Last updated: 22 Jun 2019



A bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.

One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down onto wooden houses built on stilts. Cool hideaways are found in the highlands, that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.

Attend one of Malaysia's annual festivals, magnificent spectacles bursting with colour. Puja Umur (the Sultan's birthday) is celebrated with a week-long festival, beginning with a parade in Kota Bharu. The Annual Sabah International Dragon Boat Festival is also popular.

Admire Kuala Lumpur's architectural gems including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, in Independence Square, which blends Victorian and Moorish architectural styles; Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, which resembles a Moorish palace and the striking National and Friday Mosques.
Official Name: Persekutuan Malaysia
International Official Name: Federation of Malaysia
Capital:  Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Currency:  Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Also referred to as Malaysian Dollar. 
Language:  Bahasa Melayu (Malaysian). English is widely spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 60
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +8 (6 hours ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2019: 

Feb 5, 6; May 1, 19, 20; Jun 5, 6; Aug 11, 31; Sep 1, 9, 16; Nov 9; Dec 25  (Individual states / provinces may observe additional holidays)

Side of the Road: Left
Best Time to Go: West Coast from December – March and East Coast from March – October. 
Best for: Archaeological Sites, Jungle Trekking
Plugs: 230-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are used.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but bottled water is usually preferred by visitors. Outside of the main towns, water may be contaminated. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, but less so in the rural areas. Private facilities tend to be of a higher standard than public facilities. Visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: It is traditional to greet with the term “Salam” or “Assalamualaikum”.Respect to religious customs should also be shown during the month of Ramadan. Dress should be conservative, particularly when visiting places of worship: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. The right hand is used to eating and exchanging money. Shoes are usually removed before entering a home or place of worship. At mainland beaches, women usually swim fully clothes. 
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality is illegal. There are severe penalties for drug-related offences and drug trafficking incurs the death penalty.
Travel Tips / Warnings: Check the local political situation before finalising travel plans. Usual precautions against petty theft should be taken. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Malaysia without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 225g of tobacco
• 1L of alcohol
• Food up to the value of RM75
• 3 pieces of new clothing and 1 new pair of shoes
• 1 portable electronic item for personal care
• Other goods up to the value of RM400.
To be eligible for these duty-free allowances, residents must have been out of the country for at least 72 hours and non-residents must plan to visit Malaysia for at least 72 hours.
Prohibited Imports: Illicit drugs, counterfeit currency, indecent publications (books, films, paintings etc.), anything considered prejudicial to the interest of Malaysia, piranha fish, turtle eggs, cocoa pods, daggers or flick knives, articles resembling syringes (e.g. pens or pencils), and poisonous chemicals.  Also prohibited unless accompanied by an import licence are animals, fish, meat, plants, eggs in their shells, explosives and fireworks, arms and ammunition, imitation arms, soil, rice, coral and pharmaceutical products. The penalty for drug trafficking is death by hanging.
Prohibited Exports: Illicit drugs, turtle eggs and rattan from the Malaysian peninsula. Also prohibited unless accompanied by an export licence are animals, birds, poultry, meat, cockles, plants, over 3kg of vegetables, palm kernels and seeds, military clothing and equipment, arms and ammunition, antiquities, sugar, rice, coral, live prawns/shrimp/fish, and collections of cultural value (e.g. of zoological or archaeological interest).

Issuing Authorities

Malaysian High Commission
1007 Schoeman Street, Arcadia, Pretoria 0083.
P O Box 11673, Hatfield 0028
Tel: (012) 342-5990/1/2/3
Fax: (012) 430 7773
Consular hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1200

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

The South African High Commission
Suite 2201, Level 22, Menara HLA
3 Jalan Kia Peng, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 2168 8663/2170 2400
Fax: 603 2168 8591

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Japanese Encephalitis (Not available in SA), Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk