5 ways to get free Wi-Fi in Malaysia

Photo credit: nicolasnova / Foter / CC B

Wi-Fi in Malaysia is crucial, as it allows us to stay better connected to high speed internet on-the-go. Most modern nations today have readily accessible free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout major metropolitan areas, and Malaysia delivers on that experience.

Ubiquitously available in most major towns, free Wi-Fi hotspots in Malaysia are easily found in restaurants, cafes, hotels, hospitals, and many more other locations. This is great for travellers of all kinds who need to access the internet in Malaysia.

Here are some tips on how to access the internet with free Wi-Fi in Malaysia.

1. Coffee shops & restaurants

Buying a cup of joe (or tea) at most established coffee shops throughout Malaysia is a sure-fire method for getting online. Mega chain coffee shops such as Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, PappaRich, and Old Town White Coffee are just some of the places that have free Wi-Fi hotspots. In fact, efforts by the state governments of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor have made it mandatory for food outlets in their respective municipalities to provide a free Wi-Fi connection to customers.  This service extends to eateries such as McDonalds, KFC, and most restaurants throughout the nation. Just pay for a drink and you’ll gain Internet privileges once again.

2. Smartphone apps

There are times when finding a free Wi-Fi hotspot is crucial. Whether you fail to have a paid data plan by your local cellular network provider or you’re simply just a tourist, you can always rely on your trusty smartphone.

An example is Kirill Kudin’s free iPhone app – Free Wi-Fi Map – which uses your phone’s GPS and network triangulation capabilities to determine nearby Wi-Fi networks. The limitation of this free application is that it only allows you to search for free hotspots within a 1km radius. If you want more functionality, you need to purchase the ‘pro’ version. Nevertheless, this free app gives over 2000+ free hotspots in KL, and user feedback sometimes provides insights about hotspot passwords.

Here are some other free apps for finding Wi-Fi hotspots around Malaysia:

  • Free Zone (not as extensive as Free Wi-Fi Map but still shows a decent amount of hotspots)
  • Penang Free Wifi (Free hotspot locator in Penang)

3. Smartphone Tethering (Cellular Network Data Package)

Smartphone tethering is the act of hooking up your phone’s Internet capabilities (wired or wirelessly) to your computer or tablet.  Essentially, you’re sharing your mobile phone’s Internet connection to other devices.

Smartphone tethering isn’t 100% free, as it still requires having a cellular network data package to access the internet. However, the specific act of smartphone tethering is by all means free. This is especially useful when you are required to stay in an area with no working free Wi-Fi hotspot and you need one of your other devices (computer or tablet) to access the internet.

If you need guaranteed access to a working hotspot and you’re willing to pay, then think about subscribing to a daily or monthly Internet package. Most cellular network providers in Malaysia offer affordable daily packagessmall 100MB package, you can browse the web, use social networks, and send out e-mails for a whole day. If you absolutely cannot pay for a working Internet connection on your phone, try asking a friend to let you use his or hers.


Checkout three of Malaysia’s most popular cellular network provider’s mobile Internet rates:

Johor free public Wi-Fi signal antenna | Credit: majestic b / Shutterstock.com

4. Look Out For The Free Wi-Fi Symbol

This one should be a no-brainer as the sub-heading above is self-explanatory. Nevertheless, there are times when we bypass or miss the symbol entirely. Fret not however, as the act of asking a simple question to working staff will quickly let you determine if an establishment has free Wi-Fi. As previously mentioned, free Wi-Fi services throughout Malaysia are common, meaning that besides coffee shops and restaurants, places such as malls, mamaks, airports, hospitals, commercial centres, food courts, and even small businesses will usually have a free hotspot. All you have to do is ask to get for the login details.

5. Use A Wi-Fi Hotspot Directory

There are websites on the Internet dedicated to providing users with information on free Wi-Fi hotspots. A good resource is WeFi, as they provide you with an online map with all the nearby possible Wi-Fi networks. With an extensive list of millions of hotspots around the globe, including rural areas, those eager to get back online should do some research using websites such as WeFi to note down all the hotspots in the area that they would require a working Internet connection. Alternatively, they have an app for iPhone and Android handsets that allows users to locate hotspots without a working Internet connection.

Other Wi-Fi hotspot directories:

Any tips for getting free Wi-Fi in Malaysia? If so, post a thought in the comments below.


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