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Destination: Malaysia

WHY TO VISIT MALAYSIA

Split between two pieces of land, Malaysia will first surprise you with its unusual geography. The capital Kuala Lumpur, on its peninsula is an effervescent city undergoing full economic development that has animated streets and a great Chinese market, a huge mosque and a Hindu temple - all worth a visit. Visit Malacca too with its houses built in a Dutch architectural style and Kota Bahru with its central glass covered market letting light in to play with the shadows on the stalls. Do try the delicious local specialties sold on the market and street stalls. From there, take a boat trip to visit the Perhentian islands with their incredible beaches lapped by gentle turquoise waves.

Opposite, on the island of Borneo, Sarawak is well known for its National Parks, sheltering a jungle with an incredible number of spectacular and diverse forms of wildlife and plant life together with its tribes who will welcome you in an unforgettable manner. The other state, Sabah, is very poor despite its rich natural resources; you can visit the Orang-utan rehabilitation park at Sepilok where you can approach them while they are eating. You can also see the 4,000 metre high Mount Kinabalu.

Malaysia could be said to be a contrasting and contradictory mosaic of impressions where legends and exoticism are to be found at every turn next to an incredibly fearsome modernism.

WHAT TO SEE IN MALAYSIA

Top destinations in Malaysia are:

  • Gunung Mulu National Park
  • Langkawi
  • Taman Negara
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Penang
  • Kuching
  • Kota Kinabalu
  • Cameron Highlands
  • Melaka
  • Kota Bharu

WHEN TO GO TO MALAYSIA

Best period to visit Malaysia is from May to August.

The climate is equatorial in type, lightly tempered by the sea breeze. The temperature is high throughout the year with an almost permanently high humidity. The sea water temperature is generally higher than 25°C.

The winter monsoon period is dominant between November and February with heavy rain, especially in the areas to the east. The summer monsoon period is from August to November and brings rain to the west accompanied by strong winds.

Take these differences into account when planning your visit by avoiding the east of the country between the months of October to February. With regards to the rest of the country, any time is a good time to visit apart from the month of Ramadan when everything goes slower than usual.

Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Malaysia.

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH MALAYSIA

by plane, main airports are

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON MALAYSIA

country entry requirements: passport + visa (most nationalities do not require a visa to enter the country: they are issued a permit stamp on their passport upon arrival, check your visa requirements)

health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice

local currency: Malaysian Ringgit

local time zone: GMT+8

electricity: type A, C, G and M (240 V, 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators:

WHAT TO DO IN MALAYSIA

typical food in Malaysia

  • Nasi lemak: Rice steamed with coconut milk, served with dried anchovies, sambal, peanuts and eggs, the national dish
  • Char KwayTeow: Thick rice noodles stir fried with soy sauce and meat or fish
  • Nasi goreng: Malay-style fried rice, a favourite at street stalls and night markets; it's a popular takeaway for long bus journeys
  • Roti canai: Fried flat bread with curry sauce, a delicious and cheap snack served everywhere
  • Tehtarik: "Pulled" tea, made with sweet condensed milk and poured between two jugs to aerate the mix
  • Rendang daging: Slow-cooked beef with lemongrass and coconut; often served at festivals
  • Rojak: A spicy fruit or vegetable salad, plus other ingredients such as fried tofu and youtiao (Chinese cruellers)
  • Laksa: A hot and sour seafood soup with coconut milk
  • Nasi kandar: Mamak-style steamed rice with curries and vegetable side dishes
  • Aiskacang: A Malay desert of shaved ice, fruits, beans, sweetcorn, grass jelly, condensed or evaporated milk and fruit syrups

souvenirs from Malaysia

  • batik cloths (shirts, skirts, bags and hats)
  • sarong
  • Pua Kumbu, dyed threads are usually used to make this kind of cotton fabric. 
  • Baju Kebaya, the traditional Malay attire for women
  • songket, gold-threaded brocade cloths
  • Sarawak pua kumbu, a textile whose complex designs are created using the ikat method of weaving
  • woodcarvings
  • Kerongsang, a type of brooch
  • Wau, a traditional Malaysian kite
  • Dodol, a local toffee-like sweet
  • Sabah natural Pearls, usually of cream, pink, white or bluish-grey hues 
  • silverware
  • Cucuk Sanggul, a traditional Malay hairpin made of gold, silver or some other material. It is usually long and thin, with decorative end. 
  • Congkak, a traditional Malay board game
  • Labu Sayonggourd-shaped clay jar, usually black in color. Water, that is kept inside remains cool in spite of the hot weather. 
  • pewter goods such as Selangor pewtera blend of tin, antimony and copper, which can result in some elegant vases, tankards and ornaments
  • Rattan, cane, bamboo and mengkuang baskets, bird cages, mats, hats and shoulder bags
  • pottery: Malay labu, a gourd-like slender-necked water jug (it’s made in, among other places, Perak) and Sarawak pots and jars bearing tribal motifs
  • beadwork: from pricey Peranakan beaded slippers to Kelabit jackets from the northern highlands of Sarawak

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Hello

Goodbye: Selamat tinggal

How are you?: Apa khabar?

Thank you: Terima kasih

What is your name?: Apa nama awak?

How much is it?: Berapa banyaknya?

Sorry: Maaf

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