Updated: Dec2012

When we first thought about extending our Big Fat Asian Adventure tour into Malaysia, we doubled our daily budget... and then added a few more dollars. But we didn't need to. With a little clever planning and research, this gem of a country really is worth visiting. 

Duty free islands, such as Tioman are within easy reach of the mainland with a real back-to-nature feel about them. And that's before you plan a trip to Borneo or Sipadan for the diving! Add to that, fantastic infrastructure and a wildlife that is much more active than most of its northern neighbours of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, make "Malaysia truly Asia" as the advert suggests! 
Elli xx


Most nationalities are granted a free 30-90 day entry pass upon arrival at international airports and border corssings. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months on entry Please note that Sarawak is a semi-autonomous state and upon entry your passport will be stamped and a new pass issued. 

Visa extensions.

Visa can be extended at immigration offices in Malaysia. Fees depends on intended duration of stay. 

Climate: When to go?

Malaysia's climate is hot and tropical. The West coast of peninsular Malaysia experiences the monsoon season from May to September, with August being the wettest month. On the other hand, the East coast of the peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak experiences heavy rainfall between November and February. 

Basic Information
Malaysian Ringgit

Exchange Rates
$1 = 3 ringgit
€1 = 4 ringgit
£1 = 4.9 ringgit

Capital City
Kuala Lumpur

Main religion

Main Language
Bahasa Melayu

Telephone code 

Time zone
GMT + 8 hours

Emergency numbers
Ambulance 999 
Fire 994
Police 999

Where to go?
Kuala Lumpur
The multi-cultural capital, home of the Petronas Towers but with so much more to offer even the budget traveller. 

Kuala Selangor
A few hours up the road from KL, Kuala Selangor is worth the journey. A large area of mangrove has been sectioned off and turned into a wildlife sanctuary. Though the sanctuary itself could do with a little TLC, this really just helps it get back to nature. So if you want to see Silverleaf Monkeys up close - head here.

George Town 
The cultural and cuisine capital of Penang. An excellent base to travel around Penang with easy access via the ferry from Butterworth on the main land.

Penang (Pulau Pinang) 
Formerly known as the "Pearl of the Orient", now bustling island with excellent cuisine which has retained more colonial heritage than anywhere else in the country.

Malacca (Melaka)
The historical city of Malaysia with a mixture of colonial-style and Chinese architecture. Though the coastal area is not the reason to visit, it is well equipped to handle backpackers and there are several good day trips from the area.

Tioman (Pulau Tioman) 
Once nominated one of the most beautiful islands in the world and the location for the film "South Pacific" this duty free island is a destination for divers, holiday makers and those that want to abuse the duty free status and party until dawn. Possibly the best value dive location in the world, with low prices but fantastic dive sites. Tioman's location and topography have meant that mass construction hasn't taken place with no real roads, it really is a step back to nature.

Cameron Highlands 
Famous for its tea plantations.

Fraser's Hill 
A time warp to the colonial era. 

Kinabalu National Park 
Home of Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in South East Asia.

An archipelago of 99 islands known for its beaches, rainforest, mountains, mangrove estuaries and unique nature. It's also a duty-free island that offers budget accommodation as well as high quality hotels for the opposire end of the budget spectrum. A 1 hour 45 minute ferry ride from Kuala Kedah and easy access on to Kho Lipe island in Thailand.

Capital of Perak with historic colonial old town. 

Johor Bahru
Capital of Johor, and the gateway to Singapore.

Capital of Pahang, and commercial centre of the east coast.

Kota Kinabalu
Close to tropical islands, lush rain forest and Mount Kinabalu.

Capital of Sarawak. 

Resort city of Sarawak and gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site Gunung 
Mulu National Park. 

Perhentian Islands (Pulau Perhentian) 
Glittering jewels off the East Coast still undiscovered by mass tourism.

Redang (Pulau Redang) 
Popular island destination for scuba divers. 

Taman Negara National Park 
A large area of rainforest spanning Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.

The Leaping Lemur


KL on the cheap

"Is possible?"

Wendy Merrett is back again sharing how we can spend a few days in KL without blowing the budget... [more]

Ask and you will be answered. Or how about reading and answering for us! 

Suggested Routes
If you've been to Malaysia and have a route that you could suggest then why not let us know? Otherwise, if it is your first time in Malaysia, have a look at some of our readers suggestions.

Must see!

The Leaping Lemur Group - Charities

There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.

The following are all Kuala Lumpur based Charities. If you’re looking for something fun and rewarding to do then get involved in volunteering at one of many charities who need your help! Whether you have a lot of spare time on your hands or just a little, there is something to suit. There are plenty of opportunities to use existing skills such as playing with children, teaching, nursing, marketing, accounting or learn some new skills. You really can make a difference and get to know a lot more about the community, culture and environment you are living in.

