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General Information on Langkawi


Malaysia is located in the heart of Southeast Asia. Consisting of 127,000 sq. miles (330,200 sq. km), Malaysia is divided into two main regions: Peninsular Malaysia, which lies just south of Thailand, and East Malaysia, which can be found north of Indonesia on the island of Borneo. These two regions are divided into thirteen states and federal territories. Although East Malaysia occupies the larger portion of Malaysia's total area, it is primarily comprised of undeveloped land and jungles.

Malaysia is a land of fascinating sights and attractions. Rich in colour and contrasts, her multi-faceted charm provides intriguing images that leave visitors to the country in awe. The natural warmth of Malaysians is legendary; wherever one goes, the friendliness and hospitality of the people would prove to be a very special experience. Malaysia is paradise. Its sun-drenched beaches, enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna, forest retreats and magnificent mountains are among the best in this region. Many visitors have discovered Malaysia's other attractions: a shopping haven, a versatile conference venue, an incentive destination, an adventure land and much more.


With temperature that fluctuates little throughout the year, travel in Malaysia is a pleasure. Average temperature is between 21 to 32 degree celcius. Humidity is high. Rain tends to occur between November to February on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, on western Sarawak, and north-eastern Sabah. On the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia the rainy seasons is April to May and October to November.


Malaysia has a combined population of over 18 million people. Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous peoples. Although Malay is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in business, and the English language is a compulsory subject in all schools. With such a varying ethnic composition, it is no surprise that a great diversity of religions is prevalent throughout Malaysia. Although the official religion is Islam, freedom of worship is practiced. As a result, it is a common to see temples, mosques and churches within the same area.

Ethnic Groups: 59% Malay and other indigenous, 32% Chinese and 9% Indian.

Languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects, Mandarin, Hakka dialects, Cantonese, Tamil and numerous tribal languages.

Religion: Muslim (primarily Malays), Buddhism (Chinese), Hindu (Indian), Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and tribal religions.


When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follow:-

  • Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge an introduction with a gentleman with a nod of her head and smile. A handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers her hand first. The traditional greeting of "salam" resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, then brings his hands to his chest to mean, " I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate the "salam".

  • It is polite to call before visiting a home

  • Shoes must be removed when entering a Malaysian home. It is also customary to do so upon entering a mosque or an Indian temple.

  • The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or when giving and receiving objects The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with the four fingers, folden under is preferred usage.

  • Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcoholic bevergaes.

Malaysians tend to be late for appointments yet expect others to be on time. Your contact will meet you at your hotel or at his or her office.

Meetings are often held during lunch or dinner.

Malaysians are usually called by their given names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss. The Chinese use their family names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss.

A firm handshake and a "hello" are suitable as a greeting. Muslims bring their hand to their chest after shaking hands, and you should follow suit.

Business cards are always exchanged and should be both given and received with both hands at all times. Study the card for a few moments before placing it in your pocket.

A suit and tie is suitable business attire for men, with the jacket removed on warmer days. Long-sleeved batik shirts are always acceptable. For women, a suit or blouse and skirt are best for daytime appointments.

The many cultures and religions of Malaysia may make giving a suitable gift a complicated issue. Never give liquor to a Muslim (alcoholic beverages are forbidden in the Muslim religion), or clocks, watches, knives or white flowers to a Chinese person (white flowers are associated with death in Chinese culture, and so are clocks, knives and watches - the word for time and death sound similar). A pen or a similar object having a company logo is probably the safest kind of gift.


The Malaysian unit of currency is the Ringgit (M$), which is divided into 100 sen. Currency comes in notes of M$1, M$5, M$10, M$20, M$50, M$100, M$500 and M$1,000. Coins are issued in 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and M$1 denominations. 1US$ is about RM 3.80;

The country's regulation requires all travellers to declare the amount of local and foreign currencies in their possession on arrival into and departure from Malaysia. Travellers Declaration Form (TDF) for this purpose can be obtained from any Malaysiam Embassies/High Commission, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Office and all entry/exit points in Malaysia. Non-resident travllers entering Malaysia are permitted to import up to a maximum amoutn of RM 1000 only and any amount of foreign currencies. Conversely, they are permitted to exportup to a maximum amount of RM 1000 only and foreign currencies not more then what was originally brought into the country.


Population: 20 million

Capital: Kuala Lumpur

Flag: Fourteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow fourteen-pointed star; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam; the design was based on the U.S. flag.

