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Malaysia Trip Planner

Posted May 7, 2023 in  - Last updated November 28, 2023

This travel wiki page of Malaysia will help guide travelers with quick and relevant information to consider when planning and visiting the country. It is difficult to find all the relevant information on Malaysian culture, safety, travel restrictions, and things to do, so we summarize it all here. If anything is stale or outdated, please let us know! Let’s dive in and explore more high-level information as a Malaysia trip planner.

Last updated May 7th of 2023.

National Information & Culture

National-Information-&-Culture

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country comprising 13 states and three federal territories that the South China Sea separates into two regions: peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares land borders with Thailand, while East Malaysia shares it with Brunei and Indonesia. Kuala Lumpur is the capital and largest city. Kuala Lumpur is also the seat of the federal government’s legislative branch, while Putrajaya is the administrative center, representing the executive and judicial branches of the federal government. The national currency is the Malaysian Ringgit, with the code MYR.

A beautiful and diverse country, Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities, making it an excellent destination for tourists who want to experience a unique blend of Asian cultures. Malaysia’s culture combines Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous influences, resulting in a rich tapestry of traditions, customs, and practices. The country’s official religion is Islam, but other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, are also widely practiced. Malaysia’s primary industry is manufacturing, followed by agriculture and tourism.

While Malaysians are friendly and welcoming to tourists, visitors should be aware of certain cultural practices and manners to avoid causing unintentional offense. For example, removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship is customary. Pointing with your finger is considered impolite, so using your whole hand to gesture is better. Additionally, it’s essential to dress modestly when visiting religious sites or conservative areas to show respect for local customs and beliefs. By following these customs and traditions, tourists can show appreciation for the unique culture of Malaysia and make the most of their trip.

Visit Malaysia’s Official Tourism portal for more information and tips when planning your trip.

Special Travel Considerations

Special-Travel-Considerations

Each country and destination has rules and regulations that every traveler must consider. Hence, check the following considerations for hassle-free travel to Malaysia.

Covid-19 Policy

Effective August 1, 2022, Malaysia does not have entry requirements related to Covid-19. Therefore, travelers do not need proof of vaccination or undergo Covid-19 tests. In addition, the use of face masks during flights is no longer mandatory starting September 28, 2022. Face masks indoors are optional but remain mandatory in public transport and health care facilities. However, the Health Ministry has increased the monitoring of health symptoms at all international points of entry.

The Covid-19 policy of Malaysia may vary over time with the evolution of the pandemic. Hence, monitor the latest Covid-19 entry requirements when planning your trip. Travelers can also check the MySafe Travel portal for updates.

Travel Insurance

Travel and health insurance are not mandatory for visitors to enter Malaysia. However, it is advisable to have one that covers emergency medical treatment, including Covid-19, repatriation, and evacuation. Travel insurance can protect you against the inconvenience of injury, medical emergencies, theft, and flight cancellations. In addition, it is comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong with your trip.

Visa Information

Visa-Information

Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits and stay for 30 to 90 days, except for citizens of 35 countries who must apply for visas from the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Diplomatic Missions. Nationals from nine countries can also apply for an electronic visa (eVisa), subject to applicable visa fees. However, take note that eVisa processing takes two working days.

Aside from a visa, all visitors to Malaysia must have a 6-month valid passport beyond their stay, return or onward ticket, confirmed accommodation, and sufficient funds.

Malaysia Digital Arrival Card

All travelers from 10 eligible countries arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport must submit their Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) within three days before coming into the country. The exceptions apply to travelers transiting through Singapore, Malaysia permanent residents, and Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) holders.

