Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Magical Malaysia


Malaysia is one of the rapidly growing economies in the world which is located in the heart of South-East Asia and comprises of two parts namely Peninsular Malaysia, bordering with Thailand in the North and Singapore in the South; and East Malaysia, with the states of Sarawak and Sabah sharing the island of Borneo, with Indonesia.Exciting, diverse Malaysia - a destination unrivalled by any other. A fascinating combination of unspoiled beaches, breathtaking highlands, tropical rainforests, an incredible variety of flora and fauna, cosmopolitan cities and a diverse multiracial culture help make Malaysia a destination unrivalled by any other. Situated in the heart of South East Asia, Malaysia is made up of two parts - Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.Peninsular Malaysia is home to the capital, Kuala Lumpur, a vibrant city with a rich mix of western influences and eastern culture and a shopper's paradise. Discover the highlands, retreats and east coast beaches. Many resort islands lie off its coast - Penang, a tropical island with a unique cultural heritage; Langkawai, a tropical paradise for those wanting to relax; Tioman Island, considered one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal clear waters; Redang Island, famous for its popular Marine Park and Pangkor Island with enchanting beaches and rainforests.The easternmost part of Malaysia is located on the island of Borneo and consists of two states, Sarawak and Sabah. In Sarawak you can experience local culture, nature, adventure and the traditional 'Longhouses'. Sabah is one of Malaysia's best kept secrets with lush rainforests, and plenty of wildlife to discover. Malaysia offers an exciting and diverse range of holiday options - choose one destination or combine several to create a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.Malaysia is one of the most pleasant and peaceful countries to visit in South-East Asia. Malaysian society stands on a lively and interesting fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous cultures and customs. Malaysia is a land of fascinating sights and attractions. Rich in color and contrasts, her multi-faceted charm provides intriguing images that leave visitors to the country in awe. The natural warmth of Malaysians is legendary; wherever one goes, the friendliness and hospitality of the people would prove to be a very special experience. Malaysia is paradise blessed with sun-drenched beaches, enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna, forest retreats and magnificent mountains. A land of many colors is a popular holiday destination.

Fact File:

Official name: The Federation of Malaysia
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Nationality: Malaysian
Capital city: Kuala Lumpur
Ethnic Group: 50% Malay, 33% Chinese, 9% Indian, plus indigenous tribes such as Orang Asli and Iban
Location: Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Continent: Asia
Currency: Malaysia Ringgit (RM); 1 RM = 11.454 Indian Rupee = 0.2632 US $ = 0.2173 Euro (subject to change)
Population: 23 millionLanguages: English, Tamil, Chinese, MalayReligion: 52% Muslim, 17% Buddhist, 12% Taoist, 8% Christian, 8% Hindu, 2% tribalArea: 329,750 sq km
Famous for: Tropical rainforests, iydillic beaches
Major cities: Kuala Lumpur, Genting, Langkawi, Penang
Neighbouring countries: Indonesia
Clothing: Lightweight, washable, casual clothes are the order of the day in Malaysia - cotton or cotton-rich/synthetic mix (preferably the former) are recommended. A light sweater is a good idea for cooler evenings
Major events: Hari Raya Puasa,. Hari Raya Haji. Chinese New Year Thaipusam Kota Belud Tamu Besar Things to buy: designer collections, elegant footwear, exclusive watches, optical items, and quality fabrics. Electrical appliances, electronic equipment, computers, and cameras
Things to do: Shopping, sightseeing
Cuisine: Malay, Chinese and Indian

Visa Permit:

The applicant should have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Malaysia; one visa application form; (photocopy allowed); two passport-size recent photographs; confirmed onward/ return air ticket with travel itinerary; onward visa; a typed covering letter from the applicant and foreign exchange endorsement on the passport are mandatory. Visa is valid for 90 days and more upto one year and stay issued is at the discretion of the Immigration Authorities at entry. Processing time is three working days.


Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim and conservative country, and observance of local customs and behavior is appreciated. Modesty of dress in public places is expected. For formal or semi-formal occasions men can go for a long-sleeved batik shirt. Outside beach resorts women should not wear dresses or very short skirts or shorts. Topless sunbathing is not acceptable at the beach or poolside. Check the required dress code before entering any place of religious worship. While visiting a Malaysian home it is customary to remove footwear. During trekking one must take care of the wildlife and environment. The Malays are warm, friendly but often shy. Expression of anger or impatience is frowned upon by both Malays and Chinese.

When to Go:

One should avoid the November to January rainy season on Peninsula Malaysia's east coast. The time to see turtles on the east coast is between May and September.


Close to the Equator, Malaysia occupies two distinct regions: Peninsular Malaysia, extending from the Thai frontier to the border of Singapore; and the States of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo's northern coast. At lower altitudes the weather is normally warm, humid and sunny year-round, with temperatures hovering around 32°C by day and 22°C at night. The seasons follow the monsoon winds. Rainfall is erratic in nature as it comes in quick, heavy downpours, followed by sunshine within the hour. On the west coast of the Peninsula the rainfall is from September to December. On the east coast and in Sabah/Sarawak the monsoon rains normally occur between October and February. At higher altitudes (in hill-stations, for example) temperatures are much lower, with averages of 23°C by day and 10°C by night.

Getting There:

By Air: Malaysia's main international airport is at Sepang, 50km (31mi) south of KL. Tourists either fly into Sepang or arrive overland from Thailand or Singapore. Penang also has international flights, and Kuching in Sarawak and Tawau in Sabah have flights to/from Kalimantan.

By Road: There are five road border crossings between Malaysia and Thailand (two on the west coast, one in the centre and two on the east coast). There is also a west-coast rail link.

By Sea: To get to/from Singapore, you can cross the causeway at Johor Bahru, catch a ferry or take the train. There are three ferry services between Malaysia and Indonesia (Penang-Medan, Melaka-Dumai and, in East Malaysia, Tawau-Tarakan).

Getting Around:

By Air: Malaysian Airline System (MAS) is the main domestic airline providing service to both the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak. By Road: Peninsular Malaysia has a fast, economical and widespread bus system, and this is generally the best way to get around. Minibuses cover the main routes. Buses ply Sarawak's major trunk road, but hardly anywhere else. Local taxis in Malaysia are metered.Long-distance taxis and rental cars are also available.By Trains: There are basically only two lines: one linking Singapore to Thailand via KL and Butterworth, and the other branching off at Gemas and heading northeast to Kota Bharu.

Major Attractions:

Kuala Lumpur: This ancient city has grown to a modern, bustling city of almost two million people, is the focal point of new Malaysia. The city's bustling streets, its modern office towers, and its cosmopolitan air project reflect an unbounded spirit of progress and symbolize Malaysia's leap into a bright future. The city brings together Malaysia's past and present, its many constituent cultures, and even its remarkable natural treasures, allowing first-time visitors an invaluable opportunity to see Malaysia as a whole before setting off to explore its parts. The botanical and bird parks of the Lake Gardens provide a glimpse of the unspoiled beauty and variety of Malaysia's plants and animals. The vibrant Central Market, the National Museum, music, crafts, and cultural practices from Kelantan to Sarawak can be explored and experienced in the city.Cameron Highlands: It is the centre of Peninsular Malaysia that comprises a series of hill stations at altitudes between 1500-1800m (4920-5904ft). This fertile area is the centre of Malaysia's tea industry and it's the place where locals and visitors come to escape the heat of the plains.Georgetown - Penang Island: This is one of the country's premier resort areas which is 285 sq km (177 sq mi) in area and is located off Peninsula Malaysia's northwestern coast.Penang Island is marked also because of the vibrant city of Georgetown on the island's northeastern coast which has more Chinese flavor than either other countries of Far East.

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