7 tips for when you travel to Malaysia
After close to two years, we are finally able to travel to Malaysia again with minimal travel restrictions! Oh, how we’ve all missed those spontaneous food and shopping trips across the Causeway, sinking our teeth into mouth-watering delicacies like Penang Laksa, and thronging the exciting malls of Kuala Lumpur.
However, before you jet off to our colourful neighbours for that long-awaited trip, we’ve some tips to help you better prepare for your post-pandemic trip to Malaysia. Check out these 7 essential Malaysia travel tips you need to know about!
1. Bring a mask and keep MySJ Trace on
Speaking of MySejahtera, if you are not aware, the app was created to help the Malaysian health authorities with contact tracing purposes. While you no longer need to use the app to check in to places, we recommend keeping the Bluetooth-enabled MySJ Trace function on during your stay in Malaysia.
This helps to alert you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive for the virus. In addition, do regularly update your MySejahtera profile with your health status as there may be random spot checks by the authorities.
Apart from that, one major change to COVID-19 restrictions in Malaysia is the new rule on face masks. You no longer need to wear your face mask both indoors and outdoors. Masks remain mandatory for both in public transport and healthcare facilities. However, each premise could decide on the mask requirements for their premises, such as making them mandatory or optional. So, we recommend always bringing a facemask with you when you’re out and about.
2. Be aware of requirements to join events
If you’re travelling to Malaysia to attend an event, keep in mind that some events (especially ones that feature large crowds) may have special entry requirements. Some events may require participants to show a negative test result to be allowed entry.
Most of the time, this involves a simple RTK-Antigen (or ART) self-test. During your stay in Malaysia, you can buy a COVID-19 self-test kit (and additional face masks) at pharmacies and even some convenience stores. The average price of a self-test kit ranges between RM6 and RM15 (S$2-S$5).
3. Establishments may have different operation time
Generally speaking, you are free to enter most attractions, eateries, and shops in Malaysia without any restrictions. However, even though previous curfews have been lifted, some businesses have yet to return to pre-pandemic operation hours while others are now operating at different times of the day.
That’s why, before visiting your favourite Char Kway Teow store or boutique, make sure to check if they are still open at the same hours (or even at the same location!). This is especially important when planning a visit to a popular tourist attraction as some places, such as the Avatar Secret Garden in Penang, have closed due to the pandemic.
What’s more, when you arrive at your venue, don’t be surprised to find some shops imposing a set quota for the number of visitors allowed at any one time. So be prepared to wait a while if you’re heading to popular establishments.
Book your long-awaited holiday to Malaysia with DBS Travel & Leisure Marketplace today!
You can conveniently book attractions, compare airfares and room rates on one platform. Plus, enjoy 2x more value when you offset your travel bookings with DBS points, as well as complimentary travel insurance COVID-19 coverage for you and your accompanying travellers, so that you can travel with a worry-free mind.
4. Opt for lesser-known locations and destinations
Speaking of popular establishments, with domestic travel traffic in Malaysia now rising rapidly, expect to find massive holiday crowds at popular destinations like Penang, Langkawi, Ipoh, and Genting Highlands.
If you want to travel to Malaysia but aren’t as keen to rub shoulders with massive hordes of tourists, we recommend travelling during the off-season, which is usually between March and July (although there is a month-long school holiday period in June). Or, simply visit during the weekdays.
Alternatively, you can take this opportunity to discover lesser-known travel gems in Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak, for example, are fantastic destinations, featuring alluring natural vistas, colourful heritage, and delicious cuisine to satisfy any foodie. You could also visit the lesser-known islands like Pulau Mabul and the Perhentian Islands.
5. Most stores accept cashless transactions
Like Singapore, many establishments in Malaysia now accept cashless transactions as their preferred payment method.
The most widely-used form of cashless transactions in Malaysia is the Touch 'n Go eWallet service. You can use this at hawker centres, kopitiams, and even some roadside stalls! Simply download the app from the App Store and Google Play Store and top up the wallet. Other eWallet payment options like GrabPay and AliPay are also available but aren’t as widely used.
If you’re shopping at a mall, chances are you’ll be able to just pay using your credit card via Visa payWave. So, when travelling in Malaysia, you don’t need to carry a lot of cash on you anymore. Not only is it safer, it’s also more hygienic given the current social norms.
That’s why, before you travel, consider getting a good credit card like the DBS Altitude Card.
Apart from being a more convenient payment method, a credit card like this gives you up to 10 miles per $1 spent! This means 3 miles per S$1 spent on online flight and hotel transactions, plus up to an extra 7 miles when you book with selected online travel agencies like Kaligo and Expedia.
Plus, DBS Points earned on your DBS Altitude Card do not expire.
6. Be wary of potential flight changes
This is one thing that I personally experienced the hard way. Even though travel has been picking up, outbound overseas traffic from Malaysia still isn’t quite what it once was. Because of this, your outbound flight from Malaysia may sometimes be rescheduled (or worse, cancelled) at the last minute because there aren’t enough passengers to fill the flight.
Because of this, it is always best to make flexible travel arrangements during this time. Opt for flights that allow you to shift your dates and hotels that offer free cancellation policies should the unthinkable happen.
Another potential way to lessen the blow of unexpected changes to your travel plan is to purchase reliable travel insurance like the TravellerShield Plus. It offers compensation for trip cancellations as well as for travel delays, allowing you to plan your holiday with minimal fuss!
7. Testing COVID-19 positive in Malaysia
No matter how vigilantly we prepare, sometimes, the unfortunate happens. To cut to the chase, here’s what to expect if you test positive for COVID-19 while travelling in Malaysia.
The first thing you should do is to inform your hotel concierge and update your MySejahtera with your COVID-19 status. You will then be asked to self-isolate in your hotel room for up to a week if you only display mild to moderate symptoms. A professionally administered RTK-Antigen test will be administered on Day 4. If you test negative by then, your isolation period ends.
On the flip side, if you start developing more severe symptoms like shortness of breath, you will likely be admitted to a medical facility for treatment. While Malaysians are offered free medical treatment at government hospitals, foreigners may be redirected to private medical facilities where they will have to pay for their medical expenses.
With TravellerShield Plus, you can have peace of mind while travelling! On top of comprehensive COVID-19 coverage, you also enjoy coverage on common claims such as medical expenses incurred overseas and upon return to Singapore. The plan also covers other travel issues like trip cancellation and loss of or damage to personal property and baggage.
You can even add on the Pre-Existing Medical Condition benefit for conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, and more.
And there you have it: seven essential tips for travelling to Malaysia that every traveller needs to know! All that’s left to do now is to book those flights and embark on your epic adventure to our neighbours across the Causeway!
TravellerShield Plus is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited (“Chubb”) and distributed by DBS Bank Ltd (“DBS”). It is not an obligation of, deposit in or guaranteed by DBS. This is not a contract of insurance. Full details of the terms, conditions and exclusions of the insurance are provided in the policy wordings and will be sent to you upon acceptance of your application by Chubb.
This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation ("SDIC"). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact Chubb or visit the General Insurance Association or SDIC websites.