Malaysia is one of the underrated destinations compared to the famous neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. Little did they know that Malaysia has tons to offer travelers, from the urban jungle of Kuala Lumpur to the pristine island beaches of Langkawi, Perhentian, and Sipadan, rich marine and wildlife in Borneo, record-breaking caves, and delicious foods.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala-Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital city of Malaysia, is known as a melting pot of cultures and offers visitors a unique blend of modernity and tradition. The city’s skyline is dominated by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers with its sky bridge and observation deck for breathtaking city views. When in the capital, don’t miss the opportunity to visit British colonial-era landmarks such as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Travelers can also immerse themselves in the multi-ethnic community by exploring the vibrant streets of Chinatown, visiting traditional Chinese and Hindu temples, and admiring the magnificent mosques and avenues. Other must-visit attractions in Kuala Lumpur include the Menara KL, Merdeka Square, the National Museum, and the nearby Batu Caves.

Visitors can enjoy the city’s fantastic shopping and dining scenes and indulge in the unique culinary arts. They can also explore the city on a walking tour, visit museums, or experience the local culture through cooking classes and cultural performances. Hence, Kuala Lumpur is the perfect gateway to Malaysia, offering a fantastic blend of sights, sounds, and experiences that will leave every traveler wanting more.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas-Twin-Towers

The Petronas Twin Towers are a pair of 88-story skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Standing 452 meters tall, connected by a double sky bridge, Petronas Towers are the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers.

The towers feature an observation deck on the 86th floor, offering visitors stunning views of Kuala Lumpur and KLCC Park below. Moreover, the towers house offices of various companies, while the bottom floors are reserved for Suria KLCC, one of Malaysia’s largest shopping centers with over 300 stores and entertainment spaces. The fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia commissioned the project, which César Pelli designed. The towers are made of reinforced concrete, steel, and glass, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art.

Batu Caves

Batu-Caves

The Batu Caves is a Malaysian national treasure and an unmissable day trip from Kuala Lumpur. It features the 43-meter tall Hindu deity Lord Murugan statue at the entrance, welcoming visitors at the bottom of the 272-steps stairs.

The Batu Caves complex comprises three main caves and several smaller ones. These caves have statues and shrines dedicated to Hindu gods, with the main cave being the Cathedral Cave. Visitors can climb the colorful staircase to reach the top of the Cathedral Cave, where they can explore the deep cave decorated with statues, altars, and lights. The caves can be explored with or without a tour guide.

The Batu Caves are a must-visit attraction for tourists and Tamil Hindus. The limestone hill is also the site of Thaipusam, the annual Hindu festival that attracts thousands of pilgrims worldwide. Tourists can visit the art gallery and museum caves before or after exploring the main cave.

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung-Mulu-National-Park

Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site named after Mount Mulu (Gunung Mulu in Malay), Sarawak’s second-highest mountain. It is known for its caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest. The park is home to the famous Mulu Caves, which include four show caves for their astonishing magnificence – Deer Cave, Clearwater Cave, Wind Cave, and Lang’s Cave. The most visited Deer Cave has over 122 meters of tall ceilings, waterfalls cascading through the rocks, and an opening over a sinkhole one kilometer wide. Wind Cave features a plethora of awe-inspiring stalagmites, while Clearwater Cave is named after the underwater river that winds through it. Both of these caves are accessible by boat. Lang’s Cave, much smaller than Deer Cave, boasts intriguing rock formations to ponder over.

The park is dominated by Gunung Mulu, a 2,377 m-high sandstone pinnacle, and it contains 17 vegetation zones with about 3,500 species of vascular plants. The palm species in the park are vibrant, with 109 species in 20 genera noted. The park is also the most studied tropical karst area in the world and has over 295 km of explored caves, home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats. Visitors can also trek up to the Sarawak Chamber and Paku Waterfall or try a climb up on The Pinnacles Summit Trek, which takes three days and involves ropes, ladders, and an arduous walk through the jungle.

