Passengers getting taxi from a designated stand


This article is the first part of a series aimed to answer some questions a traveler might have visiting Malaysia for the first time.

You’ve chosen Malaysia as your next travel destination and you can’t wait to enjoy its stunning beaches and islands, savor its exotic local cuisines, and interact with its warm and hospitable people.

Before you embark on your journey, here are some useful information that may help you create the best possible experience out of your trip.

How should I dress in Malaysia?

Many tourists have the perception that it is necessary to dress conservatively as Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country.

Shoppers at the Pavilion Mall in downtown Kuala Lumpur

Shoppers at the Pavilion Mall in downtown Kuala Lumpur | Photo from CNBC


Although you will not be required to cover yourself from head to toe, it is advisable to wear clothes that do not reveal too much skin. Tourist hotspots like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru are constantly visited by visitors and therefore less restrictive fashion may be a common sight in these places.

  • Dress for the occasion. For example, it might be fine to wear sleeveless tops and shorts at a beach but not when you are visiting a religious place or government buildings. You might be denied entry to certain places if your clothing is deemed inappropriate.
  • Some places have their own dress code listed at the entrance. If in doubt, refer to those guidelines.
  • A safe rule of thumb would be to wear shirts with sleeves and dresses or shorts that are at least knee-length. Avoid wearing tight fitting or revealing clothes.

How to get around in a city?

Public transportation such as bus, train or monorail is available in major cities like Kuala Lumpur. However, the easiest way to get around would be by car.

Unlike Japan, taxi fare in Malaysia is rather cheap. A 60-80 minute ride from the airport to Bukit Bintang, the shopping district of Kuala Lumpur, on a budget taxi costs less than RM100 (about USD 25)!

One of the go-to spots for tourists; Bukit Bintang at night

One of the go-to spots for tourists; Bukit Bintang at night | Photo from The Straits Times


When you are getting a taxi in the city, follow these guidelines to ensure your ride is a safe and pleasant one:

  • Avoid taxis that call out, offering to take you. Get a taxi from designated taxi stands or shopping malls instead of hailing taxis from the street (particularly after dark).
  • Before getting on a taxi, be sure to ask the driver if he or she is using the fare meter to calculate the transport cost, as some will refuse using the meter and ask for a fixed fare which can be much more expensive. 
Passengers getting taxi from a designated stand

Passengers getting taxi from a designated stand | Photo from paultan.org


  • It is not necessary to tip your taxi driver in Malaysia. However, if your ride was enjoyable and you had a pleasant time with your driver, leaving a small amount of tip will definitely help the honest drivers make a better living.
  • Alternatively, you could use Malaysia’s popular rideshare service, Grab (Uber is not available in Malaysia). Rideshare services like Grab are generally safer and more convenient as you can book your ride through the app. Once you arrive at KLIA or KLIA2 airport, you can get a local SIM card and download the Grab app. If you do not wish to upload your credit card details, you can opt to pay your Grab fare by cash.

Be sure to read the other articles to find out more about other what-to-expects when visiting Malaysia for the first time.