Malaysia - Out and About in South East Asia
Malaysia is considered one of the most exciting travel destinations in South East Asia. The wild jungle, harsh mountains and the wonderful blue water along the coral reefs make this country an extraordinary place. It also has a unique cuisine, which is one of the continent's highlights.
Geography - Malaysia's two parts
Malaysia consists of the Peninsula Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. The two parts are 800 kilometres apart, separated by the South China Sea. Altogether Malaysia is divided into 13 states and three federal territories. While Sarawak, Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan are located on Borneo, eleven other states as well as the Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur constitute the Peninsula Malaysia. The climate is constantly warm with 23 °C to 32 °C but the sky is usually covered in thick clouds. Even in the dry season, humidity is very high and it is stuffy. One exception is the highland. In the Cameron Highlands, temperatures can drop to 15 °C.
Nature - The tropical Asian paradise
Over 50,000 types of plants, 900 different species of butterflies, orang-utans, hornbills, wild buffaloes, elephants and tigers as well as Jerusalem cherry and hibiscus as the national plants - the list of special plants and animals in Malaysia is endless. Over 50 percent of the country's area is vegetated by thick rainforest. Malaysia is also a hilly country. The beautiful Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands are important cultivation areas for tea, fruit and vegetables. Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m) is the highest mountain in the country and in the whole of South East Asia. Numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls make Malaysia a fertile tropical paradise and the islands in the South China Sea have their appeal as well. Tioman was once declared the world's "most beautiful island", Langkawi accommodates tropical sandy beaches and Penang has developed into a popular holiday resort.
Natural sights - In dark, gigantic caves
Mount Kinabalu in the province of Sabah on Borneo is part of the national park of the same name and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. Travellers are fascinated by this breathtaking region. You can even watch free-living orang-utans here. Another World Natural Heritage site is Gunung Mulu National Park, which accommodates the greatest cave system on earth and is the home of countless bats. A particularly impressive sight is offered by Batu Caves, one of the country's most important Hindu sanctuaries. You can also explore Malaysia on a traditional longship. River tours through the great Taman Negara National Park are as popular as an exciting walk over the Canopy Walkways at a height of 45 metres. Visitors should also not miss out on the magical landscape of the Cameron Highlands. The vast tea plantations emit serenity and placidness and are an excellent destination for holidaymakers who want to relax.
Culture - A country of many nations
Malaysians, Indians, Chinese and Arab people constitute the multinational state of Malaysia. In addition, there are several minorities and the tribes of native inhabitants of Borneo, who still live in their traditional longhouses. The country was occupied by the British for a long time and did not gain independence before 1963. Due to its comparatively strong economy, Malaysia is now classified as an emerging nation. However, there are great differences between both parts of the country. The western part of Malaysia is more highly developed. Most of the country's inhabitants live in this part of the country, which contains the capital of Kuala Lumpur. The part which lies on Borneo, on the other hand, is more traditional and Muslim. Despite the 800 kilometres between both parts, there are many common features. The Malaysian population is generally considered to be relaxed, friendly and respectful.
Cultural sights - Modern metropolises and authentic cities
The capital of Kuala Lumpur is a must for every visitor of Malaysia. The country's cosmopolitan heart is very modern with buildings like the twin skyscrapers of the Petronas Towers, great shopping centres, Merdeka Square and the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The UNESCO declared the two historical cities of George Town and Malacca World Cultural Heritage sites. George Town is a former trading post and is located on the holiday island of Penang. It accommodates a Victorian tower clock in the middle of the tropical paradise. On Penang, which has an area of 285 km², you find colourful Indian temples such as Kek Lok Si Temple and beautiful sandy beaches. Malacca is still an insider tip and lies at the Strait of Malacca. It is the architectural style of the Dutch and British which make this city an extraordinary place.
Experience - An unforgettable culinary experience
Malaysia is becoming more and more relevant, especially with regard to its cuisine, as the most popular Asian cuisines meet here. Traditional Malaysian dishes such as Nasi Lemak and the Chinese cuisine combine with Indian cooking. Visitors cannot only taste the country's delicious dishes in restaurants but also in cookshops, which you find in the streets and on the markets. The latter prepare the delicacies right in front of your eyes. After a refreshment, holidaymakers can visit the fully air-conditioned shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur, which leave nothing to be desired. A more exciting experience is a visit to the night markets in Chinatown. Travellers can buy typical Malaysian souvenirs such as wooden masks from Sarawak or decorative work made of tin and silver here. Malaysia's nightlife does not compare to that in the Western world. If you do not want to go without clubs and bars, however, you should try your luck in the capital. Visitors find a casino in the Genting Highlands.
Activities - At the beach, in the jungle and in the mountains
The dream beaches on the Perhentian Islands and Tioman offer relaxation, tranquillity and a lot of sun. There is also a great number of water sports facilities in the tourist regions. Snorkellers and divers prefer the lesser-known Malaysia to the overcrowded Thailand. You see coral reefs and a colourful underwater world, especially around the offshore islands. Visitors can go along Rajang River (Batang Rajang) on a boat or go on a wild rafting tour through the jungle. Other popular activities are trekking tours and hikes through the impressive mountainous regions of the Kinabalu National Park.
Since the temperatures hardly change during the year, you can travel Malaysia at any time. Of course, there is more rainfall in the rainy season but it also rains regularly during the dry season from April to October. The risk of Malaria transmission is particularly high on Borneo, which is why travellers should use mosquito repellent.
Travellers who love nature will never want to leave Malaysia again and connoisseurs will enjoy the fresh delicacies from the Far East. Due to the many ethnic groups, culture enthusiasts can discover new things here every day.