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Malaysia Cruising Guide

An online cruising guide for sailing around Malaysia.

Map - click for larger view
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
World icon.png 3°8.14′N, 101°41.3′E
Language: Bahasa Malaysia, English.
Currency: Ringgit (MYR)
Timezone: UTC+8 (No DST)
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
Small info.png Latest News
Content - news items, etc.

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.

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 Charts
Thai Charts

Approaches and Navigation

Approaches and Navigation

Any navigation notes here. If this section does not apply remove it.

Local Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Arrival/Departure procedures





Customs and Immigration


  • 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.


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 South East 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.
  • 2014-border runs are now frowned upon. Some officials insist on 72 hour visit to the other country, after the second time.

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!

Fees and Charges


Health and Security


  • Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended.



External Territories

Remove this section if there are no External Territories.


Use this section to name major regions. This way this page is kept in manageable size, under 30kBytes. For an example see Australia. Remove this section if there are no Regions.

List here region pages. Use Region Template in each of these.

Ports & Popular Stops

Mainland West Coast, North to South

Mainland, Johor Straits, around Singapore

East Coast, North to South Including Offshore Islands

Other Offshore Islands

Malaysia East (Borneo)

Offshore Islands

List islands and island groups belonging to this country. If there is more then 2 paragraphs for a given island, create a dedicated page for it (Island Template and/or Island Group Template).


List transportation to other countries, etc.

Routes/Passages To/From

  • 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

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forum Discussions

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

External Links

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

References & Publications

  • Andy Dowden & Bill O’Leary, Southeast Asia Pilot, Image Asia, ISBN 9749499808*: Formerly known as The 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 the website

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)

This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, MMNETSEA, George, LeaseOnLife, Delatbabel

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