So we have to go to Malaysia today. Have to leave the country to renew our visas. If you recall, we went to Laos last time. We figured we should take advantage of our nearness to several different Asian countries and try to get to as many as we possibly can. There are two pastors here from India now and they told me that it was only a two hour flight from Calcutta. Hmmm….are you thinking what I’m thinking?
We are going by train this time instead of bus. The train will take about 4-5 more hours, but we figured the girls would be able to get up and walk around as well as provide us with some beautiful scenery not available on the freeway.
Like last time, here are a few do’s and don’ts that you should observe if you ever happened to end up in Malaysia.
Malaysia Travel Dont’s
- Do not touch the head of an adult. Touching people on the head is considered rude.
- Do not point forefinger at things. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred way.
- Do not pound your fist into the palm of the other hand, which is considered an obscene gesture to some people.
- Do not point your feet towards people or sacred images.
- Do not wear hot pants and vests at mainland beaches if you are female. Topless sunbathing is a no-no. Malay women usually go swimming fully dressed and some keep their scarves on.
- Do not kiss in public. Public behaviour is important in Malaysian culture. Most Malaysians refrain from displaying affection such as embracing or kissing in public.
- Do not ever touch or hand a monk something if you are a woman. Even accidentally brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a cleansing ritual.
- Do not be offended if your offer of a handshake is not reciprocated by a Muslim who is of the opposite sex. In Islam, physical contact between the opposite sex is discouraged.
- Do not be embarrassed for burping. In Malay dining etiquette, burping or belching after a meal is acceptable.
- Do not discuss ethnic relations or the political system. They are both sensitive subjects.
- Do not drink alcohol. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
- Do not ever involve in illegal drugs. There is a mandatory death penalty for trafficking.
Malaysia Travel Dos
- Do shake hand with men for greeting, but not women unless they offer to do so first. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. People greet visitors by placing their right hand over the left chest to mean I greet you from my heart.
- Do remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home or temples and mosques. It is customary to remove and leave footwear outside the house. This practice is also applicable when visiting religious buildings.
- Do use right hand to receive or give something. The right hand should also be used for eating. It is considered discourteous in Malay custom to use your left hand when you hand over or receive things.
- Do carry essential travel documents and have your health insurance and health certificates ready before your travel.
- Do convert most of your currency in Malaysia. There is restriction of bringing large amounts of ringgit (Malaysia’s currency) into or out of the country.
- Do follow simple rules when visit a Buddha temple. Show respect and remove your hat and shoes,Dress conservatively, no shorts. When sitting, never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha. Stand up to show respect when monks or nuns enter.
- Do enter the shrine with your left foot first, and exit by leading with your right foot.