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home > Malaysia and Singapore > Travel Essentials > Travel tips 




Travel Tips for Malaysia and Singapore

myMalaysiabooks shars with you some travel tips -what you may want to know and need when you travel to Malaysia and Singapore. Be prepared to enjoy a year long summer in Malaysia and Singapore. 


Tips on Travel here includes: Safety tips, money matters, hotel booking, what to carry with you, travelling by air, driving around and shopping tips

KL Sentral - Central Station Kuala Lumpur


Safety tips

Travellers coming to Malaysia or Singapore - be warned that the sentence for drug trafficking is the death penalty. You can also be arrested for carrying some small quantities of ganja or drugs. Check the Customs website for both countries.

In Malaysia:

- Crime rates are generally low, especially for serious crimes.  Beware of Snatch Thieves!! Be careful of snatch thieves and pickpockets when you walk anywhere - This daylight robbery is common now even in crowded places such as markets and

 business/banking areas. Snatch thieves usually move on motorbikes and may drag you along with them (with your bag) or hurt you. Avoid carrying a sling bag that hangs on one shoulder.

- Be careful of your belonging when someone approaches you to talk to you. Do not follow anyone who says you have a price to claim.

- Look around and take care of your money when you change currency at busy shopping malls or when withdrawing money.

- Do not walk along lonely streets or along poorly lit roads at night. Tourists and visitors should stick to areas where you see many locals walking about.

- Those who drive, especially ladies, should avoid driving late at night especially along lonely roads. Stick to the main roads. Park your car along crowded roads or in well lit parking places.


In Singapore:

- Crime rates are generally low but visitors should also take the necessary precaution as above.

- Be cautious of your bag when someone approaches you and ask you for directions.

- Be carefully (especially in busy shopping areas); don't be tricked into accepting offers to visit a location where you are offered to win easy prizes.


KL Sentral, Malaysia


Money matters

Visiting Clan housesMalaysia

- The currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (RM or MYR). RM1 is equivalent to 100 sen.

Bank Negara (Central Bank) Malaysia - about Malaysian Currency

Bank Negara Malaysia - Central Bank of Malaysia

- You can change your currencies at banks or from an authorized money changer. Money exchange counters are located at international airports in the country. You can also change currencies from a licensed money changer. These traders usually operate from a shop or a small counter located at tourist spots or shopping malls, both on Malaysia and Singapore. You can also change currencies at international airports in Malaysia (not domestic Penang Malaysiaairports). 

- Though you can send money in various currency at the bank, not all banks will change foreign currencies to ringgit cash for you.

- Credit cards are accepted at hotels 2-star and above, major supermarkets and department stalls. Most small shops and shop lots in shopping malls accept only cash. Only big restaurants and hotel lounges accepts credit cards, mainly in major towns such as KL, Penang. Most restaurants in small towns accept only cash.

- More on Business and finance in Malaysia


- The currency is the Singapore dollars.

- You can change currency at banks or licensed money changers located at shopping malls or shop houses.

- Credit cards are accepted in larger stores and supermarkets. Cash card and bank cards are used.

Details on Banks, Business and Finance in Malaysia and Singapore

Accommodation, hotels and hostels

Book your hotel or accommodation early and before you arrive in Singapore or Malaysia. During the school holidays in both countries, hotels can be fully booked. You get the better rates for hotel when the hotel is offering a promotion, usually during the non-peak season or non holiday period. Promotional rates are usually available if you book your flight together with hotel stay and sometimes inclusive of local tours.    

     Compare online rates of hotel accommodation and tours. Offers given online are good when they include tours.

Hotels in Malaysia and Asia

Hotel selection by towns and cities in Asia

Search hotels worldwide

2007 calendar of holidays in Malaysia and Singapore



What to wear and carry



- Pick clothes suitable for the hot weather and remember an umbrella. Its summer all year round in Singapore and Malaysia - Hot in the daytime (temperature about 30degC) and cooler at night (25deg.C). For informal wear, tee shirts are commonly worn. You may need only a light cardigan and the coldest places are usually at some hotels!, and the highland areas. Temperature may fall to below 15deg.C on some highland areas. When it rains it pours! literally - rain can be very heavy, but usually lasts a short period. Malaysian will only carry an umbrella rather than wear a rain coat.

- Malaysians are generally very casual dressers. Its OK to dress in your finest in posh restaurants but many Malaysians dress casually when dining, unless it is a special function. Ladies should avoid wearing low cut tops or short skirts or shorts when travelling in the countryside or small towns. Trishaw, Penang

- Try not to put on a beach wear which exposes to much of your body, if you go to the public beaches, especially in Malaysia. Its OK to put on your bikini if you are swimming in hotel pools or stretches of beaches facing hotels.

- In Malaysia, remember Malaysia is a Muslim country. Be more conservative in what you wear when you travel outside Kuala Lumpur, especially in the countryside and small towns. Ladies should avoid low cut tops and exposing too much of their bodies.


- Sandals or sports shoes are common for informal wear. Court shoes are good if you need to dress formally. Slippers are OK but may not allow you into some posh places or some government departments. 

- Walking or sports shoes are best if you are going outside the city, sightseeing or hiking.

Where you keep your money and important documents

- A hidden pocket in your clothes may be the best option. To carry a bag, it is safer to wear a pouch bag or carry a handbag that hangs in front of you. Though Malaysian carry all sorts of gear, if you look like a tourist, you tend to draw attention. Snatch thieves and pickpockets are not uncommon in urban areas.

