Malaysia Country Guide

Stay Healthy


Heat exhaustion is rare, but do consume lots of fluids, use a hat and sunscreen and shower often!
Tap water is drinkable straight off the tap as it is treated, but even locals boil or filter it first just to be on the safe side. When travelling it is best to stick to bottled water, which is inexpensive. Ice in drinks might be made from tap water but nowadays, most restaurants and even roadside stalls use the cylindrical variety with a hollow tube down the middle that are mass-produced at ice factories and are safer to consume.

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Public Washrooms
Some public washrooms are free and some make a small charge (generally 20-50 sens), therefore keep some loose change in hand. If the condition of the sitting toilets is questionable, use the squatting toilets instead - both are usually available. Some believe that the squatting toilets are more hygienic and (if you can get used to them) are just as easy to use as sitting toilets.

Medical Attention
Government health care facilities are cheap and good, but many foreign visitors prefer to seek private medical care. Private clinics can be found in the cities and even small towns, generally charging MYR30-80
for minor treatments. However, medical costs can be high for foreigners seeking treatment for serious ailments or injuries. Thus, having travel insurance is a good advice.

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Peninsular Malaysia is largely malaria-free, but there is a significant risk in Borneo especially in inland and rural areas. Dengue fever occurs throughout Malaysia in both urban and rural areas and can be avoided only by preventing mosquito bites. If you experience a sudden fever with aches and lethargy, seek medical attention immediately. Aspirin and ibuprofen should not be used until dengue fever has been ruled out. Mosquito repellents ('ubat nyamuk') are widely available. Be careful with mosquito coils, which can easily start fires. Set the mosquito coil on a plate or other non-flammable surface and extinguish them before going to sleep.

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Natural Disasters & Haze
Malaysia is largely free from earthquakes as there are no nearby fault lines, though tremors can occasionally be felt when a major quake occurs in neighbouring Indonesia. November to January is the monsoon season and often resulting in floods caused by torrential rains and occasional landslides notably on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Tsunamis are a rare occurrence, though Penang and a few islands on the north of the West Coast were hit by the famous tsunami in 2004. Haze from burning vegetation in neighbouring Indonesia may come and go without warning from the months of May to August so travellers with respiratory ailments should come prepared.

Country Guide
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