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Malaysia travel - health and customs

General & Introduction Infomation ••
Malaysia health and customs







Health, Customs

General Health Information

Vaccinations: Vaccinations are not required to enter Malaysia unless you are coming from a "yellow" infected area. However, always check with your doctor as to if any vaccinations are needed when planning to travel internationally.

Medical Care: The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur can provide a list of doctors and hospitals upon request. Medical facilities and services are adequate in the larger cities, where Western-trained, English-speaking doctors can easily be found. Doctors and hospitals often prefer immediate cash payment for health services although major credit cards are acceptable. Medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental overseas medical insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation, may prove useful. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment of medical services outside the United States.

Water: It is generally safe to drink water straight from the tap. Bottled mineral water, however, is easily available in shops and supermarkets.

When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follow:

- Handshakes usually suffice for men and women, although some Muslim ladies may simply nod her head and smile to acknowledge an introduction with a gentleman. A handshake is reciprocated only if the lady offers her hand first. A handshake with both hands but without the grasp is the traditional greeting of "salam". The man offers both hands and touches his friend's outstretched hands lightly, and brings his hands to his chest. This is to say " I greet you from my heart" and should be returned by the visitor.

- When visiting a friend's home it is polite to call beforehand and shoes are to be removed. Removal of shoes also applies for entering a mosque or and Indian temple.
-Eating is always done with the right hand. The same is true for giving and receiving objects. Pointing at people, places, or objects with the right forefinger is not used. The preferred use is the thumb of the right hand folded under with the four fingers.

- Toasting is not a common practice because Malaysia has a large Muslim population, which does not drink.

- Meetings are often held during lunch or dinner. Your contact will meet you at your hotel or at his or her office. Malaysians tend to be late however, they expect others to be on time for appointments.

- Malaysians are usually called by their given names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss. The Chinese use their family names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss.

- Business cards are always exchanged. Both hands are used when giving or receiving cards. Then study the card before placing in your pocket.

- A suit and tie, for men, is acceptable attire. Long sleeved batik shirts are always suitable. A blouse and skirt or a suit are best for women.
Due to the different religions and cultures, giving gifts can be somewhat complicated. Never give liquor to a Muslim (alcohol is forbidden in the Muslim religion). Never give a clock, watch, knife, or white flowers to a Chinese person (all of these are associated with death in Chinese culture). A pen or object with a company logo is usually the safest gift

What to wear: It is ideal to have light clothing to wear year round. In the evenings, a light wrap may be advised. It is also advisable for ladies to wear long sleeves and loose pants or long skirts when entering mosques and temples.

Tipping: Tipping is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent. Most hotels and large restaurants add a 10% service charge automatically. This is in addition to the 5% government tax. (indicated by a ++ sign on menus and rate cards)
Restaurants: 10% service charge added automatically. Additional tipping is unnecessary, unless service is excellent.

Porters: Suggested tipping for porters is M$1 per bag. Any tip smaller than 50 sen would be considered an insult.

Hotel maids: A service charge is automatically added. Unless acknowledging excellent service, additional tipping is not necessary.

Taxis: Most taxis are fitted with meters. Taxi rates are currently RM 2 for the first 2km and 10 sen for every 200 meters thereon. A surcharge of 50% is levied between midnight and 6.00am.




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