DISCOVER MALAYSIA

Country Information | Explore Places | Savour the Food

 

PDF Version | Travel Packages

 

COUNTRY INFORMATION

Overview

 

Malaysia, lying just north of the Equator, is located in Southeast Asia, sharing borders with Brunei, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. There are two main regions, separated by the South China Sea, that make up Malaysia, being West Malaysia (on Peninsular of Malaysia) and East Malaysia (on the island of Borneo). Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories. Eleven of the states are located in Peninsular and two in East Malaysia. The federal territories are Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

 

Facts and figures

Malaysia as the venue

 

Capital
Kuala Lumpur

Administrative Capital
Putrajaya

 
Leaders

Monarch and Head of State
Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad V
His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Malaysia the 15th

Prime Minister
Dato' Sri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak

 

Size

 

Malaysia
330, 323 sq km

Kuala Lumpur
243 sq km 

 

People

 

 

Population
31.7million,
Growth of 1.5% p.a.

Ethnic Group
Bumiputra 68.6%,
Chinese 23.4%,
Indian 7%,
others 1%

Language
Bahasa Malaysia (official),
English, Chinese (various dialects),
Tamil, Indigenous

Religion
Islam, Buddhism,
Christianity,
Hinduism, others

 

 

Economic Indicators

 

 

GNI Per Capita
RM 37, 759
(2016)

Total Import
RM 698,662 million
(2016)

Labour Force
14.93 million
(Mar 2017) 

Headline Inflation
4.3%
(1Q 2017)

Total Export
RM 785,935million
(2016) 

Unemployment Rate
3.4%
(Mar 2017)

 

 

Communications

 

Mobile Penetration
141.6% (3Q 2016)

Broadband Penetration
77.9%  (3Q 2016)

 

 

For the sources of the information above and more information about Malaysia, please follow the links below:

  1. www.malaysia.gov.my (Malaysian government’s official portal);
  2. www.dosm.gov.my (Department of Statistics Malaysia);
  3. www.bnm.gov.my (Bank Negara Malaysia); and
  4. www.mcmc.gov.my (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission).
 

EXPLORE PLACES

You will observe many contrasting elements while in Malaysia - traditional wooden houses built on stilts with towering skyscrapers as the backdrop or modern and luxury hotels fronting ancient reefs. There are many unique and exciting places of interest that you can explore in Malaysia, from cool hideaways in the highlands to warm sandy beaches or even rich and humid mangroves. These are some of the places (and activities) worth checking out, in no particular order. 

 

Romantic Langkawi

Part of an archipelago of 99 tropical islands just off the coast of Kedah, Langkawi Island is as much shrouded in age-old myths and legends as it is filled with natural beauty. It was accorded the Global Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007 for its diverse and astounding geological heritage, which dates back to more than 500 million years. Langkawi is also a popular duty-free destination.


Things to do: 

  • Take a day trip to nearby Pulau Payar Marine Park, a popular diver's paradise
  • Indulge in a range of water sports such as yachting, sailing and jet skiing
  • Shop till you drop in the duty-free heaven of Kuah
  • Enjoy an exhilarating cable car ride all the way up to Gunung Mat Chincang
 

Underwater Paradise - Diving in Sipadan

Jacques Cousteau declared Sipadan to be an “untouched piece of art”. This is the most beautiful diving spot in the world, and for good reason. Rated as one of the world's top diving sites, Sipadan Island boasts a truly magical and breathtaking underwater experience. Situated at the heart of the Indo-Pacific Basin, the centre of the world's richest marine habitat, the oceanic island is surrounded by several exciting dive spots such as the Hanging Gardens, Barracuda Point and the Turtle Cavern. One of its most thrilling features (and certainly not for the faint-hearted) is the Drop Off, where knee-high water suddenly gives way to a 600m drop.

 

Things to do:

  • Discover the island's world-famous underwater beauty and any of the 13 main dive sites
  • Go island-hopping to nearby Mabul and Kapalai
 

A walk through prehistoric rainforests – Taman Negara, Pahang

Estimated to be over 130 million years old, Taman Negara is Malaysia’s premier national park and one of the world’s oldest rainforests. Home to a vast diversity of flora and fauna, as well as amazing natural landscapes, this virgin rainforest is also the location of Mount Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. Get an overhead view of the forest via the world’s longest canopy walkway, or take part in the different activities and attractions available at each of the park’s four entry points.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Stroll along the world’s longest canopy walkway while enjoying the view of the surroundings at 45m above ground
  • Explore ancient limestone caves
  • Take your pick from a variety of eco-adventure activities available: rapid shooting, jungle trekking, canoeing, mountain climbing
  • Visit the orang asli (indigenous community) settlement
  • Spend a night in an observation hide to catch a glimpse of nocturnal wildlife
 

Mangrove swamps and orang utans – Kabili-Sepilok Nature Reserve, Sabah

Named after two rivers that flow through it, the Kabili-Sepilok Nature Reserve is home to an interesting and diverse array of wildlife and vegetation, consisting mainly of Dipterocarp and mangrove forests. There are several nature trails that lead through the forest, taking you from tropical highland forest to lowland mangrove swamps.


