What is the Required Visa
Travellers to Malaysia must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months before arrival. Travellers from most countries can visit Malaysia through visa free entry for 30 days although the visit duration depends on your passport. For a complete list of information and requirements, visit Official Malaysia Immigration website.
What are the Common Cultures and Customaries
Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim nation, with large Chinese and Indian minorities. Hence, it is common to find churches, temples and mosques side by side. Do be respectful of all customs and religions, and dress sensibly. Particularly for mosques and temples, do cover up with long pants or skirts below the knees, and do wear sleeved tops. If you are unsure of the customs of any particular ethnic or religious group, do your research as different communities have different rules.
The locals are generally friendly, warm and tolerant of foreigners; so don’t be afraid to ask when you are unsure about cultures and customs. Most of the locals can speak both Bahasa Malaysia and English or Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese, and Tamil for the ethnic Indian population.
Some common practices include leaving your shoes outside homes, and avoiding physical contact with strangers of the opposite sex. Holding hands with your partner is generally acceptable, but try not to display too much affection publicly or you risk offending conservative members of society.
As with any place, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. One specific thing to take note of in Malaysia is to use your right hand when you hand over and receive money. It is considered very impolite to use your left hand. In general, be polite and considerate, try to refrain from making political and racist comments, and you should be fine.
What to Wear
As Kuala Lumpur is a metropolitan city in a warm climate, casually dressed locals are often sighted in shorts and tee-shirts. However, due to Malaysia being a predominantly Muslim country, avoid short shorts and mini-skirts to be on the safe side.
If you intend to visit religious areas of worship such as temples and mosques, do wear shoes, long pants/jeans that cover below the knees, and sleeves that cover your shoulders.
Is Tipping Necessary
Tipping is not expected in Malaysia, but restaurants may implement a service charge, with a larger amount levied in restaurant for large groups. You may consider tipping hotel staff or your masseuse at a massage parlour, but remember all tipping is discretionary.
Electronics and Data
Malaysia uses the type G plug, and operates on 240V and 50Hz. The plug looks like 3 rectangular pins arranged in a triangular pattern. Make sure you have the appropriate travel adaptor to charge your appliances.
If you need data, you may purchase a wireless hotspot if travelling as a group, or a SIM card from carriers in Malaysia such as Digi, Celcom, or Tunetalk. Their plans are fairly competitive, and their SIM cards should work with most major cellphones. Do check with the counter staff before purchasing the card. These main carriers will have shops open at the airport and in most major malls.