Malaysia … The Heart of Southeast Asia
Located strategically at the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia never fails to fascinate. With a social core consisting of the Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as the many indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia is a unique and inspiring blend of cultures.
Malaysia, a land of ready smiles and incredible contrasts beckons the visitor with a rich diversity of experiences. A charming, fascinating land of warm, friendly people, here you get a taste of all of Asia in a single destination. The country’s social, political and economic stability have ensured a well structured development. Malaysia today is a cosmopolitan, progressive nation of great opportunity which has managed to retain its rich heritage of culture and traditions despite modernisation.
The country’s rich character unfolds from the moment the visitor arrives at the state-of-the-art KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang. He will soon discover that Malaysia is a fascinating kaleidoscope of interesting and colourful places, peoples, customs, festivals, art and delightful cuisine. The country is also endowed with verdant rainforests, beautiful dive sites and marine parks containing fascinating animal life and a diversity of flora and fauna unique to this part of the world. In Malaysia, you can choose to city-hop to experience the incredible variety of shopping opportunities, entertainment and accommodation or lie back blissfully on white sandy beaches as you gaze upon the rustic charms of the countryside.
Or take an eco-holiday and climb Kinabalu, one of the region’s highest mountains, visit the orang-utans in Sepilok, or go diving in Sipadan. Malaysia has something for everyone, the historian, the businessman, the backpacker, the eco-tourist, city-hopper or beachcomber. Bring the family along for the Malaysian holiday adventure is a well-rounded experience.
|10 Wonderful Reasons To Visit Malaysia|
1. PERFECT LOCATION
Located right in the heart of Asia, Malaysia is easily accessible from all corners of the globe. With numerous entry points, it encompasses all of Asia in microcosm. The country enjoys balmy weather all year round, a boon for travellers planning their vacations.
2. NATURE & ADVENTURE
Discover nature in all its pristine beauty, from a 130-million-year-old rainforest and colossal caves to enchanting islands and beaches. The country’s natural treasures include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kinabalu Park in Sabah and Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak. Bike, fish, climb, dive and much more – it can all be done right here.
3. HISTORY & CULTURE
Go back in time and re-live the past in carefully preserved historical enclaves, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Melaka and George Town, Penang. Perak’s Lenggong Valley is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with cave dwellings dating back to the Paleolithic age. With its myriad cultures, Malaysia is a uniquely colourful country.
4. CITIES & SHOPPING
Malaysian cities present a wealth of diverse delights, from cosmopolitan architecture and street markets to fabulous shopping malls chock-a-block with great deals. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur is a shopping paradise, along with other main cities such as Penang and Johor Bahru. The duty-free island of Langkawi offers even more irresistible bargains.
5. FOOD GALORE
When even the locals wax lyrical about the variety of cuisine, the food has got to be fantastic. Each community has its own style of cooking, from Malay satay to Indian curries and Chinese stir-frys. Moving from state to state, the specialities also vary, so there can be many variations of a simple laksa. From exotic fruits to street food and world-class cuisine, Malaysia has got it all.
6. TERRIFIC TRANSPORTATION
Serviced by Malaysia Airlines and other airlines including AirAsia, Firefly, Berjaya Air and Malindo Air, getting around Malaysia is quite easy by air. There is also a comprehensive system of highways and railway links, as well as ferry services to some of the islands.
7. FRIENDLY FACES
Warm and friendly faces greet visitors wherever they go, making it very hard to leave when it’s time to say goodbye. In fact, Malaysia has been voted the “world’s tenth friendliest country”. (Forbes Online 2012 poll).
8. EASE OF LANGUAGE
While Malay is the official language, English is widely used, putting visitors instantly at ease and making communication painless.
9. GREAT HOTELS – Big & Small
With the widest variety of accommodation, from luxury and boutique hotels to homestays and spa resorts, Malaysia welcomes visitors with different travel preferences.
10. TRULY AFFORDABLE
Compared with many other countries, everything in Malaysia from food to accommodation and transportation is very affordable, helping the travel dollar stretch even further.
|Fast Fact About Malaysia|
Tropical climate with warm weather all year round with temperatures ranging from 21c to 32c. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000 mm to 25,500mm.