Other bags and luggage

- A haversack or backpack is good if you want to travel light. Big luggage bags with wheels are only good if you move only from the airport/station to your hotel. But if you travel by express bus (intercity buses), a small luggage bag with wheels is OK, as there are storage compartment available.


- Always take your essential medication and prescriptions along, it many not be easily accessible outside the cities in Malaysia. If you need medication, there are doctor clinics, western pharmacies and Chinese drugstores.

Medical facilities in Malaysia and Singapore




- Not many places in Malaysia are friendly to the old or disable person, especially if you need to move around in a wheelchair. Checkout the places first. Wheelchairs are usually sold in special shops or the pharmacy.

Outdoor equipments and gear

- You can get special gear usually only in bigger cities like Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and only some hypermarkets in smaller towns.

Electrical appliances

- Electric supply is on a 240-volt AC, 50-cycle system (similar to UK). so get the correct appliance and plugs before you arrive. Square three-pin plugs are generally used.


Medicine and Health


- Always take your essential medication and prescriptions along, it many not be easily accessible outside the cities in Malaysia. If you need medication, there are doctor clinics, western pharmacies and Chinese drugstores.

- You will find public and private hospitals, doctor's clinic or private medical facilities in all major towns in Malaysia and in Singapore.

Medical facilities in Malaysia and Singapore and medical Tourism


Getting Here and Moving Around

Visa Requirements and Customs regulation

Check visa requirements before you book your flight or tour and embark on your journey. Be sure to know the law for carry drugs, goods or cash into a country. (Drug trafficking is a capital offence in Malaysia and Singapore)

     Keep contact numbers of your country's mission/embassy, hotel no., your contact nos. or emergency nos. on your person. Visitors to Malaysia and Singapore must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits.


Air travel

The best rates for airline tickets comes with hotels accommodations and sometimes inclusive of tours. It is advisable to book early during the holiday season. Take note of the holidays and celebrations in Malaysia and Singapore, some hotels may be fully booked during this period especially during the school holidays

Many airlines offer competitive pricing and special discounts during non-peak/holiday seasons to Malaysia and Singapore. Check your options before you book to compare if you want the best offers.

Cheapest air tickets are usually on budget airlines flying to the two countries - Air Asia, Tiger Air, Jet Air, where you can book online. Book early to get lowest rates. Fly on weekdays (not weekends) if you can to get lower rates. Alternatively, check for last minute air flight rates and you may get even better rates!

National carriers in these two countries are Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

     Check the nearest airports and reconfirm your flight before travel. For transport options in Malaysia check our Malaysia transport page. If you are travelling from Singapore to Malaysia or vice versa.

Air transport to and in Malaysia

Singapore to Malaysia

     Most airport security do not allow you to carry, in your cabin bag, all kinds of knives, sharp objects (metal or other material) and some sporting goods. New airline regulations does not allow passengers to carry many items - CHECK WITH THE AIRLINE AND AIRPORT!. Packed them in your check-in-baggage. Carry fragile and valuable items, laptops, mobile phones, cameras, cash, keys and jewellery etc. in your carry on baggage/ cabin bag. But keep carry-on baggage as light as possible. You may have to walk a considerable distances to walk upon arrival or departure at some airports.

Learn more on how to travel smoothly into Malaysia or Singapore

Transport in Malaysia

Transport in Singapore

Travelling from Singapore to Malaysia

Asia Airlines and airports


Driving around Malaysia and SingaporeNorth-south expressway, Malaysian highway

- Be sure you have a valid international driver's licence. Know the traffic rules and regulation in the country you are driving. It is necessary to be able to read the road signs - English in Singapore but in the Malay language in Malaysia.

- It is NOT advisable to drive if you are not knowledgeable about the country or is not accustomed to the type of traffic. It is advisable to travel with a local if you want to drive out of the city or if it is your first time to the country. However for those who know Malaysia and Singapore and love to drive, you get one of the best system of roads in Asia. There are fewer roads in East Malaysia.

- You will find many petrol kiosk located in the urban areas, but few or far apart in the countryside in Malaysia. Petrol prices in Malaysia is one of the cheapest in Asia, so just fill up you tank when you travel. You will pass many towns all along the trunk roads. There are petrol station at specific rest areas along the expressway.

- It is usually safer to travel along the expressways (Plus or North-south expressways) as there are emergency facilities and cleaner rest areas.

- Caution: drive slowly on rural roads near villages - as many residents may cycle or walk along these roads. Be extra cautious, when driving past villages, as there are animals on the road at times.

- It is easy and economical to drive in Malaysia and but not in Singapore. If you want to drive from Malaysia to Singapore using a foreign-registered car, there is a lot of hassle -it is advisable not to do so if you are not familiar with the regulations (for details check with the land transport authorities of Singapore). Public transport is efficient and convenient in Singapore.

Detail on travelling around Malaysia at:

How to travel to and around Malaysia

How to travel from Singapore to Malaysia

How to travel from Thailand to Malaysia

Transport around Singapore



 Shopping Tips

    Shops usually open from 10am and close at 7pm. Supermarkets and shopping malls open between 10:30 to 11am and close at around 10pm. Shopping malls are usually opened everyday, including public holidays. If you shop at roadside stalls or pasar malam (night market), be prepared to bargain (food prices however are fixed).

For food, the prices are normally fixed even in the streets.




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