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Before you travel

Also useful are: pollution mask if travel ling to large cities, a basic tool kit including a puncture repair kit, spare tubes, spare tyre, pump, a good map of the area, bungee cord water filter.

MONEY
The malaysian dollar (RM), is called the ringgit, and is divided into 100 sen (cents). Bank notes come in denominations of RMI, 5,10, 20,50,100,500 and 1,000. Coins are ` 10, 20 and 50 cent denominations. As a rough guideline, US$ 1= RM3.80 i! Note that the ringgit is pegged to the US dollar, which was Prime minister mahathir's response to the Asian economic crisis . most economists believed that the currency was undervalued and that - was somewhere between US$3.20 and US$3.30. But it seems that, for the time being at Least, the government will try to keep the US$3.80 peg, although later in 2000 Ringgit may be allowed to appreciate.

Currency regulation have been in a state of flux,not they have had an impact on most visitor though. the government introduced currency controls in 1998 as a means to stabilize the economy and prevent currency speculation.for non-resident the last of these controls was lifted in October 1999.

Credit cards.
Most of theBigger hotels, restaurants and shops accept international credit cards, Credit cards including American Express, BankAmericard, Diners, MasterCard and Visa. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted. Cash advances can be issued against credit card in most banks, although some banks - notably Bank Bumiputra - limit the amount that can be drawn. A passport is usually required for over-the-counter is also possible to draw cash from ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) if you have PIN number (Personal Identification Number).Maybank,with branches in most town will accept both Visa and MasterCard at its ATMs.

Travellers' cheques.
These can be exchanged at banks and money changers and in some big hotels (often Traveller’s)money changers often offer the best rates, but it is worth shopping around. Bank charge commission on travellers' cheques. Those from all major issuing companies and denominated in just about any major currency are widely accepted, but as elsewhere, US dollars are probably best.

Cost of living
Prices have been relatively stable and because the ringgit has been held down at a lower-than-market exchange rate, Malaysia is cheaper for overseas visitors than a few v on in 1999 wasjust2.8% and because consumption in 1998 and 1999 was week because of the economic crisis businesses, including hotels, have struggled to maintain their rates rather than pushing them up.
Having said all that, Malaysia was no longer a cheap place to live even before the 1998 recession and people wanting to stay in accommodation other than that pitched at the pocket of the budget traveller will find the country more expensive than neighbouring Thailand and (especially) Indonesia.

But all is not lost. It is still possible to travel on a relatively low budget, Cheaper guesthouses charge around RM15-50 a night for two-which at the early 2000m rates of exchange translates into a US dollar figure of about US$4-13. Dorm beds area. Available in many towns, and these are priced at around RM10-15, or US$2.50-4. It is usually possible to find a simple a/c room for RM50-80 or USS13-21. Eating out is also comparatively cheap: a good curry can be had for as little as RM2-4, or around US$1. Finally, overland travel is a bargain. Although private car ownership is rapidly spreading, many ordinary Malaysians still travel by bus and consequently the bus network is not only extremely good, but fares are very good value.

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