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Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia (Shutterstock)

Multicultural, many-faceted, misunderstood – Malaysia is a country as spectacularly varied as its peoples and wildlife.

Peninsular Malaysia stretches south from Thailand to Singapore and Indonesia, and blends the best of all three: superb beaches and idyllic islands (try the Perhentians for diving and clean sand, Langkawi and Tioman for resorts); diverse cultures – coexistence of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous create a unique cultural mosaic; Dutch-, Portuguese- and Chinese-influenced Melaka, colonial Georgetown and the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands, richly Muslim Kota Bharu, bustling Kuala Lumpur; and foreign food with a Malaysian twist.

West Malaysia encompasses Kuala Lumpur and the country’s major cities, while East Malaysia boasts the abundant natural beauty of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Over the South China Sea, Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) boast mountains, rainforest, orang-utans, more great diving and fascinating tribal longhouse villages.

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Latest Malaysia articles

Kuala Lumpur
Bahasa Malaysia or Malay; English is widely spoken
33 million
Int. dial code
You can visit Malaysia visa-free for up to 90 days
Time zone
Plug type
Type G
Malaysian Ringgit MYR

When to go to Malaysia

Malaysia is hot and humid year round; the ‘rainy season’ (May-September and November-March) sees only a nominal increase in precipitation, except on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia when November-February sees heavy downpours which disrupt boat crossings. Therefore, beach resorts often close during these months and reopen in March.

The fasting period of Ramadan (ninth month of the Muslim calendar) may limit transport options and see some restaurants close during daylight hour

International airports

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) is located 45km south of the city and can be easily accessed by train in about 30 minutes. Airport buses and taxis are also available.

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) is located 8km southwest of the city. It is main airport for the region of Sabah in Borneo.

Getting around in Malaysia

Domestic flights link Kuala Lumpur with destinations including Penang, Kota Bharu, Langkawi, Tioman, Kuching (Sarawak) and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah).

Within Peninsular Malaysia, trains and comfortable buses connect most cities, and a train service runs from Johor Bahru (near Singapore) north along the west coast via KL and Ipoh to the Thai border, branching at Gemas to run north.

In Borneo, internal flights, more limited buses and both coastal and river ferries transport travellers.

Health & safety

Consult your GP or a travel health clinic for advice on inoculations, dengue vaccine and anti-malarial prophylaxis.

Various biting bugs, leeches, parasites and venomous snakes are found in Malaysia – particularly the jungles of Borneo – so wear insect repellent, don’t walk barefoot and take sensible precautions to avoid bites and stings. Be aware of the presence of rabies in the states of Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Sarawak.

Head to for more advice.