The official language for Kuala Lumpur is Bahasa Malaysia or more known as Malay. Majority of the locals can speak English and it is acceptable to converse in it without offending the locals. Since Malaysia has a multi racial society, Mandarin, Cantonese and Tamil are widely spoken as well.
Kuala Lumpur time zone is UTC +8 and plan ahead your journey to avoid jet lag. If the time zone difference is more than 5 hours in your country, it is recommended to carry out light activities or indulge in a good massage or spa treatment over here. Besides, nothing beats a good rub down!
Overall Malaysia is a safe country and politically stable for over 50 years. It is comforting to know that Kuala Lumpur has never been hit by a typhoon or an earthquake and this is due to its geographical location, shielded by neighbouring countries and clear from the volcanic belt. In terms of crime, snatch thefts do occur from time to time largely due to the illegal immigrant community in Kuala Lumpur. However when you visit places like Chinatown and Central market, avoid carrying anything expensive and keep your money in your pocket.
Gun laws are very strict in Malaysia and it is hard to actually own one let alone buy one. All guns requires a permit and their bullets must be registered. Carrying a blade more then 2 inches around is considered a weapon under Malaysian law.
The society of Malaysia is rich with religious practices and other cultural characteristics due to the multicultural society. It is often polite to greet an older person while bowing the head slightly down. It goes the same for crossing in between a group of people that are engaged in conversation. Most Malaysian homes requires you to remove any footwear prior to stepping into their home (however this is the case specific for homes but not all accommodations). Religious places too require patrons to remove their footwear but usually look out for a signboard before you commit yourself.
Since Malaysia is has a 70% Muslim population, all visitors should dress appropriately and scanty clothing should be avoided. While it is not necessary to cover one's body entirely, it is considerate to dress decently. Skirts, shorts and baby tops or spaghetti straps are acceptable as long as it does not reveal the undergarments. However walking around topless or in a bikini in the city is not. Dress lightly and comfortably to avoid heat exhaustion and please do note that certain places requires long pants and formal attires.
Excessive display of affection in public is frowned upon in KL. However, holding hands and hugging is acceptable. Please book one of our hotel rooms if you feel amorous in our beatiful city.
Drug laws are strict in Malaysia and the death penalty shall be implemented for those who are caught in possession or selling it. Many have tried to smuggle drugs into Malaysia from other countries however most attempts fail and they end up begging for their lives in prison. If you are bringing any medicines, it is a good practice to carry your doctor's prescription along with it to avoid any misunderstanding.
The official currency in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia as a whole is Malaysia Ringgit (RM) and the exchange rates can be found here. The general rate for 1 US dollars = RM3 ringgit is acceptable.
Most shopping malls and businesses trade from 10am to 10pm, during peak periods they extend their opening hours till 11pm or midnight. A lot of restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets are open 24 hours a day. For the clubbing scene or nightlife, they are usually open till 3 am however on weekends some clubs open till 5 am depending on the crowd. Office hours are usually from 9am to 5pm.
Tax and Tipping
Government service tax is 6% for all goods sold and purchase. Tipping in Kuala Lumpur is acceptable but not mandatory, there is no minimum amount to tip. If you feel that the service level in restaurants, nightlife and wellness outlets are good, tip away ! Certain luxury items in your shopping list such as watches, jewellery and bags are duty free in the city. Look out for events and times of bargains as throughout the year there is always a sale going on due to festivals.
Thean Hou Chinese Temple
Malaysian Flag on the Twin Tow...
Sultan Abdul Samad building in...
Tiger (in the National Zoo)
Batu Caves - Kuala Lumpur
"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen " - Benjamin Disraeli