MALAYSIA – A VIVID CULTURAL STOP
Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo. West (peninsular) Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, is connected by a causeway and a bridge (the 'second link') to the island state of Singapore, and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. Malaysia is a multicultural society. While Malays make up a 52% majority, there are also 27% Chinese, 9% Indian and a miscellaneous grouping of 13.5% "others", such as the Portuguese clan in Melaka and 12% of indigenous peoples (Orang Asli). There is hence also a profusion of faiths and religions, with Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and even shamanism on the map.
HOME TO MANY RELIGIONS
One of the significant characteristics of Malaysian culture is its celebration of various festivals and events. The year is filled with colourful, exhilarating and exciting activities. Some are religious and solemn but others are vibrant, joyous events. One interesting feature of the main festivals in Malaysia is the 'open house' custom. This is when Malaysians celebrating the festival invite friends and family to come by their homes for some traditional delicacies and fellowship. Kuala Lumpur is a shopping mecca for clothes, electronics, watches, computer goods and much more, with very competitive prices by any standard. Traditional Malaysian fabrics (batik) are a popular souvenir. The cheapest place to easily buy ethnic souvenirs (especially wood-based) is in Kuching, East Malaysia, and the most expensive place is in the major, posh Kuala Lumpur shopping centres.
THE DELECTABLE MALAY CUISINE
Malaysians are very proud of their cooking and most towns or even villages have their own delicious specialities such as Penang char kway teow, Kajang satay, Ipoh bean sprout chicken, Sarawak laksa, Kelantanese nasi dagang, Sabahan hinava, and many, many more. Nasi lemak (lit. "creamy rice") is the definitive Malaysian Malay breakfast, consisting at its simplest of rice cooked in light coconut milk or coconut cream, some fried ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, slices of cucumber and a dab of chilli on the side. Rendang, occasionally dubbed "dry curry", is meat stewed for hours on end in an intricately spiced (but rarely fiery) curry paste until almost all water is absorbed. Satay are barbecued skewers of meat, typically chicken or beef. What separates satay from your ordinary kebab is the slightly spicy peanut-based dipping sauce.
YOUR MALAYSIA BUCKET LIST
- Kuala Lumpur – The capital of Malaysia offers professional skydiving assistance to the tourists, who can jump off and cruise through the city's exhilarating skyline.
- Melaka – You will run into breathtaking museums, temples and settlements that hold immense historic significance.
- Redang Island – Dive into the shallow shores of Redang and watch the colorful underwater corals bloom and sway to the direction of the currents.
- Tanjung Rha – Book a mangrove boat safari here and tour through the fish farms, bat caves and twisted creeks beneath the mangrove shades.
- Batu Caves – Explore the caves that are rich reserves of ancient stalactites and stalagmites that reach enormous heights.
- Sunway Lagoon – This theme park is ideal for adventure enthusiasts. You can try out endless rides or try a hand at bungee jumping as well.
DO YOU KNOW?
Buildings in Malaysia follow a superstitious norm, and refrain from using the number 4 in any form. The fourth floors in the Malaysian buildings are labeled as 3A instead of 4. The prime reason behind doing this is a superstitious belief that circulates within the community. The Malays believe that the phonetic spelling of 4 is similar to the sound of death.
NEAREST CHECK-IN POINTS
- Nearest Airport – Kuala Lumpur International Airport.