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Destinations > Malaysia & Borneo > Need to Know
Malaysia is a bubbling, bustling melting pot where Malays, Indians, Chinese, and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. Malaysian Borneo is home to the best wildlife and cultural experiences in Malaysia. Sabah is where you’ll find the awesome Mount Kinabalu. Sandakan is well known for the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, where the jungle has been set aside as a rehabilitation center for the orang-utans. Trekking in Sarawak offers an extraordinary experience.
Borneo has an equatorial climate and temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees. Malaysia's northeast monsoon months are from October to February, while Sabah's west coast gets most of its rain from June to November.
Mount Kinabalu is the most spectacular feature in Sabah. The mountain
exudes a magical quality that is unbelievable; the granite peaks are
constantly veiled in wisps of cloud.
Turtle Island Park, in the Sulu Sea just off Borneo, is all about rescuing the
endangered turtles in the area. A visit to the island provides a wonderful
insight into the world of sea turtles.
Belum rainforest is the largest forest complex on peninsula Malaysia. It is
believed to have been in existence for over 130 million years, making it older
the]a=n the Amazon and the Congo.
Malaysian cuisine is amongst the most diverse and flavoursome in the
world. No visit to Malaysia is complete without trying Nasi Lemak and Beef
Rendang or following the sweet aroma of satay, the delicious peanut sauce
famous throughout the world.
Modern Kuala Lumpur, Malacca’s stunning architecture, the wildlife in Taman
Negara National Park and the stunning Cameron Highlands are just some of
the wonders that await you on peninsula Malaysia.
Trekking around Sandakan, along with Mulu and Niah National Parks in
Sarawak, offers an extraordinary chance to get up close with the flora and
fauna of the region.
Country Code for Malaysia: +60
Visa Global Assistance: 1800 802 997
Emergency Services: Ambulance - 999, Police - 999, Fire - 994. These services may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should have a local call on your behalf.
Greetings in a social context will depend upon the ethnicity of the person you are meeting. In general, most Malays are aware of Western ways so the handshake is normal. There may be slight differences though and a few things to bear in mind include: Malay women may not shake hands with men. Women can of course shake hands with women. Men may also not shake hands with women and may bow instead while placing their hand on their heart.
As an extension to the need to maintain harmonious relations, Malaysians rely on non-verbal communication (i.e. facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc). Such a communication style tends to be subtle and indirect. Malays may hint at a point rather than make a direct statement, since that might cause the other person to lose face. Rather than say "no", they might say, "I will try", or "I’ll see what I can do". This allows the person making the request and the person turning it down to save face and maintain harmony in their relationship.
Silence is an important element of Malaysian communication. Pausing before responding to a question indicates that they have given the question appropriate thought and considered their response carefully. Many Malaysians do not understand the Western propensity to respond to a question hastily and can consider such behavior thoughtless and rude. Malaysians may laugh at what may appear to outsiders as inappropriate moments. This device is used to conceal uneasiness.
Electrical Plug: European and British
Voltage: 220-240 volts
Modem Plug: USA and UK
Traveling around Malaysia is smooth-sailing as the country is well-connected. Whether it is via air, road, rail, and sea, you can fully utilize Malaysia’s vast transportation network. For tourist convenience, there are Touch'n'Go (TnG) Concession Cards which provide discounted fares on RapidKL Bus, LRT, and Monorail services throughout Kuala Lumpur.
Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese (various dialects), English, and Tamil are spoken throughout the country.
Malaysia is a genuine shopper's paradise. Many popular international brands have their stores in one of the malls in Malaysia. Normal business hours in Malaysia are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with many businesses and government agencies also open until noon on Saturdays.
Tipping is not customary in Malaysia, although guests may pay a little more at their discretion, especially if the service has been particularly good. In established restaurants, there is a mandatory 6% government tax and often an additional 10% service charge on receipts. For your guide and driver, a tip of about MYR8-10 per person per half day is a suggested guideline.
The Travel Corporation has partnered with the company Sherpa to provide travelers with the latest government and health restrictions. Simply enter the country you want to travel to for information on safety regulations, border closures, quarantine requirements, your travel visa, and more using the Sherpa travel tool.
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