Malaysia - Facts

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  • Important pre-arrival information:
    • Motor Vessels/Yachts and any vessel over 24 meters are now required to use an Officially Approved Agent to clear in and out. It is recommended to appoint an agent in advance. See Formalities for all the details.
    • Since the start of 2024, all international travellers entering Malaysia either by sea or air must must complete a Malaysia Digital Arrival Card before entering the country.  Your trip must be within 3 days (including the date of submission).  See Formalities for details.
  • 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 three separate, almost autonomous areas (Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah) plus three duty-free federal territories (Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman) with Islamic Brunei wedged in the middle.
  • The population of Malaysia is 32 million. The official language is Malay, however, English is also widely spoken.
  • The Malaysian Ringgit is the official currency.
  • The time zone for Malaysia is UTC +8. There are no Daylight Saving Time clock changes.
  • The best weather is during the NE monsoon when the west coast provides an excellent lee shore and most yachts cruise up the coast from Singapore to Thailand. See more information in the weather.
  • 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.
  • 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 a local craft, standards are not high. 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. For more information on services for yachts see Yachting Essentials.
  • A great many oil rigs litter the coast of Borneo so great caution should be exercised, particularly if sailing at night. While the rigs are lit, large metal moorings around the rigs are not.

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Malaysia was last updated 1 month ago.

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  1. October 3, 2023 at 10:21 AM
    Cyrus says:

    Also can anyone recommend an online website to buy insurance for Malaysia. I have a 13.41 metre sailing vessel. Thank you

    1. October 16, 2023 at 11:38 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Hi Cyrus, suggest you look at the Sail SE Asia Facebook page – there’s lots of chatter on there about insurance companies used for Malaysia –

  2. October 3, 2023 at 10:19 AM
    Cyrus says:

    Hi there. I have just joined and am planning to sail rom Indonesia to malaysia. I am thinking of checking out in Bali, and checking in at Johor, Malaysia. Is there any information on the site for Puteri marina in Johor?

  3. August 23, 2023 at 5:41 AM
    Erika Neumann says:

    Hello everybody

    I am planing to clear in at Port Dickson. SY Carina, a Carter 30, with only one person on board.
    Has anyone experience how to and where.
    Can I go to one of the narinas for clearance ? Contact details pleas. Or is it easy enough to do it my self.
    Any advise is much apreciated.

    1. August 25, 2023 at 2:41 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Hello Erika, see our Port Dickson pages for details – Click on the information icon “i” to get to the clearance section where we detail the general process, location of offices, etc. No need for an agent.

  4. March 6, 2023 at 2:29 AM
    seanecocogmail-com says:

    If you’re in Langkawi, you can’t go wrong using the professional services of Nautical Bits. Paul and Sheila Brennan have been taking care of yachts and entry / departure formalities for ages.
    My boat was expertly prepared for a crossing while I was out of the country. I made the crossing without any trouble.

    Sheila has checked me, the crew and the vessel, in and out of Langkawi effortlessly on 2 occasions. She knows exactly what the harbour master, customs and immigration require to ensure seamless entries and departures. Once she has prepared everything for you, you just need to show up at immigration. The whole process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

    We could not recommend their service more!

    Sean and Dusanka O’Connor
    February 2023
    [email protected]

  5. January 1, 2021 at 4:18 AM
    player says:

    My first comments of Dec. 22/2020 seem to be unclear. I highly recommend Phil at Zoom Sails for his quick and efficient service. I strongly do not recommend Chris at Yacht Worx Langkawi due to his slow and inefficient service.

  6. December 22, 2020 at 11:41 PM
    player says:

    I’ve been locked down in Langkawi due to covid for the past months and decided I had some time to have some work done here that was planned for Thailand. I have dealt with Phil at Zoom Sails…I highly recommend him and Chris at Yacht Worx Langkawi…I was majorly disappointed by this chaotic business and would suggest waiting until Thailand to have work done. I have been here about 10 months and find Langkawi a very poor place to source boat supplies.

