For any visitors to Malaysia, one of the first words which they will hear once they get on board a Malaysia bound airline flight is “Selamat Datang”.
It means “Welcome” in Malay.
One of the “Asian Economic Tigers” in South East Asia, there are many “M” words that can be used to describe Malaysia. Words like “Multi-Cultural”, “Multi-Ethic”, “Multi-Lingual”, “Mysterious”, “Mystical”, “Magnificent” and “Magical” can all be used to singularly or collectively describe this relatively young nation of 24 million people.
This is due to the fact that it is one of the few countries in Asia that has three (3) major races, Chinese, Malays and Indians, in significant numbers in one place.
In fact, it is this diversity that is afforded by the various races in this country that make “Malaysia Truly Asia”.
The individuality of the various races and fusion of the cultures truly blend well to produce something exotic and magical that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Malaysia Facts – Former British Colony
A former British colony, Malaysia (West Malaysia) became an independent country on 31st August 1957.
It later expanded to include the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo (East Malaysia) as part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Singapore initially joined the Federation but later withdrew from the Federation in 1965 due to political differences.
Because of the British influence, the system of government and judiciary system adopted by Malaysia mimic those of the UK. Today, Malaysia has progressed to be an emerging economic powerhouse with a population of approximately 25 million people within the Asia Pacific region.
Malaysia Facts – The Capital City
The capital of this South East Asian country is Kuala Lumpur which means ”Muddy Estuary” in the Malay language.
Formerly a tin mining town, Kuala Lumpur today has prospered to become a show piece of grandeur and progress. The world’s tallest twin towers, the 88 stories “Petronas Twin Towers”, are located in this bustling metropolis.
Yet, this city of 1.5 million people manages to preserve its historical heritage with well coordinated development. So it is not surprising for you to find colonial architectural wonders among the glittering skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Facts – The Language
Although the official lingua franca is Bahasa Malaysia, being a multi ethic country, various other languages and dialects are also spoken in Malaysia.
The main Chinese dialects that are spoken by the Malaysian Chinese include Cantonese, Foochow, Hakka, Hokkien and Mandarin.
Tamil and Telugu and Punjabi are also widely spoken among the Malaysian Indian communities.
In East Malaysia, the indigenous tribes form the bulk of the local population, the Iban and Bidayuh languages are widely spoken in Sarawak while in Sabah, it is quite common to hear the Kadazan language being spoken among the people in Sabah.
Malaysia Facts – Culture
Due to the unique makeup of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population, the culture of Malaysia is also multi-faceted.
And despite the interweaving of the various cultures among the races of the country, each race still manages to preserve their own individuality.
The Malays have their own festive time during which they celebrate “Hari Raya”. The Chinese also have “Chinese New Year” celebrated during the emergence of the new lunar month and the Indian community have “Thaipusiam” and “Devapali” which identify them.
The Kadazans of Sabah and Ibans also have their own harvest festivals called “Kemataan” and “Gawai”.
The fusion of cultures is also evident in the fabulous cuisines of the country. In fact, Malaysia is also known as the “Food paradise of South East Asia”.
It is one of the few places in Asia where you can find such a wide and varied menu in culinary delights.
Malaysia Facts – Nature
Malaysia, besides being rich in cultural heritage, has many attractions, both natural and man-made that will bow over even the most discerning tourist.
It has Mount Kinabalu which is the highest peak in South East Asia.
The long coastline is home to numerous world class beaches. There are also many islands dotting the coastline that are regarded as some of the most beautiful and idyllic tropical islands around. The white sand beaches, pristine clear water and swaying palm trees amidst the sunset are enough to make any romantic soul go weak in the knees.
With a mountain range stretching along the entire length of the West Malaysian Peninsula, the hill resorts perched among the highlands offer a cool and tranquil respite from the frantic rat race in the cities.
Among the most popular hill resorts is the world renowned Genting Highland Casino which is usually packed with visitors and patrons during the weekends.
Malaysia Facts – Sarawak
Sarawak on Borneo Island, the “Land Of The Hornbill”, is regarded as Asia best kept secret due to its magnificent virgin rainforest.
As large as the whole of West Malaysia in term of size but with just a population of just 2.5 million people spread out across the whole state, Sarawak is relatively unmarred by development, letting nature lovers savour the natural beauty of the land.
Malaysia Facts – Man made
There are also many man-made attractions to be found in Malaysia.
For example there is the Petronas Twin Towers, Mederka Square (Independence Square), the Kuala Lumpur railway station which was built by the colonial British with a Moorish theme and Lake Garden, the 60 hectares green lungs of Kuala Lumpur.
With the amount of attractions beckoning visitors to Malaysia, it is not surprising that Malaysia plays host to over 24 million visitors each year. As the caption for its tourism advert goes, “Malaysia, Truly Asia”.
So what are you waiting for!
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