Shop Hours: Department stores and supermarkets are usually open from 10am to 10pm and shops from 9:30am to 7pm. In Kuala Lumpur, as well as in most major towns, there are several 24-hour stores.

Bank Hours:
Most states:

  • Mon-Fri: 9:30am-4.00pm
  • Sat : 9:30am-11:30am
  • Sun : Closed

Kelantan and Terengganu:

  • Sat-Wed: 9:30am-4.00pm
  • Thur : 9:30am-11.30am
  • Fri : Closed

Holidays: Weekly holidays vary from region to region. In Selangor, Melaka, Penang, Perak, Pahang and Negri Sembilan, there is a half-day holiday on Saturday and a full-day holiday on Sunday. In the states of Johor, Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu and Kelantan a traditional half-day holiday is observed on Thursday and full-day holiday on Friday; Saturday and Sunday are treated as weekdays.

    Major Holidays:
  • New Year's Day- 1st January*
  • Hari Raya Aidil Fitri- January*
  • Chinese New Year- January/February*
  • Labour Day- 1st May
  • Vesak Day- May*
  • The King's Birthday- June
  • August 31 - National Day*
  • Deepavali- October/November#
  • Christmas Day- 25th Decmber*

    *National Holidays
    #Execpt Sarawak and Labuan

    Note: If a holiday falls on a weekend or Friday, the following day becomes a holiday.

    Time: Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time (GMT) and 16 hours ahead of United States Pacific Standard Time.

    Tipping is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent. Most hotels and large restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax to the bill (indicated by a ++ sign on menus and rate cards).

    Restaurants: 10% service charge added automatically. Additional tipping is unnecessary, unless service is excellent.

    Porters: Tip porters about M$1 per bag. Any tip less than 50 sen would be considered insulting.

    Hotel maids: Service charge added automatically. Additional tipping is unnecessary, unless to acknowledge excellent service.

    Taxis: Most taxis are fitted with meters. Taxi rates are currently RM 2 for the first 2km and 10 sen for every 200 meters thereon. A surcharge of 50% is levied between midnight and 6.00am.


    Visitors must be in possession of a current passport or other internationally recognized travel document. They must be endorsed for traveling to Malaysia and have a period of validity of at least six months beyond the time of stay allowed in Malaysia. No visas are required for citizens of British Commonwealth countries (except India), British Protected persons, and citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, San Marino, Switzerland and the United States (for social, business or academic purposes only). No visas are required for stays not exceeding three months for citizens of: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Tunesia, U.S.A. , France and Germany (except for local employment).

    For International flights from Kuala Lumpur, the tax is RM 40 while for domestic departures the tax is RM 5.


    Duty-Free Items: Items such as cameras, watches, pens, portable radio-cassette players, perfume, cosmetics and lighters are duty-free in Malaysia. Visitors bringing in dutiable goods may have to pay a deposit for temporary importation, refundable on departure - usually 50% of the value (carry receipt of purchase and obtain an official receipt for any tax or deposit paid).


    Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

    Langkawi International Airport
    Tel (04)9557155

    Kuching International Airport
    Tel (082)246575

    Penang International Airport
    Tel (04)6430510

    Terengganu International Airport
    Tel (09)6221433

    Malaysia Airlines (MAS)
    MAS Building, Jalan Sultan Ismail
    Tel (03)261-0555 ~ 24 Hour reservation: Tel (03)774-7000
    British Airways: Tel (03)242-6177
    Northwest Orient: Tel (03)238-4355
    Qantas: Tel (03)238-9133
    Royal Brunei: Tel(03)242-6511
    Singapore Airlines: (03)292-3122
    Thai Airways International: Tel (03)293-7100

    From Butterworth and Singapore to the main railway station at Kuala Lumpur: Tel (03)274-7435
    From Butterworth to Penang, tickets may be purchased at the Butterworth Station: Tel (04)347-962
    or at a booking station at the ferry terminal, Weld Quay, Tel (04)610290.

    To Kuala Lumpur: Regional buses travel to the main Pudu Raya Terminal on Jalan Pudu.

    Ships and Ferries:
    Feri Malaysia, Menara Utama UMBC, Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, 5000 Kuala Lumpur, Tel (03)238-8899.


    Malaysia Airlines flies to 35 towns and cities in Malaysia. Domestic flights are relatively inexpensive and often fully booked. Confirm reservations at least a day in advance. The Discover Malaysia Pass is offered by the airline. This enables international visitors to travel on domestic routes for about half the normal fare.

