Ringgit is the official currency of Malaysia. Unofficially it is also called the Malay dollar and is divided into 100 sen. In addition to banknotes, coins are also in circulation, but travelers rarely see them. The ISO code is MYR and Ringgit is abbreviated as either RM, $ or M $.
The translation of ringgit is “jagged” and is often associated with the jagged edges of the Spanish silver dollar. These have been used as a means of payment in Southeast Asia since the 16th century. Even though China lacked silver at the time, it was the only way to trade with Europe.
After the silver dollar had served its purpose, the Indian rupee was introduced as a means of payment in 1837, but only for almost 30 years. Thereafter, the silver dollar was brought back again until 1903, when it was driven out by the Straits dollar, which was the main currency in the country until 1953.
In the same year the British colonial empire sacked the Malay Peninsula and Borneo. This action devalued not only the pound sterling, but also the British and Malayan Borneo dollars. From 1975, ringgit was therefore the common name for money. Up until then, the dollar was commonly used. It was not until the 1990’s that the ringgit became fully established and replaced the dollar symbol with RM.
The usual exchange rate was set at 3.80 RM per dollar after the Asian crisis in 1997. In 2000, however, the currency was decoupled from the US dollar again.
Exchange into local currency
The exchange of money in distant countries is always a big concern for travelers. However, exchanging money, even in Malaysia, is easy. Exchange offices, airports and banks offer the opportunity to exchange euros for ringgits.
Large shopping centers also offer exchange offices, which usually offer better rates than banks, for example. If larger amounts are eligible for exchange, some exchange offices can also be used to trade in order to achieve a better rate.
For travelers, it is advisable to first exchange money in Malaysia, as the exchange rate is better there. In addition, it is forbidden to bring more than 1000 ringgit with you when entering the country.