Malaysia's position in the equatorial
zone guarantees a classic tropical climate with relative humidity levels
usually around 90%. Weather is fairly hot and humid all year round (with the
exception of the cooler climes of the central highlands) averaging 30ºC
in the daytime, with short intense showers almost daily. Malaysia's climate is
dominated by the effect of two monsoons or "rainy seasons", which
affect different parts of Malaysia to varying degrees.
The north-east monsoon blows between October and March and from May to
September Malaysia is affected by the south-west monsoon. Heavier rainfall is
experienced in spring and autumn when the monsoon changes direction, however
this increased rainfall should not spoil a visit to west coast Malaysia or the
hill stations. Mornings are usually hot and sunny with showers in the
Try to avoid east coast destinations and Island Malaysia between November
and January. Otherwise, Malaysia can be enjoyed at any time of year as the weather
is generally hot, sunny and fairly uniform; it's rare to have a day
without showers and unusual to have a day without sunshine. Take light summer
clothes, carry an umbrella and an extra warm sweater if visiting the hill
Slightly thicker clothing may also be worn in air-conditioned spaces like
cinemas and meeting rooms.
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. (See below.)
Malaria is a preventable infection that can be fatal if left untreated.
Prevent infection by taking prescription antimalarial drugs and protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below). Malaria risk in
this region exists all year in some cities and all rural areas of these countries, except for Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. Most
travelers to Southeast Asia at risk for malaria should take mefloquine to prevent malaria.
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into
certain of these countries if you are coming from a country in tropical South America or sub-Saharan Africa. (There is no risk for
yellow fever in Southeast Asia.)
Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, and plague are diseases
carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) 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.
CDC Recommends the Following Vaccines (as Appropriate for Age):
See your doctor at least 4-6 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
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 11-12 years who did not complete
the series as infants.To Stay Healthy,
Wash hands often with soap and water.
Drink only bottled or boiled water, or
carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water,
fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an "absolute 1-micron
or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered
water. "Absolute 1-micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
Eat only thoroughly cooked food or
fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it,
cook it, peel it, or forget it.
If you visit an area where there is risk
for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during,
and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
Protect yourself from insects by
remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly
at 4-hour intervals), and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
To prevent fungal and parasitic
infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
Always use latex condoms to reduce the
risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
To Avoid Getting Sick:
Don't eat food purchased from street
Don't drink beverages with ice.
Don't eat dairy products unless you know
they have been pasteurized.
Don't share needles with anyone.
Don't handle animals (especially monkeys,
dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies
and plague). (For more information, please see the Animal-Associated Hazards on the Making Travel Safe
Don't swim in fresh water. Salt water is
usually safer. (For more information, please see the Swimming
Precautions on the Making Travel Safe page.)
What You Need To Bring with You:
Long-sleeved shirt and long pants to
wear while outside whenever possible, to prevent illnesses carried by
insects (e.g., malaria, dengue, filariasis, and Japanese encephalitis).
Insect repellent containing DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide),
in 30percent-35percent strength for adults and 6percent-10percent for
Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine
to take if you have diarrhea.
Iodine tablets and water filters to
purify water if bottled water is not available. See Do's above for
more detailed information about water filters.
Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
Prescription medications: make sure you
have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the
After You Return Home:
If you have visited an area where there is risk for malaria, continue
taking your malaria medication weekly for 4 weeks after you leave the
If you become ill after travel--even as long as a year after your
trip--tell your doctor the areas you have visited.
The currency in Malaysia is the Ringgit which consists of 100 Ringgit to
the Malaysian Dollar. Coins include the 1 Ringgit, 5 Ringgit, 10
Ringgit, 20 Ringgit, 50 Ringgit pieces. Currently (2001) the Malaysian
Ringgit is RM 3.80 = USD 1.00.
Money can be
exchanged at commercial banks, at currency exchange services of these
banks and at authorised moneychangers. Rates may vary slightly from bank
Many hotels double as authorised exchange outlets though their rates are
usually not as good as those of banks and independent authorised
moneychangers. A small number of authorised moneychangers offer better
rates than the banks. Banks are open in most states:
- Mon – Fri: 9.30am – 4.00pm
- Sat: 9.30am – 11.30am (closed 1st & 3rd Sat of each month)
- Sun: closed