Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, located on a peninsula of the Asian mainland south of Thailand. Another part of the country is located on the island of Borneo. Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and bulk of its population are located in more economically developed Peninsular Malaysia. Malaysia is still developing country but at the same time it’s one of the richer countries in Southeast Asia. Malaysia offers a good mix of the modern world comfort and reasonable prices for tourists.
Current Malaysia was home to Hindu empires ruled from Indonesia (Srivijaya and Majapahit) and the Melaka Sultanate. In XVI century Melaka became the Portuguese colony which was later lost to the Dutch. Penang became a colony of the British who later governed all Malay Peninsula until Malaysia gained independence in 1957.
Places to visit in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia’s multi-cultural capital and the largest city, featuring ultra-modern skyline and the famous Petronas Twin Towers.
Penang (Pulau Pinang) — the island with excellent cuisine and well retained colonial heritage, especially in island’s capital city George Town.
Malacca (Melaka) - the historical city on the western coast of Malaysia famous for its colonial-style architecture.
Cameron Highlands — cool highlands of West Malaysia famous for its tea plantations.
Kinabalu National Park – the national park in Sabah (Borneo) which is home to the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia - Mount Kinabalu.
Taman Negara National Park — a large beautiful national park featuring very old rainforest.
Langkawi — archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, off the mainland coast of northwest Malaysia, known for its nice beaches, rainforest and mountains.
Perhentian Islands (Pulau Perhentian) — islands off the East Coast with pristine beaches that are still undiscovered by mass tourism.
Most nationalities can enter Malaysia without a visa. Holders of passports issued by 63 countries, including all European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and others, are granted visa-free entry to Malaysia for 90 days. Citizens of 95 other countries can get 30 day entry permit and few others - 14 days.
Malaysian eVisa can be issued to citizens of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia and Sri Lanka
Getting to Malaysia
There are many options for getting to Malaysia from Thailand.
Flights to Malaysia
Malaysian national carrier Malaysia Airlines and low-cost carrier AirAsia have extensive coverage not only in the region but even worldwide, making flying to Malaysia very easy.
From Thailand you can take direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru.
Most international flights land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport or KLIA (KUL). There are directs flights to Kuala Lumpur from a number of destinations in Thailand, such as Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, Hat Yai, Surat Thani and Koh Samui.
From Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur you can fly directly with low cost airlines AirAsia, Malindo Air, Thai Smile as well as full service carriers Malaysia Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways. Phuket – Kuala Lumpur route is served by AirAsia, Malindo Air, Malaysia Airlines and Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways and Malaysia Airlines also offer direct flights from Koh Samui. Direct flights from other destinations like Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, Hat Yai and Surat Thani are provided by low cost carrier AirAsia.
Another airport in Malaysia which is easy to reach from Thailand is Penang International Airport (PEN) which has direct connections with Bangkok and Phuket. Route Bangkok – Penang is served by AirAsia and Thai Smile (subsidiary of Thai Airways). Direct flights from Phuket to Penang are offered by national carrier Malaysia Airlines and low cost carrier Firefly.
Johor Bahru International Airport (JHB) receives direct flights from Bangkok. The route is served by low cost carrier AirAsia.
Traveling to Malaysia Overland
Traveling overland from Thailand to Malaysia you can use these border crossings (west to east):
- Wang Prachan (Satun) - Wang Kelian border crossing
- Padang Besar (Songkhla) border crossing
- Ban Danok (Sadao, Songkhla) - Bukit Kayu Hitam border crossing
- Ban Prakop (Songkhla) - Kota Putra border crossing
- Betong (Yala) - Bukit Berapit border crossing
- Ban Buketa Bridge (Narathiwat) - Bukit Bunga border crossing
- Sungai Kolok (Narathiwat) - Rantau Panjang border crossing
- Ban Ta Ba (Narathiwat) - Pengkalan Kulor border crossing
There are direct sleeper train services (International Express) operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and connecting Bangkok with Padang Besar on the Thailand-Malaysia border. From there the national railway operator KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) offers connections to Kuala Lumpur and other destinations in Malaysia.
Long-distances buses run from Thailand to Malaysia run from Thailand. Several companies operate services from Hat Yai in Southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia. Hat Yai can be easily reached from Bangkok and many other cities in Thailand.
Ferries connect various points in Peninsular Malaysia with Southern Thailand. There are daily ferries between Tammalang at Satun in Thailand and Kuah on Langkawi, Malaysia. Vehicle ferries and passenger boats operate between Thai Narathiwat province and Kelantan in Malaysia.
Weather in Malaysia
The climate in Malaysia is tropical and warm weather is guaranteed there as temperatures generally range from 32°C at noon to about 26°C at midnight. Temperatures are usually cooler in the highlands, and can fall even below 10°C at Mount Kinabalu.
Malaysia has only two seasons - the wet and the dry. These seasons do not run at the same time on both coasts of the peninsula. On the west coast the southwest monsoon brings rain and often heavy storms from April through to October, while on the east coast and Borneo the most rain falls between November and February.
Useful tips for traveling in Malaysia can be found here: Malaysia Travel Tips.