    Cars: It is advisable to obtain an international driver's license in addition to a valid permit from home. Laws regarding seat belts are stringent. They are required for drivers and front seat passengers. Driving is on the left side of the road.

    Avis stands as the largest car rental service in Malaysia Main office (Kuala Lumpur)
    40 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
    Tel (03)242-3500

    Budget: Tel (03) 255-1044

    Hertz: (03) 261-1136

    Mayflower: Popular one-way rentals for a reasonable surcharge, Tel (03) 261-1136.

    Thrifty: Best one-way rates K.L.: Tel (03) 293-2388 ~ Kuantan: Tel (09) 528-400 ~ Penang: Tel (04) 830-958

    Malayan Railways (KTM) offers an inexpensive yet comfortable service on the peninsula. Foreign tourists may purchase at main railway stations a KTM Railpass, which grants unlimited travel for ten days (M$85) or thirty days (M$175). For information about service from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom (East Malaysia, Sabah), contact Sabah State Railways at (088) 54611.

    Bus services are both extensive and inexpensive, but frequently are not air-conditioned. Local buses are often slow, noisy and full.

    Ships and Ferries:
    Feri Malaysia, Menara Utama UMBC
    Jalan Sultan Sulaiman
    5000 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel (03) 238-8899

    Feri Malaysia offers cruises on the ship "Muhibah" from Port Klang and Kuantan to the eastern states. The Muhibah is equipped with air-conditioned cabins and suites, restaurants, a cinema, a disco, a gym and a swimming pool. Feri Malaysia also offers a regular ferry service to various outlying islands.


    Malaysia has much to offer the traveller. Visit Kuala Lumpur, the "Garden City of Lights" and shop till you drop at its many modern shopping complexes or colourful bazaars at Chinatown and Central Market.
    Malacca is the oldest town in Malaysia. Visit Jonkers Street for antiques; watch cultural performances at Portugese Square; or visit Stadthuys; the oldest Dutch building in the East.
    For food lovers, a trip to Penang is a must! There are many stalls selling local delicacies. You can reach Penang via the Penang Bridge. While there, visit the Snake Temple or take the funicular train up Penang Hill for a panoramic view of the island.
    Langkawi boasts of beautiful beaches and interesting legends. There is the Mahsuri's Tomb which has a tragic tale behind it, the Beach of Black Sand, The Lake of the Pregnant Maiden and more.
    Nature lovers will love Sabah, a mountainous place with lush tropical rainforests. Visit Mount Kinabalu (4,101 metres), located at Kinabalu National Park, is popular with climbers, orchid lovers, bird and butterfly watchers . Near the National Park headquarters is Poring Hot Spring, a refreshing refuge to visitors.
    Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, is a riverine town with beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, historic buildings, colourful markets and an intersting waterfront.
    Terengganu also has many natural delights. Visitors can witness giant leatherback turtles lay their eggs at Rantau Abang between May to September each year. Those who love the sea, sun and sand can visit Tanjung Jara whose resort is designed after an old Malay palace. Other enchanting beaches can be found at Pulau Tioman and Pulau Sibu on the South China Sea, and Cherating in Pahang.
    Discover adventure unlimited at Taman Negara in Pahang. One of the world's oldest tropical rainforest, Taman Negara is the embodiment of nature's conservation at its best.
    For a rejuvenating experience, take to the hills! Stay at one of Fraser's Hill's bungalows or hotels and wake up every morning to fresh, cool air.
    At Cameron Highlands, visit the many fruit and vegetable farms. Visitors who want both the relaxing surroundings of a hill resort and the excitement of city life will like Genting Highlands. This is the only place in Malaysia where gambling is legal. There is also an amusement park for a day of fun rides and more.


    Because Malaysia is a country of diverse cultures and traditions, it is not surprising that its cuisine is just as varied. As one might expect, each state has its own specialized dishes as well as different means of preparation and variations in taste. Generally, the Indians and Malays use spices liberally in their food. The Chinese, on the other hand, are more subtle, while the Peranakan have developed their own style of cooking. Even the Eurasions, although small in number, have perfected their own blend of Eastern- and Western-style cooking.

    "Authentic" Malay food is not as widely available in Malaysian restaurants as Chinese style or American fast food. Restaurants in large hotels offer international cuisine from such countries as Japan, Korea, France and Italy. Street food is widely available throughout Malaysia.

