Click here to see the Route we followed
We arrive into Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport (KLIA) early morning, it is hot and humid, something none of us are used to. Our flight from Calgary to Malaysia’s capital city has taken us around 23 draining hours. There is also a 14 hour time difference between Calgary and Kuala Lumpur so myself (Stacie) and my two friends Kaleigh and Rylee are exhausted from the combination of no sleep and major jet leg; however, that doesn’t hold back the excitement we have to explore this beautiful country of Malaysia!
The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia or Malay but English is widely spoken. The currency is called Ringgit and the symbol for it is RM. Roughly 1.00 Canadian Dollar = 3.12526 Malaysian Ringgits. Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and the largest city especially in terms of population; it is also often abbreviated as K.L. Kuala Lumpur is defined within the borders of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and is one of three Malaysian Federal Territories. It is located within the state of Selangor.
Documentation Required by Canadian Citizens:
When entering and exiting Malaysia, it is required that travelers have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of their expected departure from the country and it is important for visitors to carry their passport with them at all times as a form of identification. We did not have to apply and obtain a tourist visa because we are staying under the three month limit. Upon arriving we had to complete a Traveller's Declaration Form which we received on the airplane and we will have to complete one when we depart as well. For More Malaysia Travel Information Click Here!
Some Malaysian travel tips regarding etiquette and customs:
Malaysians smile a lot, and are most often, polite and helpful. Cities and entrenched tourist areas have a more liberal atmosphere, but if visiting rural areas, and especially someone's private home, it helps to know something of local norms.
• Greetings and handshakes – If you are a man, greet the men first, then the women. Women usually greet other women first. It is common for women not to shake hands with male strangers. Although handshakes are frequent, particularly in the cities, do not be offended by what is a limp handshake by Western standards. The Malay style of greeting is to touch the other's palm and then his heart, "I am pleased to meet you from the bottom of my heart."
• Necking or fondling each other in public is a no-no, too, particularly in rural areas
• In traditional homes, it is rude to cross your legs when you sit down in front of the host, particularly for women.
• Pointing with the finger is considered very rude and a whole hand is used to indicate a direction but never a person. To point to a person, close the right hand into a fist with the thumb on top and then aim it at the subject.
• In most Malaysia hotels and large restaurants, a 10 percent government tax and 5 percent service tax is added to the bill, so tipping is not obligatory. However, it is appreciated and is common but only in the cities and major Malaysia travel spots. In large hotels, bellboys and porters usually receive tips from RM2 to RM5 depending on the service rendered. In smart restaurants you can just leave behind the loose change. Malaysia tourist guides expect a tip. Otherwise, a simple thank you (terima kasih) and a smile will do.
Other helpful tips:
• All water is potentially contaminated; water should be boiled before drinking or purchased in bottled water.
• Milk is unpasteurized and should also be boiled, there is powdered or tinned milk available and is highly advised. All dairy products should be chosen carefully and have been made from boiled milk.
• Meat should be well cooked and served hot. Pork, salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk.
• Health insurance is highly recommended, there are hospitals located in all major cities with smaller cities
• In case of an emergency call 999
Eager to begin our trip, we head in the direction of Kuala Lumpur’s extensive public transit system which is known as being the fastest and most reliable forms of transportation in Kuala Lumpur. We hopped on the KLIA Ekspres which is a non-stop high-speed train service that connects KLIA and the Kuala Lumpur city center. The KLIA Ekspres travels a top speed of 160km/h which brought us to the KL Sentral station in just 28 minutes. From there we hopped on another handy public transit line called the KL Monorail, and just under 15 minutes we arrived in the famous Bukit Bintang area in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Bukit Bintang is Kuala Lumpur’s shopping, entertainment and night-life district home to many boutiques, hotels, bars, restaurants, spas and even an indoor theme park. This is where Kaleigh, Rylee and I will call home for the next day and a half!
We checked into our hotel (KLCC-Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel & Spa) and began exploring the area. We soon came to realize why Kuala Lumpur is called the ratail and fashion hub of Malaysia (the city alone has over 66 shopping malls!) One notable shopping destination is the Suria, located at the bottom of the Petronas Twin Towers KLCC. Suria was a lot of fun to walk around and go into all of the luxury and high end stores; we also discovered that Suria is not only great for shopping but it includes an art gallery, a philharmonic theater, an underwater aquarium and also a Science centre! The Petronas Twin Towers are a whole different story, we couldn’t believe how much you can actually do here, they is definitely a must see when visiting Kuala Lumpur!
For More Information on Things To Do At the Petronas Twin Towers, Click Here!