Know everything about Malaysia
Capital City: Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Area and Population Density: Ninety-Five individuals per square kilometre.
Population: As of 2019, 32.6 million
Head of state: Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Officeholder: Mahathir Mohamad
Language: The official language of Malaysia is Malay (Bahasa Melayu). The English language is also widely spoken.
Currency: Malaysia’s currency is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR). Each Malaysian ringgit is divided into 100 sen.
Transportation: To get around easily in Malaysia, public transportation is the best option. It comprises trains, long-haul buses, or low-cost carrier flights from KLIA2 that can get you anywhere around the country. The Grab mobile application is the most popular ridesharing app for finding cabs.
A country embarked with a great blend of modernity and extraordinary reefs and rainforests, Malaysia is truly one of the most remarkable countries of the Asian continent. Home to the Chinese Joss, the country has been greatly known for its massive cultural influence. Amidst its famous towering skyscrapers, Malaysia is a known home of plenty of Hindu temples and domed mosques defining its abundant diversity. Over the years Malaysia has made a prominent name among nations for nurturing untamed flora. The jungles here are full with the exoticness of the colourful coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and tropical fishes. Not just that the national parks and wildlife reserves of Malaysia boost an incredible and diverse flora and fauna that people are lucky to witness. Malaysia is also popular for being a stunning island nation across the world. The Langkawi, Tioman and the Perhentian island are among the most loved islands by tourists. People here love witnessing the tall palm trees, white sand and scuba diving into the turquoise waters where one can have never enough.
Places to visit in Malaysia
1. Langkawi Island
Located on the westside of Peninsular Malaysia, some 30 km away lies an archipelago of over hundred islands in the scenic waters of the Andaman Sea. The group of islands contains the main island known as Langkawi and other small hundred islands that it is surrounded by, out of which only four islands are inhabited. The main island of Langkawi lies near the country of Thailand. Once there you will be mesmerized with the incredible surrounding hills, valleys, mountains, jungles, sand beaches, waterfalls, rice fields and quaint villages. The sixty thousand inhabitants that spread across the island are not only of the Malay origin but also Indian and Chinese. The inhabitants earn their livelihood mostly through tourism, fishing, padi and rubber cultivation. The Langkawi rates are exceedingly high on the tourism meter with around 2.5 million international tourists. In the mid of the year 2007, the Langkawi island was given a World Geopark status by UNESCO for its incredible natural phenomenons that would drag people from all parts of the world to witness the great island. Langkawi is famous for its stunning beaches and islands. But if tourists are willing to scuba dive or snorkel they will have to travel up to the Malay Peninsula (Perhentian, Redang and Tioman) or to some of the Thai islands in the northern side. The ideal way for you to explore the island truly is by hopping on the Seven Wells, Langkawi Cable Car, Kilim Geoforest Park boat tour, visiting the Eagle & Lagenda Park, the Tumerun Waterfall and the Durian Waterfall. You can also choose to rent a motorcycle for yourself and explore the beautiful islands and the tons of temples. Do not forget to visit the Underwater World and the secluded Black Sand beach. Do keep an eye out for some species such as the monitor lizard, cows, monkeys, macaques, butterfly lizards and many more. Langkawi can be visited throughout the year. There is a slight monsoon period between June and September.
2. Kuala Lumpur
No holiday at the Malaysian island is complete without visiting its capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Located in the west-central Peninsular, the city is regarded for being the country’s hub spot in culture, commercialization and transportation. From being a tin collecting centre to a city with the perfect modern and traditional blend, Kuala Lumpur today comprises skyscrapers, mosques, huts, family businesses and villages. However the city has grabbed attention for being the host to the world’s tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers ( 1,483-foot), and the Kuala Lumpur Tower (1,381-foot), one of the tallest broadcasting and telecommunications masts. The perfect way to enjoy the Petronas Towers is by visiting its 41st or the 86th floor and experiencing the stunning view of the city with its magnificent charm. Apart from the tall towers, you should also head out to the Aquaria KLCC which has over 250 different kinds of marine species from around the globe. The jaw-droppingly stunning 90-meter-long underwater tunnel will leave you and your kids unwilling to leave this place. Kuala Lumpur is also famous for having the world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary, the KL Bird Park. A treat for bird lovers, the park stretches up to 20.9 acres with over sixty kinds of birds flying around the area freely without a fear.