  7. August 28, 2020 at 6:40 PM
    svgeorgia says:

    MCO extended till at least Dec,31, 2020.

  8. May 26, 2020 at 8:43 AM
    daveve says:

    Has anyone had any work done at Marina Island Pangkor?

  9. May 18, 2020 at 6:30 AM
    metro2020 says:

    Hi Noonside team, an update about Miri Marina. The entrance into the marina was digged out. The entrance depth is about 2.5 meter at a chart datum of 1.04 meter. We have attached a new chart for the entrance.

  10. September 11, 2019 at 6:53 AM
    shadow says:

    Update Kuala Terengganu:
    Duyong Marina contact is
    Mr Hisham = +9018 289 8976

    Air draft for bridge is 15m

    To lift bridge there is a charge of RM2k
    (as advised by Mr Hisham)

  11. June 7, 2019 at 4:59 AM
    paoloconconi says:

    From a Happy Sailor & Seller:
    I highly recommend Seaspray Yacht Sales in Rebak , Langkawi for any buyer and seller.
    The time for me to go for a business trip and my boat was sold.
    We discussed commissions and terms before and all I can say is that Rachel was very honest, professional & passionate. I appreciated her integrity in standing between buyer and seller.
    No deal is smooth but she can soften and take charge of the deal and the talks.
    Her commissions were also highly competitive, a big saving over expensive deals.

    I would also highly recommend her husband Mark for Professional Marine Works & Services.

  12. May 18, 2019 at 11:22 PM
    almeldow says:


  13. March 13, 2019 at 6:17 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Going south from Samui there’s nothing to recommend, but if you go north instead there is Racer Marina ( They have engineers and a good workshop.
    Thailand is most likely better for repairs than Malaysia on the east coast.

  14. March 8, 2019 at 5:03 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I am looking for a boatyard or marina between Ko Samu and Johore where I can access a travel lift and haul out my 40’ keeper onto hard standing for two months or so. I have crewing, engine and rigging issues which limit the distance and conditions for moving or sailing the yacht south. Can someone recommend a suitable destination? (I have started advertising for a crew to sail the boat south from Ko Samui) Thanx, Murtaig

  15. January 26, 2019 at 2:09 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I want to give a high five and recommendation to Yacht Supply Malaysia Chandlery at Rebak Island Marina. Mark and Emma are managing a well-equipped marine store and are attentive, helpful and detail oriented with knowledge and crew to match.

    Whatever your situation, they are there to help and make your yachting needs easier to manage. As an added bonus….they have some of the best fresh ground coffee drinks in the area free to customers,yummm.

  16. January 7, 2019 at 11:09 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    You are required to clear in and out of all Malaysian Duty-Free ports, like Langkawi

  17. December 30, 2018 at 1:38 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    We cleared into Malaysia at Puteri Harbour Marina (Nov 13th 2018), and sailed up to Langkawi, making no other stops. When we went to clear out of Langkawi (December 7th, 2018), we were told we SHOULD have cleared in with the Harbourmaster in Langkawi when we arrived in Langkawi.

    This is unclear in the Formalities section here. We did not have any trouble with Immigration when we cleared out, even though we hadn’t cleared in with Immigration when we arrived in Langkawi.

  18. November 16, 2018 at 7:52 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Hi, if you need a carpenter/shipwright/ general repair man in Kota Kinabalu, or Kudat, or Labuan: we recommend you to contact Juhan Nasip on 0162303558. He helped us to renovate our boat Gwalarn. So now we are helping him by recommending his services. He is tremendously good. Speaks limited English, but understands ok.

  19. March 8, 2018 at 11:21 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    For clarification – Vern was clearing out to Puteri Marina, Johor Baru. Other friends of theirs just cleared out of Langkawi for a domestic voyage. There are two immigration offices there, one in Kuah and the other in Telaga. The office in Telaga knew nothing about clearing out for domestic voyages. It seems there is much confusion amongst officials as to what is actually required.

