There are some great diving sites in both the Peninsular and East Malaysia.
Although the dive season in Malaysia is limited to a 9-month period from February to November, the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia offers pristine waters and rich marine life, most notably on the nearby islands of Perhentian, Redang and Tioman.
Diving in Borneo is usually around the Sipadan area located on the eastern tip of Malaysian Borneo is approx a 50-min ride from Kota Kinabalu.
As a world-class scuba diving destination, Sipadan is a protected diving area with a limited 120 divers per day to ensure the environment does not get overcrowded.
Bordering Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia is a South-East Asian country spread between the China Sea and the Straits of Malacca.
With a cultural mix of local Muslim, Hindu and Chinese, this two-part country offers a variety of cultures, traditions and cuisines.
This South-East Asian nation is composed of the Peninsular part, home to the capital city Kuala Lumpur, and East Malaysia, also known as Borneo.
Malaysia offers travelers an interesting mix of both highly-developed urban cities and natural wonders such as sandy beaches on the East coast and vast rainforests.
How to get to Malaysia
There are multiple airports in Malaysia, with the main one being at Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)). The capital airport is the main regional hub, welcoming flights from all neighboring Asian countries.
You can fly direct from Europe or America, while some flights to Malaysia include a stopover in nearby Singapore or other main Asian capital cities.
To visit East Malaysia for a vacation in Sabah, fly into Kota Kinabalu airport. You’ll find cheap airfare tickets for domestic flights in Malaysia with local low cost airlines such as AirAsia and Firefly.
Please note that if you book with these low cost airlines for flights to or from Kuala Lumpur, you will be departing or arriving at LCC terminal, located 20km from the main terminal airport KLIA.
Money and ATMs
The official currency in Malaysia is the Ringgit. Licensed money changers can be found in shopping areas and offer better rates than foreign exchange offices at the airport.
Banks and ATMs are available throughout the country. Note that banks tend to close early, around 4:00pm.
The cost of living in Malaysia is slightly more than in nearby Thailand, and yet much cheaper than neighboring Singapore.
Visa and Embassies in Malaysia
Most tourists do not need a visa to enter Malaysia. However, the validity of the entry permit stamp may vary.
Most Europeans and citizens of the USA will obtain a 90-day entry permit stamp, whilst other country nationals can obtain a 30-day stay. Please check on the Malaysia Official Immigration Website.
Health in Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia is generally malaria-free, while breakouts sometimes happen in Borneo. However, it is still necessary to protect yourself from mosquito bites as dengue fever is not unheard of in both Peninsular and East Malaysia.
Mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever are mostly active at dawn and dusk, so make sure to cover up your body with pants and long-sleeves.
Tap water in Malaysia is usually drinkable across the country. This being said, to be on the safe side, you should consume bottled-water which can be quite inexpensive.
Although Malaysia is a modern Muslim country, it is recommended to wear conventional clothing, covering legs and shoulders.
Kuala Lumpur and other large tourist cities may be more open to the western way of dressing, whilst more rural areas will prove more conservative.
Malaysia, located close to the equator, has a tropical climate which has two seasons. The dry season and the rainy season which brings with it intense, yet brief showers.
There are two main monsoons which hit different areas of the country at different times. The northeast monsoon usually floods Borneo and the East coast from October to February. Rains hit the West coast from April to October.
Kuala Lumpur, in the south-west part of the country however doesn’t escape either.
Temperatures range from 32°C (90°F) during the day, down to 26°C (79°F) at night. It may get a little cooler on rainy days, averaging 23°C (73°F) at night time.
In addition, the heart of the country, mainly highlands and rainforests, tend to be cooler with a maximum of 25°C (77°F) during the day.