3. George Town
Over 500 years, George Town has massively outgrown from once being a small Malaysian village to what it is known as today to the world. The town has been largely influenced by the European and Asian culture that can be witnessed in its unique multicultural heritage seeping in almost every corner. The history that the town has been marking for centuries was recognised in 2008 where it was awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. George Town currently has over twelve thousand old buildings that comprise of Chinese shophouses, residential jetties, churches, temples, mosques, British colonial government offices and monuments. The incredible history of the town can easily be witnessed on the walls around the place. An amazing street art culture follows around the town that has around fifty-two masterpieces which add a touch of modernity to its ancientness. The best way for anyone to enjoy heer is to visit the quirky-artsy cafes for a cup of coffee or visit Penang for some delicious street food. Favourite snacks to eat here with a buddy include the Assam Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Pasenbur, Popiah, Nasi Kandar and the famous shaved ice dessert called Cendol. The Little India, Indian neighbourhood is also a popular neighbourhood of George town that is full of all things Indian. From sari shops, spice stores, Hindu temples, Indian eateries with Bollywood music playing in the backdrop are enough to make your evening great.
4. Gunung Mulu National Park
Known to have existed for more than forty million years, the Mulu National Park was discovered by human mankind in the year 1978 by the Royal Geographical Society. Later in the year, 2000 Mulu was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was and still is termed as the biggest National Park in Sarawak with its massive area of 55,000 hectares comprising flowing rivers and lush forests. Mulu is surrounded by three tall mountains, the Gunung Mulu (2,376 m), Gunung Api (1,750 m) and Gunung Benarat (1,858 m). While these naturistic phenomenons are enough to grab a person’s attention and mesmerize them, this is not everything that Mulu offers. The most spectacular thing to witness here is the hidden gem that lies underneath the surface. Below lies one of the largest limestone cave systems of the world. It consists of the world’s largest cave passage known as the Deer Cave, the world’s largest natural chamber called the Sarawak Chamber, and lastly the longest cave in Southeast Asia, the Clearwater Cave. No wonder Mulu has gained popularity for a numerous number of years. It is said that these caves started to exist around five million years ago when sideways earth movements resulted in the formation of both limestone and sandstone mountains. The monsoon showers of a period of another million years with the river flowing carved out the vast subterranean system that can be witnessed today. Tourists travelling up to here should not just visit for the underground caves but also the magnificent tropical ness on the above ground. Activities such as jungle treks and mountain hikes are extremely famous around the arena.
The largest state of the Malaysian peninsula, Kuantan is the capital of the state of Pahang in Malaysia. It is a four-hour ride from the capital city Kuala Lumpur. Kuantan comprises the stunning Cameron Highlands on the west side and the Taman Negara in the eastern region. It has been regarded as the largest city in East Coast Malaysia with around 1.5 million people living in it. The city has many fun attraction spots for tourists to explore such as the State Mosque, the Kuantan river esplanade and river cruise, or one of the recreational parks. To make your holiday memorable do not forget to drop by the stunning Panching Caves, naturistic Sungai Pandan waterfalls, Berkelah waterfall, the museum of Sungai Lembing tin mine, a trip to Pulau Ular, Cherating turtle sanctuary and an incredible firefly tour. Some of the best beaches around Kuantan where you can relax and dwell on the surroundings include the Teluk Chempedak, Beserah, Balok, Batu Hitam and the most popular Cherating beach. No trip is complete without engaging some shopping spree. The most popular mall of Kuantan is the East Coast Mall. It has a host of great international outlets to shop from and take back home. At the end of the day when you are drained out from walking and trying out stuff around the mall then you could catch a break at some internationally famous food and beverage outlets such as Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, KFC, Sushi King and Laksa Shack. But if you want to try out some local food then not much far away from the mall are various small local restaurants that serve delicious meals.
Where to shop in Malaysia?
Malaysia is one of the top shopping destinations in the Asia continent that offers a bag full of opportunities for tourists travelling from across the world. Shopaholics are surely going to have a tough time settling their heart and mind into buying just a couple of things. An amazing amount of variety can be seen across stores selling apparel wear, souvenirs, fashionable accessories, luxurious bags and much more. One of the main shopping spots of the country includes its capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Whether a street shopping or luxury brand shopping aficionado the city offers a seamless blend of both. Other famous places include the Cameron Highlands, and the famous island Langkawi.
- The Petaling Street in Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur is a dream spot to shop at in Malaysia. The street offers all things related and famous in Malaysia. From artificial flowers, bag tags, apparels, bags, electronics too much more, this street has it all. The street gives bargaining pros a great way to unleash their talent as it is adjudged as a famous bargaining paradise. At the end of your shopping do not forget to grab a place at any of the local restaurants or eateries to gorge on some delicious Chinese cuisine.
- The air-conditioned complex of Central market in Kuala Lumpur is perfect to get away from the heat and lighten your pockets. This complex is largely famous for selling Indian and Chinese ethnic stuff such as handicraft, bags, and fashion accessories. Famous accessory brand Panda Eyes store can also be seen inside.
