Country Guide, Malaysia

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Costs

Most visitors will find Malaysia quite cheap, although it is noticeably more expensive than neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia. You can live in hostel dorms and feast on hawker food for less than RM50 per day, but you'll wish to double this for comfort, particularly if travelling in more expensive East Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is also generally more expensive than the rest of the country. At the other end of the spectrum, luxury hotels and air fares are comparatively affordable, with even the fanciest 5-star hotels costing less than RM400 per night.

 
 
 
 
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Alamanda shopping mall in Putrajaya

Alamanda shopping mall in Putrajaya

Tipping is not customary in Malaysia. However, hotel porters and taxi drivers will appreciate a small tip if you have been provided with exemplary service. Most expensive restaurants, bars and hotels may indicate prices in the form of RM19++, meaning that sales tax (6%) and service charge (10%) will be added to the bill. Hotel tax of 5% may also be added to this.

Shopping

Kuala Lumpur is a shopping mecca for clothes, electronics, watches, computer goods and much more, with very competitive prices by any standard. Local Malaysian brands include Royal Selangor and British India. Traditional Malaysian fabrics (batik) are a popular souvenir. The cheapest place to easily buy ethnic souvenirs (especially wood-based) is in Kuching, East Malaysia, and the most expensive place is in the major, posh Kuala Lumpur shopping centres.
  • ATMs are widely available in cities, but do stock up on cash if heading out into the smaller islands or the jungle. Credit cards can be used in most shops, restaurants and hotels, although skimming can be a problem in dodgier outlets.
  • In general shops are open from 10.30 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. (or 10.00 p.m.) in the large cities. They open and close for business earlier in the smaller towns and rural areas.
  • If you buy too much while shopping in Malaysia (which is quite easy to do), surface postage rates are very reasonable. Excess luggage at the airport is still high but not as high as in many other countries.
Street market in Kuala Lumpur
Street market in Kuala Lumpur
 
Malaysia
Country Guide
Hotels in Malaysia
 
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