    Alcohol is fairly expensive in Malaysia. Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol, so it may be necessary to head to the hotels or Chinese liquor stores for beverages. Wine, although expensive, even by the glass, may not have a good flavor, due to the tropical heat. Beer is fairly common, yet is often served unchilled. Prices and varieties range from state to state, but Anchor Draught is most likely the cheapest, at M$3.90 for a small bottle (M$5.50 for a large bottle). Tiger and Guinness Stout are also among the most popular and least expensive beers. Carlsburg, Heineken and Tsing Tao (Chinese lager) are also available at a higher cost.


    At dusk, a new facet of Malaysia reveals itself. Hotel lounges and clubs, frequently found within the larger hotels, are active at night. Although somewhat expensive, these clubs usually have entertainment on a nightly basis, excluding Sunday. Performances and styles range from jazz, to piano/singer acts, to popular music and singers.

    Pubs and bars can also be found. Locating these may require some effort, even for taxi drivers, as the pubs and bars are usually situated in the suburbs. Major hotels also have pubs, but these are more expensive than their suburban counterparts. Music, often live, is played on a nightly basis. Pubs close around 11pm, however, so late-night action seekers must look elsewhere. Discos begin to warm up just as the pubs start closing their doors. Discos often stay open until 2am. Some have live bands and light shows but often require cover charges or drink minimums. Consult with the locals for the current hot spots. Nightclubs and cabarets, or "kelab malam" as the locals call them, offer Fifties-style atmosphere, often with variety acts, floor shows and bands.


    Police: 999

    Tourist Police:
    Johor Bahru: Tel (07) 232-222
    Kuala Lumpur: Tel (03) 241-5522 or (03) 243-5522
    Melaka: Tel (06) 222-222

    Fire and Ambulance: 999

    Country Code: 60

    City Codes:
    Ipoh: 05
    Johor Bharu: 07
    Kota Bharu: 09
    Kota Kinabalu: 088
    Kuala Lumpur: 03
    Kuala Terengganu: 09
    Kuantan: 09
    Kuching: 082
    Melaka: 06
    Penang: 04
    Seremban: 06
    Sungai Pentai: 04

    Taiping: 05

    When calling a telephone number from within the same city, delete the area code from the number. When calling from within another city in Malaysia, use the entire area code. When calling from another country, delete the first digit (0) from the area code.


    Kuala Lumpur Tourist Information Centre
    Jalan Parlimen, 50380 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel (03) 293-6664

    MATIC (Malaysian Tourist Information Complex)
    109, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel (03) 242-3929

    TDC Malaysia
    (Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia)
    Head Office
    24-27th Floor, Menara Dato Onn
    Putra World Trade Centre
    45, Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel (03) 293-5188
    Fax: (03) 293-5884

    Tourist Information Centre
    Subang International Airport
    Terminals 1 and 2
    47200 Subang, Selangor Darul Ehsan
    Tel (03) 746-5707 or (03) 746-5907

    TDC (Tourist Development Corporation)
    Northern Region
    10 Jalan Tun Syed Shah Barakbah
    10200 Penang
    Tel (04) 620-066 or (04) 619-067

    Penang Tourist Association
    3rd Floor, KOMTAR Building
    Jalan Penang
    Tel (04) 614-461

    Sabah Tourist Association
    Level 1, International Airport
    Kota Kinabalu
    Tel (088) 211-484 ext. 335

    TDC (Tourist Development Corporation)
    Tingkat 2, Bangunan AIA
    Bukit Mata Kuching
    Jalan Song Thian Cheok
    93100 Kuching
    Tel (082) 246-575 or (082) 246-775

    Malaysia Tourist Information CentreConsulate General of Malaysia
    350 South Figueroa Street #400
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    Tel 213-621-2991

    Malaysia Tourist Information Center
    830 Burrard Street
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Tel 604-689-8899

    Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia
    57 Trafalgar Square
    London WC2N, 5DU
    United Kingdom
    Tel (071) 930-7932

    Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia
    65 York Street
    Sydney, NSW 2000
    Tel (02) 294-441


  • Yes - Ya
  • No - Teedak
  • Hello - apa kabar
  • Good bye - se la mat jalan
  • Thank you - Sa ma Sa ma
  • Excuse me - Ma fkan say-ya
  • Do you speak English? - Ta-hoo-kah ber -da ha sa Ingris?
  • I don't understand - Sa-ya tee dak fa-ham
  • Help! - To-long!
  • Please bring me the menu - To long bawa untuk say-ya me-noo
  • Please bring me the bill - To long bawa untuk say-ya bill


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Last updated : 30/06/01