Malaysia

From Singapore we travelled across the border by bus into Malaysia and its capital city, Kuala Lumpur! We spent 4 nights in Chinatown before heading to the jungle of Taman Negara for 2 nights. We needed to go back to Kuala Lumpur to retrieve our lost medical kit (which we left in Singapore) before moving north to the city of Georgetown, Penang where we spent another 3 nights. There are many different cultures of people in Malaysia although about 50% of people who live there are Muslim. This means there is wide varieties of people, food, religious practices and a feeling of diversity as we travelled through the country.

The intention of this page is to provide links to the various places we went and recommend as well as provide resources that we found useful along the way. We understand that we don’t have ALL the information, but what we do have will be helpful to those travelling to Malaysia.

We also have PHOTOS and VIDEOS that not only captured our travels, but can give you an idea of what Malaysia looks like if you have never been!

CURRENCY:

The money in Malaysia is the Ringgit or MYR. $1 USD converts roughly to 3.5 MYR.

  • Cash There are NO fees or charges to bring your home currency, and NO fees or charges to exchange it into Ringgit in Malaysia
  • It is best not buy any Malaysian currency until you arrive in Malaysia.
  • The rates offered in Malaysia are ALWAYS BETTER than you could get back home.
  • FOREX booths accept ALL MAJOR currencies.
  • DO remember to bring ONLY bank notes in good overall condition.
  • FOREX booths generally WILL NOT accept bank notes that are torn, ripped, damaged or are excessively marked/stamped.
  • It is the easiest to use, and in most cases the cheapest as well, but has obvious risks associated with loss.
  • You do not have to present ID to exchange foreign currency.
  • Make sure you count your money for clerical errors BEFORE you walk away from the exchange counter.
  • Again, you do not need to acquire any Ringgit BEFORE arriving in Malaysia.

You can get some money changed up at home so you have enough for your incidentals when you arrive, or use the ATM in your arriving airport.

HEALTH:

The water is not safe to consume anywhere in Malaysia. It is recommended to use bottled water for drinking at all times and also for brushing your teeth. There are areas in Malaysia which are a Malaria risk. We were advised that we didn’t require protection in this country however please do you own research and make your own decisions.

Here is a resource to check the health risks in Malaysia. 

POLITICS:

Be mindful of the fact that it is predominantly a Muslim culture and to be respectful of their religious practices and traditions. Women should be conservatively dressed at all times specifically when entering any place of worship.

TRANSPORTATION:

Taxi:  We don’t recommend this form of travel unless absolutely necessary. There is no fair/fare price. Basically they will charge you whatever they see fit and the price is negotiable as always. Be sure to negotiate your price BEFORE getting in the taxi or you will get a surprise when you reach your destination. Regarding your destination BE VERY SPECIFIC! If you aren’t you will most likely be taken to a place NEAR your destination and will have to walk the remainder of the journey to get there!

GO KL BUSES: For inner city transportation this bus line got us everywhere we needed to get to and the best things was it was FREE!! You hop on and hop off whenever there is a stop and we used it as our personal free taxi service the whole time we were in Kuala Lumpur. You can also access the different train stations from most of the bus routes.

Light Rail, Mono Rail, Buses: Rapid KL is the other great reliable form of public transport in Kuala Lumpur. You can travel greater distances in a much shorter amount of time and the LRT (subway) system is reliable, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. We used both the monorail and the LRT system to get around the city and also to get to our bus out of the city (instead of taxi service!).

Luxury Coach: There are many options to choose from and the one that we used and worked perfectly both times was Easibook.com which is an online booking website for multiple bus lines that travel across the country. You can also get to Singapore and a few locations in Thailand from this site as well from most anywhere in Malaysia. The buses are comfortable, air conditioned and most importantly CHEAP! For both our fares Kuala Lumpur-Penang was around $70 MYR.

