Local laws and customs – Malaysia travel advice


Malaysia is a multicultural, Muslim-majority country. You should be familiar with and respect local laws and customs. You should respect local culture, traditions and religion; be careful not to offend others, especially during Ramadan, other religious holidays, or if you plan to visit a place of worship.See Travel During Ramadan

You should also dress appropriately, especially in conservative rural areas and when visiting places of worship and government buildings. You may be refused entry if you are dressed inappropriately, including without shoes. You should check the signs displayed at the entrance.

If you are Muslim, you may be required to abide by local Sharia law.

All drug offenses carry severe penalties; this includes ATS. Possession can result in imprisonment and possible whipping.

If you suspect drug use prior to your visit, you may be asked to undergo a urine test upon arrival in Malaysia. Urine tests are also available when individuals are detained for raiding bars and nightclubs. If you test positive, you may be detained, prosecuted and/or deported and blacklisted.

The import of unlicensed firearms and ammunition into Malaysia is banned and punishable by death. This includes spent ammunition and war museum memorabilia. You should not bring any replica weapons, firearms or ammunition into Malaysia. You could be detained and prosecuted.

Homosexual behavior is illegal in Malaysia and punishable under federal law. You should avoid any behavior that may attract unwanted attention, including public displays of affection. Openly gay support groups exist. Before you travel, see our LGBT community information and advice page.

Travelers with reduced mobility

Malaysia has many interesting places for all to visit. However, wheelchair access is often restricted due to uneven pavement, street furniture and lack of lifts, ramps, etc. This includes limited wheelchair storage space on buses, public transport systems and many taxis. See our general information on planning safe travel for travelers with disabilities.


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