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By No owner — last modified Dec 18, 2015 12:17 PM

 Malaysia - Profile

Facts

  • The Federation of Malaysia consists of thirteen states, eleven stretched out on the long peninsula between Thailand and Singapore plus the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the north/north-west coast of the island of Borneo (Indonesian: Kalimantan).
  • It's best to think of Malaysia as 3 separate, almost autonomous areas (Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah) plus 3 duty-free federal territories (Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman) with Islamic Brunei wedged in the middle.
  • The west coast attracts most cruising yachts and there is plenty to see, from the attractive old city of Malacca and the fishing port of Lumut to the islands of Penang and Langkawi.
  • The Langkawi islands lie close to the border with Thailand and possess the finest scenery anywhere in Malaysian waters.
  • The east coast is less visited as it is not on a cruising route and its harbours are better protected during the SW monsoon, when few cruising yachts linger in SE Asia.
  • The best weather is during the NE monsoon when the west coast provides an excellent lee and most yachts cruise up the coast from Singapore to Thailand.
  • Sabah and Sarawak along the northern coast of the island of Borneo tend to be visited by yachts en route to or from the Philippines and Hong Kong.
  • Port Klang is also a good base for trips to the capital Kuala Lumpur, or to leave the boat for visits into the interior.
  • There are several small boatyards, often with their own slips, on both coasts of the peninsula but as they are used to working on local craft, standards are not high. See this useful report which has lots of tips about boatyard practices in SE Asia and may help you avoid a few pitfalls. Getting work done on your boat whilst long distance cruising.
  • Facilities in Langkawi have steadily improved in recent years and the Malaysian authorities are making a determined effort to turn this area into the premier yachting centre in SE Asia.
  • A great many oil rigs litter the coast of Borneo, so great caution should be excercised, particulary if sailing at night, as whilst the rigs are lit, large metal moorings around the rigs are not.

Security

Sulu Sea Kidnappings May 2017 - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia

In Malaysia most thieves are likely to be opportunistic rather than violent. Most cruisers visiting the country report having no real security or safety fears. However, best practice is to take the usual general precautions (locking the boat, lifting and securing dinghy & outboard, removing valuables from sight etc.) as thefts and burglaries have been reported.

Penang and Johor Bahru are reported to be the worst areas in Malaysia for crime. When going ashore avoid wearing expensive jewellrey, carrying open bags and cycling with open baskets and crates.

There are regular political demonstrations in central Kuala Lumpur on Saturday afternoons. Monitor local media, be vigilant and avoid all large political gatherings.

Borneo, Sabah:

June 2015: Current advice is against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.

There is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines. The southern Philippines is just a short boat ride away from Sabah's east coast. There have been several incidents of kidnapping and worse in the last 2 years.

A German couple were abducted from their yacht by bandits at Palawan, Philippines in April 2014.

A yacht was pursued by pirates in November 2015 off the eastern coast of Sabah, who attempted to board.

The FCO currently advise against travelling here - see advisory here.

Malay Fishermen

An on-going problem is cruising boats being harrassed by fisherman when at anchor, particularly on the West coast, blamed for laying their anchors over fishing nets and then being pushed for money to cover the damage (when in fact the net was laid over the anchor whilst the owners were sleeping). This kind of extortion is being taken seriously and cruisers along with local marine businesses are working together to try and present a compelling case to stop this action.

Any cruisers who suffer similar concerning incidents with Malay fisherman should report such harrassment to the Malaysian Navy via their app (see details below) and copy in AHOY Penang (listed below) who are building a file for action.

See this report for incidents of harrassment reported by cruisers.

Last updated July 2017.

AHOY Penang - A Hub of Yachting
MV Tiger Lily , Straits Quay Marina in Penang
Tel:Mobile: 0128404341
Set up by long-term SE Asia cruiser Jennifer Rouse in May 2016, this group is for cruisers to share important information and fun things about destinations in the Straits of Melaka - Penang. It is also a good place to report any security incidents whilst cruising in Malaysian waters.
Royal Malaysian Navy Marine Emergency Response/SOS/Incident Reporting app
Launched July 2017.
Download K3M from your app store – unfortunately the registration process is only presented in Bahasa Malaysia but if you can get past this and log on you can then select English - it is labelled "INGERRIS" - the word for "English" in Bahasa.
Via this app you can report marine-related incidents and request emergency assistance from 6 different Malaysian maritime authorities including, Navy, Coastguard, Maritime Police, Jabatan Laut and the Fisherman's Association.

Weather

On the coast the temperatures do not rise too high in this tropical climate, averaging 70-90°F (21-32°C). November to February is the rainy season when sudden downpours are frequent, especially on the west coast. The NE monsoon is from November to March, but on the west Malaysian coast local land breezes have a major effect on sailing conditions.

Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm and http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrscweathMSIbcasts.html

Singapore Weather Portal - http://www.weather.gov.sg/wip/web/Marine

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Malaysian Meteorological Service
5-day forecasts of weather, wind and wave. Five-day tide forecasts, from the Malaysian Met office.

Main Ports

Share |
Liz
Liz says:
Dec 18, 2015 11:37 AM

If I may, I would like to thank David from Marine Supplies Asia, in his guise as the Spectra watermaker dealer /agent for making my new (6 month old) watermaker serviceable. It was in an unservicable condition as I discovered, when it came time to attempt to open the cartridge bowls to change the filters. He spent some hours resolving the problems, which were not of either his or my making. He did so in an extremely happy , friendly and professional fashion, for which I thank him immensely. I had until contacting David, spent an entirely unsatisfactory amount of time trying to get assistance to resolve the issues. He answered my email within hours and the job was done within a matter of days. As he is based in Labuan , and I am in Kota Kinabalu, it was a very impressive conclusion to my 5 month problem.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 06, 2015 04:17 PM

The Ministry of Tourism Indonesia cordially invites boaters, skippers, captains, and yacht owners to attend an Afternoon Tea gathering to promote new policy on liberalizing CIQP (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, Port Clearance) and to welcome foreign yachts and cruise ships to visit Indonesia.