The reserve is also home to the world-famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, where you get to see this endearing species up close and learn more about them.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Go on one of the many nature trails here, such as the Water Hole Trail and Mangrove Forest Trait
  • Visit the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre to learn more about the conservation and rehabilitation of orang utans

Visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre to learn more about the rainforest and its conservation efforts

 

World’s largest cave chamber – Mulu National Park, Sarawak

Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Mulu National Park is home to an impressive collection of natural treasures, including razor-sharp limestone spikes called The Pinnacles, and Sarawak Chamber, the world's largest cave chamber capable of accommodating 40 Boeing 747 aircraft. Meanwhile, the Deer Cave has the world's largest cave passage as well as a unique rock formation with a silhouette that resembles the side profile of Abraham Lincoln, America's 16th President.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Visit the four main caves - Deer, Lang, Clearwater and Wind
  • Walk along the 480m Mulu Canopy Skywalk
  • Go on one of the many exciting nature trails here, such as the Pinnacles Trail and the Medicine Plants Trail
 

Seafaring tales, old world charm – Melaka City, Melaka

Once an important international trading port, Melaka is now one of the country's most popular destinations. A UNESCO World Heritage City, Melaka is deemed the birthplace of the nation's historical and cultural heritage, with over 600 years of history to its name. Its landmark buildings inherit their unique architecture from British, Portuguese and Dutch influences, a nod to the city's colonial past.

 

Things to do:

  • Go on a heritage trail around Melaka City, visiting historical attractions such as Porta de Santiago, Stadthuys and the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
  • Look out for great antique finds at Jonker Street and Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
  • Enjoy the beautiful riverside view and see parts of historical Melaka on board the Melaka River Cruise
 

Shop till you drop in Kuala Lumpur

Featured as the world’s fourth best shopping city in CNNGo, Kuala Lumpur is indeed a shopper’s paradise. Case in point: Three of the world’s 10 largest malls are in KL, while year-round sales offer the best bang for your buck.

 

The BBKLCC stretch from Bukit Bintang to Kuala Lumpur City Centre, in particular, will leave you spoilt for choice with its abundant fashion, food and entertainment options. Lose yourself in the huge selection of local and international brands available across nine signature malls within the area. The shopping district is also well-connected via a covered pedestrian walkway and an efficient network of public transportation.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Go on a shopping spree by visiting the nine shopping malls within the area
  • Tantalise your tastebuds with the wide selection of local delicacies sold along Kasturi Walk, a covered walkway just outside Central Market
  • Visit Chinatown during the annual Lantern Parade and Chinese New Year celebrations
  • Stroll through Little India during the annual Deepavali festival
 

The living cultural museum – Sarawak Cultural Village, Sarawak

Situated at the foothills of the mythical Mount Santubong, this award-winning living museum re-enacts scenes from Sarawak's rich tribal past. It displays the costumes, handicrafts, lifestyles and traditional dwellings of the state's major ethnic communities, with a twice-daily cultural performance. Among the unique handicrafts that can be found here are Sarawak beads and Pua Kumbu (traditional lbanese textile). This cultural village is also the venue for exciting international events such as the Rainforest World Music Festival and the World Harvest Festival.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Visit the longhouses for a glimpse into the lives of each ethnic tribe
  • Join the interactive music workshop at the Rainforest Music House
  • Go on the Penan Nature Trail
 

Heritage trails and hawker food – George Town, Penang

Penang - the food capital of Malaysia. But it’s not just steaming woks that draw the visitors in. George Town is a cultural beacon all on its own, reflected in its UNESCO World Heritage Site title. Awarded the prestigious title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the lively capital of Penang has over 200 years of history and cultural heritage under its belt. Well-preserved colonial buildings and historical architecture draw in the art buffs, while traditional trades, handed down from generation to generation, ensure that age-old culture remains intact.

