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Money Matters (or course!)

Thaipusam devotee

The local currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM), which is divided into 100 sen. In circulation are RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, RM100, RM500 and RM1000. Coins being used in Malaysia are the 1,5,10,20, and 50 sen, and RM1.

The country's regulation requires all travellers to declare the amount of local and foreign currencies in their possession on arrival into and departure from Malaysia. The Travellers Declaration Form (TDF) for this purpose can be obtained from all entry/exit points in Malaysia or any Malaysian mission abroad. Non-resident travellers entering Malaysia are permitted to import up to a maximum amount of RM 1000 only and any amount of foreign currencies. Conversely, they are permitted to export up to a maximum amount of RM 1000 only and foreign currencies not more then what was originally brought into the country.

Changing Money

Changing money in Malaysia is easy. You will find local banks in just about any major town in Malaysia, however remote, including private money changers in most major town centres. Credit cards are widely accepted (although I often carry enough cash with me in more remote areas or when I will be away from a major town), and most major banks ATM machines (Maybank, Standard Chartered, etc) will accept Visa or MasterCards if your card has a Pin number associated with it.

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Stretching your money…or losing it

As foreigners, don't be surprised if you end up paying more than local. When buying any goods, it never hurts to ask for a price reduction, especially if you are buying a number of items. I do not recommend haggling over everything you buy! However, souvenirs, antiques and other tourist items, even if the price is listed, are items that are usually amiable to bargaining. Transport prices are usually fixed but do negotiate a reasonable price where non-metered taxis around town or a charter transport are used.

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Photos: Devotee, Thaipusam festival, Selangor - © WILDBORNEO.net


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