Malaysia Travel Guides

Malaysia is one of the fast-growing economies collectively known as the ‘Asian Dragons’. Located in Southeast Asia, it consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea. The Malay peninsular (or West Malaysia) shares a border with Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south, while East Malaysia occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, including the states of Sarawak and Sabah.Visit this website for further information about Travelling to Malaysia

The Malay peninsular is over 800kms long and features a mountain range along its backbone and dense rain forests. There are also many islands and outcrops of limestone dotted along the coast, especially in the Kuala Lumpur and Kampar Valley areas.

Malaysia strikes a balance between modern and comfortable infrastructure and centuries-old traditions. It has a vibrant mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures that make it a fascinating place to visit, with tourism on the rise. Malaysia is also a popular place for nature lovers with a diverse range of animals and plant life, including the Malayan sun bear and tapir.

The country's capital Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is commonly known) is a modern city that has retained much of its original charm. There are many colonial buildings among the towering skyscrapers, as well as a lively Chinatown district with street vendors and markets. The sprawling city is best viewed from the top of the Petronas Towers, formerly the tallest buildings in the world. Visitors will find plenty to keep them occupied, from sightseeing to browsing the latest department stores.

Penang is where the British first established a foothold in Malaysia, and you can still see some of the surviving colonial architecture, as well as a notable Chinese influence. The island's main centre of Georgetown has a long history and several sites worth visiting. Elsewhere, you can find pleasant beaches on the north coast, jungle in the interior and a new national park on the northwest headland.

The Cameron Highlands are located in the centre of the Malay peninsular and are a great place to relax and escape the heat of the lowlands. They comprise of a series of hill stations at 5,000 to 6,000ft, and were established by the British during colonial rule. This fertile area is the heart of Malaysia's tea industry and has some beautiful gardens, jungle trekking and waterfalls.Visit this website for further information about Cameron Highlands

The choice of accommodation in Malaysia ranges from simple guesthouses through to luxurious five-star hotels. Kuala Lumpur has seen many new hotels constructed in recent years, and the country’s beaches have some popular resorts which are often full over public holidays. Accommodation represents good value for money, so you may want to consider treating yourself to a stay at one of the top hotels.

History

Malaysia's history can be traced back to 2500 BC, when the Orang Asli migrated from Siam and settled on the Malay peninsula. The Orang Asli were followed by the Proto-Malays, who arrived from Java between 1500 BC and 500 BC. During the first millennium, most of the peninsula and islands were under the rule of Srivijaya kingdom, which was succeeded by several Malay kingdoms during the 2nd and 3rd centuries.Visit this website for further information about History of Malaysia

Kedah was an important stop on a trade route, and was consequently conquered in 1025 by the Indian king Rajendra Chola. His successor, Vir Rajendra Chola, greatly reduced the influence of Srivijaya after he successfully put down a Kedah rebellion. Eventually, the Buddhist kingdom of Ligor gained control of Kedah and the Malay inhabitants adopted Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as the Sanskrit language. Aspects of Malaysian culture from this period are still evident today.

During the 15th century, the Kingdom of Malacca was established by a prince from Palembang fled who from Temasek (Singapore). The sultanate controlled large areas of the Malay peninsular, the eastern coast of Sumatra and southern Thailand. His rule lasted for over 100 years, during which time Islam spread throughout the population. Malacca became the dominant trading port in Southeast Asia, which attracted foreign attention.

The Portuguese established a colony in Malacca in 1511, which led to Palembang’s successors establishing sultanates elsewhere in Perak and Johor. After a long conflict between both parties, the Dutch gained control of Malacca in 1641.

The British arrived in 1786 and leased the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah. In 1824, they gained control of Malacca. With the Malay archipelago split between the Netherlands and Britain, the Straits Settlements was formed, comprising of Singapore, Malacca and Penang.

There were numerous internal conflicts in the Malay states and the local authorities turned to the British to help resolve the problems. After the Pangkor Treaty was signed in 1874, British influence in the region grew considerably. Although they were technically advisors, the British exerted control over several states including those in the north which were previously under Siamese control.

Support for independence grew after WWII, and an insurgency known as the Malayan Emergency lasted from 1948 to 1960. Independence was finally granted on 31 August 1957. The colonies of Malaya, Singapore and Sabah (British North Borneo) joined to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, but political conflicts led Singapore to exit the new federation in 1965.

The controversial ‘New Economic Policy' was launched by the government to increase the economic standing of the indigenous people (Bumiputras). The economy grew substantially during the 1980s and 1990s with the expansion of the manufacturing and high-tech sectors. Huge projects were launched, including the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Bakun hydroelectric dam and the Petronas Twin Towers.Visit this website for further information about Malaysia Government

Like other Asian countries, Malaysia was rocked by the financial crisis in 1997, but the economy has once again continued to grow in the new millennium.

Weather

Located just north of the equator, Malaysia has a warm and humid tropical climate for most of the year. Average temperatures range from 21ºC to 32 ºC year round. Humidity is consistently high and hovers around 90 per cent, regardless of the time of year. Temperatures are lower and more pleasant in the hills, which are a popular retreat.

The northeast monsoon lasts from October to April and brings rains to Borneo and the east coast, while the west coast usually remains dry. Although this time of year sees heavier rains, rainfall is spread quite evenly throughout the year and therefore it’s possible to travel all year round. An exception to this is the east coast of the peninsula from November to mid-February, when heavy rains deter tourists. Rainfall is heaviest in Sabah and Sarawak from October to March.

The southern parts of Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, are affected by rain showers throughout the year, which are usually intense but short. The rainiest month in the capital is April, but it rarely rains all day.