Visa & Passports
When planning your trip to Malaysia, it’s important to make sure your passport is up to date. You’ll need at least 6 months validity beyond your intended return date left on your passport to get a Malaysian visa. Depending on what nationality passport you are holding, you may or may not need to apply for a visa. If you are a UK passport holder, you will be granted a 3 month visa on arrival, so there is nothing you need to do in advance. This information could change so it’s always worth checking for the most up to date information.
The national Malaysian currency is the Ringgit (RM). This currency is also referred to as the Malaysian Dollar. Be sure to always have enough money on you as it’s not uncommon for ATM’s to be out of order just when you need them. All hotels and banks offer currency exchange services. The best available exchange rate can be found at smaller currency exchange desks in shopping malls. They may look less dependable; however in Malaysia it is quite common to exchange money at these small offices. For the latest currency exchange rate take a look at Oanda.
Credit and Debit Cards
There are ATM’s in nearly all areas in Malaysia, except in Taman Negara and on several small islands on the East Coast. ATM’s are operational 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Well known banks that allow you to withdraw cash using a debit card are Maybank and HSBC. It is safe to use a credit card in larger hotels, smarter restaurants and for instance at diving schools on the small islands. We do however advice normal caution when using your credit card, don’t let the card leave your sight, we have heard of instances of credit card fraud.
Tips and Haggling
Tips: It isn’t customary to leave tips in Malaysia and restaurants already include a service charge on your bill. However, in areas visited more frequently by tourists, tipping has become more common, so feel free to do what you think is appropriate.
Haggling: It is okay to negotiate the price of products and services, however it’s important to remain respectful when doing so. Raising your voice or walking away upset is considered disrespectful to the person you are negotiating with. There are no guidelines for haggling but we suggest setting a price in your mind that you would like to pay and trying to get as close to that price as possible.