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The federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Geographical Location

Located between 2 and 7 degrees north of the Equator, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsular Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei.

329,758 sq km.
22.7 million.
Kuala Lumpur.

Malays who make up about 57% of the population are the predominant group with Chinese, Indian and other ethnic groups making up the rest.


Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken.

Islam is the official religion but all other religions are practised freely.

Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures range from 21oC to 32oC. Annual rainfall varies from 2000mm to 2500mm.

Entry Requirements

Visitors to Malaysia must be in procession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. For further information, please check with the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission or email to


The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks and money changers.


Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.

Voltage is 220 - 240 volts. A/C at 50 cycles per second.
Weights and Measures
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.

Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or prepaid cards. Mobile or cell phone is on GSM 1800Mhz and 900MHz network.

Getting There

The main gateway to Malaysia is through Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang located approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. Other major international airports, which serve as entry points, are Langkawi, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. The main entry point by sea to Kuala Lumpur is Port Klang, about 50km away from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand.

Getting Around

Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed and effective public transportation system served by busses, taxis and trains.


Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at competitive rates. International standard hotels, medium and budgets hotels and timeshare apartments are just some of the types of accommodation available.

Do's and Don'ts

When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:

Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge an introduction to a gentlemen with a nod of her head and smile. A handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers her hand first. 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, 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 would be polite to accept.

The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or when 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 the 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 first.

Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

Trafficking in illegal drugs carries the death penalty.


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