Fact file: Malaysia

Did you know?
The scarlet flowers of the Malaysian rafflesia are the largest in the world, measuring up to one metre in diameter.
Language
The official language is Malay, but large minorities speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, Hindi and various other languages and dialects. English is widely spoken and commonly used to communicate between groups.
Visas
None required for UK citizens.
Getting there
There are regular flights from London to the capital Kuala Lumpur's international airport in Sepang, about 50km south of Kuala Lumpur.
Flying time from London
Eleven and a half to 13 hours.
Getting around
Internal flights offer the swiftest routes to the beach resorts. Trains are reasonably cheap, but offer limited destinations, so buses are the best way to get around locally. Shared long-distance taxis are often the only way to reach small towns and villages unless you opt to hire a car or bicycle.
Currency
Malaysian ringgit.
Costs
Can of beer £1.30; roll of film, £1.50; moderate meal £5; litre of petrol 20p; 4-mile taxi ride £4. All prices can vary.
Weather
Malaysia has a typically tropical climate, hot and humid year round. Temperatures seldom stray from the 70F-90F (21C-33C) range or show much variation from month to month. Only the east coast of peninsular Malaysia has a real rainy season, which lasts from November to January.
Time difference
Eight hours ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
00 60.
Voltage
240V, 50Hz AC. Sockets are generally suited to UK plugs, so no adaptor or transformer should be necessary.
Opening hours
Generally 9am-6pm Monday-Saturday. The big shopping malls, department stores and Chinese emporiums stay open until 9 or 10pm, seven days a week. In the more Islamic-influenced states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terenganu, offices, banks and many shops are closed on Friday and on Saturday afternoon.
Health — before you go
Immunisations are not required but typhoid, polio and hepatitis A are recommended. Malaria is a risk in East Malaysia. See your doctor at least two months prior to travel. Take out sufficient travel insurance to cover unexpected health costs.
Health — when you are there
The emergency number is 999. Health care is good in Malaysia and government hospitals are free or make nominal charges, though in cities the queues are often long. There are a large number of private clinics, especially in Kuala Lumpur; the embassy or any five-star hotel can recommend a doctor or clinic.
Warnings
Only a fool would even dabble in narcotics in Malaysia. The penalties for the most minor offences are extreme; trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty and even marijuana use can result in a three-year stint at a 'rehabilitation centre'.
Emergency
The emergency number is 999. British Embassy: 185 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel 03 248 2122.
Customs
Malaysia is a Muslim country; both women and men will get more respect if dressed discreetly. Do not use the left hand to give or receive anything. It is considered rude to point with a forefinger; Malaysians use a thumb.
Pets
Pets would be subject to quarantine on return to the UK.
Tipping
Tips are usually not expected.
Tourist office
57 Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DU. Tel 020 7930 7932.
Did you know?
The scarlet flowers of the Malaysian rafflesia are the largest in the world, measuring up to one metre in diameter.
Language
The official language is Malay, but large minorities speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, Hindi and various other languages and dialects. English is widely spoken and commonly used to communicate between groups.
Visas
None required for UK citizens.
Getting there
There are regular flights from London to the capital Kuala Lumpur's international airport in Sepang, about 50km south of Kuala Lumpur.
Flying time from London
Eleven and a half to 13 hours.
Getting around
Internal flights offer the swiftest routes to the beach resorts. Trains are reasonably cheap, but offer limited destinations, so buses are the best way to get around locally. Shared long-distance taxis are often the only way to reach small towns and villages unless you opt to hire a car or bicycle.
Currency
Malaysian ringgit.
Costs
Can of beer £1.30; roll of film, £1.50; moderate meal £5; litre of petrol 20p; 4-mile taxi ride £4. All prices can vary.
Weather
Malaysia has a typically tropical climate, hot and humid year round. Temperatures seldom stray from the 70F-90F (21C-33C) range or show much variation from month to month. Only the east coast of peninsular Malaysia has a real rainy season, which lasts from November to January.
Time difference
Eight hours ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
00 60.
Voltage
240V, 50Hz AC. Sockets are generally suited to UK plugs, so no adaptor or transformer should be necessary.
Opening hours
Generally 9am-6pm Monday-Saturday. The big shopping malls, department stores and Chinese emporiums stay open until 9 or 10pm, seven days a week. In the more Islamic-influenced states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terenganu, offices, banks and many shops are closed on Friday and on Saturday afternoon.
Health — before you go
Immunisations are not required but typhoid, polio and hepatitis A are recommended. Malaria is a risk in East Malaysia. See your doctor at least two months prior to travel. Take out sufficient travel insurance to cover unexpected health costs.
Health — when you are there
The emergency number is 999. Health care is good in Malaysia and government hospitals are free or make nominal charges, though in cities the queues are often long. There are a large number of private clinics, especially in Kuala Lumpur; the embassy or any five-star hotel can recommend a doctor or clinic.
Warnings
Only a fool would even dabble in narcotics in Malaysia. The penalties for the most minor offences are extreme; trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty and even marijuana use can result in a three-year stint at a 'rehabilitation centre'.
Emergency
The emergency number is 999. British Embassy: 185 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel 03 248 2122.
Customs
Malaysia is a Muslim country; both women and men will get more respect if dressed discreetly. Do not use the left hand to give or receive anything. It is considered rude to point with a forefinger; Malaysians use a thumb.
Pets
Pets would be subject to quarantine on return to the UK.
Tipping
Tips are usually not expected.
Tourist office
57 Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DU. Tel 020 7930 7932.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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