5 Hotel Taboos and Superstitions in Malaysia

Here are some notable superstitions and beliefs that Malaysians generally observe when staying in a hotel.

No matter how much of a homebody you are, there’s always a time when you might just need to put up the night somewhere else. It’s fine if it’s at your friend’s place or a relative’s house where you have company. But if you need to hole up in the room of a hotel or an inn, it’s normal to feel out of place, especially if it’s miles away from anyone you know. Even if there’s a television with great channels, things can get pretty lonely.



hotel taboos and superstitions

It is normal to feel lonely in unfamiliar surroundings, for instance when you are staying in a hotel.



Here in Malaysia, we have our own list of hotel taboos and traditions. Read on to find out! 


1. Knock before entering your room

This leads the list for obvious reasons. You’re away from familiar territory and your own room, and many others have rented the same room before you. So when it’s empty, there might be ‘the others’ in there that you don’t know about. So it’s really a symbolic gesture. You should also, upon opening the door, give a greeting such as “I come in peace” for good measure. 



2. Not staying on 4th, 13th and 14th floor

The number 13 is believed to be unlucky in some countries, so most hotel floors will not have the number. But in many hotels in the Asia-Pacific, the numbers 4 and 14 are not available either, due to the fact that number 4 in certain languages mean ‘death’. Would you stay on such hotel floors?


hotel taboos and superstitions

It's disconcerting to face the mirror while half asleep!


3. Don’t sleep facing the mirror


No matter how rational a person is, one must admit that having to face a mirror while trying to sleep is disconcerting. Besides, it is believed that the soul will leave the body to wander around while one is sleeping, and might get confused between the real body and the reflection. You would also most probably freak out if you’re in-between sleep and suddenly see a reflection of someone else. Now, anyone would freak out in that situation, especially if they’re still half-asleep!


4. Shoes must point in opposite/different directions


Apparently, this practice is necessary to dissuade spirits from stepping into your shoes easily. And when that happens, it will be easier for the ghosts to possess the footwear’s owner. So just toss them to the side — no neatness necessary! 


hotel taboos and superstitions

Make sure your shoes are in different directions when in hotel rooms.

5. Take up all bed spaces


Almost all hotels have a minimum of two single beds or a double bed. If you’re renting the room alone, make sure the other bed or the space beside your double bed is ‘settled in’. No, you don’t have to look for another roomie; just make sure it looks occupied, for example by putting your clothes or bags on it.



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