Elli xx

Home of Peace
Home of Peace is a safe haven for young girls which places special emphasis on education and the girls realizing their full potential.  They are always looking for volunteers to help with homework and tutoring.  Volunteers can work with older girls (ages 12-16) any day of the week in the afternoons from 4:30-6:00pm and with younger girls (7-9 years old) in home school from 10:00-1:00pm.  The girls would also love to do craft activities and receive piano or music lessons, so if you can help out, please let them know.  They are also in need of administrative support.
Contact Justine Morais

Riding for the disabled
Help disabled and handicapped children use horse riding as a part of their therapy to change disability to ability. Equine assisted therapy is used to achieve learning and stimulates physical, mental, social and educational progress.  Volunteers are needed to help children prepare for the ride, prepare the horses for the ride, lead horses and provide emotional support to the children. Volunteers are also needed to help with administrative duties in the main office. Sessions are held in the morning at three locations; 

Bukit Kiara Club, Damansara
Tues & Thurs, 9.30 – 11.30am
Call: Ms Zuraidah Omar tel: 019-2108127 

Selangor Polo Club, off Jalan Ampang Hilir, Ampang
Tues, Wed & Thursday 10am – 12noon
Contact: Karyn Stewart tel: 016-6162945 

Royal Selangor Turf Club, nr Mines Resort City
Tues, Wed & Thurs, 10am – 12noon
Contact: Cheryl Victor  
Tel + 6 03-90502346

Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones is a children’s home in Taman Seputeh (near Mid-Valley).  ABWM members tutor a small group of boys on a Tuesday 09.30 - 11.30.  Some of them do not currently have access to regular schooling and volunteers are needed to help with basic Maths, Science and English. Lessons do not need to be prepared in advance; just show up and help with homework. During holidays more recreational activities are organized.
Call Monica Maclean: 017 609 6087

Opened as Malaysia’s first refuge, the Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) offers shelter and counseling to battered women and their children.  Volunteers are needed to help with informal English classes. In the past volunteers have played scrabble, conducted treasure hunts, watched English movies with the women or just had a chat

Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
P.O.Box 493, Jalan Sultan
46760 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +603 7957 5636 / +603 7957 0636

WAO also runs a child care centre for about 15 children where volunteers are needed to do art and craft and activities through play with the children in the mornings (9-11am) or afternoons (2-4pm).

National Stroke Association of Malaysia
National Stroke Association of Malaysia is a charity dedicated to therapy and activities to help stroke patients recover and return to a full life.  There are centres in PJ and Ampang, running two sessions a day Monday-Friday, 10-12 and 2-4pm. There are many different ways to contribute, but individuals with a physio, speech therapy or nursing backgrounds are especially valued in the rehabilitation process.  In addition, there is also a need for helpers to chaperone on excursions and to get involved in fundraising activities. 
Contact:  03-7956 4840 (PJ centre) or 03-4256 1234 (Ampang centre)

RC Deaf Missions
RC Deaf Missions Malaysia is an organisation that aims to promote the diverse talents of deaf persons though arts and crafts.  It provides sign language training and career opportunities to deaf persons and it aims to educate and to advocate for the deaf community in issues such as employment and community awareness.  
Contact: Agnes Peter, RC Deaf Missions at 019-261-9920

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
UNHCR helps to run various community and education programmes to assist the needs of refugees and asylum seekers.   Help is needed to teach English and skills such as computer, crafts and music. There are opportunities to work at an adult centre in Cheras and the youth in various centres in Cheras and Pudu, and to provide support to asylum seekers at a detention centre.

Volunteer Section
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
570, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50460 Kuala Lumpur
 Tel: 603 2141 1322
Fax: 603 2141 1780

Malaysia Association of the Blind (MAB)
Located in Brickfields, MAB needs volunteers to help in the reading and Braille production service.  One opportunity is to type books onto disc which can be converted into Braille and another is to help develop a talking book library for the blind.  Readers who speak English, Malay or Mandarin are needed to help produce more talking books. Volunteers may come anytime during the week between 9am-5pm.  Alternatively, volunteers may record the tapes at home and send back the finished product.  Volunteers are also needed to assist in a playgroup for blind and low-vision pre-school children or with general administrative work. 
Contact: Ramdas Nayar, MAB at 03-2272-2677

Beautiful Gate
Beautiful Gate is charity which helps young disabled adults to acquire vocational skills. Volunteers are needed to teach English as a second language in a relaxed and informal setting. They also organise art and games activities and various outings.  Contact Pastor Sia Siew Chin, 03 7873 6579 or 019-219-8440

SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
The SPCA runs a shelter for dogs and cats and needs volunteers to help with feeding, cleaning, taking dogs out for a walk and other general animal care.  Volunteers are welcome 7 days a week anytime between 9:00 and 4:00, although mornings are generally the busiest time. 
Call 03-4256-5312   

If you have a friend or relative that is heading to this part of the world, then why not send them the link to our website or ask them to join our Facebook group as a means of passing on this information?