Malaysia is a true melting pot, with cultural influences from China and a colonial history involving the Dutch, Portuguese, and British. These diverse influences are reflected in the country's religions, architecture, and, of course, its cuisine, which ranges from delectable local specialties to a vibrant street food scene and fine dining experiences.
Kuala Lumpur: The vibrant energy of Kuala Lumpur provides an exciting nightlife, exceptional shopping opportunities, and a myriad of dining experiences, ranging from bustling street food vendors to refined fine dining establishments. Malaysia's cosmopolitan capital, provides the bustling urban experience, while opportunities for respite are found in the country's rainforests, jungles, the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, and numerous tropical beaches along the coast. Malaysian Borneo, cloaked in some of Asia's last great rainforests, is a haven of natural biodiversity, featuring tribal cultures, towering mountain ranges, and seas teeming with coral and tropical fish. Borneo is divided into four sections, with Kalimantan belonging to Indonesia and the sultanate of Brunei as the smallest part. Sabah and Sarawak, the two Malaysian states in Borneo, are the most frequently visited areas.
Malacca: A fantastic day trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malacca City, once a humble fishing village, has evolved into a historical hub and UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the city's historic center with a leisurely stroll through Chinatown.
Mount Kinabalu: Ascending to the summit of Mount Kinabalu offers a breathtaking (literally) challenge for avid hikers, reaching an elevation of 4,095 meters. The reward, of course, is the stunning panoramic view from the top.
Penang: The island of Penang is a treasure trove of exploration, blending exotic cultural traditions, colonial history, and modern influences. George Town showcases a remarkable mix of British Colonial architecture, Chinese shophouses, mosques, and more.
Sabah and Sarawak: You'll find coastal and inland national parks brimming with a wide variety of wildlife, from monitor lizards and turtles to clouded leopards, orangutans, and pygmy elephants on the many tropical islands just off the coast. For adventurous souls, reaching the summit of Mount Kinabalu presents an awe-inspiring challenge.
Wildlife: Malaysia boasts a diverse range of wildlife experiences, including the orangutan rehabilitation centre at Sepilok in Malaysian Borneo, the conservation efforts for the endangered Malayan tigers at Taman Negara National Park, and the vibrant marine life at Sipadan's top diving spots.
When to go / useful information
When to go
Borneo stands out as one of Southeast Asia's few summer destinations, with the ideal travel period falling between March and October. The wet season typically occurs from November to February, although the climate in this region of Asia can be quite unpredictable, so it's wise to be prepared for the possibility of rain at any time. Rainforest regions, by their very nature, tend to have a damp climate and remain hot and humid for most of the year.
Currency Malaysian ringgit
Language: Malaysia's rich cultural diversity is reflected in the multitude of languages spoken across the country. However, Bahasa Malaysia Malay stands as the most widely spoken and native language in the nation. English is taught in schools and is proficiently spoken by many locals. Additionally, various Chinese dialects, Arabic, Portuguese, and even some Thai languages can be found in different areas throughout Malaysia.
What makes it special: What makes Malaysia truly special is its rich culinary diversity, offering a wide range of local delicacies that can be savored in cities and towns across the country. The Cameron Highlands, Malaysia's most extensive hill station, holds a special place in our hearts. It features peaceful townships nestled 1,500 meters high in the serene mountains, offering a refreshing escape. In this region, you'll find cooling resorts, picturesque tea plantations, and charming strawberry farms that lazily sprawl across lush valleys and winding hillslopes.
Weather: Borneo stands out as one of Southeast Asia's few summer destinations, with the best time to visit falling between March and October. While the wet season traditionally occurs from November to February, the climate in this part of Asia can be quite unpredictable, so it's advisable to be prepared for the possibility of rain at any time. Due to their natural characteristics, rainforest areas in Borneo have a humid and rainy climate for most of the year.
Social customs: Malaysia is a multi-cultural society, with major ethnic groups including native Malays, as well as large populations of Chinese and Indians. It's evident that these ethnicities maintain their distinct religions, customs, and ways of life. Handshakes are a common part of introductions in Malaysia, but in some cases, handshakes may only be exchanged with individuals of the same gender. Malaysia is predominantly a Muslim country, and this aspect should be taken into consideration when choosing clothing for your outings. It's advisable to wear conservative attire, especially in rural areas or when visiting mosques or other places of worship. For women, loose-fitting long pants or skirts and long-sleeved shirts are recommended, particularly when entering places of worship.