Do(s) and Don’t(s) While Traveling to Malaysia

Do(s) and Don’t(s) While Traveling to Malaysia

Malaysia is a celebrated tourist destination spot of the world. Renowned historically as “The British Indies”, it is made up of two regions which are, namely, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. With Malays, Indians and Chinese forming the major part of the population, Malaysia’s population is both ethnically and culturally diverse. Each ethnic group have their own share of practices and customs, thereby contributing to the diversity of the country.

Malaysia tops the must-visit destinations list of many travelers. It is a chilled out and relaxed vacationing spot. However, as it has been oft-quoted and rightly said,”When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Ditto holds true for Malaysia as well.

Given below is a compilation of Do & Don’t when in Malaysia:


• Public behaviour is important in Malaysian culture. Refrain from hugging and kissing members of the opposite sex in public. Contact is acceptable with someone of the same sex, as it is strictly interpreted as brotherly or sisterly love and friendship. Thus, it isn’t uncommon to spot two young boys or girls, holding hands together in public.

• Help preserve reefs and beaches by leaving coral and shells where you find them.

• It is polite to call before visiting a home. Carrying a small present, such as a wine bottle or a potted plant is a gesture which is appreciated.

• Ask about the culture a lot. It shows that you’re interested and appreciate their customs and practice. Malaysians would be more than happy to share their knowledge with you.

• Drinks are generally offered to guests in Malaysia and it is only considered polite to accept.

• Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home. The same holds true for entering any site of religious significance.


• Any open display of anger or outrage, will be frowned upon in Malaysia.The best way to resolve a disagreement or to challenge someone is through composure. When in a difficult situation, state your grievances as privately and subtly as possible.

• When in Malaysia, ensure that you do not buy or traffic drugs. This crime is punishable by hanging and will only get you into trouble if you’re found in possession of such substances.

• It’s wise not to bring up the topic of ethnic relations in Malaysia as it happens to be a sensitive subject.

• The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.

• Though drinking is allowed and accepted, toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia.

• Don’t offer to shake hands with a woman unless she offers to do so first.

• When in Malaysia, avoid pointing your feet in another person’s direction or moving anything with your feet as it’s considered disrespectful. Even propping the feet on anything, such as a desk can be looked upon with distaste.

Keep the above mentioned guidelines in mind and have a wonderful time vacationing in the gorgeous island of Malaysia!

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