Malaysia

 

Malaysia as a country was formally formed in 1963 when peninsular Malay, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah joined together to form the Federation of Malaya (Singapore subsequently withdrew in 1965).

Malaysia is a warm and welcoming country with varying landscapes from some of the oldest rainforest in the world to some of the world’s top dive spots.  Although predominately Muslim it has an eclectic make up of peoples and languages.

Malay 50.1%, Chinese 22.6%, indigenous 11.8%, Indian 6.7%, other 0.7%, non-citizens 8.2%, speaking Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow) and Tamil.

Malaysia, ia what is described as a middle income country and is working towards it’s stated aims of being considered a fully developed country by 2020. Although it is progressing to become a modern service based economy at present it is still heavily dependent on commodity exports generally tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas and bauxite.

 

Malaysian food moves from traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian through all the possible combination you can have from mixing the three. Add to this the myriad of dishes available from the indigenous population and you have a gastronomic delight. Much like most of Asia eating out goes the full spectrum of top of the range Michelin restaurants to street stalls where you can have a full meal for less than one US dollar.

The most popular dish in Malaysia is nasi lemak, which consists of rice cooked in coconut milk with an assortment of side dishes. These side dishes vary from place to place but the basic is hard-boiled egg, peanuts, vegetables, lamb/chicken/or beef curry, seafood and sambal (chili-based sauce).

 

There are many places in Malaysia which are well worth a visit, here are just a few.

Taman Negara National Park

Reputed to be the oldest rainforest in the world (130 million years old), this virgin rainforest will delight with the tropical fauna and flora and give you a real Jurassic Park feel.

Sipidan Island

This island was formed by corals growing on the tip of an extinct undersea volcano. It rises some 600m up from the sea floor. It is considered to be one of the world’s best dive sites with sheer falls off yards from the beach and over 3000 species of fish and schooling hammerhead sharks.

Mount Kinabalu

Rising to 13,435 feet Mount Kinabalu is S.E Asia’s highest mountain. Although high the summit can be reached relatively easy by most normal people. Usually the climb will involve a stay at the lodge below the summit and the final push very early in the morning to allow spectacular views of the sunset.

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capitol Kuala Lumpur is every bit the capitol of an Asian Tiger, glistening skyscrapers mixed with old colonial buildings and crushing traffic during rush hour. Again like most Asian cities accommodation ranges from extremely cheap hostels to top of the range suits. Shopping opportunities are endless and for those on a budget it also has a healthy trade in counterfeit goods sold in Petaling Street.

All in all Malaysia is definitely worth a visit, plenty to see and do, friendly people and English is spoken everywhere.