One of the few Malay words, that a visitor to Malaysia will hear most, is the phrase “Selamat Datang”. In English, it means “Welcome”.
Malaysia, apart from being truly an Asian country, has something for everybody. For the urbanites, they have the whole of Peninsula Malaysia to explore.
For the nature lovers and the outdoor adventurer, there is Borneo Island, where the states of Sabah and Sarawak are located.
Blessed with a potpourri of cultures, Malaysia is a ‘truly Asian experience’. With the fusion of Asia’s three oldest civilizations interweaved with the indigenous cultures of the Bidayuhs, Ibans and Kadazan Dusuns. There is nothing more alluring in the world in terms of cultural experiences than this South East Asian country.
Despite having a rich and varied cultural tradition, there are enchanting islands along its long coastline, vibrant festivals, spectacular skyscrapers, heritage buildings and a rainforest reputed to be over a hundred million years old.
Malaysia is the only federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia.
They comprise of 13 states and 3 federal territories, namely:
1. Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur 2. Federal Territory of Labuan 3. Federal Territory of Putrajaya 4. Johor 5. Kedah 6. Kelantan 7. Malacca 8. Negeri Sembilan 9. Pahang 10. Penang 11. Perak 12. Perlis 13. Sabah 14. Sarawak 15. Selangor 16. Terengganu
It also shares land borders with Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and maritime borders with Vietnam and the Philippines.
There are three main destinations in Malaysia, they are Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak which are both in East Malaysia.
Malaysia’s main airport is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). It serves as the main gateway into the country. However, in addition to KLIA, there are also several international airports located around the country.
They is the Langkawi International Airport , the Penang international airport, the Johor Bahru international airport, the Kota Kinabalu international airport and the Kuching international airport.
About Malaysia - Background History
Before the Second World War and before Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957, Peninsula Malaysia comprised of a Federation of several Malay states, unferderated Malay states and several Straits Settlements crown colonies.
The Federated Malay States were Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Perak while Johor, Kedah, Kelantan Perlis and Terengganu make up the unfederated Malay states.
The crown colonies during that period were the historical cities of Malacca, Penang Island and Singapore. Singapore was initially part of Malaysia but it was expelled in 1965.
East Malaysia during the pre war period consisted of the North Borneo colony (Sabah) and the State of Sarawak that was owned and ruled by the “Brookes” family.
After the Second World War, all these states were federated together to form the Federation of Malaya which later gained independence from the British in 1957.
The lowering of the British Union Jack flag coincided with the simultaneous raising of the first Malaysian flag at midnight at Dataran Merdeka on 31st August 1957.
About Malaysia – Climate
Malaysia has an equatorial tropical climate.
Basically it’s hot and wet all year round. From October to February, you have the north east monsoon which washes over East Malaysia and the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Flooding during this time of the year is a common occurrence.
From April to October, you have the south west monsoon. The areas most affected by this monsoon rain include Kuala Lumpur and the southern region of Peninsula Malaysia.
Even though, there is a lot of wet weather in this country, it is characterized by brief intense showers which ultimately give way to a bright and sunny afternoon.
Peninsular Malaysia comprises of the entire Malay Peninsula that lies between Thailand and Singapore.
It is divided into four (4) regions. The Central Region, Northern Region, East Coast Region and the Southern Region.
It is home to the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur and the bulk of the country’s economic activity is also found here. Naturally with most of the economic activity centered on Peninsular Malaysia, the majority of the Malaysian population is also found in this part of the country.
Comparatively, the west coast is more developed than the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. Both the east coast and west coast of Peninsula Malaysia is separated geographically by a mountain range known as the Titiwangsa Mountains.
About Malaysia - Central Region
The central region comprises of:
This is the more developed part of Peninsular Malaysia with the states of Selangor, as well as two Federal Territories, Kuala Lumpur and Putra Jaya.
Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur and the new administrative centre of Putrajaya, are all located within this region.
The majority of the Chinese population also reside in this region.
About Malaysia - Northern Region
The Northern Region is made up of the states of:
Penang (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage City)
Kedah (UNESCO Global Geo Park)
The Northern Region is the spotlight for unhurried leisurely pursuits. In this region is the world’s renowned Pangkor Laut Resort, the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage City of Georgetown, and Asia’s first UNESCO Global Geo Park, on Langkawi Island.
About Malaysia - East Coast Region
The East Coast Region of Peninsula Malaysia is traditionally more laid back and dominantly Muslim.
The islands found here are unspoilt. Quaint fishing villages and quiet towns form much of the landscape.
The rural people here still observe much of their traditional culture. This region comprise of the states of:
The Southern Region
The Southern Region is made up of three states:
Malacca (UNESCO World Heritage City)
Long coastline and endless stretches of oil palm plantations form much of the landscape in the part of the country.
Eight hundred kilometers towards the east of Peninsula Malaysia is East Malaysia on the island of Borneo.
The bulk of East Malaysia is still undeveloped and is covered with an almost impenetrable rainforest. Nevertheless, East Malaysia is extremely rich in natural resources and popular for eco tourism.
East Malaysia comprises of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Nowadays, Malaysia is well known for eco tourism and a wide array of nature based activities. The activities range from grueling cross jungle trekking or demanding rock climbing, to white water rafting in the turbulent rapids on Borneo Island.
Whatever takes your fancy, there is always something that you can find in Malaysia that will definitely keep you entertained and occupied.