Do I need a visa to visit Marrakech on a Malaysian passport?
Yes, you do. Presumably you will be applying at the Moroccan Embassy in London (see http://travelguides.lastminute.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=location&AID=10296531&PID=887185&SID=VIN123&loc_id=131083&sub_section=Passport%2FVisa ). A single-entry tourist visa costs £16. The website says most applications are handled in 4 working days, but some applicants' papers are sent to Morocco for processing and may take two months.
What is the best hotel to stay at while in Marrakech?
if this is your first time to Marrakech, and you want to experience the real Marrakech, I would suggest staying in a riad (traditional Moroccan house in the old cityMedina). they are normally situated in the heart of things and you will experience a more authentic Morocco than you would if you stayed in any of the big, modern hotels outside the Medina walls.
That said, riads come in all shapes and sizes (and budgets!)
I suggest you scour Trip Adviser for the sort of thing that might appeal to you, and then read traveller reviews from people who have stayed at the places.
email me if you need any help or advice!
How comfortable would an American couple be in Marrakech, Morocco?
I think you will have a blast in Marrakech and you will get to experience Moroccan hospitality at its best. Couple of words of advice: dress modestly in traditional part of the town and learn the art of bargaining in the outdoor market. It is not a bad idea to befriend locals as it is the best way to get the most out of your trip. Casablanca is the economic capital, things are a little more fast pace. It is a metropolitan kind of environment where you definitely need to be aware of your surrounding (e.g: pickpockets) I would visit Casa as people call it (did you know that there is a cafe there that is a tribute to the movie with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Fez is the spiritual capital it is an interesting stop to add to your trip.It is especially nice to go there during the spiritual music festival that features artists from around the world. Tangier is a busy port you will definitely note the Spanish influence, I like the Strait of Gibraltar where Meditteranean meets the Atlantic
What is the distance between Marrakech and Casablanca?
The highway is now completed between Casa and Marrakech. It by FAR is the best way to travel and will only take you about 2 hours. Rent a car and drive yourself.
By the way it is a toll road so lots of Moroccans don't use it, you will find it IS NOT congested at all. The cost is about 70 dirhams for the toll between these two cities.
The old route is through small towns and really drags but the highway makes the trip completely different. You will think your on a highway in USA.
As a moroccan who lived abroad for a while and then came back there, i'll try to answer you honestly.
I've been to marrkech many times, it's amazing how things change. I don't think there are special clothes to wear there, except those dictated by the weather. More and more local girls wear occidental wear (and even sexy).
What you may find is that young men who will try to seduce girls, with a little respect and fun you can shorten these advances (maybe you'll like it if you're single). It's still a poor country, people try to find a way to get abroad or simply have fun, there's also prostitution, so watch your boyfriend.
What else, yes, Mosques are considered holy places, so non muslims are not allowed to visit (except historical ones like Casablanca's).
Except that, unless you don't have a criminal behaviour, you're ok. And even if you're criminal, justice is very modern (a mix between moderate islamic and french law). So they don't cut steelers' hands or whatever middleage sentences. Even capital punsihment is in it's way to be abolished.
I strongly advice you to visit the southern part, which is in the sahara. Merzouga, Erfoud, Ouarzazate are very special place not so far from Marrakesh, just google on them if you're curious.
Millions of people visit Marrakech each year, most of them like it's magic, i don't think you'll be deceived.