Malaysia is one of the most vibrant, exciting countries in SOUTHEAST Asia with its fascinating fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and the indigenous cultures of the Kadazan, Iban and other ethnic groups. “Selamat Datang” means “Welcome” in Bahasa Malaysia, the national language. This greeting, written on the faces of its people, reflects the friendliness, heart-warming charm and genuine hospitality of the country.
‘To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia’. Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomic paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful festivals. It is no wonder that we love celebrating and socialising. Malaysians are very warm and friendly. This is the rich biodiversity of Malaysia. Although Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, English is widely spoken in the whole country.
Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, the Federation of Malaysia comprises of 11 states in the Peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo Island, which is Sabah and Sarawak.
Situated between 2o and 7o to the North of the Equator line, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. In the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia lies Thailand while in the south, lies Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares borders with Brunei.
Cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves. One of Malaysia’s key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.
Location of Malaysia and East Malaysia with neighbouring countries: Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Borneo
Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia’s economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are major contributors to the economy.
The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM. The exchange rate is valued at USD1 = RM3.34. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money changers.
Value for Money
Malaysia is ranked as one of the world’s best value destination and facilities like accommodation, transportation, car rental and food are very affordable and competitively priced.
According to UBS.com: Price and Earnings Report 2009;
Price of a 3-course restaurant meal (without drinks, including service): USD 17.00 (Kuala Lumpur), USD 87.00 (Tokyo), USD 55.00 (London), USD 52.00 (Singapore)
Safety & Security
Malaysians are by nature… peace-loving people. Many marvel at how a multicultural society like ours can live in harmony. A spirit of tolerance and acceptance prevails throughout the country, as we respect our differences and celebrate our similarities. Diversity is what makes us a nation and this is evident to every visitor. Law and order is upheld by both the government and citizens alike, and a stable democratic political climate is maintained. Malaysians enjoy a good standard of living, the crime rate is low, and every precaution is taken to preserve the peace that is every person’s right.
“Malaysia lies in the fusion of it all, into a country that is one of the safest, most stable and easiest to manage in South East Asia.” Lonely Planet Guide
The country experiences tropical weather year-round. Temperatures are from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F). Higher elevations are much colder with temperatures between 15°C (59° F) to 25°C (77°F). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.