- The Suria KLCC located at the iconic tallest towers of the Petronas Towers is one of the best to shop in Malaysia. The shopping spot is perfect for all kinds of shoppers, especially luxury brand lovers. Famous footwear, bag, and apparel luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Marc Jacobs. But if these brands seem to be a little too heavy on the pocket then you do not need to worry as Suria KLCC has many affordable stores too.
- The Pavilion KL is a seven-storey famous entertainment and shopping centre of Kuala Lumpur. Considered among the best malls in Malaysia, the Pavilion KL has stains of luxurious shopping brands to offer. This includes Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Esprit, Burberry and many more. The mall has tons of restaurants also to grab a delicious snack or meal. If tired from all the holidaying you can also choose to unwind at one of the spas and salons.
- The Berjaya Times Square is regarded as the ninth largest building in the world. It is also one of the biggest shopping malls in the world making it a landmark in itself. The mall has over forty eighty storeys that comprise of a hotel, theme park, offices, restaurants, and other entertainment options too. The mall has more than hundred stores of known brands that will surely get you hoarding the minute you will step inside.
- The Langkawi Parade in Langkawi is a famous shopping stop that offers over forty shopping, gadget and entertainment stop. You will get to shop plenty of souvenirs like liquor, electronics, fashion products for yourself and your family.
- The Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall in Langkawi is a two-storey shopping mall that has over a hundred retail outlets that sell not so costly souvenirs, handicrafts, and apparel wears. Famous sport brands such as Adidas, and Nike can also be shopped from.
You can buy electronics, cosmetics and perfumes easily at a duty-free spot in Malaysia such as the island of Labuan and Langkawi.
Malaysia also has an incredible and buzzing nightlife. Its capital city Kuala Lumpur especially has the most happening nightlife. Among the tons of bars and nightclubs, the most famous around the city include the Jalan Bukit Bingtang, Asian Heritage Row, CapSquare, Starhill Gallery, Bangsar, Sri Hartamas and the Curve mall. Nightclubs are open from Wednesday to Sunday.
What to eat in Malaysia?
1. Banana Leaf
The Banana leaf is a part of the Chettinad region of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. The entire south Indian cuisine is considered among the most delicious cuisines in the world. The Banana Leaf is considered among the other delicious food varieties. The Banana leaf involves white rice being served on it with vegetables, curried meat or fish, pickles, and the super addictive papadum (flat crisps). Non-vegetarians are served rice with either chicken curry or mutton Rendang.
2. Nasi Dagang
Nasi dagang is a famous Malaysian dish that you ought to try once here. The dish involves steamed rice served with coconut milk, fish curry. The dish also is served with some fried coconut shavings, solok lada, hard-boiled eggs and vegetable pickles.
3. Bakuteh (BKT)
The Malaysian Bakuteh translates to the ‘meat bone tea’ that consists of fatty and delicious pork ribs. The ribs are simmered in a broth of herbs and spices. The MAlaysian Bakuteh is then served with offal, mushrooms, choy sum, and tofu.
4. Hokkien Mee
An absolute favourite of the locals of Kuala Lumpur, Fried Hokkien mee or Chicken fried yellow noodles are thick yellow noodles that are cooked in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish-cake with some crispy fried pork. If you come back without trying these delicious noodles, then you’ve definitely missed out on something great.
5. Sang Har noodles
Sang Har Kuey Teow or flat noodles are fresh river prawns that are cooked in Cantonese style with a thick eggy broth. The absolute deliciousness of the prawns that blends into the springiness of the flat noodles is truly heaven.
6. Nasi Lemak
The famous Nasi Lemak translates to rice in cream. It involves the cooking of white rice that is soaked in coconut cream and is further steamed to give a nice aroma of coconut.It is then wrapped in a banana leaf and served. Sometimes a knotted pandan leaf, or ginger or a stalk of lemongrass are also added.
The Malaysian nasi lemak also consists of sambal (hot spicy sauce), hard-boiled egg, cucumber,dried anchovies and roasted peanuts. Some restaurants also serve optional ingredients such as sambal cuttlefish, fried chicken, cockle, stir-fried water convolvulus, pickled vegetables or beef rendang.
Travel Tips for Malaysia
- Malaysia is located right next to the equator due to which it has a tropical climate throughout the year. Hence, it is sensible that you pack cotton clothes. Slightly loose fitted clothes instead of clothes that stick to your body are advisable. Malaysia is reasonably a conservative country that enjoys many cultures. So if you are planning to visit a mosque or a temple you may be required to either cover your head with a scarf or wear something appropriate according to the holy place.
