If you want to experience a genuinely Asian getaway, then enjoy a holiday in magical Malaysia. This multi-cultural country is a microcosm of what the East is all about – towering skyscrapers mixed with traditional sights like Colonial and Chinese buildings, Buddhist mosques and Hindu temples.
The country is divided into two separate regions: Peninsula Malaysia, which is close to Thailand, best known for its vibrant cities and Colonial history. Then there’s the eastern part of the country, which makes up the northern part of the island of Borneo, near enough to Indonesia to visit if you wish. This unspoiled natural area is the base from which to explore fairytale rainforests and jungles, famously home to isolated indigenous tribes.
Why visit Malaysia
- The hiking opportunities are excellent, especially if you visit Mount Kinabalu.
- Colonial buildings abound, and are quite spectacular, especially in Malacca.
- The dive sites are legendary, and scuba diving here is really a dream come true.
- The diversity of cultures offer a truly Asian experience.
- There are so many beautiful beaches on stunning islands.
- Malaysia is home to some of the oldest tropical jungles in the world.
- The day and night markets offer a variety of goods to take home, all at excellent prices.
- The weather is fabulous year-round.
Whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation or culture, Malaysia will surprise and delight you at every turn. This diverse country is an ideal holiday destination for families with older children and adventurous couples who want an immersive travel experience. A Malaysian holiday is the perfect travel choice for groups of friends who want to shop, dine and explore, or thrill seekers eager to go on an adventure holiday jungle trekking, bungee jumping, white water rafting and more. Let us organise your Malaysia tour right away.
What to do in Malaysia
Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures that create its colourful and atmospheric buzz. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a fascinating mix of rainforest and modern skyscrapers. Here, shopping is a delight, as is sampling the stunning street food, a fabulous blend of delicious Chinese, Indian and Malaysian dishes.
Outside the city, you’ll find impressive cave temples and Hindu shrines. Further afield, there are magnificent coral reefs (Malaysia’s dive sites are legendary and among the best in the world), tropical jungles, national parks and wildlife reserves to explore.
Malaysia’s beautiful islands are also waiting to be discovered… There’s Langkawi, a paradise for lazing on palm-fringed beaches and exploring a magical underwater world. Enchanting Penang is home to idyllic fishing villages, numerous fruit, clove and nutmeg plantations and the infamous Snake Temple, where pit vipers laze on altars. Its capital, Georgetown, offers many sights, including the Goddess of Mercy Temple and Fort Cornwallis. And if you’re keen for adventure, head to Kota Kinabulu on the island of Borneo, the ideal base from which to go white-water rafting, deep-sea fishing, sea kayaking, snorkelling or mountain climbing.
Things to do in Malaysia
- Discover the Batu Cave temples.
- Visit Malacca’s Portuguese fortress, Porta de Santiago.
- See the incredible Statue of the Reclining Buddha on the island of Penang.
- Take photographs of KL’s impressive Petronas Towers.
- Learn how Malaysian batik is made.
- Trek through a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands.
- Explore a tropical rainforest in Kota Bharu.
- Watch as fishing boats are made as they have been for centuries in Pulau Duyong Besar.
- Embark on a jungle trail in Kinabulu Park.
- Swim, snorkel and laze on the beach on a coral island.
Malaysia is a fun and sun-filled destination to suit every type of traveller and every kind of holiday. Experience it for yourself when you book your Malaysian holiday package with us.
Know before you go...
- Malaysia is hot & humid all year round, with some rain in the afternoons.
- Days are generally sunny and nights are cool.
- Best time to travel is in the cool, dry season – between June and October.
- Average temperatures in the lowlands range from 24°C to 30°C.
- Rainy season on the East coast is from early November to the middle of February.
- There are frequent flights from South Africa to Malaysia.
- Flight duration from South Africa to Kuala Lumpur is 11 hours.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Malaysia for stays of up to 90 days.
- Passports should be valid for 6 months after travel.
- Malaysia is 6 hours ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR).
- Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, department stores, upmarket shops and restaurants.
- Make sure you have enough cash in local currency when travelling in small towns/remote areas.
- Tipping is not common in Malaysia especially in rural areas.
- In most hotels and large restaurants, 10% service charge is added to the bill along with 6% government tax.
- It’s recommended to tip guides and drivers. Porters and bellhops are tipped according to the size/weight of the bags.
- Malaysia’s official language is Malay.
- English is widely understood.
- Islam is the official religion in Malaysia. Other religions include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism & some traditional Chinese religions.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- Be aware: smoking is banned except in certain areas.
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Malaysia. Bottled water is readily available.
- Check with your travel clinic about recommended vaccinations.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops. Legs & shoulders must be covered. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Taxis and Rapid KL buses are easily available in Kuala Lumpur. IN KL and elsewhere, buses, mini vans and taxis are readily available.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Malaysia - Sightseeing [3.2 MB]
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