Mount Kinabalu

Mount-Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is Malaysia’s highest mountain and the third-highest peak of an island globally at 4095 meters. The mountain and Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have many habitats. It features rich tropical lowlands, hill rainforests, mountain forests, sub-alpine forests, and scrub at higher elevations. Moreover, the park is home to diverse wildlife, including 5,000 to 6,000 plant species, 326 bird species, and over 100 mammalian species. The park has been designated a Center of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia. It is exceptionally rich in species with flora from the Himalayas, China, Australia, and Malaysia, as well as pan-tropical flora.

Climbing the mountain’s summit, Low’s Peak does not require mountaineering equipment but does require an accredited guide due to national park regulations. As a result, only 185 climb permits are issued daily, and visitors must reserve accommodation and hire a guide in advance. The climb can be challenging, and climbers may experience altitude sickness. However, with proper acclimatization, hiking Mount Kinabalu is accessible to all with a suitable fitness level.

Langkawi

Langkawi

This group of islands off the northwest coast of Malaysia offers beautiful beaches, clear waters, and stunning landscapes. Visitors can enjoy watersports, island-hopping tours, and a cable car ride with panoramic views.

Langkawi Island, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, is a duty-free archipelago consisting of 99 islands (104 at low tide) situated off the coast of northwestern Malaysia. The island is renowned for its temperate climate, sprawling beaches, and lush forests. Pantai Cenang, Langkawi’s most famous beach and tourist spot, offers plenty of tourist activities, including snorkeling at Pulau Payar Snorkeling Reef Platform, island hopping tours, ziplining above the canopies, hiking the challenging Gunung Machinchang trail, and sunbathing at Pantai Tengah or Pantai Cenang.

Langkawi is also home to the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark, a protected area featuring diverse habitats such as mangroves, tidal flats, beaches, estuaries, coral reefs, caves, limestone, and more. The Geopark boasts the best-exposed and most complete Palaeozoic sedimentary sequence in Malaysia. In addition, it preserves geodiversity and biodiversity in Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park.

One of the best ways to enjoy the stunning beauty of Langkawi is by riding the SkyCab, a 2.2-kilometer cable car trip to the top of Gunung Machinchang mountain. Many attractions along the way to the top include a pedestrian sky bridge and viewing platforms. Visitors will see sweeping views of the bay, the Telaga Tujuh waterfall, and the turquoise waters surrounding Langkawi Island. Through the evergreen jungle, a trail descends from the top station to the middle station.

Perhentian Islands

Perhentian-Islands

The Perhentian Islands in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia and close to Kota Bharu consist of two small islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Perhentian Besar is more expensive and popular among couples, while Perhentian Kecil is popular among budget travelers and families. Both islands offer a range of accommodations, from luxurious resorts to simple lodges. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, turquoise blue sea, and excellent diving and snorkeling spots, with clownfish and sea turtles swimming through the waters. The islands also have walking trails through the jungle that offer stunning water views. Visitors can also volunteer in turtle conservation programs and watch the turtles come to lay eggs. The islands are part of a marine park, and visitors must pay a minimal conservation fee.

George Town

George-Town

George Town, the capital city of Penang Island, is a popular tourist destination with a rich cultural heritage. It was established in 1786 as a British trading port and became the first British settlement in Southeast Asia. The city has an extensive collection of pre-war buildings, including first-generation brick structures dating back to 1790-1870. The Historic City of George Town is part of the Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. The towns feature a unique multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible, with influences from Asia and Europe.

Available tourist activities include exploring the historic Chinese villages known as the Clan Jetties of Penang, visiting Fort Cornwallis, walking around the UNESCO World Heritage zone, and admiring the timeworn shophouses. In addition, George Town’s eclectic mix of Chinese temples in Little India, mosques in Chinatown, and colonial architecture make it a city that rewards explorers.

A must-visit is Kek Lok Si Temple (Malaysia’s largest Buddhist Temple) and Penang Hill. The top of Penang Hill offers beautiful views of the city below and is accessible by the funicular train operated by the Penang Hill Railway. Moreover, Penang Hill has a nature trail cutting through the rain forest and several tropical gardens; a canopy walk 40 meters up in the sky; ziplines; and the Skyway, which offers three viewing decks and a 360-degree view of the bay and islands.

Taman Negara National Park

Taman-Negara-National-Park

Taman Negara, Malaysia’s largest national park, is a primary rainforest that is more than 130 million years old, making it one of the world’s oldest. Nominated as a UNESCO Heritage Site, the park spans three states and is considered a hotspot for biodiversity. It hosts many species of flora and fauna which are endemic, rare, and vulnerable in Malaysia. Moreover, the park is home to rare mammals and birds, such as the Malayan Tiger, Asian elephant, hornbills, and the Malayan peacock-pheasant.

Visitors can engage in many exciting outdoor activities such as hiking Mount Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia, walking along the Canopy Walkway, zipping through the rapids on a boat, fishing, jungle treks, exploring caves and underground tunnels, and visiting the Aborigines Village. Many accommodation options are available, from resorts to hostels.

Sipadan Island

Sipadan-Island

Sipadan, Malaysia’s only oceanic island of volcanic origin, is a popular diving destination. The island was declared a bird sanctuary in 1933 and a marine reserve in 1981. Additionally, Sipadan is the turtle capital of the world and home to large breeding colonies of green and hawksbill turtles. The rich and diverse marine life of Sipadan includes over 3,000 kinds of fish and hundreds of coral species. Aside from turtles, there are often schools of barracuda, bump-head parrotfish, manta rays, big-eye trevallies, and hammerhead sharks.

There are 12 dive spots around the island, including Barracuda Point and the Drop-Off. Other notable dive sites include Coral Gardens, White-Tip Avenue, Hanging Gardens, North Point, West Ridge, Turtle Patch, Lobster Lair, and Staghorn Crest. Divers need a permit to dive, and there are only 120 permits issued each day. The significant part about dipping in Sipadan is that each dive promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The best diving season is from February to November when visibility is best.

Sipadan island is covered in lush vegetation above water and is home to tropical species such as kingfishers, sea eagles, sunbirds, starlings, and wood pigeons. There is no accommodation on Sipadan Island, but there are resorts on nearby islands like Mabul and Kapalai. Other nearby islands worth visiting include Bum Bum and Sibuan Island. From December 2020 onwards, Sipadan Island will be closed to visitors every December to give a month-long recuperation period for the coral and marine life.

Cameron Highlands

Cameron-Highlands

Cameron Highlands, a stunning green hill station covering an area of 712 square kilometers, is a popular tourist destination. The tea estates, orchards, and lavender farms offer a refreshing experience and ample opportunities to hike through the local mossy forest and visit aboriginal villages, waterfalls, and lakes. Because of its numerous hiking trails, old colonial houses, and cool temperate green surroundings, visiting the Cameron Highlands is on every Malaysian traveler’s bucket list. Cameron Highlands also offers fresh vegetable farms, butterfly gardens, and flower greenhouses and is perfect for nature photography. The Rafflesia, the largest individual flower on Earth, is also found here.

Tourists can visit tea plantations, orchards, and gardens, including rose gardens, lavender gardens, bee farms, and strawberry farms. They can also hike through the famous Mossy Forest, climb the highest peak in the Highlands, Mount Brinchang, and eat and socialize with the locals at the Tanah Rata night market.

Primary Spoken Language(s)

Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language and the medium of teaching and learning. On the other hand, English dominates the language in trade and industry. Additionally, most Malaysians are multilingual, speaking various languages and dialects, such as Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tamil.

Safety Concerns

Safety-Concerns

Malaysia is a relatively safe country for tourists, ranking 18th out of 163 countries on the 2022 Global Peace Index. Also, Malaysia has a Level 1 Travel Advisory from the US Department of State. Hence, travelers in Malaysia can take standard precautions when exploring the country.