- The Malaysian country has a convenient and stressless way of transports. There are tons of transport options such as the taxi, bus and train. If you are in Kuala Lumpur then the KL Sentral Station is your main point of travelling around as it links you to many other spots. Taxis are also a great option for travelling around in Malaysia but make sure it is availed only for small distances.
- If you are a fan of street food and the local cuisine then Malaysia is the perfect spot for you. The food is cheap yet delicious. The main spots where you can try some street food is at Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Some popular food items to try here include Rojak, apam balik and koay chiap.
- Though many of the locals here are well versed with English so you shouldn’t have a difficult time communicating with them for something. However, it is said that before going there it is ideal for tourists to learn a few sentences or words in their local language. Even if you do not get the correct pronunciation it is fine because the locals are warm people and are used to communicating with tourists.
- The festivities of Malaysia are one of the most vibrant and enthusiastic times to witness the country in its complete joy.
- Celebrated every year in January or February, Thaipusam is an auspicious festival of the Tamil Hindu community residing in Malaysia. It celebrates the victory of good over evil. The festival honours the conquering of the evil demon Surapadman by the great Lord Muruga. Thaipusam is celebrated at the Batu Cave in Kuala Lumpur. People sing folk songs, perform their traditional dance and practice the piercing ritual. (a ritual where devotees pierce huge spears, hooks, and lances on their mouths, cheeks, and body parts).
- The Chinese New Year is one of the biggest festivals in Malaysia. The entire city is decorated with red and gold. People performing the traditional lion and dragon dances can be witnessed through the festivities. People clean their houses and visit the temples for prosperity and luck. Ceremonial drums are also beaten to chase away the evil spirits. The nightly fireworks during the Chinese New Year in Malaysia shouldn’t be missed. It is celebrated every year in April.
- The Malaysia Water Festival is a month-long festival that involves celebrations by the beach. People enjoy next to the beach by kayaking, record-breaking sandcastle building and fishing.
- Wesak Day is a famous Buddhist festival that marks the birth, enlightenment, and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. The festival is carried by performing prayers and parades the entire day. The golden idols of Lord Buddha are bathed by devotees. It signifies the washing away of evil thoughts and vibes. Incense, candles, and flowers are offered at monasteries to symbolise the fleeting nature of life. It is celebrated every year in May.
- The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most fun and loved festivals in Malaysia. The festival involves several long and colourful boats that sail on the waters of the Teluk Bahang Dam. The festival hosts exciting races and talent shows that are attended by people from South East Asian countries and Australia. The vibrant atmosphere that is created during the festival is absolutely amazing to witness. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated every year in May or June.
- Budget travellers or backpackers absolutely love Malaysia that is the reason you will be able to spot many of them touring around. A small budget is easy to get you not just around but food and accommodation too. But if you want to try scuba diving or go on a jungle trek then your budget will obviously increase.
- Malaysians drive on the left-hand side of the road. So while you rent a scooter or a bike be sure to abide by the left-hand side rule.
How to reach Malaysia?
Air: The major hub of flying between the European, Asian and Australian continent is the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian airlines are known to offer an extensive network of domestic and international flights. Direct flights between Europe and Malaysian Borneo are also common. Malaysia has two international airports, Kuala Lumpur and Penang International Airport. During the end holiday season and peak summer months (May, June and August) you will be overcharged that the usual price so be careful of when you plan to visit Malaysia. Indian residents travelling to Malaysia should not worry as Kuala Lumpur is well connected to many major Indian cities. Avail from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, four major international airports of India. Indian airlines such as Air Asia, Jet Airways, Air India, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airline, Singapore Airline fly to Kuala Lumpur from India frequently.
Rail: The easiest way for you to find a railway around the country is by looking at the availability on the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad. The Keretapi is responsible for running the train services of Malaysia. People residing in Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand can board a train to Kuala Lumpur through Butterworth, the main station for Penang. The travel period is up to three to four days.
Road: Travelling to Malaysia by road is one of the most preferred travelling routes in South East Asia The road conditions are perfect for a long trip with travellers abiding by the traffic rules. Presenting the perfect conditions for people to travel at any time of the year. Apart from some few small roads tolls are applied on highways.
Ship: If adventurous, Malaysia can also be reached by travelling through the waters. There are tons of cruise packages online that offer a comfortable journey from India. But if you are travelling to Malaysia for the first time, it will be better to travel via flight from any of the major international airports in India.
Best time to visit Malaysia
The best time to visit the stunning country of Malaysia is between the months of December and February. However, the months for the monsoon season differ between coasts on Peninsular Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur gets plenty of rain throughout the year. Hence the summer months that are May to July or December to February are perfect to visit. Meanwhile, the west coast islands such as Penang and Langkawi enjoy great weather in December, January, and February. If you’re planning to visit Perhentians and Tioman Island then from the months of June to August are ideal.