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An online cruising guide for sailing around Malaysia.

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Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Language: Malay
Currency: Ringgit
Map courtesy of used with permission

Malaysia is a country in South-East Asia, located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo. West (peninsular) Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, is connected by a causeway and a bridge (the 'second link') to the island state of Singapore, and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. East Malaysia (Borneo) shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

Also see History of Malaysia

Never bring any recreational drugs into Malaysia, even if you are only there for transit. Possession and/or trafficking of even minute amounts can lead to a mandatory death sentence.

Climate & Weather

Apart from the Highlands of the Malay Peninsula the climate of the the rest of Malaysia is tropical - where the Intertropical Convergence System and the N.E. & S.W. Monsoons controls the weather. It Rains heavily from June to November and sometimes in between.

The climate in Malaysia is tropical. The north-east monsoon (October to February) deluges Borneo and the east coast in rain and often causes flooding, while the west coast (particularly Langkawi and Penang) escape unscathed. The milder south-west monsoon (April to October) reverses the pattern. The southern parts of peninsular Malaysia, including perennially soggy Kuala Lumpur, are exposed to both but even during the rainy season, the showers tend to be intense but brief.

Sources for weather forecasts:

  • Malaysian Meteorological Service - navigate to the Marine section to find forecasts for the next 7 days.
  • SGNEA Forecasts - The Singapore Government's National Environment Agency provides routine weather forecasts and storm warnings for shipping in the region. As a member of the World Meteorological Organisation, MSD participates actively in its Marine Meteorology Programme to enhance safety at sea and fufill our regional responsibility with WMO and the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS, 1989 and 1974) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). National Environment Agency's Meteorological Service Division, produces one of the very best websites for marine weather forecasts covering the majority of South East Asia.
    A favourite is the Hourly Wx Satellite Picture. • Animate MTSAT Asean Satellite Images • Full Globe • ASEAN. The ASEAN image is particularly good showing gradations of cloud cover - cruisers using this image can decide whether to do the laundry , close the hatches or go shopping.
    The Regional Weather Synoptic Chart is another that is very useful for determining the day's winds in terms of strength and direction.


British Admiralty Charts for:

Andaman Sea - and the Straits of Malacca
830 Andaman sea
841 Plans in the Nicobar islands
843 Approaches to Bass harbour
3485 Approaches to Pelabuhan Langkawi
3943 Ko Tarutao to Pulau Pinang
3947 Malacca Strait - Melaka to Singapore Strait
4043 Malaysia and Singapore, Kuala Johor and Sungai Johor
4038 Malaysia and Singapore, Johor Strait, western part
5502 Mariner's Routeing Guide- Malacca & Singapore Strait

In addition the following charts are specific to cruising Langkawi and its islands, also sailing North to Thailand:-

  • Malaysian Chart 5622 and the
  • Thai Chart 350

Navigational Issues

Local Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


Most Western nationalities can enter Malaysia without a visa, and are normally issued 30, 60, or 90 day entry permit stamps.

Some nationalities that are not eligible to enter without a visa can get a tourist visa on arrival; other nationalities must apply for a visa in advance. Because the regulations continually change (in most countries in SE Asia) - see the Immigration Department of Malaysia website for the current scoop. If you need a visa to enter Malaysia and plan to visit Sarawak, state this when applying as a separate visa is required for Sarawak.

ASEAN nationals (with the exception of Myanmar can enter and visit for up to a month without a visa; a visa is required for longer stays, except for Brunei and Singapore nationals.

Israel, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro nationals must obtain permission from the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs in advance.

  • All arrivals must prove adequate funds for their length of stay.
  • A "Visitor's Pass" is issued on arrival at the port of entry and, depending on nationality, is normally for a maximum of three months. Extensions are not easy to obtain but visas for cruising yotties may be easily renewed by simply "border hopping" at Singapore, in the south, Thailand in the North, by ferry to Satun from from Langkawi, or anywhere by air. Just go... clear out, clear into the neighboring country, turn around undo and redo it all and, viola, you are back in again, with a renewed visa, good for the same period as the original.

Malaysia Immigration and customs has a reputation among yotties for being the most user friendly in the world. Just be square with them, and you will be received as an honored guest. Bring in drugs and they will hang you on a gibbet!


  • Never bring any recreational drugs into Malaysia, even if you are only there for transit. Possession and/or trafficking of even minute amounts can lead to a mandatory death sentence.
  • All firearms and ammunition (permits must be presented) MUST be declared on arrival. These will be sealed by Customs.
  • No fruit or vegetables from The Philippines and Indonesia is allowed.
  • No turtle eggs or products allowed.
  • No daggers, flick knives, syringes, or poisonous chemicals are allowed.
  • PETS: An import permit must be obtained in advance from the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Services Dept., for all pets. Pets are not allowed ashore until cleared by the Health officer.
  • YOUR BOAT is tied to your personal visa. As long as you are legal, your boat is legal. You may leave your boat here for indefinite periods while visiting "back Home," or touring nearby Asian countries.


  • Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended.



Cruising Destinations

  • Mainland West Coast, North to South

Popular Cruising Circuits from Malaysia

  • Malaysian Peninsula
    • Langkawi >>> Phuket (Thailand)
    • Langkawi >>> Andaman Islands via Phuket (Thailand)
    • Langkawi >>> Singapore via Danga Bay (Malaysia)
    • Langkawi >>> Kota Kinabalu - Sabah (Malaysia)
    • Langkawi >>> Bali (Indonesia)
    • Langkawi >>> Cochin (India) via Uligamu Maldives
    • Langkawi >>> Chagos (BIOT) via Gan (Maldives)
    • Langkawi >>> Darwin (Australia) via Bali (Indonesia)
  • Sabah Malaysia (Northern Borneo)
    • Kota Kinabalu>>>Puerto Galera (Philippines) via Palawan
    • Kota Kinabalu >>> Hong Kong
    • Kota Kinabalu>>>Palau - via Palawan & Surigau Straits (Philippines)
    • Kota Kinabalu>>>Darwin (Australia) via Suluwesi >>> Bali (Indonesia)

Cruiser's Friends

Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".

References & Publications

Books, Guides, etc.

  • Andaman Sea Pilot: a very well documented sea pilot issued by Image Asia Events Co., Ltd in Phuket. Lots of anchorages reaching from Darwin to Andaman Islands, with detailed drawings of heaps of anchorages. More details on Andaman Sea Pilot's website - ISBN 97494999808

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


  • MARINEQUIPMENT.COM is a chandler and marine equipment supplier on-line - they deliver conveniently to Malaysia especially to the Duty Free island of Langkawi

Personal Notes

  • Buying diesel fuel can be a bit problematic. Diesel for cars/trucks is subsidized. "Industrial fuel", like for ships, is more expensive. Many fuel-stations only fill max. 20 liters jerry cans. But at many locations there are helpful locals getting more diesel fuel at street prices, for a fee. Sometimes they have jerry cans, better to have a few of your own. LeaseOnLife 00:09, 11 March 2011 (GMT)


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