers in rural areas of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak provinces) and to a lesser extent in rural areas of the Malaysian peninsula. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended in these areas in addition to mosquito bite prevention.

But the percentage is very low.

Remember to always apply anti-mosquito protector, following the product instructions and applying when touched.

Long-sleeved shirt and pants in rural areas, at dawn, dusk and at night.

Sleeping with the air conditioning on, windows closed and in the absence of air conditioning, with a mosquito net.

Dengue fever in malaysia

For dengue there is no prophylaxis, so you must follow precautionary measures as with Malaria: anti-mosquitoes, long-sleeved clothing, mosquito net...

When to travel to Malaysia? Climate

Depending on the part of Malaysia you want to travel to, there are months that are not recommended, as it is the monsoon season.

Kota Bharu, Mar-Nov

Penang, Mar-Nov

Kuala Lumpur, Mar-Nov

Kuching, Mar-Nov

More or less from mid-November to the end of February is the monsoon season, and although the coasts and islands are the most affected and many even close, it is possible to travel to cities like Kuala Lumpur, among others.

For me the best month is May. Although the temperatures are high in May, it is a very calm month, and best of all, there are almost no foreigners anywhere, and you can enjoy dream places for yourself.

Transportation in Malaysia

Malaysia is a very large country, and there are very cheap local flight options. So whenever you can, over long distances, avoid buses, transfers... and take a flight.

THE BEST WEBSITE TO HIRE YOUR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION, WHETHER IT IS FLIGHTS, BUSES, TRAINS... IS 12GO.ASIA from this link you can find all the offers. It is also very easy to book in your language, payment and reservation guaranteed and with the reservation on the mobile it is not necessary to print or carry papers with you. I always use it.

How to get around Kuala Lumpur and surroundings

You can do it with local flights, with buses and transfers. The peninsular area is a bit more chaotic, so renting a motorcycle or car would be ruled out. Although if you visit islands, such as Penang, the best option is a rental car or a motorcycle.

Peninsular Malaysia has 2 train lines. The train in Malaysia is quite good and it is a good option if you are going to travel the peninsula, until you reach Singapore. I leave you the train map in Malaysia:

How to get around Borneo

The island of Borneo is huge and is divided into 4 countries: Malaysia (in 2 peninsulas Sabah and Sarawak, with what is considered as 2 countries), Brunei and Indonesia.

If you want to visit Borneo I recommend that you read my article about Malaysian Borneo and Brunei in 16 days. In this article I explain everything you need to know about what to see, the essential places, transport for each journey and I add a 16-day itinerary, where I explain what destination to see each day, how to get from one point to another. In Borneo we took boats, buses, rental cars and domestic planes.

In each article on islands or other destinations in Malaysia, I always tell you how to get there.

Money, currency exchange and credit cards in Malaysia

ATMs and credit cards

In Malaysia, the most accepted credit cards are visas or mastercards and their variations. Although in hotels, especially with more stars, American Express and others are also accepted. Whenever you book a hotel in Malaysia, the payment information always appears.

To avoid high commissions and be able to withdraw money around the world with 0% interest, a great option is to contract the n26 card, special for travelers, and offers many advantages. And best of all, opening an account and applying for the standard card is free. And you do not pay commissions for opening the account or for maintenance.

Currency in Malaysia

One ringgit (MYR) is 100 sen. There are coins of 1 (rare), 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen, and bills of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 MYR.

Older Malaysians sometimes call the ringgit “dollar”; if in doubt, ask yourself if they mean American or Malaysian (ringgit).

Don't forget to take plenty of small bills with you when you leave the cities; sometimes you can't get change for more than 10 MYR.

Currency exchange

You will be able to manage currency exchange in banks, hotels and exchange offices. I advise you to avoid exchanging money at airports, they are the worst change and the one where you lose money the most. Avoid changing large amounts.

If you withdraw money from ATMs, you will already withdraw the local currency. So going with a credit card without commissions (like N26) makes it easier for you to carry a lot of money with you.

Citizen security and health

Malaysia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that has a "bad name". But if we start to read the facts, it is not very different from our countries of origin, even in many cases Malaysia is safer when it comes to citizen security.

As for terrorist attacks, there have been none since 2016, when two people threw a grenade at a bar in Puchong, 13 kilometers from the center of Kuala Lumpur. It was an isolated event that had no fatalities and the previous one dates back many years before.

Although there have been some kidnappings in isolated and infrequent areas by tourists and thefts.

Regarding disasters due to meteorological causes, it must be considered that Malaysia has a tropical climate. Although it is safe to travel to Malaysia from November to February, when the monsoon season is at its peak on the eastern coast of the peninsular part, it is not recommended during the monsoon period to visit islands or coastal areas on the eastern coast.

To be sure, the best option is to travel from March to the end of October.

Regarding Health, Malaysia has good medical infrastructures, especially in Kuala Lumpur, so if you have good travel insurance, wherever you are in the country, you will be transferred first to the capital and if appropriate they will send you to another country like Singapore or directly to your country of origin.

And here comes the next point:

Do I need additional travel insurance for Malaysia?

Yes. You always need additional travel insurance for any country. Even for your country of origin on domestic trips.

There are several types of insurance, honestly, and after many years traveling the world, the best travel insurance is IATI SEGUROS, they offer you many insurance packages, which include cancellations, theft, theft, illnesses, accidents of all kinds, hospitalization , etc… are the most complete insurances. And they really come out very well for the price.

Accidents happen, we get sick... and without good travel insurance we will find ourselves in a country thousands of km from home, not knowing what to do. Also, without insurance, hospitals charge enormous amounts for primary medical care, I no longer tell you if they have to transfer you or operate.

In addition, it offers the option of only making insurance for the days that you are going to travel.

So after all this… Is it safe to travel to Malaysia? Yes, but as in any country in the world with certain precautions, especially with thefts. Watch your belongings; suitcase, mobile... It is better to travel with a backpack and with closures, instead of suitcases. This way you make sure you always carry it on your back, especially if you are going to be changing your destination frequently.

In Malaysia, you have to be much more careful than in other countries like Thailand, Laos or Vietnam, where traveling is very safe. But even so, it is a country that you can get to know without any problem. I have traveled twice and have never had any problems.

Traveling with babies and children to Malaysia

You can travel to any country in Southeast Asia with children. Unlike other neighboring countries, Malaysia despite having history and cultural places to visit, there are not so many, and it is definitely a more relaxed trip and in which you can enjoy more moments of rest on beaches or national parks.


I hope you enjoy your trip to Malaysia a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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