Islam is the official religion but other religion are practiced freely. Muslim (primarily Malays), Buddhism (Chinese), Hindu (Indian), Christianity, Taoism and tribal religions.
Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects including Cantonese, Hokkien, Mandarin, Tamil and Hindi.
The Malaysian currency is normally referred to as Ringgit or RM or MYR. It is pegged at RM3.80 to US$1. The RM comes in dominations of RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100. Coins are denoted as sen (cent). These include 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen.
All states (with the exception of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu) observe Saturdays as a half-day and Sunday as a public holiday. Kedah & Kelantan observe Fridays as as public holidays and Saturday as a half-day. Terengganu observe Friday & Saturday as public holidays.
Most states: Mon – Fri: 9.30am, 4.00pm | Sat: 9.30am – 11.30am (closed 1st & 3rd Sat of each month) | Sun: closed.
Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu: Sat – Thu: 9.30am – 4.00pm | Fri & Sat: closed.
Open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public holidays. In Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu post offices are closed on Fridays & Sat and public holidays.
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom offices.
Voltage is 220 – 240 volts A/C at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3-pin plugs and sockets.
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.
Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of States is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.
Most hotels and restaurants levy a 10% service charge and 50% government sales tax on bills. However, should you want to show your appreciation for good services, a small tip will do.
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Malaysia has a combined population of over 20 million people. Because of its location between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting place for traders and travelers from the East and West. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous peoples. Although Malay is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in business, and the English language is a compulsory subject in all schools. With such a diverse ethnic composition, it is not surprising that many religions are practiced in Malaysia. The official religion is Islam, but its people are free to observe any religion of their choice. At any place in Malaysia, it is common to see temples, mosques and churches located in close proximity.
59% Malay and other indigenous race, 32% Chinese and 9% Indian.
TROPICAL HEALTH – DEHYDRATION & SUNBURN
The sun is strong throughout the year in the country. Proper care against sunburn must be constantly taken. Dehydration and loss of salt through perspiration are two other common problems for the unprepared traveler. Drink plenty of fluids and replace your salt loss. Make sure you pack clothing suitable for a warm humid climate.
Very casual, light cotton clothing like t-shirts, short, etc… is the order of the day. No formality is expected in the restaurants. Tourist are recommended to be properly attired when visiting villages and towns. Nudity, hugging and kissing in public is prohibited.
Visitors to Malaysia must be possession of valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the period of stay. Most nationalities do not required visas for social or business visits. Trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and importing large amounts of foreign currencies requires a declaration. To find out more, please click here.
|Do’s & Don’ts|
When visiting Malaysia, visitors should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:
- The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friends outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, “I greet you from my heart”. The visitor should reciprocate the salam.
- It is polite to call before visiting a home.
- Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
- Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
- The right hand is always used when eating with one’s hand or giving and receiving objects.
- The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.
- Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors.
- Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask permission beforehand.
- Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
- If you have a cell phone, please bring it along with you. When you arrive in Malaysia, we suggest that you buy a cell phone prepaid card (only MYR10.00 for starter pack). This is very useful if you have emergency or if you want more details about specific location or others. Please save the phone number for your travel agent, police station, embassy, etc..
Situated at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is easily accessible from most parts of the world by air, surface and sea links. Over 45 international airlines fly into the country while the national carrier Malaysia Airlines, has a global network that spans six continents and a national network that covers more than 36 local destinations. It is complemented by Firefly, the community airline which services certain regional and domestic routes. The budget carrier AirAsia provides affordable air services to regional and several long-haul destinations.
A large number of visitors to Malaysia arrive by air. There are six international airports in Malaysia with the main gateway being the KL International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang in the state of Selangor. The rest of the country including Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan in East Malaysia is well serviced by domestic airports and airstrips. The fully-computerised, state-of the-art KLIA which was opened in mid-1998 is one of the most modern airports in the world and has replaced the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang as the premier international gateway into Malaysia. The KLIA is a four-runway airport facility capable of handling an initial 25 million passengers per annum with facilities for expansion to 45 million passengers per annum.
Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCC-T)
The LCC Terminal is located about 20 km from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Main Terminal Building. It especially caters to passangers of Malaysia?s first no-frills airline, AirAsia. There are feeder buses from the KLIA Main Terminal Building, KL Sentral Station and certain ERL and Komuter Train stations available to ferry passengers to this terminal. Alternatively, one can drive or hire a taxi to get to the LCCT. The airport terminal building has suitable rest, recreation, dining and duty-free shopping areas. Besides shops and restaurants, a recreational facility, the Hotel Airside Transit, offers a fitness centre with gym, steam and sauna. An international class hotel is located within walking distance from the terminal building. Car rental, bus and coach, taxi, limousine and rail services into the city of Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring towns are available at KLIA. KLIA is located about 50km from the city of Kuala Lumpur and linked via the ELITE Expressway which runs north to Kuala Lumpur. The journey takes about one hour. There is also a highway that runs east to the town of Nilai along the North-South Expressway. This expressway links the main towns on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo are accessible via their sea ports. Malaysia’s largest modern sea port is Port Klang, located midway on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It has excellent harbourage and is a major shipping and cargo terminal. Other sea ports are located in Penang and Langkawi, in the north of Peninsular Malaysia, Johor to the south, Kuantan on the East Coast and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
WESTPORT & PULAU INDAH
Port Klang is already serviced by its North Port and South Port facilities but a recent development is the international harbour city, Westport located on the island of Pulau Indah, Iying just beside Port Klang. Pulau Indah is a free trade zone and is undergoing development as an industrial, commercial and residential hub. Recreational and tourism development projects include a marina and resorts.
The Westport stretching over 11km, with a natural depth of 14-18m is designed to be a high-tech regional port to ships from all over the world. It has a container terminal, large warehouse area and commercial centre. It is also the site of the largest cruise ship terminal in the Asia-Pacific region, known as the Star Cruises Terminal. Star Cruises is the major international leisure cruise line that calls at Penang, Port Klang, Melaka and Langkawi.
FerryLink operates a vehicular ferry service consisting of 4 trips daily on weekdays and 8 trips on weekends from Changi Point in Singapore (near the airport) to Tanjung Belungkor on the southern coastline of Peninsular Malaysia, facilitating speedier access to the popular beach resort of Desaru on Johor’s eastern coast.
BY ROAD & RAIL
Located 48km north of Alor Star in the northern state of Kedah, Bukit Kayu Hitam is the main entry point into Malaysia for visitors from Thailand. The Malaysian immigration and customs post is located near restaurants, shops, car parks and a duty-free shopping complex. The North-South Expressway links Bukit Kayu Hitam to Kuala Lumpur, 490km away. Padang Besar in Malaysia’s northernmost state of Perlis serves as another entry point. It is on the main rail route and a daily train service from Bangkok stops here. Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) or Malayan Railway provides the international express from Butterworth to Haadyai in Thailand and has regular services from Padang Besar to Kuala Lumpur and on to Singapore.
The exclusive Eastern and Oriental Express also romances this route on a nearly 2,000km journey from Singapore via Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok traversing the entire length of Peninsular Malaysia with frequent stops at scenic locations, over a two day period. Johor Bahru is the main southern entry point into Peninsular Malaysia for visitors entering Malaysia from Singapore. The North-South Expressway links Johor Bahru with Kuala Lumpur, 220km to the north. A causeway carrying a road and railway, connects Johor Bahru to Singapore. Immigration and Customs checkpoints are based at the entrance to the Causeway. A second bridge links Tanjung Kupang 30km south-west of Johor Bahru, to Tuas in Singapore. Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) has train services connecting Singapore to Johor Bahru and other states in the peninsula right up to Padang Besar on the Thailand border.
Getting around Malaysia is affordable and convenient. There are a variety of ways one can choose to move around while enjoying the interesting sights in the country. Public buses and taxis are one of the most popular modes of transportation in the country. The Light Rail Transit (LRT) services and other inter-city rail services offer hassle-free accessibility to well-known landmarks in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, as well as connections to outlying districts and nearby towns.
The railway network extends from neighbouring Singapore through the major cities and towns within Peninsular Malaysia up to Thailand on both the West and East Coasts. You can travel in air-conditioned comfort in daytime first class coaches with single or double berths. Second class coaches also have sleeping berths. There is a KTM Komuter Train Service from Kuala Lumpur, which connects several satellite towns around the city up to Port Klang and Seremban in Negeri Sembilan.