Malaysia is split into two parts by the South China Sea – Peninsular Malaysia sits on the Asian mainland and East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Peninsular Malaysia is the popular choice for most tourists. However, intrepid visitors may be enticed to Borneo by the tropical rainforest. Exlpore Malaysia and you will find a strikingly diverse country that will surprise you constantly. The culture, cuisine & architecture are a delightful mixture of influences including Malay, Chinese & Indian.
The Malaysian flag was adopted in 1963 and was designed by Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year old architect who won a competition.
What to see
A bustling metropolis of a city, famed for shopping and its domineering Petronas Towers. If you've a head for heights, don't miss the incredible city views from the bridge between the towers, or from the KL Tower.
George Town – Penang
A visit to George Town means a huge helping of preserved colonial heritage combined with excellent cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere that springs to life in the evening.
Once you've finished sight-seeing, drop in to the Perhentian Islands for expansive white sandy beaches, jungle-covered hills and crystal-clear waters.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Sipadan, off the eastern tip of Malaysian Borneo is one of the best places to scuba dive in the world, but you'll find plenty of other perfect spots on Redang island, Tioman island and the Perhentian islands.
One of the top reasons to visit Malaysia is for the food. Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures mingle together to create a unique, mouth-watering cuisine.
National park expeditions
Explore Malaysia's beautiful national parks either on short, day trips or guided expeditions over two weeks or more. Only on the longer trips will you get a chance to see the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Clouded Leopard and Malaysian Tiger that lurk within.
When to go
Weather and Seasons: The climate in Malaysia is tropical and temperatures generally range from 32°C at noon to about 26°C at midnight. Monsoon season hits Borneo and the east coast of Malaysia from October to February and expect short bursts of rain throughout the year in Kuala Lumpur.
Important Dates and Festivals: The multiple religions of Malaysia fill the year with festivals. Thaipusam, falling in January or February, is the must-see event of the Hindu calendar. Hari Raya Puasa at the end of August marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims and Wesak Day in May celebrates Buddha's life.
Getting there / around
Flights: Flights to Malaysia take around 15 hours and you can pick up a return ticket from £500, although non-stop flights will be more expensive.
Local Transport: Malaysia has an excellent road network with the North-South Expressway running along the West Coast from Singapore to the Thai border. Trains are reliable, but slower than travelling by road. Although you will need to fly between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, low-cost tickets are available.
Short Trip: If you're on a whistle-stop tour through Malaysia, spend a couple of days exploring Kuala Lumpur – including the Batu Caves and the streetfood of Jalan Alor, then catch a 4-hour bus up to Penang for a generous dose of multi-cultural history.
Longer Trip (Backpacker Trip): A trip to Malaysia is not something you want to rush. Spend a month here and include a trip over to Borneo and the secluded beaches of the north-west.
Cheaper Trip: Malaysia is a popular destination for shoestring budgets so there are plenty of arranged tours that won't break the bank. Plus, Kuala Lumpur boasts the cheapest five-star hotels in the world, so grab a little luxury while you can.
More Expensive Trip: For the trip of a lifetime, a guided tour of the Borneo rainforests is a must, but the cost can be quite steep.
Malay dishes are bursting with flavour, expect curries, stews and dips. Most towns and even villages have their own specialities so it's always worth stopping off and sampling something new. Coffee and tea are served across Malaysia but bear in mind that they will be served sweet with condensed milk.
Undoubtedly the best clubbing nightlife in Malaysia can be found in Kuala Lumpur but if you find yourself in Penang, the bars and nightclubs of George Town won't disappoint.
Malaysian Ringgit (RM), made up of 100 sen.
British nationals don't need a visa to enter Malaysia, you will normally be given permission to stay for three months.
There is a risk of Malaria and Yellow Fever in Malaysia so you will need to be vaccinated and follow a course of tablets. Check with your doctor for other vaccinations you might need.
Safety, FO travel advice
Pickpocketing, bag snatching and gambling scams. Make sure you check the safety of the area you want to travel to with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you travel too.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Malaysian country representatives can be found
in the UK at45 Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London, SW1X 8QT. Tel:- 0207 235 8033.
and in the US at 3516 International Court, N.W20008 Washington DC District of Columbia. Tel:- 202 572 9700.
For more information visit: www.tourism.gov.my , http://www.jimlondon.net .
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