One of the wealthiest and best developed countries in South East Asia, Malaysia's cosmopolitan mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian people make it a rewarding and fascinating location for any visitor.

Malaysia is divided into two distinct areas: Peninsular Malaysia and Eastern Malaysia. The former shares a border with Thailand to the north, with Singapore lying at its southern tip.

Halfway up the peninsula on its eastern side is Kuala Lumpur, the nation's capital. Contingency planning and controlled development have made Kuala Lumpur one of the most pleasant and attractive cities in Asia. It is now also home to the tallest building in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers.

The peninsula's impressive infrastructure, coupled with beautiful scenery, makes travelling more of a pleasure than a chore.

Eastern Malaysia comprises the states of Sabah and Sarawak, located on the island of Borneo across the South China Sea. This part of the nation is home to a mix of indigenous tribes, each with their own culture and language. Vast stretches of uncharted rainforests give way to rugged mountain peaks, such as the imposing Mr. Kinabalu, towering 4101m into the sky.

This is also the kingdom of one of the world's rarest mammals, the orang utan; its name derives from the Malay language, and literally translates as 'person of the jungle'.

Due to its proximity to the equator, Malaysia has a hot, humid climate (20-30ºC) that changes little throughout the year. The country's language is Bahasa Malaysia, although within the respective ethnic groupings, Chinese and Tamil are spoken. However, English is also widespread, and is the language of the business community.

Any food lover will be in heaven when they visit Malaysia! The country's racial mixture gives rise to a cuisine that is as diverse as it is delicious. One Malaysian creation that everyone seems to enjoy is 'satay', delicious meat kababs in a spicy peanut sauce.

This, along with many other culinary delights can be found on the many street stalls that pepper the sidewalk in any typical Malaysian town.

Author
Irsia B n B

Factfile
Area: 329,750 square kilometres
Population: 19.7 million
Capital City: Kuala Lumpur
People: 50% Malay, 33% Chinese, 9% Indian. Also indigenous tribes such as Orang Asli and Iban
Language: Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese dialects, Tamul English, plus the indigenous languages of the tribal people
Religion: 52% Muslim, 17% Buddhist, 12% Taoist, 8% Christian, 8% Hindu, 2% Tribal
Major products: Tin, rubber, palm oil, timber, textiles, electronics
Currency: Ringgit

 

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