- General Info
- Health Risks
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. The first several years of the country's history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the federation in 1965.
Source: CIA World Factbook
Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.
Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including some cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of Southeast Asia, should take an antimalarial drug.
Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.
Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in certain areas of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, and Thailand to avoid infection with schistosomiasis.
Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
There is no risk for yellow fever in Southeast Asia. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):
See your doctor at least 46 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
- Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- Japanese encephalitis, only if you plan to visit rural areas for 4 weeks or more, except under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
- Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
- Typhoid vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 1112 years who did not complete the series as infants.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The October 5, 2003 kidnapping of six Indonesian and Filipino workers from a resort along the coast of eastern Sabah reinforce the U.S. concern for the safety of travelers to that region of Malaysia. In 2000, armed gunmen associated with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group based in the southern Philippines took hostages from the islands of Sipadan and Pandanan in eastern Sabah and transported them to the Philippines. Since then, the Malaysian government has substantially increased its police and military presence in the region, notably near popular Western tourist destinations. Nonetheless, the region is large and remote and in many locations, which include open waters between the mainland and offshore resorts, emergency assistance may not always be available. For these reasons, American citizens should avoid eastern Sabah. Americans planning to travel to Sabah knowing that there is a Public Announcement for Malaysia on this region should contact the American embassy in Kuala Lumpur before departure by telephone at (6-03) 2168-5000, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
In October 2002, the United States Government designated the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) a Foreign Terrorist Organization. JI is an extremist group linked to al-Qaeda and other regional terrorist groups and has cells operating throughout Southeast Asia. Extremist groups in the region have demonstrated their capability to carry out transnational attacks in locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's web site, http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Public Announcements and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security conditions may also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and, from overseas, 317-472-2328. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
CRIME: The overall crime rate in Malaysia is low and violent crime involving tourists is relatively uncommon. Petty theft, particularly purse snatchings and pick pocketing, is the most common criminal activity directed against foreigners. Thieves on motorcycles commit "snatch thefts" in crowded shopping areas. In most incidents, two men on a motorcycle speed up from behind a victim and the passenger on the back snatches a purse, handbag or cellular telephone. These thefts occur at all hours and often in front of large groups of witnesses. Women walking by themselves or with small children are the most common targets. People have been injured by being pulled to the ground by their purse straps as the thieves speed off. Automobile burglaries also occur. Credit card fraud is a growing problem in Malaysia. Credit cards should only be used at established businesses, preferably outlets of internationally recognized firms, and credit card numbers should be closely safeguarded at all times.
The loss or theft abroad of U.S. passports should be reported immediately to the local police and American embassy. American citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site, http://travel.state.gov.
If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest American embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
Source: U.S. Department of State
tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Source: CIA World Factbook
Malaysia's electrical current is 240/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: American citizens are required to have a passport valid for at least six months to enter Malaysia, but do not need a visa for a pleasure or business trip if their stay in Malaysia is 90 days or less. Visitors to Malaysia will receive a Malaysian Disembarkation Card to complete and present to Malaysian immigration upon arrival. Travelers are required to carry their passports for travel between Sabah and Sarawak. Visitor passes issued for entry into peninsular Malaysia are not valid for entry into Sarawak. New visitor passes must be obtained upon arrival in Sarawak; in most cases, visitor passes issued by Sabah and Sarawak immigration are valid for any part of Malaysia.
For more information on
the latest entry procedures and requirements, contact the Embassy of Malaysia,
3516 International Court, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 572-9700,
the Malaysian Consulates located in New York, telephone (212) 490-2722, or
Los Angeles, telephone
(213) 892-1238, or the Malaysian Government web site, which has information on Malaysian embassies and consulates abroad at www.kln.gov.my. Overseas inquiries should be made at your nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The time zone for Malaysia is 8 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Malaysia would be 1:00 am
The unit of currency in Malaysia is the ringgit (MYR).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
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