Making phone calls to someone abroad can be complicated. If you’re trying to access mobile service from your smartphone, you may have to deal with new networks, charges, and calling codes. If you’re calling a country that’s far away with lots of remote areas, like Malaysia, best practices for getting in touch can vary based on the region. This post will help to guide you through contacting your acquaintances, friends, and family in Malaysia.
All countries have their own calling code. It’s a number, between 1-3 digits, that you dial to make a call into that country. You use the number as a prefix to signify international direct dialing. Country codes signify that you’re establishing a call to another country as part of the International Direct Dialing (IDD) plan. This plan allows you to directly dial into another country, as opposed to through an operator.
If you’re trying to dial into Malaysia, the international country code is:
When you’re calling a certain area of Malaysia, you’ll also use the local area code that comes after the international calling code.
If you’re calling Malaysia, you’re likely to be calling a region near one of Malaysia’s cities. The following are local area codes for some of Malaysia’s most populated cities:
|Area||Local Area Code in Malaysia|
|George Town of Penang||4|
Land lines in Malaysia consist of an area code of 1-2 digits, and then a 6-8 digit subscriber number. Mobile lines in Malaysia consist of a 2 digit mobile phone code, and then a 7-8 digit subscriber number.
For example, to call the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the number is 3-2168-5000. To call that embassy from the US, you would dial:
- 011 - the exit code used when calling abroad from the US
- 60 - the Malaysian country code
- 3 - Kuala Lumpur’s city code
- 2168-5000 - the local US Embassy phone number
That means if you see +60321685000, then you'd dial 011-60-3-2168-5000 on your phone.
Malaysia is a large country, but it’s also very remote. If your call didn’t go through, that could be for a number of reasons:
- The signal isn’t strong enough to the mobile phone you’re calling
- You didn’t dial the proper exit code before entering the phone number
- You forgot the local area code before entering the local phone number
Several programs offer free or cheap calls to Malaysia if the person you’re calling can connect to Wifi. Check out Skype, Whatsapp, or Viber as cheap alternatives to phone calls.
Voicemail in Malaysia is common. Malaysia’s largest telecoms companies allow you to receive messages, alert that a new message is in your mailbox, and customise your greetings for callers whose calls you miss.
Malaysia has a dial tone for when you’re entering numbers, a ringtone for when you’re calling phones, and a busy tone for when the line is occupied. The world tone database can play these tones for you if you’d like to create an account. Another option is to personalise your ringtone on your mobile with a favourite song or sound effect, by downloading it through a Malaysian smartphone app.
If you’re thinking of visiting Malaysia or going abroad soon, make sure to be smart about where you’re spending your cash. If you use TransferWise, you can get the same exchange rates as banks give themselves - no mark ups, no surcharges, no hidden fees. TransferWise even offers a borderless account, which is a multi-currency account that will have consumer a debit card attached to the account in early 2018. You can use it to send money to 50+ countries in as many currencies, including Malaysian ringgit.
Dealing with international logistics can be challenging, whether it’s a bank you’re dealing with, or just making phone calls to and from a country. Use this guide as a resource to simplify your communications in Malaysia.