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Malaysia Travel Do's & Dont's

Travel Dont’s
  • Do not touch the head of any adult. Touching people on the head is considered rude.
  • Do not point forefinger at things instead the thumb of the right hand with forfingers folded under is the preferred way.
  • Do not pound your fist into the palm of the other hand which is considered an obscebe gesture to some people.
  • Do not point your feet towards people or sacred images.
  • Do not wear hot pants and vest at mainland beaches if you are female. Topless sun bathing is a no-no.
  • Do not kiss in public. Public behaviour is important in Malaysian culture.
  • Do not ever touch or hand a monk something if you are a woman. Even accidently brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a cleansing ritual.
  • Do not be offended if your offer of a handshake is not reciprocated by a Muslim who is of the opposite sex.
Travel Do’s
  • Do shake hand with man for greeting but not woman unless they offer to do so first. The traditional greeting or salaam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home or temple or mosques.
  • Do use right hand to receive or give something. The right hand should also be used for eating. It is considered discourteous in Malay to use your left hand when you handover or receive things.
  • Do carry essential travel documents and have your health insurance and health certificates ready before you travel.
  • Do convert most of your currency in Malaysia. There is restriction of bringing large amounts of rinngits into or out of the country.
  • Do follow simple rules when visiting a Buddha temple. Show respect and remove your hat and shoes. Dress conservatively, no shorts when sitting, never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha. Stand up to show respect when monks or nuns enter.