Petty crimes like thefts, bag snatching, and pickpocketing occur in crowded areas such as markets, shopping centers, and public transportation. Hence, keep an eye on your belongings, and keep your bags out of reach. Do not leave anything valuable unattended, even at the beach. Hold your bag on the opposite side of the traffic when walking.

Always stick to metered taxis to avoid being ripped off. If the cab doesn’t have meters, negotiate the price before getting in. Then, take a Grab to be safe.

Due to the history of terrorism and kidnapping activities, reconsider trips to the coastal regions of eastern Sabah. However, if you do, get professional security advice and obey all local governments’ curfews.

In emergencies, dial 999 for police, fire, or medical assistance.

Health

The mosquito-borne disease dengue fever is common in major urban areas of Malaysia. Malaria is also a risk in rural areas. Hence, consider getting prophylaxis when planning to visit rural areas.

Because Malaysia has a tropical climate with year-round warm weather, visitors are advised to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Local Laws

Malaysian Customs has strict rules and controls for importing prescription and non-prescription medicines. Travelers who plan to bring medication must secure a permit from the Ministry of Health. Check the country’s Pharmaceutical Services portal for the Traveler’s Guide Bringing Medication Into Malaysia. Also, using and carrying illegal drugs in Malaysia are strictly prohibited, with death by hanging as the maximum penalty.

Being a Muslim country, homosexuality is illegal and punishable in Malaysia. Hence, avoid public displays of affection, especially for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Natural Disaster

Flooding and landslides are expected during the monsoon season from November to March. Malaysia is also vulnerable to earthquakes, which can bring tsunamis to the oceanic coastlines in the country.

Budget Considerations

Malaysia is an affordable destination with various attractions and activities to offer all kinds of travelers.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Hostels are widely available in Malaysia for as low as $5 per night for a dorm bed and $8 for privates. Free wifi is standard, and most offer complimentary breakfast. There are also many budget hotels, ranging between $14 and $30. Depending on the location, travelers can enjoy the comfort of a three-star hotel for $22 per night. And for as low as $80, travelers can also splash out on their stay at four or five-star hotels.

Travelers will also find an entire house or apartment between $23 and $36 per night from Airbnb.

Food

Malaysian cuisines have influences from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore. Most dishes are based on rice and noodles, while seafood is abundant on the islands and coastal areas. Chicken and beef, usually Halal, are also standard. Popular dishes include nasi lemak, assam laksa, and roti canai.

Street foods typically cost between $0.45 and $3. So expect to pay at least $2.25 to $4.50 per meal in Malaysian restaurants. Travelers can also dine in fast-food chains for around $3.15 for a combo meal or enjoy three-course dinners for $12 in a mid-range restaurant and about $25 in high-end places. Moreover, travelers who want to cook can set aside $20 to $35 for a week of groceries.

Attractions and Transportation

Admission to some museums in Malaysia is free, and entrance to national parks typically costs $1 to 3.40 for foreign guests. Jungle treks are widely available for around $18, wildlife day tours for $112, and diving trips for $125. Travelers can also visit and explore the Observation deck of the Petronas Towers for $22 per adult guest.

For backpackers and budget travelers, public transportation in Malaysia is affordable and efficient. Most cities have excellent public transport ranging from buses, monorails, light rails, and commuter rails. Fares are from $0.25 to $3.40, depending on the distance and type of service. Consider getting a Touch ‘n Go (TnG) card to save around 20% on public transportation or avail of their unlimited passes.

Aside from public transportation, travelers can take the free GO KL City Bus in Kuala Lumpur. The GO KL City Bus passes through most tourist hotspots, like Bukit Bintang and Chinatown. Travelers can also save transportation in Penang by taking the Free CAT Bus.

Average Two-Week Cost

Budget travelers in Malaysia can live with a $30 daily budget or $420 for two weeks. The budget covers the costs of sleeping in hostel dorm beds; dining in the street and hawker foods; taking public transport; visiting free museums and attractions, and mainly doing free activities like hiking, walking tours, and relaxing at the beach.

