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info-signAbout Malaysia

A blend of fantastic food, breathtaking wildlife-filled rainforests, idyllic islands, and cities so urbanely dynamic, Malaysia is heaven on earth. Discover how it is taming the sweeping wave of avant-gardism, retaining its exotic, authentic cultural and ecological beauty.

Kuala Lumpur is bustling with contemporary infrastructural marvels; towering skyscrapers, air-conditioned mega malls, and a growing list of international shopping brands. Yet, Melaka and George Town retain their decades’ old idiosyncratic architectural and cultural faces, providing a sharp contrast to the ferocious wave of modernity to dazzle and fascinate.

Love some adventure? Sunbathe or go on a scuba-diving expedition at the Langkawi Island archipelago as you enjoy Nasi Kandar and other delicacies hawked on stalls-on-wheels, makeshift beachside restaurants and food courts.

Go on a thrilling outing, visiting the breathtaking tea plantations and learn how their teas are prepared. Learn about the growing cultural diversity bringing together native Malay, Chinese, Indian, European, Arabic, and Peranakan people, plus the secret to their harmonious living.

Sign off with a sightseeing visit of Malaysian wildlife, birdlife, and insects in their natural habitat; trek the Taman Negara park, including the famous rope walkway, or spot orangutans in Sepilok.

exchangeVisitor Requirements for United States citizens

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Visa needed before arrival?

Immigration offenses, such as visa overstaying, are punishable by caning.

Allowed stay
How long you can stay as a tourist.
3 months
Passport validity
How long past your stay in Malaysia your passport needs to be valid for.
6 months
Passport blank pages minimum
Excludes the last signature page.
1 page
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Yellow fever vaccine
Required only for visitors from countries at risk of yellow fever
Yellow fever risk
Malaria risk
Yes, medium risk
Zika risk
Tap water drinkable?
Based on whether the local government provides guarantees on tap water safety. This can vary by region within a country.
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Advisory Level
Level 4: Do not travel
Last issued 6 days ago

Do Not Travel to Malaysia due to COVID-19. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Malaysia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Malaysia. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Malaysia.  

Exercise Increased Caution in:

  • The eastern area of Sabah State due to kidnapping.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Malaysia:

Eastern Area of Sabah State

There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom from both terrorist and criminal groups. These groups may attack with little to no warning, targeting coastal resorts, island resorts, and boats ferrying tourists to resort islands.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in eastern Sabah as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to parts of eastern Sabah.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

Foreigner friendly?
Female friendly?
LGBT legal protections
Criminalizes LGBT members
Traffic-related deaths
Per 100,000 people per year
High (23.6)
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Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Estimated cost
Average daily cost
RM300 Malaysian Ringgits
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Is tipping generally expected?
Select places only

Tipping generally isn't expected in most places but is appreciated if given.

Tour guides: Tip RM 20-30 per day per person for a private tour. 10% to a group tour guide if they did a great job.

Restaurants: A 10% service charge is usually included already. You can round up the bill for great service.

Is there tax free shopping for visitors?
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240V, 50Hz
Wall plugs and sockets
Types A, C, G, and M
Plug Type APlug Type CPlug Type GPlug Type M
Calling code(s)
To use, add a + before the code when dialing.
Mobile internet speed
Average download speed
21 Mbps
Broadband internet speed
Average download speed
72 Mbps
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peoplePeople & Culture

Term for citizens of Malaysia
Also known as demonym (trivia points if you knew that).
Official languages
English, Malay
Primary visitor language
The popular local language a Western visitor should know to get around more easily.
Gender equality
68% equal (bad)
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drive-timeGetting Around

Driving side
Driving documents recognized
International Driving Permit (IDP)
mobile-phoneServices available in Malaysia
Ride Hailing
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Bikesharing & Scooters
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Public Transit Maps
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mapMap of Malaysia

Map of Malaysia

Cities in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, George Town, and more. Guides for each coming soon.

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