  20. March 2, 2018 at 9:36 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Penang immigration update 02/02/18. Apparently, immigration rules have changed, at least in Penang. For a domestic voyage ( not leaving the country ) you still have to visit port captain, customs, and immigration.

    Port captain is closed on weekends so we went today, Friday, to clear out. We told port captain and custom’s we would leave the next day at high tide, around noon. No problem with them giving us 24 hrs to leave. Immigration was another matter.

    Even though we told them several times we were not leaving the country, only the port of Penang, they insisted we had to return and clear out the same day we were leaving, less than 24 hrs away. They insisted if they dated the paperwork for today we had to leave by midnight, not an option due to tides.

    Neither the port captain or customs office were aware we had to clear out with immigration even for a domestic voyage.

  21. December 6, 2017 at 12:54 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Hi BeauSoleil, thanks for the info.
    Yes, the jack Russell bread is an asset to have would u agree, they are not only very entertaining but are very alert & vocal when it comes to anyone getting close to our possessions, u can also hide them in the swabs.?

  22. November 10, 2017 at 3:06 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Ahoy. We have a Jack Russell also and had no problem with her in the marina in Kuching. Out in the Islands, she ran on the beaches. This should be a low tide as the jungle is full of ticks from the monkeys. These ticks laugh at the frontline. We didn’t check in but we did check out to go to Peninsular Malaysia. No problem. No mention of the dog.

  23. October 25, 2017 at 11:38 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Hi Gerry,
    We are currently investigating this for you and are in contact with the DVS (Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia). Will post here what we find out.

    We have also spoken with cruiser contacts in Malaysia who tell us whilst officially an import permit is required for your pet, there are many boats cruising with pets on board who have not declared the animals or sought official import status for them while cruising between countries in this region.

    However, whilst there may not be much official scrutiny while you are cruising, it is always best to check with the authorities if you are unsure.

    The question is really about current plans and/or future plans for the animal and it becomes an issue if you decide to take the animal off the boat to live ashore or commercially transport it back to a home country. In this case, the animal must be imported to Malaysia and go through whatever quarantine procedure the home country will require if you intend to export the animal.

    Our thanks to Jennifer of AHOY Penang for help with this query, she can help with links to vets and pet transporters if anyone needs help with the process of export from Malaysia and import to the home country.

  24. October 14, 2017 at 1:44 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Hi, can anyone please help us with a suggestion or recommendations to clear in @ KUCHING – MALAYSIA, we have a 2.5year old Jack Russell DOG, he has had all immunisation shots, Registration chip implant, rabies shots, but not desexed.
    We are clearing out of Bali indo- waters soon and ETA KUCHING approx-1 month.
    Regards Gerry / S/Y FARRFLYER

  25. December 18, 2015 at 11:37 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 unserviceable 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.

  26. November 6, 2015 at 4:17 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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.

  27. March 31, 2015 at 10:23 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Feedback from noonsite contributors:

    We haven’t been up to 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 to the Rajang. He really enjoyed it, though he commented on the number 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 probosci’s 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 (
    Hope this helps.
    Sue Woods


    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 have done a more in-depth visit up these rivers many times. They have a blog

    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 the optimal tide.

    There are some photos back on our blog

    kind regards


  28. March 31, 2015 at 10:22 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 have ever been up to the Rajang River in Borneo, Malaysia.
    It seems to be the only really navigable way in the hinterland, but perhaps 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 extremely 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
    M.Y. Amandla II

  29. June 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 residential 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

  30. November 9, 2013 at 4:43 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    It has happened on 21/05/2013 9h30 AM. Position was N5d51′ E100d07′
    49′ Wooden troller

  31. July 21, 2013 at 4:49 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 boatman demanded payment for the damaged he suffered. This yacht told him to meet him in Penang and let the police settle the matter. The boatman 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.

    44′ FRP Cutter