On the other hand, mid-range travelers spend at least $70 daily or $980 for two weeks. It includes staying in a three-star hotel, taking occasional taxis, dining in local restaurants, doing a few paid activities, and visiting several destinations.

Lastly, travelers can enjoy luxury and privacy in Malaysia from $130 daily or $1820 for two weeks. It includes staying in five-star hotels, splashing out on meals, taking domestic flights and renting a car for transport, and availing of all the paid tours and activities they want. So for them, the sky is the limit for travel.

Customs And Import Restrictions

Customs-And-Import-Restrictions

Malaysian customs allow travelers to enter the country with personal effects without paying import fees, provided the items are specifically for personal or professional use. Under duty-free regulations, travelers can also bring other goods with a maximum amount as follows:

  • 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 225 grams of tobacco for 18 years and above
  • one liter of alcoholic beverage for 21 years and above
  • gift items worth up to MYR 1000 (approximately USD224) for travelers arriving by air

There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency a traveler can carry into and out of Malaysia. However, they must declare it in Customs Form 22 (Borang Kastam 22) if the total amount exceeds USD 10,000 or its equivalent.

Restricted Goods

The Royal Malaysian Customs Department is also responsible for restricting the entry of certain goods and will require permits from relevant authorities. These include:

  • plants, animals, and their by-products
  • poultry products
  • arms and ammunition, including imitations
  • Bulletproof vests, steel helmets, and other articles of clothing as protection against attack.
  • explosives and fireworks
  • soil, pests, household, and agricultural products
  • telecommunications equipment
  • Pharmaceutical products

Prohibited Goods

Malaysian Customs completely prohibits the import and export of certain goods as follows:

  • Reproduction of any currency note, banknote, or coin currently issued in any country.
  • Indecent printings, paintings, photographs, books, cards, lithography, engravings, films, video tapes, laser discs, color slides, computer discs, and other media.
  • Any device intended to be prejudicial to the interest of Malaysia or unsuited to peace.
  • All genera of Piranha fish.
  • Turtle eggs.
  • Cocoa pods, rambutans, pulasan, longan, and nam nam fruits from Philipines and   Indonesia.
  • Intoxicating liquors containing more than 3.46 milligrams per liter in any lead or any compound of copper.
  • Daggers and flick knives.
  • Broadcast receivers capable of receiving radio communication within the ranges (68 – 87) MHz and (108 – 174) MHz
  • Sodium arsenate.
  • Cloth bearing the imprint or duplicate of any verses of the Quran.
  • Pen, pencil, and other articles resembling syringes.
  • Poisonous chemical
  • Lightning arresters containing radioactive material.

The import and export of illicit drugs, such as morphine, heroin, candu, marijuana, and the like, are strictly prohibited. The punishment for drug trafficking in Malaysia is death by hanging.

Visit the official portal of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department for the complete list of customs and import restrictions when planning your trip.

Climate Considerations

Climate-Considerations

Malaysia has a tropical climate with high humidity throughout the year. However, the country is located near the equator, so it experiences relatively constant temperatures and abundant rainfall year-round.

The average temperature in Malaysia ranges from 22°C to 32°C, with slight seasonal variation. However, there are some regional differences in temperature, with the highlands being cooler than the lowlands. The hottest months in Malaysia are usually from April to June, with temperatures reaching 35°C in some areas.

Malaysia has two main monsoon seasons, which bring heavy rainfall to different parts of the country. The southwest monsoon season typically lasts from May to September, bringing heavy rains to the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Sabah and Sarawak. The northeast monsoon season usually occurs from November to March, bringing heavy rains to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Primary Transportation Options

Primary-Transportation-Options

Malaysia is easily connected by an excellent transport network ranging from international and domestic airports, seaports and cruise terminals, rails, buses, and other public transport.

