Malaysia is definitely a favourite among travellers. Tropical and multicultural, add to it the low cost, quick, and easy process to obtain a Malaysia visa, no wonder it attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world.
As a hotspot of several cultures and a constant host to various others, there are bound to be certain unspoken rules that must be kept in mind while visiting Malaysia. You don’t want to disrespect or cause any discomfort unintentionally because something that is a norm to you may be considered a taboo there.
Lets take a look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when visiting Malaysia.
Drugs are a big NO:
Possession of any kind of illegal drugs can result in death penalty when caught. Malaysia has very serious anti-drugs culture and doesn’t take kindly when visitors bring them along. Upon arriving in Malaysia, if suspicious, you can be asked to take a urine test to detect presence of drugs in your system and if you fail you might be imprisoned, deported or black listed.
Malaysians don’t drink alcohol due to religious restrictions, but it is legally banned in Terengganu and Kelantan and is only allowed to be sold in private premises in other parts of the country while being highly taxed, with third highest rate of alcohol in the world.
No touching heads:
It is considered disrespectful and impolite to touch someone’s head or to move something above it, as Malaysians consider head as the most crucial part of a person’s body. Doing so as a joke will not be taken well and may create tension hence it is advised to avoid doing it.
Be careful when greeting:
Malaysians are friendly by nature, so the men may greet you with both the hands extended intending to shake your hands, after which they will place their hands on their chest symbolizing “greetings from heart”. Observe and do the same. However, it is best to return a woman’s handshake if she initiates it otherwise just nod and smile, as men are not suppose to touch any women they do not know.
It comes off as rude and inconsiderate when you use your fore-finger to point at something or someone. Make a fist of your hand and use your thumb or use your palm to show directions or point if needed.
Remove your footwear:
Visiting a mosque, temple or just some friend’s house? Don’t forget to remove your footwear as a sign of respect.
Right is always right:
Always use your right hand when eating or when receiving any gift or token offered by any one. If you are left-handed its best to avoid using it.
When visiting Malaysia, pack up all the conservative clothes you could as exposing shoulders, knees, belly button, etc. is a taboo.
Appreciate the food:
Slurping during and burping after a meal is considered a compliment towards the food. Malaysians are proud of their food and love it when people appreciate it.
As a sign of respect, remove any headgear such as hats and caps when entering any religious places. Also, stand up when a nun or monk enter to show respect for their stature.
Being a Muslim majority country, embracing and kissing in public is highly frowned upon.
Always use a pedestrian or zebra crossing . If there is a pedestrian or zebra crossing available within 100 meters and you are caught crossing a street, you can be fined 500 RM.
Although Malaysia is a quite laidback place, Malaysian people are very particular about their practices and customs. Visiting Malaysia and being courteous and mindful of the culture, can help you avoid problems or face embarrassment while also allowing you to have a pleasant experience while in the country.
Malaysia is friendly, vibrant, colorful, and there is so much to do and see, don’t let these restrictions deter you from your next Malaysia holidays.
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