George Town is also renowned for its mouth-watering food, attracting steady streams of foodies from around the world to its warm shores.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Go on one of the city's heritage trails either on foot or via trishaw
  • Plunge into a glorious gastronomic journey sampling the many hawker's delights such as char kuey teow and prawn noodles
 

The perfect beach life – Tioman Island, Pahang

Located approximately 56km off the coast of Pahang, Tioman Island is hailed as one of the world's best beach getaways. Picturesque with towering twin volcanic peaks, soft golden sands, cool mountain streams and refreshing waterfalls amidst a lush tropical rainforest, the island’s waters are filled with a diverse range of aquatic species, colourful corals and mesmerising dive sites.

 

Things to do:

 

  • Dive at one of the many dive sites dotted around the island
  • Go island-hopping to other islands within the Tioman Marine Park
  • Visit charming local villages such as Salang, Tekek and Juara

 

For more information on interesting places to visit in Malaysia, please follow the link below:

In addition, you can also refer to the travel packages in Malaysia by following the link below (or at the top of the page), to help you better plan for your trip to Malaysia. 

 

Travel Packages

 

SAVOUR THE FOOD

The local food scene is heavily influenced by the three major ethnic groups in Malaysia and multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise. Malay dishes differ discernibly by regions while Chinese dishes are often dialect-based. While south Indian food is widely available, north Indian food can also be found given its visible community in Malaysia. More often than not, the quintessential Malaysian dish is defined by the culinary influences of Malaysia’s multi-cultural past and present, though inter-racial marriages and social integration of the different ethnic groups. This includes the Nyonya culture (straits Chinese), Eurasian and Indian-Muslim. Some of the fusion dishes transcend its ethnic origin, making them the all-time favourite dishes, loved by everyone.


Nevertheless, once you are in Malaysia and eating, you will put aside the cultural and ethnic influences. Instead, you will be looking forward to the next meal and where to get it. Here are some top dishes, not in any particular order, that you should sample and savour.

 

Nasi Lemak

Ask any Malaysian, this will be the first recommendation. This is very fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and served with condiments/sides that make all the difference in this irresistibly scrumptious dish. Depending on where you are in Malaysia, the sides could include hard-boiled egg, peanuts, veggies, lamb/chicken/beef curry, seafood and sambal (chili-based sauce).
 

Satay

Grilled meat skewers, served with onions, cucumbers and rice dumpling (ketupat). The peanut dipping sauce can have regional variations.

 

Mee Goreng Mamak

This Indian-Muslim dish is essentially fried yellow noodles cooked with meat, shrimp, soy sauce, veggies and eggs and some chili that will give you an irresistible jolt.

 

Asam Laksa

Spicy noodle in a fish broth soup and features tamarind (asam) heavily, topped with veggies and shrimp paste, with a spicy-sour taste of a volcanic kind.

 

Roti Canai

This flatbread comes in much variation with the basic one made of flour, butter and water. The oiled dough will be masterfully tossed, spun around, flattened, folded and cooked on a large skillet. This produces a fluffy piece of bread with a crispy exterior. Usually served with curry but can also be a delicious snack on its own.

 

Rojak

Literally translates to mean “mixture”. Rojak combines crispy fried dough with fruits and veggies with regional variations. The whole mixture is combined with Malaysia's ever-popular shrimp paste to give a perfect sweet, spicy and sour blend.

 

Ais Kacang

This shaved ice dessert evolved from a humble ice block to a little ice mountain in a bowl, drenched with a drizzle of creamed corn, condensed milk, gula melaka and brightly coloured syrups. As you dig deeper, you will uncover hidden goodies such as red beans, palm seeds and cubed jellies.

 

Char Kuey Teow

Flat rice noodles stir fried with dark and light soy sauce, chili, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, Chinese chives, prawn and egg, on a wok using high heat, giving it a delightful and sublime taste.

 

Apam Balik

This purse-like snack is essentially a crispy pancake wedded with the compact package of an omelet and stuffed with generous amount of sugar, peanuts and the occasional sprinkle of corn.

 

Ayam Percik

Barbecued chicken marinated in spicy chili, garlic and ginger sauce mixed with coconut milk. The percik sauce adds a lot of zing to the dish.

 

Otak-otak

This is a classic Nyonya dish - moist fish custard with spices and diced onions, wrapped in a banana leaf. The parcel is barbecued until the pinkish contents become warm and the leaves are slightly charred.

 

Nasi Kerabu

The eye-catching colour in this rice dish comes from the telang flowers, which are crushed and mixed into flour. The aquamarine dish is served with bean sprouts and fried coconut, then drenched in spicy budu, a fermented fish sauce.