Air

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) are the main gateways for international tourist arrivals in Malaysia. However, travelers can also enter through other international airports in Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, and Kuching. Besides its international airports, 16 domestic airports connect major cities and destinations in Malaysia.

Malaysia Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, is the leading airline, followed by the low-cost carrier AirAsia and Firefly. Aside from these two, Malaysia has several other budget airlines, making air travel affordable.

Boat

Malaysia is easily accessible by its seaports and cruise terminals. Port Klang is the country’s largest modern seaport and significant shipping and cargo terminal. Port Klang and Penang Port also cater to international cruise vessels with regular schedules year-round. Other vital seaports in the country include the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Kuantan Port, Bintulu Port, and Kota Kinabalu Port.

Several ferry companies operate in Malaysia with regularly scheduled trips nationwide and to neighboring countries. Popular routes include Johor Bahru, Malaysia to Batam in Indonesia; mainland Malaysia to Penang, Penang to Medang and Langkawi.

Travelers can also rent speed boats or yachts in Malaysia to explore between islands.

Rail

Malaysia has an efficient rail network that covers most of the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia, including Sabah. The country’s rail network is also connected to the Thai Railway through the border town of Padang Besar, Malaysia, and Songkhla province in Thailand.

Trains in Malaysia are operated by Keratapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the national railway service. Rail transport includes commuter rail (KTM Komuter), light rapid transit (LRT), mass rapid transit (MRT), monorails, airport rail links, and funicular rails. Moreover, travelers can choose between express trains (air-conditioned and with three different classes) and slower local trains, which usually only have economy classes. Check the train timetables, schedules, and ticketing on the KTM website.

Two airport rail link systems link Kuala Lumpur with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor. While Kuala Lumpur has the longest monorail line in the country, Penang has the only funicular railway line.

Public Transport

Most cities in Malaysia have excellent public transport ranging from buses to various rail services. Remember to pick up a Touch ‘n Go (TnG) card to use on all modes of public transportation. TnG cards can also be loaded with unlimited transit passes.

Bus

Public buses are also the standard choice to travel around the city. A single bus ticket typically costs $0.25, but travelers can get discounts when using the cashless option of a TnG card. Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur offers travelers the free GO KL City Bus that passes through most tourist hotspots, like Bukit Bintang and Chinatown. Travelers can also take the Free CAT Bus when in Penang.

Interstate buses also operate in Malaysia. They ply between most cities and towns in Malaysia at affordable fares. The leading bus companies include Transnasional, Plusliner, Aeroline, and Super Nice. The last two bus companies both provide luxury services at cheap fares.

Taxi

Taxis are widely available in Malaysia. However, most taxis outside Kuala Lumpur do not have meters. If the cab doesn’t have meters, negotiate the price before getting in. Another option for passengers is to take a Grab to be safe and avoid getting ripped off.

Car Rental

Car rentals are ideal for travelers who want more flexibility and privacy. Depending on the car type and model, travelers can rent a car in Malaysia for $18 per day for a multi-day rental. Travelers can rent among popular international car rental companies, including Alamo, Sunny Cars, Europcar, and Avis. They can also hire from Malaysia-based vehicle rental companies such as Hawk Malaysia, Iprac, Mayflower, and Kasina. Note that they drive on the left.

Start Trip Planning

Start-Trip-Planning

Travel-Wise is made from the ground up to help people travel more, break down the barriers that make it tough to get going, and start your journey as painlessly as possible. Bookmark our other Country Guides to help kick-start your research for future travels. We also offer templated itineraries from our staff and community that help serve as a building block for your trip plans. Alternatively, we also utilize AI to offer a way to generate itinerary ideas. This saves much time just getting you up and running with a template. From there, you can use the trip planner to create your customized itinerary, invite friends and family for collaboration, find others from Travel-Wise to join the trip, book and track important information, journal, and share your experiences at the end or along the way!

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