Malaysia is a conglomeration of the eleven states of the Malaya Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak that formed in the year 1963. To capture the full wonders of this tropical land, the phrase “unity in diversity comes to mind”. Malaysia boasts of 3 main ethnic races, with countless smaller races of true natives – each with their own language, culture, practices and social heritage; these combine to reward any visiting traveller with a thousand and one wonders within a single marketplace.
From food to eat, places to see, cultures to experience and social norms to immerse into, there is no wonder that most visitors find their visit to Malaysia especially fulfilling. From exotic islands with crystal white beaches;to the skyscrapers towering over the capital of Kuala Lumpur; the towering Mount Kinabalu with snowy peaks and the network of highways spanning the peninsula, Malaysia is a literal Cave of Wonders – no matter how much you should discover, there will always be something else to find the next time you come round.
Language and Currency
The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu; however, English is also commonly used and understood as a second language, serving as a means of communication in private and business discussions. At the same time, many locals are fluent with Mandarin and Tamil according to their ethnicity.
We in Malaysia use Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) as our main currency, dividing itself into Ringgit and Sen, which usually hovers around an exchange rate of 4 MYR per USD. It is advised to check the exchange rate either online or offline before exchanging your currencies.
Malaysia is known for her tropical – almost bipolar – weather, with fair sunny skies being able to turn to dark thunderous showers at whim. We advise to wear light comfortable clothing in casual occasions and when alfresco, to have mackintoshes, umbrellas or raincoats on hand at all times. Having a lightly padded jacket or sweater is useful especially when touring our numerous shopping mall.
For official events as our Congress, we recommend formal business wear for both men and women – suit and tie for men and modest dresses as the gold standard. However, attire may change according to the themes for the social events.
Here in Malaysia, modesty and moderation are much appreciated at all tiers of society; as such, we do recommend refraining from excessively revealing attire.
With the many cultures and ethnicities in Malaysia comes the many delicacies to fill the stomach! Malaysia is the most underrated food heaven there is in the Southeast Asian region, with food that satisfies your tastebuds from the wee hours of the morning to the stroke of midnight.
Among the delicacies that we do recommend in Malaysia, nasi lemak often comes fondly to mind – coconut milk rice, steamed to fragrance; and served with cold slices of cucumber with crunches of nuts and deep-fried anchovies to boot. Occasionally, it is also served with whole fish and chicken – adding to its rich bursts of flavour.
We wish also to assure you that all the food served during the Congress will be halal-certified.
If you wish to explore the outside eateries, most of the restaurants in Malaysia are halal-certified unless stated otherwise, and in most cases you are able to confirm this with the staff at hand.
Culture and Religion
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam; however all religions are free to be practiced throughout the country. You will find most Malaysians more than willing to help you out if you need to; if nothing else, they will be willing to point you out to places where you can find further assistance.
Respect and moderation are key in the country; we recommend asking people for permission to take photos of them, as well as to avoid making unnecessary poses in front of religious sites and symbols. Speaking loudly in public and on public transport is considerably annoying, too!
Getting out for a dose of fresh air is definitely easy in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur boasts of its own network of rail transit systems, allowing the public to cross one end of the capital to another in a matter of minutes. You may opt to purchase one-way trip tokens at available kiosks near each rail transit station, or purchase a cashless prepaid payment card. For more information, do visit the official website here.
Alternatively, a variety of online ride hailing applications are present in Malaysia for booking private one-way car rides – a few being GrabCar, MyCar and Mula. You may download and use these applications from the Apple or Android store.
For those who possess an international driving license and prefer to get around by hitting the road yourselves, there are several car rental services that make the process seamless and hassle-free. Examples would be Socar and Gocar.