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Destinations > Malaysia & Borneo
Malaysia is a bubbling, bustling melting pot where Malays, Indians, Chinese, and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. Malaysian Borneo is home to the best wildlife and cultural experiences in Malaysia. Sabah is where you’ll find the awesome Mount Kinabalu. Sandakan is well known for the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, where the jungle has been set aside as a rehabilitation centre for the orang-utans. Trekking in Sarawak offers an extraordinary experience.
Borneo has an equatorial climate and temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees. Malaysia's northeast monsoon months are from October to February, while Sabah's west coast gets most of it's rain from June to November.
Mount Kinabalu is the most spectacular feature in Sabah. The mountain
exudes a magical quality that is unbelievable; the granite peaks are
constantly veiled in wisps of cloud.
Turtle Island Park, in the Sulu Sea just off Borneo, is all about rescuing the
endangered turtles in the area. A visit to the island provides a wonderful
insight into the world of sea turtles.
Belum rainforest is the largest forest complex on peninsula Malaysia. It is
believed to have been in existence for over 130 million years, making it older
than the Amazon and the Congo.
Malaysian cuisine is amongst the most diverse and flavoursome in the
world. No visit to Malaysia is complete without trying Nasi Lemak and Beef
Rendang or following the sweet aroma of satay, the delicious peanut sauce
famous throughout the world.
Modern Kuala Lumpur, Malacca’s stunning architecture, the wildlife in Taman
Negara National Park and the stunning Cameron Highlands are just some of
the wonders that await you on peninsula Malaysia.
Trekking around Sandakan, along with Mulu and Niah National Parks in
Sarawak, offers an extraordinary chance to get up close with the flora and
fauna of the region.
The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor.
Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Malaysia and vaccination against Typhoid should also be considered. Depending on a travellers itinerary and activities, vaccination against Hepatitis B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis may also be considered. Malaria (considered medium-risk) and Dengue Fever are present in Malaysia, as such insect avoidance measures should be taken and Antimalarial drugs may be required.
Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. Australians travelling to Malaysia should also ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. For further information on insurance, please visit the Smartraveller website www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/malaysia
Electrical Plug: European and British
Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as Australia)
Modem Plug: USA and UK
Country Code for Malaysia: +60
Visa Global Assistance: 1800 802 997
Emergency Services: Ambulance - 999, Police - 999, Fire - 994. These services may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should have a local call on your behalf or contact the Australian mission.
Travelling around Malaysia is smooth-sailing as the country is well-connected. Whether it is via air, road, rail and sea, you can fully utilize Malaysia’s vast transportation network. For tourist convenience, there are Touch'n'Go (TnG) Concession Cards which provide discounted fares on RapidKL Bus, LRT and Monorail services throughout Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia is a genuine shopper's paradise. Many popular international brands have their stores in one of the malls in Malaysia. Normal business hours in Malaysia are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with many businesses and government agencies also open until noon on Saturdays.
Tipping is not customary in Malaysia, although guests may pay a little more at their discretion, especially if the service has been particularly good. In established restaurants there is a mandatory 6% government tax and often an additional 10% service charge on receipts. For your guide and driver, a tip of about 8-10 Ringgit per person per half day is a suggested guideline.
Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese (various dialects), English and Tamil are spoken throughout the country.
For the most up to date information regarding visas for Australian passport holders to Malaysia, visit www.dfat.gov.au/visas/.
Greetings in a social context will depend upon the ethnicity of the person you are meeting. In general, most Malays are aware of Western ways so the handshake is normal. There may be slight differences though and a few things to bear in mind include: Malay women may not shake hands with men. Women can of course shake hands with women. Men may also not shake hands with women and may bow instead while placing their hand on their heart.
As an extension to the need to maintain harmonious relations, Malaysians rely on non-verbal communication (i.e. facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc). Such a communication style tends to be subtle and indirect. Malays may hint at a point rather than make a direct statement, since that might cause the other person to lose face. Rather than say "no", they might say, "I will try", or "I’ll see what I can do". This allows the person making the request and the person turning it down to save face and maintain harmony in their relationship.
Silence is an important element of Malaysian communication. Pausing before responding to a question indicates that they have given the question appropriate thought and considered their response carefully. Many Malaysians do not understand the Western propensity to respond to a question hastily and can consider such behaviour thoughtless and rude. Malaysians may laugh at what may appear to outsiders as inappropriate moments. This device is used to conceal uneasiness.
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