Singapore Nov 7th, 14:00 Raffles Marina.
Malaysia Nov 8th, 14:00 Bayview Hotel, Langkawi.
Thailand Nov 9th, 14:00 Ao Chalong Yacht Club, Phuket.

A short presentation will be conducted by Dr Indrojono Soesilo, Honorary Advisor for the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia. Please join.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 31, 2015 11:23 AM

Feedback from noonsite contributors:

We haven't been up the Rajang River - hope to visit it in early 2016 when we return to Borneo from just one more trip to the Philippines this year - but we did meet an American cruiser a few months ago who spent 2 weeks up the Rajang. He really enjoyed it, though he commented on the amount of logs coming down the river, and the current, which he said was very strong at times. I guess the best thing to minimise this would be to go in the dry season (NE monsoon, from Nov/Dec to March/April) and avoid the spring tide period. I doubt there will be any notices, warnings etc posted in the river, but locals are usually very helpful. Also watch out for the tugs and barges which are plentiful along this coast and in the rivers. We heard of a large catamaran that was hit and sunk in one of the Borneo west coast rivers last year.
The Klias River is also a great one for exploring - you can go up the Klias for 28 miles to the bridge at Kota Klias. The Klias is close to Labuan and about 30 miles south of Kota Kinabalu. Lots of proboscis monkeys and fireflies there. An interesting trip is to anchor at the town of Kota Klias, arrange for a local taxi to take you to the town of Beaufort early the next morning, where you can catch a local train (no frills, actually no seats either) up the valleys to Tenom, where they grow tea and coffee. You would have an hour at Tenom before catching the train back to Beaufort, then taxi back to Kota Klias. I have put some details of the Klias River in my Sabah 2014 Passage Notes (http://www.noonsite.com/Members/sue/R2012-03-29-4.
Hope this helps.
Cheers,
Sue Woods

-ends-

This is the river that runs from Sibu inland. We only did a couple of the rivers at the mouth entry rivers which join into the Rejang at Sibu. We cut in behind Bruit Island to visit longhouses where we were made very welcome – overwhelmingly in fact. Crystal blues has done a more in depth visit up these rivers many times. They have a blog

http://svcrystalblues.blogspot.com.au


If they are 2m draught - no problems. Just need to go with the tides.

The entrances can be shallow with shifting channels – we went through and at times were at less than 2 metres but a less than optimal tide.

There are some photos back on our blog

www.sailblogs.com/member/charmar

kind regards

Chris

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 31, 2015 11:22 AM

Borneo Rivers: Rajang River, Borneo
Posted on behalf of M.Y. Amandla II

I would like to know if any of your Noonsite contacts or contributors has ever been up the Rajang River in Borneo, Malaysia.
It seems to be the only really navigable way in the hinterland, but perjhaps I am wrong and there is another one...
We are a 60ft power-boat and our draught is 2m…
If anyone has a log-book, waypoints, warning, anchorages, suggestions, I would be extermely grateful…
If I have to venture on my own, I will try to find some local knowledge if possible and I will be more than happy to share our voyage…
Kind regards
Dominique
M.Y. Amandla II

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 24, 2014 02:41 PM

Friends staying at Danga Bay have informed me that it is to close permanently and be demolished at the end of June. No maintenance had been done for many months. The area will be absorbed into the huge satellite resedential development that has been taking place in the area for the last 2 years. Many overseas owners have left their boats there permanently. What they will do now will be a problem.
SV Pelican

Phil Van
Phil Van says:
Nov 19, 2013 04:43 AM

It has happen on 21/05/2013 9h30 AM. Position was N5d51' E100d07'
Philippe
49' Wooden troller

ericoh88
ericoh88 says:
Jul 21, 2013 05:49 PM

On the 8th July, I met a yachtie in Penang who motored a 42' wooden boat from Langkawi to Penang. He said he has a fishing boat coming towards him. He changed course and the fishing boat continued to head towards him. The fishing boat touched his boat and the boat man demanded payment for the damaged he suffered. This yacthie told him to meet him in Penang and let the police settle the matter. The boat man got angry and threw at him a bunch of wood. He left.

I wanted to make this known as I have read these are the tactics used in other places to get money instead of catching fish from the sea.

Eric
44' FRP Cutter

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East Malaysia, Borneo - Recent Theft from Yachts  (26 Aug 2011)

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Increased Piracy Activity in S. China Sea  (22 Jun 2010)

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Indian Ocean Net (IO Net) Now Closed  (06 Jun 2010)

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New Yacht Rallies for SE Asia  (16 Apr 2010)

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Malaysia, Langkawi - Health Department Implement New Precautionary Measures  (12 Jun 2009)

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Update Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (27 Aug 2008)

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Latest News On Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (04 Aug 2008)

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Phuket Customs Keen To Stress No Fine For Time Delay  (20 Jan 2006)

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YANGON TO MANILA BAY: A NEW CRUISING PLAYGROUND  (23 May 2005)

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Labuan Marina gives up fight with swell  (24 Feb 2005)

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Brunei Bay Radio Services  (23 Feb 2005)

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South East Asian Maritime Net frequency modification  (13 Jul 2004)

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Weather Websites for SE Asia  (01 Feb 2003)

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Updated advice for boats sailing through piracy areas  (19 Aug 2002)