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Malaysia

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Currency information

Code MYR
Symbol RM
Coins
5, 10, 20, 50 sen
Banknotes
RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, RM100

Expert tip

Remember to smile when haggling. Remain casual and polite, and try not to become emotional or angry. If you are unpleasant, the seller will not want to be generous with you. Haggling is supposed to be fun, so wear your best smile and don’t take it too seriously.

ATM access

5/5 stars – there are ATMs everywhere.

Tipping

Tipping is not common or expected in Malaysia. Tips are not required in hotels, restaurants, spas, in taxis or on tours, but a small tip at your own discretion is appreciated if you feel the service has been particularly good. If you offer a tip, it will not be refused.

Bargaining scale

5/5 stars – bargaining is expected.

Bargaining and haggling are very common, and expected in Malaysia. This tradition offers you the chance to score a bargain and practise your Malaysian language skills.

Watch and learn! Do your research when in a shopping market place, listening to what others are paying for goods before you start your own bargaining session. Getting a general idea of what you should be expecting to pay will guide your negotiations and help you avoid paying too much.

Card access

Debit and credit cards are widely accepted, and generally have good exchange rates in Malaysia. It is advised, however, that you enquire with your bank about any other fees they may have before you leave.

It is important to advise your bank of your overseas travel plans and dates to avoid your international activity appearing suspicious and the possibility of your accounts being frozen. Consider using a prepaid currency card to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on hidden fees.

Cost of a coffee

A regular cappuccino will cost you RM10.

Transport

All larger cities have taxis – just ensure the driver is using a meter, or confirm the price before your trip. Major cities also have extremely and convenient affordable buses, and Kuala Lumpur offers commuter trains for getting around. In smaller towns, bicycle rickshaws, or trishaws, are popular.

Pickpocket security rating

2/5 stars – theft is common.

Pickpockets and bag snatchers on motorcycles and other vehicles are common in Malaysia, specifically on public transport, in markets, and around crowded tourist attractions. Thieves target foreigners, so always keep your valuables close to your body and out of sight, and be alert to your surroundings and people near you.

Scammers and ripoffs

The most common scam in Malaysia is taxi drivers overcharging and not using their meter correctly, or at all. Some taxi drivers take advantage of foreigners, taking the longest route to their destination so their meter runs for longer, or not using their meter and blatantly overcharging passengers for what should be a cheap trip. It is important to ensure the taxi driver is using their meter correctly or you agree on a price before the journey starts.

Also, keep your passport and valuables on you, and not in your luggage, as taxi drivers have been known to occasionally drive away with passengers’ luggage still in the boot after dropping them off.

Departure tax

Any airport or departure taxes are included in the price of your air ticket.

Visa costs

Australians and New Zealanders do not require a visa to enter Malaysia for stays of up to three months, provided they have a passport that is valid for at least six months upon arrival, and a confirmed return or onward international ticket. If you are visiting Malaysia for any other reasons (such as business, volunteering or studying), then you may need to arrange a visa in advance of your departure.

If you need further information regarding visas and other travel document requirements for your trip, please ask your travel consultant or contact an Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of Malaysia.

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