Malaysia has a host of attractions to please even the most demanding tourists with her colourful cultural heritage, nature wonders, sparkling shopping malls and enticing local delicacies, making her one of the most fascinating destinations in this part of the world. Malaysia also boasts age-old tropical rainforests dating back some 130 million years. Be pampered with all the state-of-the-art sophistication that her ultra-modern cities offer, or simply laze in the sluggishness of her quaint villages. Whatever you long for, you will get it here in Malaysia.
Lying within longitudes 100° and 119° east and latitude 7° North, Malaysia is bordered by Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. The country is made up of 13 states and 2 federal territories and can be divided into 5 major regions: The federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, states of Selangor and NegeriSembilan; The northern region of Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak; The east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang; The southern states of Malacca and Johor; and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Total land area is 329,758 sq km and Peninsular Malaysia alone covers 131,585 sq km. East and West Malaysia are separated by the 1,000 km wide South China Sea. Each of the geographical regions has its own unique share of attractions – the enchanting flora and fauna, sunny beaches, idyllic islands, marine parks, historic sites, etc.
Malaysian Standard Time is 8 hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time. Hot and humid throughout the year, Malaysia has only 2 distinct seasons – rainy season and dry season. Temperatures in the lowlands range between 21 and 32 degrees Celsius while those in the mountains are remarkably lower, depending on altitude. The average annual rainfall is 200cm.
Malaysia’s multi-racial population of 23 million comprises the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, Eurasians as well as the natives of East Malaysia such as Ibans, Bidayuhs, Kadazans and Muruts.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language of the country but English as well as Chinese and Indian dialects are also widely spoken here. While Islam is gazetted the official religion, the other faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are also freely practised here. The national flower is bunga raya or hibiscus.