Han Travel: We used this company to take us to and from Taman Negara but they also offer transportation throughout the country including the islands as well as tours. Don’t get discouraged by their website it needs work although it should have all the information you require to do almost anything in Malaysia. If you are in Kuala Lumpur just go visit them in the office for information and bookings, you’ll be glad you did!

ACCOMMODATION:

Budget Hotels: There are many inexpensive and clean options in the cities to stay with. We used Agoda to book with but found the rewards program of Expedia to be much better and decided to exclusively book with them for all our future travels as their rewards program is great! We stayed only in one hotel per city as we enjoyed all the places we booked and even returned to the Rainforest in Kuala Lumpur because we liked it so much. You can stay in hostels for cheaper or more expensive hotels if you choose but the budget hotels we found were between $60-80RM per night and were perfect for what we needed.

 

TOURS: 

Tours are a great way to experience different areas of Malaysia such as: Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara, and the islands among others. Tour companies can organize transportation, accommodation and even food into packages for you to make your trips efficient and enjoyable. We found a company who does the best job for the best price and are very knowledgeable about the country.

HAN TRAVEL

 

LAUNDRY:

Nothing fancy here. Traditional laundromats apply, find a local spot and get washing! You should expect to pay around $11 MYR per load (large).

 

PLACES WE VISITED AND ATTRACTIONS FROM EACH:

Kuala Lumpur: The capital city of Malaysia was impressive with its diverse culture, interesting architecture and developing infrastructure. We spent a lot of time travelling by the free transit GOKL, exploring local places of worship and food markets. There is a lot to see and most attractions can be done very inexpensively or better yet for free! The following is our recommendations for everything we did from accommodation to food to tours and attractions.

THE RAINFOREST (HOTEL)

BUKIT BINTANG (SHOPPING)

PETRONAS TOWERS (ATTRACTION)

KL TOWER (ATTRACTION)

BATU CAVES (NATURAL ATTRACTION)

BERJAYA TIMES SQUARE THEME PARK (ATTRACTION)

 

Taman Negara: Offering the last protected remains of the native rainforest in Malaysia, Taman Negara was a fantastic place to visit. Leaving from Kuala Lumpur by bus and travelling by boat to the jungle was an unforgettable experience. You will have many options to choose from when looking for tours and attractions. We chose to do the canopy walk by ourselves rather than with a tour which meant we paid $5MYR per person for access into the park rather than the $40 MYR the tour charges with a guide. It costs $1MYR to get across the river to the jungle which we didn’t have to do because we stayed at the resort on the island. The food at the floating restaurants is tasty and quite inexpensive and we found it to be the best option around to eat. If you prefer comfort and don’t mind paying for it, stay at the hotel we recommend but temper your expectations on what a 5 star hotel in the jungle is. You can stay at a local home stay for much cheaper and we heard they were quite comfortable.

MUTIARA (HOTEL)

CANOPY TREE TOP WALK (ATTRACTION)

NIGHT SAFARI (ATTRACTION)

FLOATING RESTAURANTS (FOOD)

TEMBELING JETTY (BOAT JETTY)

ORANG ASLI VILLAGE (ATTRACTION)

Penang: It was recommended on numerous occasions that we visit Penang while in Malaysia. It is rich with history dating back to its colonial roots as seen in the various buildings and architecture throughout the city. It has its own unique feel and vibe and we felt the 3 nights we spent there were more than enough to experience what it had to offer. There is also a free bus service on the island as soon as you get off the ferry which we used. We walked almost everywhere and the one day we wanted to explore the city we hired a driver for a half day for $180 MYR.

TUNE (HOTEL)

RAPID PENANG CAT (FREE BUS SERVICE)

NEW WORLD PARK (SHOPPING)

NAGORE SQUARE (SHOPPING)

RECLINING BUDDHA TEMPLE (ATTRACTION)

CLAN JETTIES (ATTRACTION)

PENANG HILL (ATTRACTION)

KOMTAR (ATTRACTION)

STREET ART (ATTRACTION)

SITIGUN MICRO COFFEE ROASTERY (CAFE)

LITTLE BIG (FOOD)

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